Entrepreneurs have been lauded as the end-all-be-all of business people. They can start from scratch and build a thriving business. So why doesn’t dental school teach us how to build a practice like entrepreneurs build their businesses?
As it turns out, there are many ways we can build our practices like entrepreneurs build their businesses, but we must first recognize some of the differences between entrepreneurial businesses and more traditional, bureaucratic ones.
Traditional, Bureaucratic Dental Practices:
- Encourage learning by researching
- Have rigid titles and responsibilities
- Base pay on time and attendance
- Values reason over emotions
- Lead based on status
- Are transaction-focused
- Operate with rigid plans
- Build a culture of scarcity
Entrepreneurial Dental Practices
- Encourage learning by doing
- Build teams with fluid titles and responsibilities
- Base pay on outcomes
- Value emotions as well as reason
- Lead based on contributions
- Are relationship-focused
- Operate with malleable plans
- Build a culture of abundance
Entrepreneurs give up security in exchange for opportunity. Unlike most people who are content with a job, a regular paycheck, and clearly defined responsibilities, entrepreneurs are willing to jump into the unknown: betting on their intelligence, expertise, and ability to problem-solve and create solutions in hopes of generating a profit. They are not always successful, and they are by no means perfect. Four out of five new businesses fail, and working in an entrepreneurial company can be far more demanding than a traditional one.
But there are some really incredible pieces of the entrepreneur puzzle that can make for a high-performing practice. You’ll be more secure and structured in a bureaucratic practice—you’ll have all the power to make decisions—but that also means you’re doing all of the work to lift and lead the practice. Your job title will entitle you to status, and the practice will work according to that status. This is organized and can work well for many people. But it creates a less collaborative and, we think, a weaker environment.
If you decide you want to build your dental practice like an entrepreneur, here are four things you need to commit to.
Be willing to change the status quo, even when your practice is profitable.
Bureaucratic practices find something that works and stick to it no matter what. It might be a system or process to run your practice or a way to attract new patients. Even good things can be made great.
To grow a practice like an entrepreneur, you must be willing to make changes, even when things are going well. Things will always be changing in a thriving entrepreneurial business. Entrepreneurs are constantly trying new things out to see what works. They are always looking to improve, even when things are going well.
Create a culture of abundance.
A culture of abundance is one in which your team cooperates with each other to help the entire practice improve. This is in sharp contrast to a culture of scarcity, which results in a competitive environment in which team members fight for credit and look to achieve personal gain.
Entrepreneurs know the best way forward is when every team member works together as a team. To achieve a culture of abundance, we must encourage and reward things that encourage cooperation and teamwork.
Help your staff do their best work.
Entrepreneurial leaders give their team members the tools, training, and resources to do their best work. They invest in the best systems and processes and on constantly improving them so each team member can perform consistently well.
Beyond tools, training, and resources, entrepreneurial leaders let their team members know small failures will not get them fired. We must give team members permission to make mistakes in the pursuit of consistent improvement. Remember, it’s easy for those in a position of power to take a risk. It’s harder for those who feel they have more to lose.
Shift your pay scale toward rewarding performance.
Rewarding people on results will shift the mindset of your team members from rewarding people’s presence to rewarding their performance. Even if it just means creating a commission or rewards system for hitting practice goals, rewarding performance will transform your practice from a bureaucratic one to one in which everyone begins to think like entrepreneurs.
Are you building your practice like an entrepreneur?
These practices can begin to boost the culture and work ethic in your practice. True leaders and entrepreneurial team members will rise up. Also, team members who are not on board with a healthy, entrepreneurial culture will be more likely to move on to create a stronger team moving forward.
If you want help building a practice like an entrepreneur, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program. Our coaches will help transform your practice by implementing entrepreneurial systems and processes, coach your entire team, and even keep them accountable for helping achieve your practice goals.
You can also join thousands of other dentists helping each other in my Free Dental Marketing and Profits Facebook Group.