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Is Your Dental Practice Memorable or Forgettable?

What can you do now to make your dental practice more profitable now, and more valuable in the future? In our next series of blog posts, we will explore the CoreValue framework of value drivers — a set of 18 factors that impact the value of an enterprise. All of these value drivers make your dental practice more profitable now and increase its value when you sell. This week we’ll examine Product Differentiation.

How much do you charge for…?

If the most common question from new patients is “How much?” then you haven’t differentiated your practice from others. When you’re competing on price, there will always be another dentist willing to go broke faster than you.

How is your practice different?

To find what’s different in your practice, answer these questions:

•   What do you do in your practice to set yourself apart from all others in town?

•   What do you do better than your competitors?

•   Why should a patient choose your practice over others?

Dig deep

If you don’t have ready answers to these questions, it’s time to work on emphasizing your differences. You can start by brainstorming answers to the above questions as a team. Go deeper than the obvious, easy answers like “We provide great customer service” and “We provide quality care.” Every dentist shares those values, so what is it that makes your practice different from the rest?

Do you offer a choice of multiple ways to remind patients of upcoming appointments — phone call, text or email? Is the waiting room pleasant? Do you make billing as painless as possible?

And what does “quality care” mean? Does your staff check in with patients after difficult procedures? Are you and your staff constantly learning about the latest improvements in dental care?

What is your vision for your practice?

If you honestly can’t come up with any differentiators, or if you find only weak ones, then work on your vision for your practice. What do you want your practice to be known for? A friendly place for kids? A sophisticated practice for the latest in technologies? What types of patients do you enjoy working with the most? Do you have a mission statement that digs deeper than the surface?

Make your differences the foundation of your practice

Once you start finding the ways to differentiate your practice, develop systems that make these differences part of the way you do everything. With these systems as a foundation, you’ll find that everything becomes easier. Systems will help your practice run smoothly so everyone gets more done in less time.

A practice with solid systems in place and a clear difference from the competition may allow you to charge premium prices for your services. A successor will also be willing to pay more for a boutique practice than for a generic one.

What makes your practice different?

Your practice is a reflection of your uniqueness as a person and of your employees. Let’s set up a brainstorming session to find ways to make your practice stand out from the competition!

--Mark Stafford