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After working in a dental office for a while, many doctors dream of opening their own practice. They yearn for the freedom, satisfaction and potential profits that running their own dental operation can bring. However, when it comes to opening that actual office, it is far easier to get things wrong and get stopped in your tracks before you hit the ground running.

This is because getting a practice up and running requires getting many things right. Many doctors have made a few mistakes by forgetting to do the very important things that are needed for smooth opening and operation. If you want to know what they forgot so you don’t make the same mistake, keep reading on.

Below, we have gathered ten things that people forget when opening their dental practice.

1. Remembering it’s not easy

When working in a dental office for someone else, you can start to think that it is easy to get such an operation going. But if there is one thing that everyone knows in this industry is that it’s not a simple process. Opening a dental office is a time-consuming project that also requires a lot of money. Not to mention that there are a lot of potential problems that can occur that require serious planning to overcome. If you forget this and go on thinking it is easy, you might be in for a rude awakening.

2. Having extra money set aside

When starting any business, it is good to have some extra money set aside, but many people usually forget this. All they have is enough money to set up their business without having something saved up for a rainy day. Having a stash somewhere is a good idea because it usually takes time (up to six months) for a business to start making revenue. You might need something to float you by while the business tries to break even and all the way until your dental practice sales start turning in a profit.

3. Sticking to the budget

As mentioned in the previous point, it can take a while for the practice to start making a profit. This means that when setting it up, it is good to come up with a budget (which will be contained in the business plan) and stick to it. Going beyond the budget, especially on unessential things like lavish offices and fancy equipment, means you either must cutback elsewhere essential or cover it up with profits. With profits likely not coming any time soon, you can’t afford to forget to stick to your budget.

4. Getting the latest equipment

Old equipment might be cheaper to acquire, but it does not offer the best dental experience for both you, your employees and, most importantly, your customers. So don’t forget the importance of modern equipment, mainly that it provides superior dental results, saves energy (saving you money in the process) and is easier to use. If your budget doesn’t accommodate modern equipment, consider leasing it.

5. Not being the jack of all trades

When it comes to dental practice management, people forget that they can’t do everything alone. In the end, they work themselves hard until they burn out and the practice fails. A better alternative would be to hire experienced staff and delegate some of the administrative and clinical work.

6. Getting a practice management software

Manual systems are a thing of the past in this modern world, and people setting up their own dental office can forget this. Doing things manually is time-consuming – that time could be better used doing things to propel the practice forward towards growth and profitability. That is where practice management software, which is a computer program that can handle the day to day administrative and financial tasks of a dental office, such as scheduling and accounting, comes in handy.

7. Making the practice standout

Chances are you are not the only practice doing dentistry in the area, especially when you live in a big are. People usually forget that there might be other dental offices fighting for the same patients as they are. This means that they need to make themselves stand out from the crowd. Things that can make your practice stand out include affordability, family-friendliness, specialist services, easy access, painless procedures, opening every day of the week and trustworthiness.

8. Thinking big

Forgetting to think big is what has killed many dental offices. People usually think a small dental office is ideal when starting out, but in reality, those are the ones that are most likely to fail. The problem is that they are simply not profitable. What is needed is a big practice with a big enough space to accommodate staff, patients, equipment and more than one chair (at least three).

9. Targeting the right customers

When opening a dental office, dental practice marketing is extremely important. But people forget that they can’t target everyone. Targeting everyone means targeting no one in the end – plus, it can be expensive. It is good to pick a niche, like families or aging people, and marketing your services to those demographics specifically. Fill your practice with niche-friendly things, like child-friendly play areas if, for example, you are targeting families with kids.

10. Finding the right location

Many doctors forget that the location they pick can make or break a practice. If you pick an area that is too far from your target niche, people won’t travel to you. And if you pick a bad neighborhood, people will be too afraid to park their cars there. Problem with many doctors is that they usually just go for the location that is closest to their locale, which is a mistake. Just because the location is good and convenient for you, doesn’t mean it is the same for your customers.

So there you have it, 10 things people don’t do when opening a dental office. As you can see, these things are extremely important, which makes one wonder how professional dental practitioners can forget them when branching out on their own. If you are thinking of creating a checklist, populate it with these items and you be on the path to getting it right.