October 13, 2014

10 tips for starting a dental practice

Starting a dental practice for the first time can be challenging, especially during the initial planning stages. One of Medfin’s leading dental finance specialists, Haydn Maddock, shares his top 10 tips for setting up a practice that’s built for success.

If you’re starting a dental practice, make sure it’s built for success.

To help, one of Medfin’s leading dental finance specialists, Haydn Maddock, shares his top 10 tips for setting up a practice the right way, first time.

1. Develop your business plan

Take time in the initial planning stages to complete a business plan. A good business plan will give you a clear direction for the-set up and running of your practice, and allow you better control over your practice’s future.

2. Identify your ideal patient base

Will you specialise in dealing with children, young singles or the elderly? What makes your practice and service unique and different to your ideal customer base? Knowing who you’ll target from the start will make sure you’re set up properly from Day 1.

3. Create a marketing strategy

A good marketing strategy can help grow and maintain your patient numbers. It should focus on improving customer experience, and include ways for attracting new patients (like word of mouth referrals) while retaining existing ones (such as loyalty programs).

4. Choosing a location – to buy or lease your premises?

Think about your location carefully. For example, a practice built on a busy road may be highly visible to passing traffic, but does it offer your patients and staff access to non-metered parking? And if parking is limited, are you close to public transport?

Once you’ve decided on the right address for your new practice, consider the pros and cons of buying verses leasing your premises. Don’t be tempted into ‘guessing’ the numbers. Talk to a dental finance expert so that you’re properly informed about the true pricing implications of your decision.

5. Competition

Identifying who else is out there is important. Are there other dental practices in close proximity to where you’ll be based? If so, how will you differentiate your practice? What benefits can you offer that will encourage patients to choose your practice over your competitors?

6. Build a team of trusted advisers

A good accountant, legal adviser and a finance specialist with dental industry expertise can help take the stress out of setting up a practice that’s more likely to succeed. If you don’t already have a team of trusted advisers, ask a colleague for recommendations.

7. Structure lending appropriately

Accounting systems and processes that monitor cash flow through your practice are important, so make sure they’re set up right from the start. Talk to your accountant or finance specialist to gain a better understanding of how to structure your finances to suit the needs of your practice.

8. Take control and check the progress of your financial situation

Know where you need to be and what you need to be doing to maximise your income. Also, stay in control by making the commitment to regularly check the health of your finances.

9. Insurances

While you’re busy helping patients, don’t forget to protect your practice’s most important asset – YOU. Talk to your finance specialist about how to access healthcare insurance policies designed to protect your personal and business assets.

10. Understand your legal and compliance obligations

There are a wide range of legal obligations to consider when setting up your practice, so seek professional legal guidance to ensure you comply with all the necessary regulations.

More from NAB:

Medfin is part of the NAB Health specialist business.

Important Information: The information in this article does not constitute financial advice. Before acting on this information you should seek independent financial and taxation advice to determine its appropriateness to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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