First Comes Dental School, then Comes What?!?
For most dentists, there are a few common themes to all of their educational and professional experiences. They all have, obviously, been through the rigor of dental school. They all have had the not-so warm and pleasant feelings of crown and bridge and denture labs. They all have experienced long hours of studying followed early mornings and late afternoons treating patients, just to do it all over again. After this experience, one would think that this new dentist is then ready to enter into practice.
In the "olden" days, this would have been the case. In today's times, this is not the case. Dentistry has become much more commercial, and few dental schools are preparing students for this "new world" experience.
Nowadays, you cannot just go out, hang up your shingle and go to work. The business side of dentistry weighs more heavily into your practice the more and more the world becomes technologically savvy.
With this being said, we must look at the basic principles of building a successful business as it is related to the world of dentistry. The first of these fundamentals is branding your business. Branding your business is not merely just slapping a name on it. Branding your business is finding that one, or couple of, things that sets it apart from the rest. This could be “sleep dentistry,” a highly cosmetic practice or being the dentist that is known for taking every insurance to be the “people’s” dentist.
Once you brand your business, you need to stick by it, at least for a while. If you continue to “flip flop” your business ideals, you will have no continuity of care for your patients. Patients like consistency. It makes them feel comfortable.
After you brand your business, remember to never stop learning. Dentistry is an ever evolving business. Patients always want the latest and the greatest. Different areas will dictate what is important to those patients. If your area is heavily into cosmetic, it would not behoove you to study better denture procedure. You must make your patients happy with the procedures you can provide. You must be able to do this and do it consistently. Consistency is the key to any business.
Bottom line, you must make your practice your own, and you must be consistent doing it. You must take ownership of all that is around you. It is when you fail to do this that your practice will fail. You did not get into this profession; learn all that you did, just to fail. If and when you feel it slipping, turn to others in your profession. Most likely, there are others out there that have been in a similar situation.