Dreaming of Practice Ownership: The importance of a business plan, regular planning check-ups

Editor’s note: This is the fifth article in a series of New Dentist Now blog posts on practice ownership from Wells Fargo Practice Finance, the practice lender endorsed by ADA Member Advantage.

A sound business plan can help new dentists realize their dreams of practice ownership. And just like teeth require regular check-ups, so too do business plans. This blog will offer some ideas for building your initial business plan, including regular check-ups once your practice is up and running.

When considering practice ownership, think of a business plan like a road map that you can refer to often to help you keep your goals alive and performance calibrated for success.

When you first build your business plan, consider including one or more of the following components:

  • An initial summary, including how your business will operate (i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.); your practice and leadership philosophy; your management and advisory team roster (with biographies/resumes in the appendix); and a projection of your future performance and growth over the next one, two, three, or more years.
  • A detailed review and summary of market/competitive forces and opportunities, your differentiating background as a dentist, and other considerations that comprise your local market analysis (i.e., one you have completed or asked an expert to conduct for you).
  • A marketing/communications/promotional plan that lays out specific and measurable marketing goals as part of your marketing strategy to help launch your practice, sustain it, and ultimately grow it through promotional means, such as advertising (i.e., social media, print, direct mail, TV/radio, Yellow Pages, etc.), digital marketing (such as your web presence and social media “properties/handles”), community relations, events, and more. In addition to specific and measurable goals, this portion of your business plan can detail your marketing strategies around pricing (of product sales and service) and desired performance in the longer term.
  • A detailed financial plan, including cash flow, profit, and loss projections and expectations for the business’s growth/expansion over time.
  • Operational imperatives and related action plans, such as human resources, finance, legal, compliance, and regulatory considerations and any resulting action plans.
  • Appendix material to supplement and expand on the details of your business plan.

Once your business plan is complete, you can share it with your team of advisors and ultimately your new dental team (once hired), refer to it often in team huddles, and update it at least annually to keep it current and relevant for all involved.

A business plan is a living document that shouldn’t get dusty on a shelf. It requires regular, proactive check-ups … just like teeth.

A tool that can help prepare you:

Other helpful resources:

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

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