Building Blocks For Dental Practice Success

What are the barriers that keep your practice from growing?

June 24, 2014
Some of the things dental offices can do to succeed are universal, as demonstrated in this article from Dr. Aalok Yashwant Shukla, whose practice is in London. Enforcing a master system will help your dental practice grow and thrive, and here are some steps you can take.

Lack of a master system
Let's discuss a barrier to practice growth – lack of a master system to ensure business growth. Strategy is one thing, but cold hard execution is where progress is made. Once a strategy has been identified, it’s critical to identify the different activities that need to take place, and to ensure they’re on a calendar for someone to do, otherwise there will be no progress. Your business is a collection of systems and processes that deliver results to your clients. There is a master system that you need to employ to enable you to review your practice as a whole, and then identify areas you need to focus on to grow.

In the master system, there are five foundational pillars to business growth. With them growth is certain, and without them predictable growth is not possible.

1. Real-time business analytics
2. Systemization and automation of business processes
3. Growth hacking
4. Market leadership
5. Leadership, culture, and meeting rhythm

1. Real-time business analytics – Know where you are now This means you have data daily to help make decisions about marketing/sales/operational efficiency. It means you can examine business processes for return on investment. You can evaluate teams and individuals on their productivity and ROI.

This must be automated and viewed daily. It must guide decision making. It must be shared with your team so everyone can understand the game they are playing, and how they can win it.

An example of this is tracking how many phone calls you receive per day – this month vs. last month, and new patients this month vs. last month. Also track total treatment plans presented and accepted. All of this gives you better data to identify the most profitable marketing channels, and if any diagnostic training is needed for your dentists. With data you can make decisions and take action.

2. Systemization and automation of business processes – Know your recipe and make it happen automatically
This means you know what you’re doing each day to achieve your results. The process can be analyzed for costs, poor results, and inefficiencies. It can be optimized to create a more efficient process with better outcomes. You can take on more people to expand production and output daily predictably. A systemized process will ensure completion daily, and track non-completion.

Automation frees your team to do their best work daily on the creative and relationship aspects of their roles.

An example of this would be a precise recall and reactivation system, how you manage cancelled appointments, and how you deal with people that were contacted but never came in. All these systems need to have checks built into them to ensure smooth operation.

3. Growth Hacking ­– Know what to change to increase sales and speed growth
This means you are optimizing the processes you have and you are testing different variables to increase sales. The objective is to build a self-perpetuating growth engine whereby each new customer stays and spends more while also recruiting new customers for you. This is the purpose of the system, to increase customer spending and referrals. By continually testing and growth hacking the influence of your sales and marketing systems, your business can grow despite external conditions.

An example of this is reviewing your marketing and referral materials and analyzing what messages and which pieces worked well and what improvements can be made. Without continual optimization you will always be stuck.

4. Market leadership – Attract customers daily and be the leader in your niche
This means you are the leader in your market. You provide better quality information and better quality results for your customer segment than anyone else in your space. The market leader educates the customers, drives innovation, and is the highest profile and most recognized company in their space. They do this by publishing guides, events, videos, articles, books, and attracting press attention. Be the trusted voice in your space through multichannel education and follow up.

An example of this is your marketing calendar, proactively mapping out exactly what you will be communicating, and creating educational materials for over the upcoming months.

5. Leadership, culture, and meeting rhythm – Drive the heartbeat of company growth, attract the right team members, and set the game plan for them to drive the business forward
This all starts with your purpose, values, and mission. Your purpose is the reason your business exists, and what problems your company solves for your customers. The values are what all your team members must embody, to accelerate trust, connection, and growth. Your Mission is the three to five-year vision you have for your company to dominate, grow, and thrive.

By knowing your purpose, values, and mission, you can hire and fire accordingly. This ensures all of your team members are engaged and 100% on board to achieving the mission. This then allows you to formulate your annual priorities, goals, quarterly objectives, monthly targets, and weekly meetings. By knowing these, you can align all of your team members and measure the contributions of their roles and the business status via the business dashboards.

This is critical, because without the right people with the right attitude, you will always be stuck putting out fires, whereas with the right team members you can build a company culture that powers growth.

By identifying and acting on the blocks to practice growth, you can take control of your business and build a practice that you’re truly proud of. If you would like to receive free guides and educational materials to help implement these, visit

Dr. Aalok Yashwant Shukla is vice president at the European Society of Aesthetic Orthodontics, an owner at Clickconvertsell - Create a High Performance Dental Pratice, and the owner of I Love Straight Teeth. Dr. Shukla studied at the London School of Medicine and Dentistry. Follow him on Twitter @sales_automator.