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President, Weir Dental Practice Management, Ltd.
A practice management consultant and international speaker, Julie Weir is author of the book, 10 Steps to a Dental Practice Business Plan, a workbook for dental teams. Julie specializes in the business of dentistry, including the management of practice systems and personnel that effect production and collections. She received her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of Michigan, is an active member of The Academy of Dental Management Consultants, and a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Institute. Having begun her career in dentistry in 1976, Julie has more than 20 years of combined experience in clinical and business management in the industry. Her career includes clinical hygiene practice in general dentistry, periodontics, and orthodontics, as well as a clinical teaching appointment at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She recently presented a course at the National University of Singapore Dental School. To order her book or get further information, contact Weir Dental Practice Management, Ltd. at 719-495-8735 or WDental@aol.com.
One of the most important management tools dentists can have is an understanding of the business numbers of their practice. Some of these key numbers are:
year patients are treated
Business numbers must be defined, monitored, and analyzed on a daily and monthly basis, as appropriate. They will provide powerful information that can be used to take the practice to a new level.
When I consult with dental practices, I often find that many doctors do not have a Dental Practice Business Plan. It is precisely because of the lack of planning and goal setting that potential profit dollars are lost to the practice every year. If a doctor puts together a business plan for their practice each yearand involves the entire teamit is much more likely that financial goals will be reached, instead of just leaving it up to chance.
The entire team must understand why it is so important for the practice to have these goal numbers, what the goal numbers are, and how to track them. Staff members desire raises, benefits, and retirement contributions every year, and the practice must be profitable in order to continue to provide them. When a dental team is focused on goals, additional dollars are produced and collected. Typically, production increases are 10% to 25% in already busy practices, and if a practice has room for growth, increases can be over 80%! These added profits can be used to support salary increases for the doctor and staff, retirement contributions, debt reduction, new equipment, or facility improvements. A practice at any stage, whether it is a new start-up or mature, can benefit from implementing a Dental Practice Business Plan. The plan should define exactly what the practice goal numbers must be for production, collections, and expenses in order to meet the doctors personal and the practices overall financial needs. It is well worth the time and effort to put together a business plan that defines goal numbers and sets up a system of monitoring practice performance to determine whether or not the goal numbers are being met.
The benefits of having a Dental Practice Business Plan are enormous. The team can increase profits, reduce stress, and have more control over their future. All of this leads to more satisfaction and happiness while working in the dental practice!
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