Building a successful dental practice can be stressful. Three of the top causes of stress for most dentists are heavy financial burdens (such as student loans), rising overhead (such as rent, salary commitments, and material costs), and operational stressors (such as needing to do everything yourself).
Those other stressors can cause any dentist to burn out, unless they address them very intentionally. Here are three simple shifts you can make in your practice to combat these burdens, reduce your chances of burnout, and position you to make more money while working less.
1. Get the right help.
One of the most common sources of stress for dentists is trying to do everything themselves while building their practice. Dentists who do this end up working more and making less because they spend too much time doing activities other people can do better and more efficiently than they could, instead of focusing on high-value tasks or other tasks that only they can do.
Many dentists fall into this trap in an effort to pinch pennies or because they don’t trust others to do things well. This is a big mistake because although it can theoretically save time or money in the short term, having to do everything yourself will cost you even more time and money over the long term because you’ll eventually run out of hours in the day.
The right help, whether as full-time team members or qualified outside contractors for highly-specialized activities, can help you reduce the stress of having to do everything yourself and free up your time—your most valuable asset.
Over time, team members will be able to perform activities better and faster than you because they’ll follow the directions you provide in training and identify ways to improve the process as they become more experienced. Outside vendors will come into the relationship with the skills and experience to perform tasks within their specialty better and faster than you.
In short, hiring the right people is one of the best ways to reduce this stressor, while simultaneously making more, working less, maintaining consistency, and achieving better results. Here’s a step-by-step guide to building the right team for your dental practice.
2. Systematize your practice.
One of the hardest parts of building a practice is letting other people handle important activities. Having effective systems in place for as many tasks as possible helps alleviate that stressor.
Documenting how you want tasks to be performed and then sharing those steps with team members or vendors helps you let go of activities that you shouldn’t be doing yourself. It also ensures consistency among team members and vendors, so you can quickly get someone new up to speed if a team member moves on or a vendor goes out of business.
Documenting the steps to perform tasks doesn’t need to be complicated, either. It can be as simple as writing instructions down on a piece of paper, buying software that will record your computer screen as you do a task so you can share a video of you performing the task with others, or anything in between. The important thing is you end up with something others can follow to take tasks off your hands. This can greatly reduce stress because after investing a few extra minutes documenting the steps you want others to take, you can be more confident having others perform those tasks.
Here’s even more information on how to systematize your practice so you can make more money while working less and providing consistently great service to your patients!
3. Turn your patients into raving fans.
Marketing your dental practice is another area of building a dental practice that stresses dentists out. Between social media posting, search engine marketing, and other traditional and online marketing, a dentist can spend hours a day and thousands of dollars a month on marketing, hoping to connect with future patients. Some of these activities can be outsourced to specialists who can help you become more effective and confident in your marketing tactics. I highly recommend you consider budgeting some time and money to do this, as I’ve achieved up to a 5,000% return on my marketing strategies.
But I also know that one of the best ways to market your practice is literally right under your nose every day: your patients. Most people are swayed by good or bad referrals from friends or online review boards. If you make sure your patients have the best experience possible, which I call a WOW experience, you’ll be building a large team of fans ready to sing your praises to their friends and family and post positive reviews online.
The best part about this is it doesn’t cost any significant time or money. In my practice, we give our patients iPads with headphones to drown out noise, hand and arm massages to relax them, and gourmet coffee and teas to make sure they know they’re special to us. We do this as part of the vision and plan for my practice, but it also helps turn our patients into raving fans so we can get the best advertising around—for free!
The next step is yours.
Building a dental practice can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be if you focus on building it as a business that can operate without you. Getting the right help, systematizing your practice, and turning your patients into raving fans are three of the best ways to reduce your stress while you make more and work less.
What are you doing to reduce stress?