Owning your own business may seem intimidating for many of you, but for the majority of dentists, this is a reality. For many Americans it is part of living the American Dream, and for most dentists it becomes a primary goal of their career. Some will choose to jump right into practice ownership, while others prefer to continue their education or work as an associate dentist prior to assuming the risk and responsibility of owning their own practice.
Just as the situation may differ, so do the new dentists. Some doctors hit the ground running, while others will struggle, languishing under a lack of confidence and immature clinical and people skills. Some will share the same concerns: Am I good enough? Am I fast enough? Will I be able to tackle the business side of the practice? Your own level of confidence in your skills and abilities is probably the best indicator. If you feel that buying a practice is right for you, keep these three things in mind:
The most attractive feature of purchasing an existing practice is the immediate patient flow and cash flow. In addition, the overall potential for earnings is much higher for practice owners than for associates. Like a start-up there is associated risk, of course, but with risk comes reward.
On the other hand, there are not always practices available for purchase in the exact area you want to live. Likewise, the practice may not be the “ideal” practice you had envisioned or hoped for. Buying a practice may mean choosing from what is available, which may not be precisely what you want. That being said, do not underestimate the ability to take the practice and make it what you want it to be.
Starting a practice from scratch may be your best or only option. In areas experiencing high population growth you may not see the value in paying for the “goodwill” associated with an established patient base when you could easily attract and retain patients on your own. The key to success is found in your approach. Too many practice start-ups fail due to poor planning and overspending.
Last but not least. Starting a practice from scratch is a great opportunity to get practice systems set up correctly the first time. If you don’t know how the front office runs, make sure to get some training yourself. You will be thankful you did.
Marie Chatterley is with CTC Associates. If you are interested in exploring your options of starting a practice or purchasing a practice, please call Marie Chatterley at 720-219-4766 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Marie Chatterley
Start-up and Management Specialist