Hope is not a Strategy!

by Dr. Ron Arndt

building strong dental teamsBecause our profession is such a fragmented and cottage industry (getting three dentists to agree on anything is like pinning Jell-O to the wall);

Because the cost of dental education is growing exponentially;

Because there is literally no business or entrepreneurial training in the dental curriculum to educate the graduate how to be a CEO of a small business for the remainder of our lives;

Because the dental graduate finishes their training with upwards of $300,000 to $400,000 in school loans;

Because the costs of operating our solo dental practices (hospitals) continues to escalate;

Because of the huge influx of women into dentistry who often have different career paths with child-rearing and need for more flexible hours;

Because smart MBA-types have seen that dentists have essentially no business acumen and the practice margins have been so high;

Because the shift in patient/guest demands for better hours, greater convenience, one-stop-shopping, and reduced costs (Wal-Mart phenomenon);

Because of the way the consumer makes healthcare purchases on the internet;

Because the challenge for the solo practitioner to keep current with all the new technology is becoming financially an impossibility;

Because dentists, as a group, continue to put their heads in the sand with regard to running their business or deal with the economics related to their personal and financial success;

Because when our hands are not in someone’s mouth, we are not making money (a fundamental business challenge);

Because the average GP spends 35.8 hours per week in the dental practice with 32.6 of those hours treating patients leaving on average 3.2 hours to run a business;

Because we have had little to no behavioral science training;

Because REAL guest, world-class service is infrequently delivered in many dental offices;

Because the consumer is bombarded with 3,500 marketing messages every day;

Because of these current realities and a host of others we are very prone for the introduction of outside forces like Corporate dentistry, pressures from companies like Delta Dental, governmental intrusions, and never-ending price crushing demands by consumers.

Therefore, there are lots of reasons to be excited and a lot to be nervous about. For certain, there are a lot of reasons to sharpen your saws and spend your time, money and efforts wisely because the competitive landscape is increasing. Hope is not a strategy!

Here are the real questions to be asking yourself:

  • What are you prepared to do and by when?
  • How do you really want to practice and then lay out your strategy?

There is no magic pill ~~ there is no one guru to bail you out ~~ there is no 12-step secret formula. This is going to require WORK and thought and effort. 

This is about you deciding if you want to be a part of the race to the bottom or do you want to take steps to cope with the current circumstances that are already upon us?

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