Private Practice Power: Profitability and Demand

Perhaps the most important aspect of profitability, that very few business owners ever fully realize, let alone take advantage of, is the power to become fully liberated and operate on your own terms.

Most independent practices never break free from their (mostly perceived though sometimes actual) dependency on volume, insurance, and basically being a commodity at the whim of the trends, economy, and everything else.

Doctors try to fight back against this with more insurance plans, more marketing, more discounts with the goal of trying to make it easier to get patients to say yes by diminishing their overall value. Essentially, attempting to fix the problem with more of the problem. The only thing that happens when you diminish your own value is that you diminish the value of the impact for your patients.

As my theme has been all year, I say to you instead of making it easier, make it better, more meaningful, more compelling, more valuable to your patients and that then will make it easier for them to be committed to getting healthy and owning their responsibility to invest in their own well-being and long-term health.

The question is: does your patient experience, your human interaction, your active relationship building, and deliberate trust creation move your patients forward by elevating their value and belief, their desire and deserve, their connection and attachment to you and your clinical philosophy?

Here’s how this loops back to profit… if you diminish the value, you diminish the experience; and if you diminish the experience, you diminish everything else.

A profitable practice is a powerful practice that becomes a force for good in the community and in the lives of all the people involved.

Last week, I made it clear that profit can be engineered and you must learn how to become a better business owner if you want to fully reap the rewards and benefits that private practice ownership can provide to you.

Think about it this way: when you are in position of power you have the greatest difference-maker in building demand for your dentistry; versus being in a state of desperation. And high demand allows you to have patients interact with your practice to the standard that you believe in and keeps you from the tendency to water down what you know is in their best interest.

Here’s an example of how demand and profit work together…

When you master my 3 R’s for practice stability – Retention, Reactivation, Referrals – you need fewer new patients and because you need fewer new patients to support your goals (you have less capacity for new patients since you’ve kept overhead low) you then get to be more selective and you get to dictate the rules of engagement with patients. With fewer patients, you can slow down the pace and actually establish rapport that will lead to a committed pathway to health.

On the flip side, if you are trying to be all things to all people or you are trying to flood your practice with any and every new patient, you are forced to accept whatever walks in and at the mercy of the patients’ pre-existing expectations of how this dental relationship works. Furthermore, you have limited time and resources to spend on a meaningful patient experience that can elevate the value of dentistry in the patients’ mind. Thus, you aren’t very busy doing any dentistry of great value or significance.

For our specialty modality practices who thrive on new patients because there isn’t the same type of hygiene or follow-up, re-care or maintenance approach to the backend; the same concept applies of keeping patients in the flow of treatment, reactivating past patients who didn’t convert, or simply having more effective follow-up.

And most certainly referrals (usually happening without any methodical, predictable, experiential, or purposeful plan), create dependable system instead of a downward cycle of discounting. That is when you really arrive at the position of power and can further elevate the standard of excellence and experience for your patients.

This same concept of power and demand applies to comprehensive diagnosis and thus requiring fewer patients to achieve your goals and reach your practice potential.

You see this all comes back to understanding that there are only three limiting factors to growth and maximization of profit in private practice…

Time, Space, People

People as in your team, not patients. You can’t have a giant team because time and space preset your capacity and therefore set a precise roster of Team Members that makes the most sense for your chosen practice model based on your goals and objectives for your life – reverse engineered into a business system and math formula.

Once you have this figured out, you have a very specific responsibility as a private practice owner… maximize your ability and potential within these parameters that remains in alignment with your standard of excellence and your own integrity of how you want to operate your business, care for your patients, and perform your dentistry.

That’s what brings us to the greatest decision of them all, the single most valuable super power of private practice, and what being an independent dentist is all about…

You get to decide how your practice fits into your life, instead of your life having to fit into your practice.

If this advantage is given up, then you give up all of your independence and liberty. You are now at the mercy of your practice, the averaging of the industry, and worse the status quo of the economy around you.

This is what being an independent doctor and a private practice owner is all about. You get to live your passion, stay true to your purpose, and earn your profits.

Once these are in alignment, you will experience the grand victory of life fulfilling the privilege, the honor, and most of all the responsibility that you sacrificed to have that is at the heart of owning your own private practice and being an independent doctor… the pathway to prosperity.

This is your power and opportunity should you choose to accept it, embrace it, and live it. It sure doesn’t happen by chance or on its own just because you are your own boss.

You must engineer your profit and take action with your power in order to deliberately become a master of practice ownership to really discover what you are truly capable of and the life and practice that is within your grasp.