You’re Buying a Dental Practice—Do You Know How to Run It?

Buying a dental practice is an exciting time in a doctor’s career, a point where you are standing on the cusp of achieving your goal of owning your own practice and being your own boss. And while your future is bright, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with buying a dental office for sale, many of which don’t involve dentistry. In this article we’ll provide some suggestions on how to manage your separate roles as a clinician and as CEO of a small business. 

It’s not uncommon for doctors to express frustration about the need to switch back and forth between these roles. This is understandable as they involve two very different sets of skills, one of which, as a clinician, you have trained for and have experience with. You know how to do that job. The other, as a business owner, you probably don’t have the same kind of formal training and experience. This can make the transitions feel awkward and uncomfortable. And, at the end of a long day, you may feel like you don’t have any gas left in the tank.

Don’t Work On Your Business While Working In Your Business

What does it mean to work in your business? That is when you are practicing dentistry and directing your team with matters relating to patient needs, treatment plans, and so forth. What is working on your business? Well, that’s the business side. This is when you’re doing things like looking at the numbers (production, collections, new patients, referrals, case acceptance rates, costs, etc.), dealing with employee and employment concerns (evaluating your employees, making staffing decisions, hiring, firing, fielding complaints, etc.), making decisions about marketing, and just generally making sure the lights stay on. You might like one better than the other, but they are both essential to the success of your dental practice.  

The simplest approach is to keep these two roles separate. You can do this by setting time aside each day to focus on the business side. For instance, after buying a dental practice, you can let your staff and scheduling coordinator know when these hours will be, that appointments shouldn’t be scheduled during these times, and that is when you’ll address business related concerns with staff. You can even set them outside of regular business hours so as not to impact your production time. 

The benefit of this approach can be twofold. First, you get the benefit of focusing on one thing at a time, which typically makes it easier to be more productive with your time. And, second, if you schedule it first thing in the morning, you can get the business stuff done first and spend the rest of your day being the clinician. 

Assuming you have someone doing your payroll and other accounting tasks (and we definitely recommend outsourcing this— if your accountant doesn’t provide this service they can definitely recommend someone who does), you shouldn’t need much more than four hours a week (maybe a little more to account for a learning curve in the early days after first buying a dental practice). Also, having designated and focused time to work on your business gives you space to consider the state of your practice and where you’d like to grow. 

Use Your Team Members

A common practice is for team members to begin each day with a morning huddle to review what’s scheduled for the day. But you can also use the morning huddle for business matters that may be better delegated to team members. Remember, you are the CEO. As an executive, it’s part of your job to assign tasks to the employee best suited for it. 

It does require a bit more additional thought and preparation from you, but it will pay off in the time that you will save overall. Let’s say you notice that you are having gaps here and there in your appointments. Note that and then compare your days and weeks with your production goals. This may be an area you can get your team to help with. 

First, you can ask your scheduling coordinator to watch for these gaps and present them to the team during the morning huddle. Second, ask the team to consider your patients and whether those gaps can be filled. Is there someone overdue for treatment? Have the appropriate staff member start making calls to get those openings filled.

The morning huddle is simply an opportunity you have to get your whole team communicating. By involving them more in the business side matters, you can increase their involvement in more areas of the practice, which can help them have a vision of their role on the overall organization. This way they may feel more integral to the success of the office, more valued, and, thereby, more invested in helping your practice succeed.

If you have an office manager, it may also be worthwhile to set aside time each day to check in with them before either of you leaves the office. This helps you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening throughout the office while you are busy with patients. You also should have a separate designated time with your office manager to review anything that may require your direction.

Thinking of Buying a Dental Practice? We Have Dental Practices for Sale in Texas and New Mexico

At ddsmatch Southwest, we typically represent doctors with dental practices for sale, in Texas and New Mexico. But we believe in working closely with those buying a dental practice to make sure there is a good fit between the seller, the buyer, and the practice. We believe a good deal is one where everyone walks away happy: the buyer has confidence in the practice they’ve purchased and the seller has confidence in the buyer to continue and build on what they’ve established. If you are ready to take the next step in your career, check out our available listings. It all starts with a conversation, contact us today!