Before technology, before GPS existed in cars, if you wanted to go from Toronto to Texas you had to pull out a map and highlight the route you were going to take to get there. You wouldn’t just jump on the highway and hope for the best, without a plan you’d simply be driving in one direction and might eventually make it to your destination, but it was highly unlikely.
Here’s the thing. There’s no GPS for your dental business! So why do so many dental practice owners “jump on the highway without a plan” and hope for the best?!
In this post, I want to talk to you about the importance of having a vision for your clinic. I’m also going to give you a free worksheet with 12 questions that will start you on the path to creating a better clinic for your patients.
Most people who start their dental business will simply go through the motions of setting up their office and clinic. They’ll start reaching out to friends and asking for referrals. Appointments start coming in and they get busy doing the work they love doing. Then they’ll go home at the end of the day, and the next day they’ll get up and do it all again.
Things are great at first, and why wouldn’t they be? You’ve got your own practice! It’s what you’ve always dreamed of! You’re the boss, you don’t answer to anyone but yourself. Hot damn!
But eventually, you’ll hit a plateau with your dental business and struggle to keep the needle moving. The business comes to an impasse and regardless of the amount of work you’re putting in, or the number of appointments you’re getting, you just can’t seem to grow.
Sometimes, just sometimes, your dental services are fantastic enough that you’ll strike gold and blow up huge to the point that you hire staff and make tons of money. But the chances of this happening are about as close as you winning the lottery tomorrow. (If you’ve already won the lottery, then why are you reading this post? Go enjoy the world!)
There’s a myth that if you start a business and you work hard, you’ll find success. But the truth is if you don’t have a vision for your business, you won’t find the success you were hoping for. Eventually, you’ll just end up burnt out and resenting the very business that was supposed to give you the financial freedom and independence you longed for.
This is why having a business vision is so important.
As a business owner, you should 100% have a “road map” of where you want to go and highlight the path you plan on taking to get there.
After all, how will you know that you’ve made it if you don’t actually know where or what “IT” is?
Without a vision, without knowing where you want to go or how you plan to get there, without knowing what those goals are or how you plan to tackle them, you are literally just getting up every day and going through the same motions hoping to find success.
Not creating a plan to be a successful dental clinic is the equivalent of going to the gym without a routine. If you don’t have an exercise training plan to follow, then how will you know what the next exercise you should do is? How will you know how much you should be increasing the weight? How will you know if you’re doing your exercises right?
Sure, some people will go to the gym 5 days a week and use a bunch of machines that are all lined up, they’ll see a little bit of muscle growth or weight loss and think they’re heading in the right direction. But more often than not, that’s all they’ll experience, a pound off here, and inch off there, but no real success.
I see people at the gym all the time, and they’re just going from machine to machine without a plan and hoping for the best and thinking if they follow the machines in the order they’re placed, eventually, they’ll get fit.
How do you get the best results? A clear plan, built with purpose.
In order to create a better life and make a sustainable business that grows, you need to have a vision of where you want to take that business.
So how do you create a vision for your dental clinic?
There are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help you uncover a plan for your dental practice.
Some of the questions you can ask include:
- Why did you open your own practice?
- Was it to pay bills?
- Was it because you wanted a 3-day work week?
- Did you want to make more money to put into your retirement?
- Did you want something to leave to your children or your grandchildren as a way to create income for them?
- What does success look like for you?
- If you woke up tomorrow and a perfect business existed, what would it look like?
A lot of people don’t like to talk about money but the truth is, at the end of the day you need to decide how much money you want to make, otherwise you won’t know what to strive for.
- Do you want to bring in $100,000 and take home $60k after tax?
- Do you want to make $250,000?
- Do you want to scale and have 10 employees? (Because 10 employees will probably cost around 25-40 grand a year each. That works out to between $250k and $400k just in salaries alone! (Not counting taxes, expenses and your own take-home pay!)
- How much money does your practice need to make in order to sustain all of those employees and expenses?
- How much money do you really need to make in order to feel successful and to make a profit?
How much time do you want to work a day? A week? A month? A year?
- Do you want to work 30 hours a week? Do you want to work 40 hours a week? Do you want to work 10 hours a week and have someone else do all the work?
- What will you do with the extra time that you have?
- Do you have a plan for the extra time?
- Do you want to work 20 hours a week, and then spend 20 hours a week hiking and biking and spending time with family and friends?
Again all of these things contribute to your vision, and in order to achieve those goals, you need to know what they are and then figure out how you are going to work toward them.
Ask yourself some deeper questions about your goals:
- What do you want to accomplish with your life? Because if you succeed with your practice, it will help you reach those goals in your life.
- Who do you want to treat? Kids, adults, teenagers? What do you want to help them with? Dental hygiene, dental aesthetics?
- How does your clinic help them get the results they want for their teeth?
These are all part of your vision!
Some other questions to ask yourself include:
- What do you want to learn along the way?
- Is there something specific you want to specialize in?
- Do you want to help raise money for a local community charity?
- And if you do want to help charities, what are you going to spend your time learning along the way to help you reach that goal?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Out of those weaknesses, what do you want to work on?
- How will working on that weakness help you get to your vision in your business?
- And finally, the BIG one – What will success look like when you actually achieve it?
Now I’m going to throw a curveball your way.
I know what you’re thinking, “Geez, Sheila, enough with the questions! My brain hurts thinking about all of this!”
Sorry guys, visions aren’t supposed to be easy, if they were, everyone would be rich and famous!
So let’s say after answering all of the above – you’ve decided that you’d like to work 3 days a week and invest 20% of your income into a retirement fund. You want to create a sustainable business with 10 employees.
You want your business to generate $750,000 a year and you want YOUR take-home income to be $150,000 after all the bills, expenses, taxes, and employees are paid.
So ask yourself:
- How do you know you’re on the way to reaching that goal?
- What are your milestones and markers along the way?
- How do you look back on them and see if you are achieving that goal?
- Where will you need to course correct or make changes in order to reach it?
Again, taking the time, I mean, really sitting down and thinking about these questions is exactly what is going to start you on the path toward creating a vision for your dental clinic and finding success.
Once you know that vision, everything you do should be working toward reaching that vision.
And anything you’re not sure of, ask yourself the simple question:
Will this move me toward my vision?
If the answer is no, stop it.
It’s not something that will move the needle, stop wasting your precious time! We only get 24 hours in a day. We can’t get time back. Every decision you make about your practice once you’ve realized your vision should be something that moves you toward it. Everything else is just white noise in the background.
Going through life and having a business without having a plan will leave you on that plateau where you’re putting in long hours for little pay, and you keep telling yourself you just need to get over the hump, get known in the community, and your business will take off.
Let me tell you a secret, the more work you take on, the more you’ll feel like you just can’t seem to get ahead.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if you’ve managed to become the go-to dental clinic. You’ll find that you still can’t seem to make enough income to actually sustain yourself and all that work was for nothing if you don’t have a vision and an end goal in sight.
Start with vision, you’ll thank me for it.
Need some help mapping out your vision, schedule a clarity call with us to get clear on your goals & objectives.