The Stuff They Don’t Teach You In Dental School (Part 1 of 2)

by Dr. Ron Arndt

When I started my dental practice, fresh out of dental school, I operated in what can only be described as a dump. Terrible out-of-the-way location, no windows and when the landlord thought the utility bills were too high – he would simply turn off the heat.

This happened because I had no real business training. In dental school, no one told me how to negotiate a lease, read a P&L statement or perform market research to determine the best location. I also had no idea how to hire and lead good employees and phrases like “cash flow” and “return on assets” did not make sense. Most of my other dental colleagues will agree.

You can study until you go blind, and spend more time in clinical than you do sleeping, but the truth is, when you get out of dental school, you don’t know squat about running a business. I thought that because I was smart enough to finish dental school, I was smart enough to run a business, too.

In the next few posts, my blog will be discussing basic business principles that all dentists need to know. The kinds that they don’t teach you in dental school.

To start, your top three for today:

  • Dentistry is a service industry, and patient service and care should be at the top of your list. Know your patient’s pulse – and I don’t mean that literally. Know what they want, expect and desire from you – and then over-deliver it!
  • “Broaden your vision, but narrow your focus.” Decide what you do, and what you don’t do. Create a strategy for how you will operate your practice, and what services you offer. This should be in your business plan.
  • Decide what makes you different than other dentists. Do a competitive analysis, and find out what your competition is doing.

Tune in Thursday..

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