Archive for the ‘Practice Acquisition’ Category

Are You Ready For A Second Location?

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

By Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

After reviewing another month of stellar reports, you are feeling confident that your patient-focused style, team, and community presence have rounded up the best patients around. Adding an associate or two is sounding more and more like a great idea. You are confident that you have the know-how for business that is required for taking on the challenges with this type of expansion. Hopefully, there will be a doubling of profits in this venture – but watch closely for the doubling of risks too!

Just like in real estate, consider the location of the practice first. Is the community able to support another dental practice? Preferably, it’s one with a growing population of families. It’s worth considering buying an existing practice in a nearby area, because they already have a patient base established, and negotiations can include the selling dentist staying on for a few weeks to transition the practice. This can prevent a mass exodus of patients from the practice, while the new team is settling in.

When considering associate doctors to expand the new care team, word-of mouth recommendations are a great starting point. Dental school alumni and study club groups can provide some direction on potential candidates. Perhaps adding a specialist to your team and providing a wider range of services will be just the competitive edge your practices need. Don’t rush this part of the process. It will likely take multiple meetings and interviews to realize a good fit. You will want someone with a similar drive to grow the practice, and similar views on the best way to care for patients.

What about software? We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the heart of the practice’s organizational structure, claims management, and record-keeping. There is a misconception that, if you have more than one location, you must have cloud-based software. This is not the case. XLDent offers a solution called “replication”, in which multiple offices are running instances of the database locally, as well as writing to each other database instantaneously. Staff has access to all records, patients can move freely between locations, and business operations can be done on an organizational level. This helps streamline day-to-day processes and can be especially helpful if your associate is on call for the weekend and needs to see the chart and x-rays for an emergency patient at the opposite office from where they usually go for treatment.

Goals for expansion can certainly be achieved with careful planning, management of risks, and an outstanding team beside you. Choosing a location, team, and business software to meet your needs will give your practice a strong foundation for growth in any direction.

To connect with XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com

DawnDawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

Leading Your Team Involves Developing Emotional Intelligence

Thursday, September 6th, 2018

By James V. Anderson, DMD, CEO/Founder eAssist Dental Solutions

When you first open a dental practice, you may not have what you consider a “team” of people.  There may be you and one other person that helps at the chair and at the front desk.  Even so, developing emotional intelligence is critical to communicating with your employee(s) and your patients.  “Emotional Intelligence” simply put is the ability to handle even the most awkward social situations with aplomb and make others feel at ease.

I know, they don’t teach this in dental school and I wish that they did.  When you open a new practice or buy an existing one there will be days when you are pushed to your limit and keeping your cool under pressure is slipping through your fingers.  Recognizing and understanding your own emotions is a critical part of emotional intelligence.  To become self-aware, you should be capable of monitoring your own emotions and how you are perceived by others.  Self-regulation requires that you manage your emotional response in a proper fashion.  When communicating with staff or patients there is the right time and the right place to express your emotions.  Learning important social skills that include active listening, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, leadership, empathy and persuasiveness is vital to building your reputation as a caring clinician.

One of the most important skills you can learn is that of empathy.  Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes for even just a moment will help you to communicate with care.  Patients will present you with their dental needs and at the same time, with empathy, you will be able to sense when they are feeling sad, angry or depressed.  Understanding your patient’s state of mind is key to emotional intelligence.

Motivating your staff to improve their skills and be accountable for doing great work is a key component of emotional intelligence.  Some people are not motivated by money and rewards, but have a passion that goes beyond the external.  Being attuned to this type of behavior will help you show your commitment to their development.

From my experience, getting coaching in this area from the very beginning of your practice development will help you create an environment where your patients and employees will want to stay, be loyal and promote you to the community.

Sources to help in your quest to improve emotional intelligence:

Goleman, D. (1998) Working with Emotional Intelligence. New York Bantam

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry

 

James V. AndDr. Anderson headshoterson DMD is a practicing dentist in Syracuse, Utah and is the CEO/Founder of eAssist Dental Solutions, the largest national dental insurance billing company (www.dentalbilling.com) in the U.S. 

Dr. Anderson understands the challenges facing today’s dental teams and since 2009 has been providing proven solutions to dental/medical insurance billing, patient portion billing, accounting for dentists and related services for management of the accounts receivables.  He can be reached at james.anderson@eassist.me

 

To Associate or To Not Associate?

Monday, August 27th, 2018

By Bryan Stimmler, Advisory Board Member

What a loaded question! We’ve all heard the horrors of associating, the long thankless hours, the loaded schedules, lack of help/mentorship, etc. But have you heard any of the good stories?

Let’s start at the beginning here. First, do you know what you want out of the next three years? The next one year? The next month? That is where you need to start. Really sit down and analyze what you want to accomplish. “I want to get my speed up” is not an analysis. It’s repeating a sentence you’ve heard someone else say. What are your goals for your time in this profession? Be honest here. You can accept the stresses of ownership and working for yourself and take that path. If you value time over money, associating can be a beautiful thing. If you don’t want to deal with management, crunching numbers, or dealing with team members, that is OK. Just understand what you want in your future, because you alone control your future.

And here’s the silver lining: YOU CAN ALWAYS CHANGE!

So, you know what you want now. You can learn A LOT from being an associate. Some of this is dependent on you, some on your owner doc. Working in someone else’s office affords you a mentor, so choose wisely. You can sit back and learn systems, scheduling, billing, all of the things, if you take the opportunity. This is immensely helpful if you plan on opening your own office in the future. You can learn at your own pace, and choose what you want to learn as you get your feet wet. You may find you love surgery. Great! Go after that surgery CE and use this situation as practice.

Here’s a little-spoke-of aspect of associateship you may not have heard. You can learn all of the things you DON’T want to do. This is crazy valuable. Take a step back and look at all of the things that annoy you, that don’t work, that cause frustration to not only yourself but the team as well. Write them down, think about how they could be changed, altered, or improved. You now have a blueprint for how you would like to set your own office up.

Whatever path you choose, choose wisely, and do it with intent.

Dr. Bryan Stimmler (002)

 

Dr. Stimmler graduated in 2009 from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry.  After completing residency and practicing as an associate, he started a private practice in Brooklyn, NY which focuses on complete care and cosmetic dentistry.

How Much is Enough?

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

Guest post by Sally McKenzie, CEO McKenzie Management

Naturally, one of the first questions many dentists ask is, “How much should be budgeted for marketing?”  For startup practices or offices that seek to market and grow aggressively, 4-6% of projected production should be allocated for marketing. The typical dentist should budget about $30k to $50k for the first year. For established practices, 3-4% of projected production should be allocated. The typical established dentist should budget $20k to $40k per year.

New dentists commonly assume that because they have a large family or are active in their church these individuals will be the new patients that sustain their practices. What is not considered is this may amount to only 20 to 50 people. They don’t fully realize how many new patients they need each month to make payments on the practice, pay the staff and themselves.

Marketing is an investment in the success of your practice. If you cut the marketing budget or have an insufficient budget, you are cutting the flow of patients to your practice. Without patients there is no practice, plain and simple. Invest in your practice. Create a budget and spend it intelligently – which brings me to my next point.

Marketing is far more than a single ‘Campaign’ or ‘Event’

I have watched dentist after dentist throw thousands of dollars into so called “marketing campaigns”, convinced that this one will bring in all the patients they need. It’s the “silver bullet,” the answer to all of their struggles. The campaign kicks off. The mailers are sent, the ads are placed, the special offers are promoted, the radio jingles are playing, and, yes, the phone is ringing. The schedule is full. Ninety days later, it’s over and so is the rush of new patients.

What happened? Was the campaign really a waste of money? Why are there holes in the schedule again? Who’s responsible for this disaster? Who, what, why – many questions and concerns arise when lots of money is spent and limited return is achieved. I have a word of advice for you – STOP.

Stop looking at marketing as a one-time external event. Marketing is taking place in every interaction with every patient. It is what happens when your business staff answers the phone. It is what takes place when you explain a procedure to a patient. It is the layer of grime on your front door that no one on staff notices because they’re always going in and out the back. Marketing is the small stuff and the big stuff. It is the “whole package.”

SallySally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, www.mckenziemgmt.com, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company.

Contact her directly at 877-777-6151 or email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com

Nice Guys Don’t Get Sued

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Guest post by Aaron M. Layton DDS

Three years ago I purchased my practice. A nice, modern practice with a solid patient base and long-term employees – everything I dreamed of. But it wasn’t more than a few months before I knew managing a team was going to be my most difficult task to date. (You think Boards were tough…ha-ha-ha.)

I dove into every HR book in the Barnes and Noble business section and any Webinar associated with keeping a team happy. One thing stuck out: You are more likely to be sued by an employee than a patient. This bothered me, so I armed myself with the best possible thing I could imagine, KINDNESS.

I’m a nice guy. I made accommodations for employee medical appointments and vacations. I increased benefits and salaries. I was the nicest guy around. Who would ever sue the nice guy?  But I was wrong – very wrong in fact.

On my birthday of 2016 I was sent a letter from my State Legal Board saying a former employee was claiming she was terminated because of her mental health which made her disabled. I had wrongly let someone go who was disabled? After the shock and a few pieces of birthday cake, I located an attorney and began the process of disputing the claim.

As of today, I spent $6000 dollars, one appeal, and countless hours worrying about what could happen.  In the end, the claim was dropped with no marks on my record and all I lost was sleep and money.

From this recent experience I learned two important lessons.

1) Nice guys do get sued, and actually more often. When you’re the nice guy you often provide everything your employees want.  You make sacrifices and adjustments – in fact, you’re better than Santa Claus. If things don’t work out, these employees just want to keep getting at any cost. Keep an employee manual and stick to it. If someone breaks an agreement, hold them accountable. It doesn’t hurt to be a nice guy, just be a nice guy who follows all the rules. It’s good to be nice, but more important to be fair.

2) Everyone needs an Employment Attorney. I thought an attorney was only needed when problems arise, but just like in dentistry, a good Employment Attorney can provide preventative care to keep you out of trouble. A wise old dentist once told me, “When things don’t work out, just call it education.” This past year, with my education budget I got a live course in employment, handbooks, and dealing with disgruntled employees.

AaronLayton_profileimages (002)

 

Aaron Layton, DDS, is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University. He completed three years working at a large group practice in Vermont before buying his own practice in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he currently works and resides with his wife and their four children.  

A Smart Start to Practice Growth

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Guest post by Dawn Christodoulou, President/Owner of XLDent

As the owner of a practice starting out or a stagnant one trying to grow, you are faced with figuring out what impacts practice growth the most. When properly planned, three areas can help to maximize growth from day one.

  1. Systems

You’re likely not thinking about efficiency or productivity during your first days or weeks in business. With a handful of patients each day, you’re not faced with bottlenecks, communication gaps, or duplication of processes. Alas, you soon will be. Systems minimize gaps or overlaps in your daily processes. They are needed for productive workflows and profitability.

Create standard operating procedures (SOPs) early on. Doing so sets the stage for staff expectations, accountability measures, and helps you measure areas of success or needs for improvement. Early on, you are likely running your practice without a full team. You have an assistant also taking on the front desk role, because you’re simply not busy enough yet to hire a full-time admin team member. As you bring on new staff, a written set of SOPs will ensure each team member is prepared and knows their responsibilities. Systems should be created knowing they will evolve as your practice grows and staff roles change. XLDent provides each practice, whether just starting out or transitioning from another PMS, a core set of SOPs to start with. They are a fantastic starting point for those new to establishing systems, and are customized by each practice as needed.

  1. XLDent blog photo Mockup-12-19-16Reviews and Referrals

I doubt there’s a practice starting out today that doesn’t have an online presence from day one. From the day you open your doors, focus on creating a process for reviews and referrals. Nothing attracts new patients more than a healthy online rating and patients who aren’t afraid to tell others about their great experience. After a visit, ask your patient if they were happy with their experience and funnel them right over to do that 5-star review. Lighthouse 360 helps you automate this. Emails. are automatically sent post-visit, and good reviews are posted right to your website and social media pages.

  1.  Patient Experience

It’s no surprise that convenience and consumer experience are priorities when a new patient chooses a dentist. They are especially significant in gaining one who is loyal. Don’t discount the importance of electronic reminders, online access, and paperless forms, to a patient. A busy mom doesn’t want to be faced with a stack of forms to complete that you’re going to scan and shred anyway. Consider a system that embraces all aspects of a streamlined paperless system, so you’re not left with the task of finding disconnected solutions that leave you with clumsy systems.

To connect with someone from XLDent, call 800-328-2925 or email xldentinfo@xldent.com

DawnDawn Christodoulou is the President/Owner of XLDent. She has more than 25 years of experience computerizing dental offices and helping both new and established practices streamline electronic workflows for increased efficiency, improve patient engagement, and achieve maximum profitability. Dawn is also a member of ADA SCDI Working Groups 11.1 Standard Clinical Architecture and 11.9 Core Reference Data Set.

 

New Dentist Job Opportunity

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Mr. Jerry Davis of Galatia, Illinois just phoned The New Dentist looking for a dentist to practice in this small community. Galatia is a village in Saline County, Illinois and as of the 2010 census, the village population was 933.  The village owns a brand new dental office there but needs a dentist.  He said, “I figure there may a new dentist who is required to work in a rural area as part of their loan.”  Galatia is near Harrisburg, IL, which is the biggest nearest town.

If you are interested you can contact him at 618-926-8555 or jwdavis41@frontier.com.

Here to help,

The New Dentist™

Dental Practice Values Around the Country

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Oftentimes, potential purchasers refer to articles that they have read, stating that most dental practices that are for sale should not be worth more than 60-65% of last year’s gross revenue. This is an incorrect assumption, in general, as dental practice values can vary anywhere between 40% and 100% of the last year’s gross receipts based on the location of the practice. There are many other factors that can impact a dental practice’s value. In addition to location, other key factors that also influence practice values also include:

  • Area Demographics
  • Practice Facility
  • Patient Base
  • Economic Variables
  • Practice Overhead

 

In the end, the practice’s value is not all about what has been reported on tax returns, but those key factors I have just presented,  especially your practice’s location,  will  have a major influence on what the dental practice is truly worth.

To read the article in its entirety, please visit:  bit.ly/1NeBdlu

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 3.15.46 PM
Dr. Thomas L. Snyder is a nationally known speaker, author, consultant and Director of Transition Services of Henry Schein Professional Practice Transitions, who has been advising dentists for more than 30 years in areas relating to practice transitions, strategic planning, practice and financial management. Dr. Snyder received his DMD from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine and his MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Considering a Practice Acquisition? Do This:

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

First and foremost, be objective when evaluating a practice that you are considering acquiring. If you become emotionally attached to a practice, you will find yourself making decisions based upon emotions, rather than logic. Be methodical in your approach.

 

Exercise caution if you are considering a “For Sale by Owner” property. Many of those in the business of negotiating practice sales recommend staying away from sellers who are attempting to sell their practices on their own for three reasons:

 

1) Owners are unrealistic about what their practices are worth.

2) There is a much higher cost associated with a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transaction.

3) The likelihood of the transaction falling apart is much greater in FSBO transactions.

 

Look at practices that are being sold by reputable dental brokers, with extensive experience in the local marketplace. However, as the buyer, you must always remember that the broker’s true client is the seller, not you, even with companies claiming to provide “dual agency.”