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When things are going well, there is always the temptation to rest on our laurels. Indeed most people would advocate that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

The fact that the vast majority of dental practices are not broke would suggest that the need to fix anything isn’t really an issue. However, the danger of always thinking this way encourages you to forget that things move on and circumstances change. Before long you find yourself in a time warp and behind rather than ahead of the game.

And playing catch up can prove expensive.

I know that many dentists will argue that this does not apply to their practice. In turn I would argue that in over 35 years of working with and for dentists I would estimate that only 5% or so get anywhere near realising their full potential. And the main reason for this is that they struggle to believe that investing in their practice will, putting it bluntly,pay off. I can understand this because much of the business advice given to dentists is, again putting it bluntly, either blindingly obvious or of limited value. Or both.

To invest successfully in your practice you must have a strategy in place that covers every aspect of your business. You must have a clear idea of the ‘product’ you are trying to create and a plan to achieve it. Keep in mind that if you don’t know where you’re going every road will take you there. But it isn’t a prerequisite to try and achieve everything in one go. The trick is to give yourself a direction and put in place a discipline that enables you, on a regular basis, to assess your progress. One of the main benefits of working this way is that it helps you evaluate the value and true relevance of the business and marketing services that are so readily available.

In reality, when I sit down with my clients, their aspirations are similar. They want to optimise income and profitability, attract more patients, attract and retain good staff, improve workflow, enjoy their job, do good dentistry and end up having a valuable practice. I rarely have difficulty in seeing how all this and more can be achieved. Problems occur only when clients lose confidence in themselves and fail to grab the (often unique) opportunity in front of them.

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