You finished your studies, framed your certificates and now you’re ready to branch out by yourself. Having their own practice is something that all dentists aspire to.
Setting up and operating a business from scratch is a daunting prospect, and starting a dental practice is no different.
There are numerous factors to consider and plenty of in-depth planning to be done.
But before you begin drawing up your plans it’s handy to have a checklist with items to tick off along the way. Here are some starting points.
All companies need a business plan before and during setup. This should be highly detailed and exhaustively researched. It should include information regarding your vision, business strategy, company operating procedures, financial information and more. It will be harder to obtain a business loan for your practice without a good business plan. Your plan should also include branding, the practice name, and an overall marketing strategy.
Hopefully you have already chosen a town or city in which to start your dental practice. If you haven’t, there are personal as well as professional factors to take into account. If you and your family will be happy living in the area you are considering then you’re ready to pinpoint a specific location.
To make this important decision some research is necessary. Find out how many other dental practices are in the area, and what services they offer. Customers are often extremely loyal to their dentist so determining the size of the local population, and the number of dental practices, will give you an idea of the competition. Well most customers make appointments to see the dentist, a heavily pedestrianised area may attract walking clientele. A ground floor location may be preferable, although upper floors may be more affordable.
It goes without saying that all dental practices require optimum equipment in order to provide comfortable and highly professional service to patients. Surgical equipment is one area where penny pinching is inadvisable. Substandard equipment can cause your patience pain and therefore prevent repeat business - it is also more likely to fall into disrepair.
When deciding upon equipment such as handpieces, chairs and x-ray machinery it is worth researching the reputation of any brands you are considering. Of equal importance is the level of customer service and after-care you can expect from the company in question. All purchases should be accounted for in your detailed business plan and can be budgeted in advance of setting up your practice.
As with any business there are many purchases you will need to make in order to operate successfully. This includes furniture for offices, surgery and waiting rooms. You will also need IT equipment such as computers, printers, servers and scanners. If you’re operating on a tight budget these areas are in which potential savings can be made. Desktop computers can be found cheaply or secondhand and there are budget alternatives for most other items.
Furniture and other office essentials such as filing cabinets can often be found when a local office is having a clear out. Make sure you factor in other purchases you’ll need to make such as paper, stationery etc
The layout of the dental practice is important and something you should consider in your planning.There is likely a logical place for the surgery and the rest of the practice can be planned around this.
Modern dental practices are increasingly built for patient comfort and that means controlling sound lighting and decor in order to foster the right ambience.Therefore it’s worth researching lighting solutions that promote an aura of calm and relaxation.
In terms of sound acoustic treatment of the space to reduce noises from the surgery leaking into the waiting room is important.The waiting room itself is an important space and should be welcoming and bright. If you’re working with a compact space you should reduce the claustrophobic effects of the waiting room as this can heighten patient anxiety.Make sure to include everything in your plan including the furniture in the waiting room paintings or informational posters on the walls and other decor.
Setting up your own organisation can be a stressful and overwhelming time.
This basic checklist will help you form a detailed business plan for setting up your dental practice.