Today is a guest post from one of a pair of married dentists, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty.
Tried it — Didn’t Like It
by Dr. Larry Dougherty:
Owning a dental practice is rewarding. Understatement alert: it can also be stressful. This isn’t unique to dentistry; it’s just part of owning a small business. If only there was a perfect cookbook on how to handle every situation, it would be so easy.
There’s no cookbook — we learn as much as we can, we measure and analyze, and we try to course-correct after mistakes. What worked in year one might not continue to work in years two and three.
Here are a few things we used to do – maybe they will work for you, but they didn’t work for us:
- Stay open late The evening slots were booked weeks in advance, but the no-show rate was terrible compared to our normal hours. And our after-hours patients were more interested in emergency/patch up treatment, not in becoming regular patients to our practice. We also didn’t enjoy being in the office so late and our productivity declined.
- Maintain Multiple Vendors When our practice was small, it didn’t seem like a bad idea to comparison shop between numerous suppliers of the same products. As we grew, we didn’t have time for all of that. Worse, managing inventory became confusing.
- Micro-manage the Office At first we didn’t have an office manager or a bookkeeper. I tried to do it all myself and realized I was in way over my head. Sure, I’m smart enough to get up to speed, but is that the best use of my time and skills? It made sense in the beginning to do it myself, but the busier we became, the more it made sense to hire professionals and maintain oversight.
Dr. Larry Dougherty and Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty are the owners of Rolling Oaks Dental in San Antonio, TX.