How to Have Your Best Year Ever

The goal of every business owner is to see profits grow every year, and as far as profitable businesses go, orthodontics is pretty solid. If you’re not doing as well as you’d like, there are usually a few easy ways to correct that. So, how do you ensure that you’ll finish 2019 better than 2018?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Plan your upcoming year properly.  Things don’t happen by accident. There are too many moving pieces and while you might get lucky by just simply showing up for work every day and growing by brute force and sheer determination, great businesses grow by focusing on growth strategies that were planned out in advance. Figure out your plan for growth, for personnel and any other major aspects of your practice that can guide you in the coming year.
  2. Make an HR plan. Have you found yourself simpy adding team members when you needed them? You’re bursting at the seams, so you throw in a new front desk or assistant? After you determine your growth plan for the coming year, figure out your strategies for adding new team members and be prepared for that growth rather than having that growth put you into a place where you’re stressed out and find yourself in crisis mode. You can almost always anticipate when you’ll need an additional assistant or administrative team member and use your numbers to confirm it.
  3. Figure out your “niche”. There are a lot of orthodontists out there, and unfortunately, being a great orthodontist alone is no longer enough to see your practice explode with growth. So, figure out what sets your practice apart.  Do you provide some service that would set you apart from the rest of the community? Do you have a passion within our specialty that would allow you a subspecialty within your practice (airway, TMD, etc)? Figure out what sets you apart and double down on it. Remember, the first one to a niche is often the one who owns it long term.
  4. Make a plan to manage your overhead.  The old saying says that it doesn’t matter how much you produce, but rather, what you take home. Many of us produce quite well, but can’t figure out how to take home more because our overhead keeps expanding. As your practice grows during its infancy, many fixed expenses will start to get smaller as a percentage of your production, but focus on the variable expense items and see how you can be more efficient. The best way to do this for 2019? You got it. Plan ahead, and now is a great time to do it.
  5. Develop a CE plan. Think you know it all? If you do, I definitely don’t want you practicing on me. The one thing that the best clinicians have in common is a voracious appetite for continuing education and that doesn’t mean simply getting clinical tips on Facebook and using that as your strategy. If you’re worried about meeting your state minimum for CE, there’s a problem. To have the best practice, you need to be taking a lot of CE, and it should be a well balanced diet of management, clinical and leadership. Step outside of orthodontics and take some courses on managing a team  better or sales. You’ll be surprised what it’s like when you learn sales with folks from outside our industry.
  6. Visit other practices. As I’ve previously written, visiting other offices is the best way to change your practice quickly. Seeing others at work in successful practices will help you learn “best practices” and you’ll be amazed at how quickly these small changes can help you grow or mange your practice. I’ve also found that the positive energy I bring back from other practices is infectious and my whole team gets excited when I come back from my monthly visits.
  7. No excuses. Yes, I know you have a young child. Yes, I know you have vacations planned. Yes, I know that you have very little money. You know what we call those? Excuses. Your practice doesn’t care about your life. Sorry, but it’s true. It’s going to grow or not grow based on your effort and the more time you put into it (to a point) the more it’s going to grow, so, get on it.

Great practices don’t happen by accident. I’ve visited a lot of them and they all share one thing in common: A leader who is passionate about growth and works on it constantly. While there are many different styles and sizes of successful practices, only YOU can determine the type of practice that’s right for you. So, with the new year nearly upon us, what better time is there than now to figure out how to make 2019 your best year ever?
Go ahead and work on your practice and make 2019 the year that brings you the success you always dreamt of!!!
All the best,
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