As dental practices grow, dental professionals often begin to feel overwhelmed with the daily operation of their practice. In this highly competitive profession, dental professionals must keep abreast of evolving patient needs, changes in technology, team training, new regulations, and competition. It is almost impossible to remain relevant due to all the changes and trends in dentistry today. At this point, hiring a dental consultant becomes beneficial so that dentists’ main focus can be on dentistry. Dental consultants are experienced professionals that deal with any issue that may be stressing your business. They are a good solution to improve the operation and success of the dental practice.
Identify Your Practice Weaknesses
Consider doing a SWOT analysis of your dental practice. By accomplishing this analysis, you can examine your entire business from top to bottom. Identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This can be a challenging task, as the dentist must be honest with himself or herself. The dental team as well as the patients must opt in to assist the dentist in recognizing these issues. Several questions need to be answered to determine the areas the dentist and consultant need to address. Once the dental professional determines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the practice, steps toward hiring a dental consultant can begin.
Get Consultant Recommendations
In researching if a dental consultant is the appropriate one for the dental practice in question, of course, there are books that can advise you. The ADA’s Dental Practice Success is an example of one such tool to help with your practice. There are many tools available to choose from to enhance the dental practice; but at some point, you must tailor all the advice to the individual situation of your particular practice. Look to other colleagues’ dental practices you respect who have contracted the services of a consultant for guidance. Ask other dental classmates and dental society members pointed questions regarding the problems actually solved in their office for recommendations. What was the service worth to them? Helpful advice from your peers can point you in the right direction.
Interview the Consultants
Each dental consultant varies in their focus and expertise. Spend time determining what you want to accomplish and formulate a list of the pertinent questions you want to ask in the interview. Ask for references, and also, investigate them through the Better Business Bureau or your state or local dental society. Examples of questions to determine the kind of dental consultant you want to work for you might begin with “what are your goals?”
Make sure the consultant shares and understands your goals. Some other things to clarify beforehand are how and when meetings will be held with the dentist. Will the consultant come to the practice or will the dentist and staff have to travel to their office? Is the training mostly one-on-one, or is it seminars or courses with multiple people in attendance? If the consulting is one-on-one, who will be doing it?
Finally, do your values agree? Values are a very large part of how the practice operates and these can unite you to a common goal. The dental consultant must understand and appreciate the values important to you. Make sure there is clear communication on both sides.
How will the consultant bill the dentist for services rendered? The cost should not be the most important factor, but it is very important. Keep in mind this must include possible travel expenses and downtime. It is not wise to pay too much, but if you pay too little, you may not get the best possible consultant for your dental practice. Do not choose a cookie-cutter type consultant. The training needs to be tailor-made to fit your office specifically. The dental consultant you choose could make all the difference in the world to turning your practice toward success.
Will the Consultants’ Plan Work?
Dental consultants have helped many practices become thriving businesses because they understand the business needs to continue to thrive after their consulting contract has ended. The dentist must learn how to lead the practice so the plan for success can become a reality. If the consultant does all the work and the dentist does not learn to accomplish the goals, the practice may return to its erroneous ways when the dental consultant leaves. This would be a waste of valuable capital. Dentists must commit to being the leader of their dental practice. Be aware there is a professional code of ethics for dental consultants under the American Association of Dental Consultants (AADC).
To obtain more helpful information on how to create a system for operating, managing, leading, and growing your dental practice, see Strategic Practice Solutions to request your free dental practice assessment. They created the SPS Dental Practice Management System™ to help grow dentists and help them achieve the most complete success in the profession they love. Ask more about it when you contact SPS today.