Scratch Practice Dos and Don'ts!
With Dr. Zeeshan Moorani
Starting a new dental practice can be one of the most rewarding experiences over time, but it takes a lot of work. Your new practice requires more than just dental expertise; you’ll need to be an accountant, financial planner, recruiter and interior designer. Despite how overwhelming this all sounds, you’re not alone! There are many other dentists that have gone through the same process, and you can learn from their advice. To help you work through these next few months, SmileMakers has teamed up with Dr. Zeeshan Moorani, a successful Pediatric Dentist from San Antonio who just created his own scratch practice. Using Dr. Moorani’s advice, we have assembled a few ‘Dos and Don’ts’ to help make your new practice a success.
DO: As much preparation as you can
There are a lot of small details and decisions that go into starting a new practice. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available to help you succeed. Dr. Moorani specifically suggests searching through online dental forums, like Dentaltown or dentist-based Facebook groups, for advice. Books, magazines, and dental journals are also useful resources. This may be uncharted water for you, but many others have succeeded in similar circumstances.
The more prepared you are, the lower the risks. Dr. Moorani has confidently said that he wouldn’t change the process he took to establishing his practice because he spent countless hours researching and felt prepared each step of the way.
DO: Find mentors and ask questions
Even before you begin to plan out your practice, you should be in touch with mentors and advisers to help you along the way. The practice may be your baby, but it takes a village to raise a child. Seek out other professionals that you respect and ask questions. You’ll find most will enjoy answering the questions and helping you along. Dr. Moorani actively sought out a few key mentors early in his dental career who he is still in contact with today. By being more familiar with your situation, a mentor can offer pertinent advice that you may not receive from books or the online community.
DO: Create a business plan
There are always banks and brokers looking to team up with dentists. It’s important to have your own plan to present to these institutions and to stick with that plan. You know your budget and the costs of the equipment and technology you will need. “It’s important not to settle on accepting their ideas” explains Dr. Moorani, “if you’ve done the research and have a plan in place, keep searching for the right broker for you. There are plenty that will be willing to work with your practice.” A strong business plan may take time, but it will always pay off in the long run.
DO: Consider your decor and practice essentials
How you design your office will matter early on. When you’re just getting started, positive word-of-mouth and online reviews are incredibly important. It’s crucial to make a good first impression. Depending on your focus, decor can range from warm, comforting colors to bright, child-friendly wall decals. Don’t be afraid to give your practice a theme, even just one room dedicated to children can make a positive impact. Dr. Moorani spent a lot of time
considering his color scheme and decor choices. His vibrant color scheme and designated rooms are all carefully designed. You should also consider investing in customized practice essentials or promotional giveaways for younger patients. Anything that leaves a reminder for patients and makes their time in your office more enjoyable is worth the investment. For Dr. Moorani, stickers have proven to be a real hit with his patients. He offers an array of sticker options which are the perfect reward for a job well done.
DON’T: Take things for granted
Creating a practice from the ground up involves many small details that are tempting to overlook. It also requires relying on many different people. These details can turn into larger costs later on and the many people you’re working with may have their own agenda. No one wants to see your practice fail, but they aren’t all looking out for your best interests. Sub-contractors may charge more than necessary or construction crews may extend their deadlines. Dr. Moorani noted that there were many times when he had to check in with the construction crew and contractors to avoid delays and keep the momentum going. For all of these situations, it’s important to investigate every decision and make sure you’re comfortable with the choices. Check multiple sub-contractors for competitive pricing, or give margin for unexpected delays. If you stay on top of the project, you’ll see the rewards for being attentive.
DON’T: Wait with hiring staff
Even if your practice location has not finished being built, finding the right staff is a long process. Since you’re starting from scratch, you won’t have a chance to test them out in the practice. So you’ll have to be more careful when interviewing potential employees. Hire based on attitude and personality, that’s all you have to go on without seeing them in action. Without a practice, you’ll have to get creative with your interviews. Dr. Moorani admits that most of his interviewing process happened at a local Starbucks, and many of his current staff were hired from those interviews! Once your practice is ready, go through a few dry runs and training days before actually opening the practice. That way, you and your new staff can get comfortable with the process before accepting new patients. This is only possible if you hire early, so don’t wait!
DO: Believe in yourself
Others have gone down this path and come out the other side. It can be incredibly rewarding and you’ll have complete creative control. For every challenge there will be other moments that are equally rewarding. There’s nothing quite like being your own boss.
Need to stock up for your new practice? SmileMakers has you covered.
There may be a lot of details to consider when starting a new practice but practice essentials does not have to be one of them! SmileMakers offers a full array of essentials including lip balm, dental kits, and capsule vending machines that will make your new practice the talk of the town!