All the hours you spent in school learning to become an orthodontist have finally paid off; you now own a practice. As soon as your practice is up and running, the next step is to create a name for yourself and embark on the journey to grow your orthodontic practice. Growing your practice won’t happen overnight; it will take time, hard work, dedication, and patience. There’s no shortcut to catapult your success or growth. However, there are measures you can put in place to steer you in the right direction.
1. Install Additional Safety Features
Ensuring safety should be the first measure you take when you want to grow your orthodontic practice. According to Kristina Martic, most businesses prioritize creating a safe environment as it directly impacts the productivity and growth of the business. You should, therefore, evaluate the safety risks in your practice and develop strategies to ensure your patients’ data, the employees, and the practice are safe.
One of the biggest risks that your practice may face is the risk of fire. According to OSHA, over 200 workplace fires occur daily, and more than 5,000 casualties annually. Consider the different types of fire suppression systems you could install in your practice to minimize the risk. According to studies, the most common cause of work-related fire is faulty electric equipment. Ensure you schedule routine maintenance for all your electronic equipment to mitigate any potential issues.
You may have done everything to ensure your employees are in a safe environment, but in the event of a data breach in your practice, you stand to lose financially and socially. Your existing patients will lose trust in your practice and seek services from other practices. Therefore, ensuring your staff is well-trained on how best to protect patients’ data is important.
2. Remodel your Lobby
Your lobby is a critical part of your practice. Upon entering your office, it’s the first point of contact for patients. The condition of your lobby gives patients their first impression of the practice and the experience they can expect to have there; it can either encourage patients to come in for a second visit or turn them away. That’s why ensuring your lobby is in a good state is important. It has the potential to grow your orthodontic practice.
According to AO contractors, despite the lobby being one of the most prominent parts of any building, it’s the part that’s often overlooked in terms of maintenance and remodels. It may be hard to determine when to remodel your lobby, but if it has seen a few trends come and go, it is probably due for a remodel. Depending on the image and design you want in your practice, you should contact local construction companies to source a qualified contractor who can help bring your vision to fruition.
3. Try a Fresh Coat of Paint
Exposure to different weather elements will, over time, cause the paint on the exterior walls of your practice to start fading, peeling, and chipping away. First impressions matter. How would your patients feel about receiving services from a practice that looks worn and dull? If you care about giving a good first impression, your best bet would be to have your building repainted.
Repainting your practice is one of the most economical ways to improve the overall appearance of your practice. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of painting the exterior of your commercial building is $7,000. Of course, this amount will vary depending on the size of the building, the materials used, and the exterior painter you contract.
Besides giving a good first impression, repainting will also help grow your orthodontic practice by increasing traffic. Potential clients will be more attracted to a practice whose building looks well-maintained than one that looks run down. If these clients decide to walk into your practice, how long they stay will largely depend on how well the interior is maintained.
4. Install More Storage
Your orthodontic practice likely has several patient records; how do you ensure you have stored your patient data correctly? Over the years, storage strategies in dentistry have evolved dramatically. Unlike before, when patients’ records were stored in physical files arranged in alphabetical order, today, most practices use cloud-based storage, which has been proven to be a more effective way to help grow your orthodontic practice.
Managing the inventory of your practice is no walk in the park; if the inventory management systems aren’t effective, you may accumulate clutter and have limited storage space soon. This would, in turn, force you to hire a cabinet installation contractor to help create more storage for your office requirements, such as administrative supplies, lab cases, dental supplies, or reusable holiday decorations. Adding cabinets may seem overwhelming if you’re working with a small space. However, according to Dr. David Ahearn, your contractor will likely recommend using the vertical space in such a case.
5. Connect With a Transportation Company
You may have no problem driving yourself to and from the dentist’s office, especially for a minor procedure. However, what do you do if you have a sedation dentistry appointment? According to Dr. William Linger, even the smallest amount of sedation can render a patient unfit to drive. As a business owner, partnering with a transportation company is your opportunity to grow your orthodontic practice by ensuring you offer more comprehensive services to your patients.
Instead of allowing your patient to risk their lives by driving themselves back or using public transport surrounded by strangers, you should ensure you offer medical transportation where professionals safely transport patients to their destinations. Typically, this transportation is accessible at any time of day throughout the week. The specific type of transportation a patient requires will often depend on the severity of the situation and the distance to be covered.
6. Repair Your Parking Lot
The parking lot is another part of a building often overlooked by management. However, the condition of your parking lot will help grow your orthodontic practice by ensuring a safe parking space for patients visiting your practice. Most parking lots are made of asphalt or concrete, paving materials prone to wear and tear due to weather elements. A well-maintained parking lot will not only create a safe parking area, but it’ll also give a good first impression.
Imagine if your parking lot has potholes. Not only can these damage a patient’s car, but they can also cause the driver to lose control and end up crushing. Contact a concrete company specializing in paving parking lots to help with maintenance. Some maintenance tasks may include sweeping, sealing, asphalt overlays, crack filling, and parking lot striping.
7. Maintain Your HVAC
The HVAC system is critical in ensuring ventilation, free flow of air, and the overall thermal comfort within your office. Creating a comfortable patient environment as they receive services will encourage return business and grow your orthodontic practice. According to HannaBery, regardless of the type of HVAC in your practice, you should schedule routine maintenance with HVAC services at least once yearly.
According to Luminita Toma, the amount you spend on a routine HVAC maintenance check can range between $85 to $170 per hour. This amount will vary depending on how often you need servicing, the type of HVAC system you have, and the extent of repairs needed. In case you need an emergency HVAC maintenance service, the price goes higher; you can expect to pay an average of $160 to $250 per hour.
8. Expand your Team
According to VIvek Agarwal, employees are the most vital resource in any business. They link the business and its clients. From the moment a client walks into your practice, their first point of human contact is when interacting with your employees.
How your employees interact with clients directly impacts the ability to grow your orthodontic practice and clients’ willingness to return. If, for example, the employee is very dismissive or doesn’t seem to care about the grievances being raised by the client, there’s a high chance they’ll not visit your practice a second time. Prioritize ensuring the employees are well-trained to handle and address all concerns.
As much as you are eager to grow your business, it is important to ensure you hire qualified staff. Unqualified staff is worse than no staff. Getting the right people to fill the vacant positions in your practice can be daunting. However, you should contact reputable local employment firms who can manage the recruitment process on your behalf.
After you get the right team on board, your responsibility as the practice owner is to ensure you create a conducive working environment. Research indicates that happy employees are motivated to work hard towards achieving the set business goals. Therefore, give incentives and offer flexible working conditions that help keep the staff motivated.
9. Keep Your Space Spotless
What would you do if you learned that millions of bacteria are camping in your orthodontic practice? Well, that is true. Your work in your practice creates blood-borne pathogens and aerosols, which can stimulate the spread of infections, putting the health of your patients and staff at risk. Since your office is a public space, it’s important to ensure it is clean and hygienic for the optimum safety of everyone who walks in.
With all the day-to-day activities involved in running an orthodontic practice, you likely won’t manage to clean the entire space alone. Luckily, over three million people are working in the cleaning service industry, according to Servi-Tek. Source for recommendations from other people or previous clients’ reviews to get a contractor who can offer the best commercial cleaning service for your practice. Cleaning your office will help to grow your orthodontic practice in several ways. These include;
Giving the right impression, how clean or dirty an office space is, leaves a lasting impression on clients. If a first-time client walks into your practice only to be met with bins overflowing with trash and stained floors, they likely won’t proceed to consultation. On the contrary, if your space is squeaky clean, you can be almost sure that the client will return and, even better, they will recommend you to their friends and family.
Boosting productivity- A cluttered, dirty space isn’t only unattractive and unhygienic; it’s also very distracting. By cleaning your space, you eliminate all distractions that limit your ability to perform duties. This, in turn, increases your concentration levels and consequently helps to boost productivity.
Marketing is an important tool for spreading the word and attracting new patients to grow your orthodontic practice. Other than using traditional marketing methods like radio and TV, you could also venture into paid online marketing, which creates a platform that allows you to reach a wider market. Other marketing strategies include search engine optimization, social media marketing, or by word of mouth. Given your busy schedule, you may not have the time to market your business. Outsourcing someone to handle the marketing business in your practice will allow you to concentrate on other pressing issues.
According to Becker’s Dental Review, the United States has 8,370 orthodontists. To set yourself apart from the competition, you must establish effective marketing strategies to make your practice stand out. This strategy will work as a road map to help you navigate and improve the chances of your business succeeding. Your strategy should focus on the target market, help you do a SWOT analysis, and include a budget.
You could also have a mailing list where you send your patients updates about your services and any promotions. It’s the little details that matter, so pay attention to them.
Like anything in life, you need to put in effort for your venture to grow. No magic potion will propel you to success. The dental industry isn’t where you’ll find stories of overnight success. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking the road towards growing your practice will be easy.
Some practices don’t make it at all. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from owning a practice. Do your research and develop a business plan to help you prepare for any hardship. The bottom line is that you can do many things to grow your orthodontic practice. The power is in your hands.