There are a lot of good reasons why dentists need to choose the right space for practice. Becoming a business owner is a thrilling and professionally enriching experience, but it can also be a quite risky one if you’re ill-prepared for it.
It’s not all about your dentistry skills and training that you may need to run a successful dental office. Instead, you need to wear an entrepreneurial hat to grow your business. In this article, you will understand what it takes to have a thriving dental office.
A Dental Practice
It can be pretty overwhelming to set up a new dental practice from scratch. This is because a dental practice is like any other business and you need to carefully consider several factors. You need to decide the location of the business, the number of employees you have to hire, how to market the business, and many more.
A simple checklist can make sure that you have everything in place before opening your dental business. Therefore, before you finally decide to open your dental practice, you should review some of the important tasks you need to complete.
These include having a business plan, finding a location, determining the requirements of your space, and many more. Below are some of the checklist you should always have when you decide to open a dental practice
Have a Business Plan
It’s important to have a business plan before you open a dental practice. A business plan shows a detailed description of your dental business. This document is very important because it includes your business strategy, costs, earnings, operating procedures, and other crucial information. The good news is that financial institutions can offer you a business loan if you have a perfect business plan.
You can create a business plan yourself but you can also outsource from professional business plan writers. From the onset, you need to have a general outline of the details you want to include in the business plan.
Remember that you can use a business plan even after you open your dental practice. It can act as a reference document to assess if your business is right on track while it’s operating.
Decide If You Need a Partner
This factor also requires you to consider it carefully. Having a business partner who is also a dentist can help you cover some of the costs that you incur while opening a dental office. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find someone who shares the same vision as yours.
Therefore, you should give careful thought when deciding to incorporate a business partner. Besides, if you don’t want to have a partner at the launch of your business, you can always reconsider your decision later. This is especially true if you find problems securing a business loan from financial institutions.
Choose a Location for Your Dental Practice
Determining the location of your dental practice is perhaps one of the most important decisions you can ever make. This needs a lot of research to allow you to choose the right space for your dental practice. But before you start looking for office space, it makes sense to check if there are many other dental practices within the area.
If it turns out that you have already decided on the city or town where you desire to open your dental office, then you can find out if other dental practices are operating in that area. But if you haven’t identified the area, you should think of where you want to live and open your dental business.
You can research to identify the best places that may be suitable for your business and family. Once you have a general idea of the area that meets your needs, you can start researching your competition and the target market where you would be practicing.
The ideal location for a dental practice should accommodate walk-ins patients. Hence, try to find a place that has the potential of receiving plenty of pedestrian traffic. When it comes to location, it’s also crucial to take a careful look at the space of your dental practice. For instance, you should consider whether it will be suitable for your dental practice to be on the ground floor, first floor, or second floor of a commercial building.
Keep in mind that having an office on the ground floor might be cost-effective when it comes to doing some construction for your new office. On the other hand, you can have an affordable leasing option for the upper-level floor. Further, you should also consider the number of car parking spaces and convenience when choosing a dental space. The car parking space should be able to accommodate both your staff and patients.
Determine the Equipment You Need
The equipment that your dental practice requires can be one of the biggest expenses. Aside from the dental equipment, you also require furniture, medical billing software, computer systems, and many other office items.
Your best option is to find a reliable equipment salesperson to supply everything you need. You will have to find a person who can offer you affordable but high-quality dental equipment. Here, you also need to research before you make any expensive purchases.
Take note that dental equipment includes business management software, instrument management software, and others. Regardless of the type of software you want to buy, make sure that you check the reviews from the customers and also test the programs.
Dental Space Layout
The importance of having a business plan can come in handy when you decide to choose the actual space you require for your dental practice. Space includes the waiting room, reception area, bathroom, and exam rooms. You can also consider having an x-ray room, break room, and storage space. But you should always try to determine the amount of space that would be suitable for your business.
Many dental practices prefer having a private office, a sterilization room, and a consultation room. As you can see, you have a lot of options that you need to figure out before you start looking for a dental space.
Once you have an idea of the office layout, you can now make a list of the number of rooms appropriate for your business. This can involve coming up with rough square footage for the rooms. By adding up all the figures, you can have a rough estimate of how much space will be suitable for your dental practice.
Obtain a Business Loan for Your Dental Business
As mentioned earlier, a business plan can help you get a business capital if you don’t have it. Therefore, when you review and are satisfied with your business plan, you can apply for a business loan from a bank or any lender. However, if you don’t qualify to get financing from the financial institutions, your best option is to invite a business partner.
Also, you might need to budget for some expenses even before you open your dental office. For example, you should prepare for the expenses as you wait to get a lease or some costs associated with the hiring of staff.
There is no shortcut to obtaining financing. First of all, you should communicate with the various financing institutions and have a sense of their willingness to offer you a business loan. Then you will need to come up with a preliminary loan application document to submit to the lender.
Lastly, you can finalize the loan application process by among other things talking to your attorney to check if the loan package is in order before you write your signature.
Get a Lease for Your Dental Office
Now that you have identified the space where you want to start your dental business, and have obtained the financing for your practice, it’s time to evaluate the office space. In most cases, if you decide to lease dental office space, you can do this process by using a reliable real estate broker.
However, it can be pretty hard to find a suitable space for your dental practice. But sometimes you can be fortunate to find a space quickly, so it’s important to seal the deal fast. In either case, you need to get a lease when you find the right place for your office.
Remember that a dental business is a large undertaking. Hence, you should opt for a long-term lease that protects you from rental increases and locks in the rentals. Many owners of the office spaces usually offer discounted rental rates for the first few months.
This gives you a chance to channel your funds to current projects. You can use it to cover the other various costs of your business, especially when you have to do some construction work. So depending on your requirements, some construction work can take a couple of months. As well, make sure that your attorney takes a look at the lease agreement before you sign it.
Figure Out the Needs of Your Staff
It is always proper to think about staffing needs because you can’t run a dental office on your own. The most important factors to consider include hiring dental assistants, receptionists, accountant, IT staff, and office manager.
Your business plan should be able to guide you on how many people you need to hire for the dental practice to run successfully. But finding the right staff with experience and skills can be an uphill task, so you should prepare carefully.
In the same vein, your business plan should indicate the average salary suitable for each position. This information also helps you to make the financial projections for your practice. However, you should only consider hiring the staff just before you decide to open your dental office.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
Any business has to market its products or services to be competitive. There is no better way you can market your business than having a website. A website will attract new patients and increase awareness of your dental services. You can create a business yourself by using platforms like WordPress. However, it can take a lot of your time to create a website, especially if this would be your first time doing it.
Another way is to hire a web design firm to create your website. Once a website is complete, you need to use the right SEO strategies to increase traffic to your site and attract potential clients. When it comes to SEO strategies, some of them are more effective than others. Therefore, you should go for the ones that will give you the best results quickly.
Because it can take quite long to see the results of your SEO strategies, your best bet is to start implementing them early. In this way, you can start attracting people’s attention even before you launch your dental practice.
Social media has also become a great way to market your dental services. You can drive sales if you choose the right social media platform. The idea should be to select the social media platform that has your target market. When you identify your customers, engage with them so that they can know your dental services. You can use social broadcasting to appeal and sell your services. However, you should only consider doing other online and traditional marketing activities once you have opened your dental office.
Apply for the Permits and Licenses
The final step you need to take before opening the doors for your dental office is to apply for the required licenses, permits, and other necessary documents. You need these for you to practice dentistry in a particular area.
You can also try to join professional membership to make sure that your dental practice benefits from it. Mind you, laws and regulations can differ from place to place, so ensure that you have enough room in your budget to get any permits that you may need.
These are some of the most important steps that you need to take before opening a dental office. However, make sure that nothing is overlooked. The important decisions, such as signing a lease agreement, can have a huge impact on your business. This is because it can be hard to reverse them once you have taken action. For this reason, you should always take your time planning and strive to do the right thing the first time around.