Dental Times - Building value into your practice from day one
01332 609318
16 December 2018
It’s very easy for dental practitioners to be so wrapped up in treating patients and dealing with the minutiae of day-to-day practice, that they never manage to take a step back and assess the practice as a business. It’s not surprising, considering the many aspects of running a dental practice, including of course the core aim of providing excellent patient care, but also providing a great customer experience, ensuring compliance, supporting a well-trained and motivated team, maintaining the premises and managing the practice budget.
Nevertheless, it is absolutely crucial, as practice owners, to make sure that the practice is profitable and bringing in a good return so that when the time comes to move on, the sale will provide enough collateral to finance your future plans, whatever they may be.
This means being aware of all the elements that will build value into the business and starting that process as soon as you pick up the keys!

Decide what type of practice you are

The first thing we recommend is that you decide what type of practice you are. You may have already given this some thought when you were looking for a suitable practice to buy, but it’s important from day one to devise a clear plan of how to achieve your aim: does your practice suit the local demographic? Are you happy with the range of treatments you offer, or are you planning to phase some out and introduce new ones? Does your dental team have the skills required to meet these expectations and is the equipment in the practice suitable for your needs?
Once you know what type of practice you are, you need to let your community know about it. Building a strong local reputation will add value to your brand and this process can start immediately. Make sure your brand reflects your practice values and make it consistent throughout your communications – both online and offline. Start building relationships with existing patients and encourage new enquiries by local door-drops or advertisements saying you are accepting new patients.

Maximise business returns

Making your practice as efficient as possible is vital and means that the whole team will be working much more productively. Measuring key metrics in the business will also help you to understand where things are going well and where there is room for improvement.
For example, ensuring recalls are working effectively and failure-to-attends are reducing by automating reminders are small things that can make a big difference to profitability.

Ensure you have a good and knowledgeable team

Employing good people is one of the most difficult things in running a business and the value of a dental practice can be raised significantly dependent on the quality of both clinical and non-clinical staff and their ability to provide quality care to the patients.
Having access to a trusted dental recruitment company like Medicruit can really make a difference in this area – helping build a confident and capable team, whilst also providing access to flexible locum cover so you can accommodate the peaks and troughs in patient demand.
Having sufficient cover means you can limit waiting times and fill your appointment book – particularly important when trying to meet UDA targets.

Keep your practice up to date and competitive

Your patients want to know that you are keeping up to date with the latest clinical evidence and that the practice is equipped with equipment that is keeping pace with latest technology and trends. Over time, this will require investment, whether that’s in new digital equipment or in a refurbishment or extension.

Being able to demonstrate the value of your practice to the bank or other financial partner will increase your chances of obtaining the finance required. Working with a financial partner such as Henry Schein Financial Services will give you the flexibility to build further value into your practice and maximise its potential in the future.

And when you finally decide to move on…

Of course, constantly concentrating on building value means that when it comes to considering an exit or moving on, you will be in the best position to realise a good sale price. At Mediestates, we know that dentists who concentrate building value will attract higher than average multiples and command good offers.
An NHS practice that is comfortably fulfilling its contract, or a private one with strong patient loyalty and a healthy bottom line, or one that is a mixture of the two, are all practices with high value. Making sure that you add to that value from day one should ensure a successful and prosperous business and when you finally do decide to move on, a future full of possibilities – for you and the practice you leave behind.
Posted by: Phillip Barker on 24 May 2018