Starting your dental practice with good leadership

Dig into some common mistakes young dentists make, plus a few tips on how to get it right.

June 29, 2021
Dental Practice LEadership tips

Whether you’re starting your new dental practice from scratch or purchasing an existing practice, what you do right after that step is critical. It all starts with one person — you! — and your leadership that will shape your culture, create your practice’s identity, and ultimately determine your level of success. That sounds like a lot, and frankly, it is. But making sound decisions and preparing yourself early on will make things easier and really pay off down the road.

We’ve all heard it hundreds of times: Learn from your mistakes. Well, lots of mistakes have been made by those who came before you, and fortunately, you’re in position to learn from them. So let’s take a look.


Mistake #1: Lack of communication

Communication is so important, in fact, that not communicating or communicating poorly is our #1 mistake to avoid. Create a structure for communication and development that works for you AND your team. Consider a daily, weekly, or monthly meeting that fits your team’s pace and workload. In that meeting, be sure to allow enough time to get feedback from your team. Then, the really important part: Listen and be willing to learn and adapt from it. Take performance reviews seriously and give your staff feedback that is clear, kind, and actionable. In a nutshell, set the tone for an open, honest, and considerate environment, and you’ll be well on your way.


Mistake #2: Over-spending

It’s natural to want the best dental equipment and software (or at least close to it) when you’re starting out, but does it make financial sense to splurge? Also consider the cost of your rent, payroll, and personal expenses, then set realistic business and personal budgets. Set reminders to formally review and update your budget every year, as your situation and needs will change over time. If applicable, include your spouse or other stakeholders in the process. Get help from an advisor such as a CPA and/or financial planner to hold you accountable to that budget. It’s also a good idea to perform a cost-benefit analysis on major purchases.


Mistake #3: Unclear mission and vision

Spend a day or two working “on” your business, instead of “in” your business. Write down the things that are most important to you in both your personal and business life. Create a simple statement that defines how you want to live and work, then use it to help guide your key decisions. Your business mission should be easy for your staff to understand so you’re all working toward a common goal together.


Mistake #4: Bringing personal issues to the practice

There aren’t many things that can cause problems at work more than ushering in problems from home. Whether it’s addictive substances like drugs and alcohol or sticky situations like a divorce, do everything you can to keep them from affecting your office. More importantly, work to resolve these issues together with qualified professionals. Being a better version of you will make a world of difference in all areas of your life.

Our team — and the UBTpro suite of services — is here to make starting your dental practice easier and more effective. And as time goes on, we’ll keep an eye on growing your wealth and making the most of it. If you have any questions or would like to talk about your practice, contact Katie below.

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