Does it seem like your dental practice is getting too big for its own good? You might be right. While seeing growth is good news, it’s wise to slow down and think through expanding your dental footprint. Developing your business too quickly, and in the wrong direction, can result in very expensive consequences.
Yes, the idea of a larger, updated space is appealing, but there are always costs involved. The larger space comes with a larger price tag. Moving is an additional cost. Then you need to make sure your current patients can conveniently find you, so you’ll need to include marketing efforts in that move. Similar concepts apply when expanding your team. See where this starts adding up and surpassing the gains you project for that location?
Expanding before you're ready can be costly, but we're sharing a few tips to help make it possible.
We’re not discouraging a change of scenery, but there are several things to check off your list before you should start growing:
1. Your Reasons
Even if you’re just thinking of expanding, having a clear set of goals you want to achieve with it is critical. Do you want to serve more patients, offer new services, or enter a new market? Clearly outlining your reasons will help you see clearly.
2. The Market
A thorough study of the local market where you intend to expand will give you a better handle on the demand for dental services, the demographics of that market, and how hot your competition may be. If the market is saturated, you may want to consider a different location or offer different services.
Who might become your new patients? What are their ages, income levels, and oral health trends? Demographic data can help you tailor your services and marketing to meet the specific needs of the region and attract the cases you want.
4. Financial Feasibility
Guessing when it comes to financing an expansion is risky business. This is why you should prepare a detailed budget that includes estimated construction costs (if applicable), equipment, staffing, and marketing your new location. Evaluating your practice’s current financial health and projecting your potential return on investment will give you a good idea if it’s the right time to grow.
5. Staffing & The Talent Pool
We know staffing is still a pain point for dentists, so imagine having to worry about it in two locations, or more! It’s crucial to evaluate the ability of skilled professionals in the area. Our sister company, DentalPost, offers a 5-Step Hiring Toolkit that can help you attract and retain a competent and experienced dental practice team.
Here are a few more things to consider when looking to expand your practice. Is there room for your doctors to expand their hours? This doesn’t mean they have to work longer days, but they could work out a rotating schedule to attract more patients needing flexible hours. This often includes weekend hours.
Expanding services is another route if expanding hours is not an option. Are there specialties your doctors excel at that could become an attraction to potential patients? It’s a great way to grow without spending money on a new space, and your doctors can clinch a niche market.
Optimizing your marketing efforts is another way to attract new patients and cases to ensure a steady patient flow that will follow you to your new location. And it won’t be nearly as expensive as relocating right away. You can avoid juggling a new space while trying to attract an influx of new clientele. This is also a great way to promote those new, expanded hours and/or services.
It’s important to devise a plan for expansion before you sign that lease or buy that new, improved location. With some creativity and patience, expansion can be a profitable step for your organization.