James Helliwell
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Three Ways To A Well-Run Orthodontic Practice

James Helliwell

January 13, 2017

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You thought you completed all the hard work. You followed your passion. That passion lead you to the roller coaster ride that was four years of undergraduate, four years of dental school and a post-doctoral program. Here you sit, about to realize your dream––owning your own practice.

Follow your heart is what your family said along the way when the going got tough in your quest to be board certified. When you were convinced you’d never get licensed. So how did following your heart lead to finding office space, marketing, billing, collections, purchasing and hiring? When did your passion to help people take a brutal turn to the mundane?

There are many things you learn in school and residency but how to build a successful startup was not one of  them.

 – Dr. Prav Solanki

Why wasnt there a class on this?  No worries, we’ve got your back. Here are three of the key ways you can get through the biggest concerns facing orthodontic practices today.

Know what you know

•Make a list of your strengths

Build on them. Instead of winging your weaknesses, build on your weak spots with programs and people targeted to bring you up to speed. Perhaps purchasing is fascinating to you, but you’d rather widen your jaw then think about marketing. So, let marketing go. Accept your weaknesses and delegate.

Divide and conquer

•Partner with people whose strengths compliment yours

Build a staff that not only has a strength for their position but also fits well in the areas where you could use some bolstering. When you conduct an interview, instead of simply being armed with the job description, carry your list of weaknesses into the meeting. Ask potential candidates about their strengths and as they list them, see if you can check off a few of your weaknesses.


Have a cup of coffee

Find a practice you’d like to emulate and have lunch with the doctors there. Find out what’s worked for them. This network of orthodontists can become your mastermind group––trusted colleagues to turn to for professional advice.

You know your skills are best leveraged in the treatment room. So does OrthoSynetics, a management company for orthodontic practices, who offers this advice to orthodontists starting or building their dreams––Its all about keeping practices on track with their goals and measuring key indicators like revenue growth.

Marketing is a key component and they suggest winning the game by keeping on eye on the most effective use of marketing dollars and not wasting time chasing ineffective campaign methods. Strengthening your brand is key.

Tailor-making and meeting business metrics from practice development to accounting to real estate management can help you live your dream. This way you still have plenty of energy left to spend time with the ones you love and follow your heart to other passions, whether that’s around the world or sinking a hole-in-one.


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