When starting a dental practice, having the support of the right team of professionals is the difference between success and failure.
You are a dentist, but when you start a dental practice, you become a business owner, a CEO, a team leader, an entrepreneur, a human resource manager etc etc. The point is, once you decide you are starting a dental practice, you immediately start to wear a lot of hats.
Each hat requires a lot of decisions to be made, and each decision is critical to your success.
The decisions you need to make will include everything from staff to hire, equipment to purchase, location of your practice, how to market your practice, the software used to run your practice, the way you are going to account for the business of your practice and then some. The list of responsibilities and decisions that go along with those responsibilities is seemingly endless.
This is why you need a team of qualified professionals to support your effort from the moment you decide to open your practice. Assuming you already found the location for your practice, the first step is to find the right professionals to help you get started.
Initial Team of 7
The professionals you hire to support the startup of your dental practice will each have a role and an area of expertise. However, they all have one common objective, and that is, to ensure the success of your practice.
The team of professionals should include 7 key players including:
- A Dental Accountant who specializes in dental practice accounting will help you decide which type of legal entity to do business as, along with “quarterbacking” all of your accounting needs and relationships, such as hiring a payroll company, selecting and managing accounting software, selecting a credit card processing company and building a business plan/budget.
- A Dental Lawyer who understands the needs of a dental practice will help you create the entity that your accountant recommends, negotiate your lease if you dont own the building and help with any non-compete agreement that the dentist may have in place from a prior or current job.
- A Dental Financing Company (bank) will help you evaluate how much it will take to start your practice so it can put together a package to best suit your needs. A good lender will also come along and monitor your practice to be sure you are successful.
- A Dental Equipment Specialist will help you evaluate how much equipment can fit in the space selected and assist the dentist in sticking to the budget determined by both the bank and accountant. There are a lot of choices to be made here, some will be cost oriented, others will be style oriented and still others will be for utility. Depending on the type of dentistry you practice, this can cost a lot of money and a lot of time if you don’t know what to look for.
- A Dental Practice Management Consultant is the person, who is going to help you build processes and work flows for your practice. They will also assist you in the selection of software to run your practice as well as the staff training needed to get your initial staff up to speed. They will also help you learn how to set up your insurance plans, and work with the insurance companies to get what is needed for the patients you want to attract.
- A Dental Practice Contractor is the builder of the practice of your dreams. This is a construction company who specializes in building dental offices and will work with the equipment specialist on sticking to the budget and building the dentist their dream office.
- A Dental Marketing Consultant may have the most important job of all in helping you to bring patients to your practice. A lot of money can be wasted by spending on marketing tactics you don’t need, or spending too little because you want to save money. Their is a balance between your budget and your goals, as well as the market you are serving. All of it needs to be considered with the help of someone who understands how dental marketing works.
Theintital team will provide you with most of the expertise you need to get your practice off the ground. This team will stay in tact even after you are launched, but the majority of the work to keep you going will be done by your accountant, practice consultant and marketer.
Ongoing Support – The Dental Accountant
Once the build out is completed and the bank has closed the loan, much of the work is done. Now you need to grow and maintain your business. Your accountant should understand your business well, because their ongoing support of your practice growth will include:
- The Dental Accountant works hand in hand with the dentist to help get them set-up on their accounting software and ensure that all of their proper ID numbers have been filed for.
- The Dental Accountant trains the dentist, or office manager, on how to record all of their transactions, in order to determine how their practice is doing and provide the dental financing company the information they require on a monthly basis.
- The Dental Accountant works with the dentist on month to month basis reconciling their bank account and continuing to hold their hand through process, answering any questions that come up and providing them with the necessary tools to help compare their practice to industry averages.
- As year end approaches, the Dental Accountant does tax projections to ensure there are no surprises come tax time and continues to evaluate the new practice to make sure everything is on track for the practice to be as successful as possible.
- Once tax time arrives, the Dental Accountant helps the dentist prepare the personal and business tax returns The development of the team is the most important. Then the dentist just needs to rely on the experts to help guide them through this exciting and stressful project.
Ongoing Support – The Dental Practice Consultant
You are going to have needs come up even after you open your doors. Staff may come and go making it important to hire new team members. A good consultant will also be around to help you execute staff meetings, and sometimes will even conduct them on your behalf.
In addition, while you might think of yourself as a natural leader, leading a small business is going to fill your life with surprises. Real leadership takes time and practice, and a good practice consultant will help you find your own leadership style, as well as build and nurture the team that matches.
Ongoing Support – The Dental Marketer
In most cases, once you get up to speed, you will want to focus on providing exceptional patient care. This level of service will likely be the biggest source of new patient acquisitions.
However, there are a few areas that require the ongoing support of a qualified marketing consultant.
- Marketing specialty services
- Marketing new services
- Community engagement campaigns
- Social Media coaching and engagement
- Content writing, like a blog
- If you want to do advertising, you need some help, for both on and off line campaigns
- Reputation management
- Video Production
A good dental practice marketer will have some overlap with the practice consultant because leadership and staff training are essential components to an effective marketing plan. The point is, marketing your practice will start with you, and the team you hire.
The reason this is important is that most dental practices will get most of their new patients from referrals coming from peers and current patients. A good marketing consultant is going to help you manage the flow of referrals, and feed your practice with new referral sources.
You are a smart professional who likely have the ability to make a lot of decisions yourself. The problem is, there is a risk of making bad choices, and incurring the costs of doing so.
For a small investment, you can surround yourself with a team of professionals who take the guess work out of getting your practice off the ground. They will help you get going, and fast, without wondering if you made the right choices.
More About Mark Rosen, CPA CFP®
Mark B. Rosen, CPA, CFP® is a Partner at Rosen & Associates, LLP. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Vermont.
Mr. Rosen has more than 15 years of accounting experience. He earned his CPA license in 2001 and became a Certified Financial Planner® in 2007. Mr. Rosen specializes in providing accounting, tax and business advisory services to the dental and medical industries. He also works closely with the business owners to assist them with financial planning for both their business and personal matters.
Mr. Rosen is one of six members of the Board of Directors of the Academy of Dental CPAs (ADCPA). He is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants (MCSPA). He co-founded the Young Professional Committee of the MSCPA, was a member of the Grass-Roots AICPA Advisory Committee and served on the board of the Young Professional Alliance.
Mr. Rosen was selected as one of the top 40 Under 40 Accountants in the country by The CPA Technology Advisor magazine in the fall of 2009 and again in the fall of 2010.
Mr. Rosen is also a Partner at MORR Dental Solutions, LLC, a dental transition, valuation and brokerage firm. (www.morrds.com)