4 Simple Ways to Make Stress Work for You | Dental Business Coach

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Stress is an inescapable part of life. Whether you’ve just opened your business or have begun planning for retirement, you have experienced some amount of stress along the way. Doctors, scientists, and media outlets have spent many years warning about the dangers of stress. Too much stress too often can cause negative effects on our physical and mental health. However, before giving in to chronic tension and depression, consider a few ways from our dental consultant you can make stress work for you.

  1. Focus on the positive side of stress. In small, sporadic doses, stress can increase brain function for gains in creativity and problem solving ability. It can boost your immune response and provide the motivation you need to engage your issue. Over time, small amounts of stress will even enhance your resiliency for managing future difficulties.
  2. Change your self-talk. Instead of stumbling and dwelling on the negatives of your current predicament, start incorporating the idea of “yet.” The phrase “I can’t…” has an entirely different tone than “I can’t…yet.” Once you have reset your self-talk to allow for the possibility of change, you will find yourself ready to brainstorm creative strategies for moving forward.
  3. Tackle problems one at a time. Select one specific aspect of your life that is causing you too much stress. Focus on the root cause of your stress and decide on a plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to delegate tasks to a member of your team. New habits take time and training, but can create real change to improve your life. Continue working your plan, refining as needed, until the stress is no longer a factor. Choose another challenge and start again.
  4. Embrace levity every day. Celebrate birthdays, small victories, and changes in the weather. Add laughter to your workday. These will cut tension in the office and refresh you and your team. Your patients, your team, and you will enjoy the more cheerful and relaxed atmosphere this creates.

By embracing the motivating influence of stress without allowing it to drive you down into anxiety, you can generate positivity, creativity, and effective change. However, if you have chronic stress that is substantially affecting your daily life, talk to your doctor. To best help others, you must first care for yourself. Contact our dental business coach for more information.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Coach’s Corner | Spirit of Thankfulness

This week I hope you are taking a break and celebrating Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. 

For my family, there will be a seat missing this year. Last month, my Nana, who was over 100 years old, passed away. She lived such a long life and taught me so much. It is in her honor that I dedicate this Coach’s Corner to her, discussing what she taught me, and how this can relate to your dental office. 

To say her generation understood hard work is an understatement. As a small child, she grew up on a farm and knew hard work equaled the amount of food on the table. Living through the Great Depression, she watched her family learn the hard way about how to save money. Growing up in this ever-changing environment also taught her what self-discipline looked like on a practical level. 

When she married my grandfather, she worked outside the home, which was rare in those days. I can recall the stories both of them shared with me about life during WWII. They both worked during the day in their respective jobs, and when they got off work, they worked again at a gas station/grill that they owned. I took for granted their entrepreneurial skills which I have in my blood. My Nana was so proud of me owning my own company.  My grandparents would share how soldiers were passing through town and sometimes they just needed some help. They gave away so much to others because it was the right thing to do in that situation. It was given in the spirit of loving others. 

I think you can see how these examples relate very easily to your dental practice. Getting into dental school takes a lot of discipline to study to obtain the appropriate grades. Working hard and having perfect clinical skills is not suggested- it is expected as a dental student. After doing all of the hard work and graduating with your degree, then you make the decision about how you are going to practice dentistry. Will you join a practice as an associate, or will you start one from scratch? This is where your entrepreneurial skills come into focus. For those of you who have the flexibility, you will give away some of your dentistry for free since it is the right thing to do in certain situations. Every dentist I have met has a giving heart. 

It is in that spirit of thankfulness that I hope you are surrounded by your loved ones and enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday.

If you would like to discuss this in more detail, please get in touch with me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com

Visit my website: https://victorydentalmanagement.com/

Things to Consider Before Buying New Dental Equipment | Dental Team Coaching

Dental Business Coach

Dental Business Coach

No matter how well-equipped your office is initially, time, wear, and changes in technology will at some point require you to purchase additional or replacement equipment. There are a few points you may wish to keep in mind before making your final decision on a major equipment purchase for your practice.

First, take your time. Like with any other major purchase, rushing into a decision can be costly. Instead, spend several weeks in preparation for this choice. Meet with your Dental CPA about any tax implications and ask if there is an optimal time to make such a purchase. Consider carefully the following factors to be sure you are choosing the right piece of equipment for your needs:

  • What is the main purpose of this equipment?
  • What features do you want/need it to have?
  • Are you and your team going to need extensive training to use it?
  • How often is this equipment going to be used?
  • Will it fit the space available?
  • Will you have to make changes to the space to use this equipment (ie, wiring, utility connections, etc)?
  • Is the manufacturer reliable?
  • Does the manufacturer provide good service for their equipment?
  • How long should this equipment last?
  • What is the expected benefit of this upgrade?
  • When do you plan to have it installed and in use?
  • If this equipment is to allow new services, is there a demand for those services in your practice/community?
  • Will your pricing for your services offset the investment cost and still be competitive in your market?
  • If the equipment you are buying is used, have you obtained an independent opinion on its condition?
  • How does the cost compare to other models? Other manufacturers?
  • Can you purchase directly from the manufacturer to save on cost?
  • Have you compared pricing from a variety of sources online?

While not all of these may apply to your equipment purchase in every circumstance, it should be clear that major dental office equipment should never be bought on impulse or without thorough consideration and research. Recommendations from other dentists or your dental CPA can also be helpful in narrowing your search.

Your dental equipment plays a vital role in the quality of care you are able to provide to your patients. When it is time to add or replace a piece of that equipment, make sure you take plenty of time to research, refine, and select the right piece for your practice. This will help you be certain that your investment will bring value to your practice for years to come.

To learn more, contact our dental management consultant today.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Be a Leader, Not a Manager | Dental Practice Consulting

Dental Practice Management

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Practice leaders set the standard and pace of your work. Managers hover and maintain status quo. Which definition sounds like you? Changing the way your practice is structured or operates can be a vast undertaking. Use these tips to get started on a path for developing an innovative practice that you lead, not manage.

Leaders Innovate

Leaders develop ideas that further practices. Managers use the framework that is already in place. Don’t hover over your hygienists or office staff. Let their work speak for itself and step in where necessary. Demonstrate to your team the qualities you want through your own actions.

Do What You Do Best

The majority of your time should be spent with patients, that is the best use of your abilities. This means you must delegate tasks to other team members. Leaders delegate tasks. Let your office staff handle the clerical side of the practice. Utilize a hands-off strategy where appropriate to free your time for patients.

Track Team Tasks

Rather than micromanaging your team, have them write or email their daily tasks to you. This will allow you to track the team’s progress and use of time. It will also save you from constantly asking, “What did you do today?” Hold your team accountable for their tasks. Request that your team define their tasks in quantitative terms. Spot-check as you feel necessary.

Know When to Hire and Train

When your practice feels swamped, hire and train. Leaders can recognize if their team is unable to handle the current workload. Pushing your team beyond their limits is not going to produce the results you are striving to achieve. Your team will work best when they have the necessary time and resources to do their tasks.

Leaders don’t have the time to micromanage. Leaders know when to back off and let the practice run on its own. This doesn’t mean you should let your entire operation always run on auto-pilot, but focus on letting each team member contribute their abilities in the best capacity. The only way to break through the status-quo is to allow for new ideas and strategies to take hold. This cannot be achieved if you are spending your time hovering over your team. Transform the way you manage your practice and your practice will transform itself.

To learn more, contact our dental business coach.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Making the Right Impression | Dental Practice Management

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When clients visit your office, they observe. Your clients are going to make decisions and judgements based on what they see. If you don’t already, you need to think in the same manner your clients do. If you were a new client to your office, would you schedule a second appointment? Here are a few elements to consider.

Your Office’s Appearance

Look at your office. Is it clean and hygienic? Is it cluttered, dusty, or musty? Your clients will pick up on elements such as these. Make your office spotless. You risk your professional credibility if your office appears to be dirty. Clients are visiting you for professional treatment, so the environment must be clean. Décor matters too. Consider repainting your walls to be a soothing light blue or green. What artwork do you have hanging on your walls? Project a modern atmosphere to create confidence in your methods.

Your Team’s Appearance

Both you and your team should always be presentable. Is a team member coming to work wearing wrinkled clothing or covered with pet hair? Are phone calls left unanswered? An observant client will notice and it could cost you repeat business. You are in the business of retaining and serving your clients, so your team needs to smile often and set a confident, professional tone.

Keeping your office clean is a key element to client retention. Create an environment that makes your clients feel comfortable. Visitors will interpret your office and the appearance of your team as a reflection of your professional capabilities. It is imperative in today’s age of social media and online reviews that you present a positive impression of your business. A misstep on your part may be read by other prospective clients online.

Make the right impression with your clients if you hope to gain repeat business.

To get started with a professional consultation, please contact our dental consultant, Lynne Leggett.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

Revitalize Revenues through Increased Investment | Dental Business Coach

Dental Practice Consulting

Every business experiences trends of increasing and decreasing revenues. When new business slows and income begins to dip, many business owners react by cutting back on the item in their budget they think is most expendable: marketing.

The unfortunate reality is that this is almost definitely the wrong step to take. When you cut your marketing budget, you reduce your revenues as well.

Today’s business cannot survive through only word of mouth referrals. Your company needs to attract new clientele on an ongoing basis, not just in the weeks following a postcard blast or mass email. In addition, you need to engage and maintain the loyalty of your existing customers.

Consistent, effective marketing helps you achieve both ends.

One recent study examined the marketing budgets of several publicly-traded companies. The researchers found that businesses that were spending an average of 16.5% of revenue grew up to 15% annually, and those that spent an average of 22% grew 16% – 30% annually.

When your marketing budget increases, your revenue follows suit.

There are several factors that can influence how much your business should be spending on marketing.

  • Are you a new startup company? You may need to invest more until you have established a client base.
  • Is business established and you want to maintain growth? Compare your current rates of new customers to those lost annually to determine how your current budget is doing.
  • Is business stagnant or decreasing? Consider investing an additional 5% or 10% above your current marketing budget, at least until the trend reverses.
  • How competitive is your local market? Higher competition requires greater investment to grow business.

For more advice regarding your marketing budget and business growth, contact our dental consultant.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

September Coach’s Corner | Relieve Your Stress

In the last month I have received many emails from followers of the Coaches Corner. The theme has been the same – everyone needs encouragement. I know we are at the end of the third quarter and a lot of practices are under stress from many factors – staffing issues, patient behavior, and scheduling issues. I have received many of the same team issues in these emails.

Covid has put a lot of stress on doctors as well as team members. Most alarming is the stress that is coming at everyone from multiple places. School has started so for those working for you that have children, this is really stressful with getting their kids in a routine and handling any anxiety issues regarding all of that. Everyone on the team is feeling the stress when patients are dumping on them either with language or behavior they have never exhibited before. The doctor and team may feel defeated if the schedule falls apart and that has not been the norm before in your practice. All of this, and more, adds up to everyone feeling on edge, like a pot that is ready to boil over.

Instead of allowing these concerns to permeate your team, focus on the positive. You have woken up today and have been given another day to make a difference in someone’s life. Start your huddle with how excited you are to see Mr. Smith and the treatment he is getting that day and what it will mean for him and his oral health. Showing excitement can be a catalyst for the rest of your team – excitement is contagious!

If you have a true team working with you, this positive outlook will multiply and touch everyone, mostly your patients and other team members. Looking for those moments where gratitude and thankfulness can be shown will focus you on something positive instead of something dragging you down. I promise you; this will lighten your load, you will smile more, and have a better day. Try this instead and let me know how it works for you and your team. 😊

If you would like to get more information on how you can learn to be the head coach of your team, please email me at lynne@victorydentalmanagement.com

Nobody Told Me That! | Ep. 86 A Gathering of Insurance Geeks is a Beautiful Thing featuring Lynne Leggett (PODCAST)

Lynne Leggett was recently featured on an episode of the Nobody Told Me That! podcast. The lively discussion, hosted by Teresa Duncan, focused on the benefits side of dentistry. This episode also includes Christine Taxin, the founder of the Insurance Extravaganza, an annual event that’s coming up this November in Orlando.

Topics covered include Medicare, Medicaid, credentialing, and all the frustrations that can arise for an insurance coordinator.

Enjoy this great discussion!

Effective Goal-Setting: Making Dreams into Reality | Dental Office Coach

Dental Office Management

No matter how impressive your vision for your business may be, dreams require hard work, strategic planning, and a willingness to adapt to make them real. Highly successful business owners learn to set goals realistically and effectively. Master the skills of effective goal-setting, strategic planning, and assessment to find greater success in your business.

Set Incremental Goals

Start small when setting goals. Establish daily and weekly goals. It can be easy to let ambition take over while you dream of long-term goals. However, you cannot reach your long-term goals without smaller victories along the way. Setting smaller, incremental goals provides the opportunity for you to be in constant control of your business. You will know if you miss a weekly goal, and you can then adjust your strategy to make sure it never happens again. If you are only setting quarterly or yearly goals it can come as a surprise when you miss them, or your team might be left struggling to meet them at the last minute.

Make Goals Visible

You and your team need a visual reminder of what your goals are and when you plan to achieve them. Put them up on a bulletin board in the office, include them on your calendar. Write your goals in a place you look daily as a constant reminder. We all have those back-of-the-mind thoughts or ideas that might be good if implemented, but they are frequently forgotten. Make your goals visible to you and your entire team.

Goals Need to be Measured

How will you know if you achieved your goal if you cannot measure it? Goals should have a measurable standard. Perhaps your goal is to see 10 new clients by the end of each month or to increase the number of referrals by 50% before the end of the quarter. Pick specific numbers and concepts that can be defined in a concrete way. Abstract goals are harder to reach because they are too difficult to define. When goals are measurable, you will know exactly what you need to achieve your desired result.

Rethink the way you are setting your goals for your business. Your ambitious plans will be successful only if you have a road map to reach them. This is where effective goal setting comes in. Get into the habit of writing down your goals and measuring them. Effective goal-setting strategies take careful planning. Master these skills and you will be on your way to the business success you have dreamed of achieving.

For more tips on managing your business, please contact us.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053

The Bright Side of Patient Complaints | Dental Management Consultant

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No matter how fantastic you and your team are, you will occasionally have a patient complain about something. When this happens, you and your team may feel discouraged, frustrated, or even annoyed, depending on the specific complaint and how it was shared. It can be easy to brush the complaint aside and tell yourself that the patient was just having a bad day. However, changing the way you think about patient complaints can be highly beneficial to your business.

Patient complaints may involve anything from office décor or other patients to the time, cost, or outcome of a treatment. Even concerns that feel trivial or unfair to you should be handled with respect and appreciation. Like any consumer, your patient wants to feel like you care about their experience and their feelings. A complaint is an opportunity for you to win back a patient’s trust.

If you thank your patient for bringing their concerns to you, commit to taking action to correct the situation, and follow through on your commitment, you will earn loyalty from that patient. This loyalty can translate into fewer rescheduled or cancelled appointments, increased case acceptance, and even referrals to friends, family, and social media connections. Over time, handing one complaint as an opportunity to improve can lead to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in revenue.

However, if patients leave your office feeling that their concerns are unimportant to you, they will likely look elsewhere for dental care in the future. Unhappy patients do not stay with your practice. They do not refer others to you. They may even tell others about their unpleasant experience with your office, which can cost you potential patients and revenue.

Every patient complaint you receive is a gift. Your team or practice may have a weakness that you were unaware was an issue. If one patient voices a complaint, it is likely that others have noticed the problem as well. Consider asking patients for feedback after a visit. Let them know proactively that you appreciate their input and are ready and willing to provide the best experience possible. When your patients feel valued, they will be more loyal to you, your team, and your practice.

For more tips on providing a better patient experience, contact our office.

Victory Dental Management
Phone: (804) 399-2053