What I’ve Learned so Far from Cycling

I said I wasn’t going to take up cycling. I said it out loud and to Sherran so that I wouldn’t do it. I should have known that I would have to eat my words!

Some of our family members are riding in an event called Hotter N Hell Hundred in August of this year to honor my uncle Bethel’s son Marcus who died in November of 2015. Marcus had told his dad that he would ride in the event with Bethel this year, so after his sudden death, his sisters and others rallied around Bethel to take Marcus’s place. I was supposed to be a support person. As in, “NO, I am not taking up cycling!” Yeah, right.

Now I am the proud owner of not one, but TWO bicycles! I have a road bike for riding in Bryan when I am there working with Sherran during the week and a mountain bike for riding the dirt roads around my home here in East Texas. This morning was my first training ride on the mountain bike. This is what I was thinking about during my workout today:

When dentists start their practice, it’s kind of like getting a new bike. Some dentists spend a LOT of money on the newest and most modern equipment, while others are a more conservative and look for the best deals. With my new cycling hobby–I was lucky to find a practically new/used bike for a great deal and my brother found a free mountain bike that he gifted me! My uncle’s bike cost him around $5000. Mine was a fraction of that cost! But we are both still cyclists! LESSON: You’ve made the decision and you’re in business! Congratulations!! You’re a Dental Practice Owner!!

As soon as I became a bike owner, my brother suggested that the most important things I needed first were a good pair of bike shorts and a pump for my tires. He said next I should find some gloves to protect my hands. I already had a helmet–it came with my bike! Dentists have certain equipment that they MUST have to get started as well. Having the best equipment and software that you can afford allow you to practice dentistry effectively. And effective dentistry is the first step to building your practice. LESSON: You don’t have to have ALL of the equipment that other dentists have in order to run a successful practice. Some equipment is a necessity, however, and you must not only have it but learn how to use it AND have your team trained on how to use it as well.

Now that I am a cyclist, I want to train as effectively as possible to reach my goal of completing the ride I committed to. I want to lessen my mistakes and keep from having setbacks due to injuries. In order to do that, I NEED a coach! I am learning as much as I can by reading articles about cycling, asking questions of my team of fellow riders, and doing what my coach suggests in order to get started. Notice I did not say that I am trying to figure it out alone! Coaches are people who have already helped others get success in their field. They have already been witness to the possibilities and the possible dangers that are involved. And they help us reach our goals in the fastest and most effective ways possible based on our level of commitment. When we go into dental practices that have been been trying to figure it out alone, we often find frustrated teams, dentists, and systems that are not working effectively. Coaching may seem like a luxury, but having the right person to advise you on how to reach your goals is really a MUST if you’d like to be reach profitability and have a well-trained team.

Coaches help us know what dangers to look out for; how to avoid pot holes. Which routes are best for our progress! I learned fast that I didn’t want to get stuck on a big hill climb and have to push my bike all the way back home! My coach helped me plan a route that would challenge me but not put me in danger of getting hurt! He told me what kinds of hazards to be aware of. He reminds me to wear my helmet!

My coach also makes me track my progress and send him a daily record. He keeps me accountable to my goals. In dental practices, tracking the daily production goals and discussing them in morning huddles are the BEST way to change the focus of the dentist and their teams! We have proven this in every practice we have worked with. Having a coach who is looking at the numbers keeps your practice on target and can help you avoid falling completely away from your goals! Coaches will call and say, Get off of the couch! What happened to your production? Let’s get back on track!!

I promise to keep sharing my cycling adventures with you for the summer. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope that you can see how having a Coach for your practice can truly help you have a more enjoyable and profitable experience in your dental practice!

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New Year, New Practice!

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Wow! It’s halfway through the first month of 2016 ALREADY!!  It’s hard to believe how fast time flies by.  So it’s worth a mention, are you making the changes you dreamed about just about a month ago so you reach your goals for this new year?

Most successful people may not make New Years Resolutions, but they DO set new goals for their lives and work on a plan to implement those goals.  There are ways to reach your goals, and one of the quickest ways to figure it all out is to hire a Coach!

Dentists all over the country are struggling with attracting new patients, navigating insurance plans, and finding the balance between making a living and designing a life.  Dental Practice by Design is here to help.  We specialize in helping you raise your production and lessen your stress.  Teaching your team members to work together, present cases more effectively and use your schedule to maximize your results.

We offer One Day case presentation training as well as short and long term coaching.  We can help you create the dental practice that you have always wanted!  If you have questions about your practice or are thinking of hiring a consultant, give us a call.  We are here to help you succeed.

5 Ways to Foster Great Communication with Your Team

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Have you ever gone home at the end of the day and wondered, What Happened Today?? It happens to every team at some point. Successful dental teams have great communication, but even those teams can get off track if they stop talking to each other for some reason.

As the “Star” of your practice, great communication starts with YOU! When team members understand what’s expected of them and what’s going on in the office, everybody wins.

When we go into an office where there is division between “departments” (front versus the back, for instance), the first thing we try to understand is where the breakdown is happening, and it’s almost ALWAYS communication! When communication improves, the entire office starts working better, and that means more production and collection for your practice.

Here are 5 ways to build great communication with your team:

1. Clear Expectations For each Team Member. It’s vitally important for each team member to know what they are supposed to be doing every day. This may seem elementary, but too often, employees aren’t given clear direction and just “wing it”. It’s important for team members to know what is expected of them. If you’re not sure of what those expectations should be, how can your employees know? This is one of the areas that your coaching team can help.

2. Morning and Evening Huddles. We know, we know. Here they go again with the huddles! But regular meetings to go over what is working and what’s not are crucial for the success of your practice. When small problems are dealt with on a daily or weekly basis, they can be resolved before they affect your bottom line.

3. Story Telling. Human beings learn from stories. Using stories that inspire or direct the team on doing their jobs better are great ways to engage your team. You need to become a great storyteller about how you want your practice to operate and your patients to be treated. This is another area where coaches can help!

4. Weekly Accountability Reporting. Part of owning and running a successful business is knowing your numbers. How much is being spent on supplies? How fast are your Insurance claims being processed? What can be done better? This is crucial to the success of your practice, so don’t avoid it!

5. Communicate with Your Team Members daily. Don’t be afraid to build a relationship with your team members. Ask about them. Ask about their families. Tell them when they do something right! Say please and thank you. You are the Leader of your practice, and how you speak to your team members is the best way to build respect and team loyalty.

“When you keep communication from happening, fear sets in. Which is quickly followed by gossip.

Why? Because when team members don’t know what’s going on, they panic and begin to wonder if their job is in jeopardy or if the (practice) is falling apart.

How can you keep it from happening? It’s simple… Communicate!” Chris LoCurto

If you need help with setting clear expectations for your team or any of the other tips listed here, please send us a text at 979-255-2566. We are always eager to answer your questions or help you with ways to design your practice for success!

Sherran

Start Your Day Focused on Success!

Seattle Seahawks special teams coach Bob Casullo, center, shows plays to his kickoff return team during training camp Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. (AP Photo/Jim Bryant)

Seattle Seahawks special teams coach Bob Casullo, center, shows plays to his kickoff return team during training camp Monday, Aug. 15, 2005, at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash. (AP Photo/Jim Bryant)

If your favorite football team hit the field and started running the ball without a game plan, do you think they’d win their game? That’s the reason that it’s so important to begin your practice day with a morning huddle!

So here’s an outline of how a Great Morning Huddle can focus your team on success for the work day:

1) Start with Where You Are and Where You Want to Go: Beginning the huddle with your daily and monthly goal, and where you are in regards to those goals, helps everyone know the score. If your daily goal is $5000 and your day is scheduled for $6500 already, you know that you’re starting ahead of the game. If you are scheduled to $2000, you know that you need to be on the lookout for opportunities to add additional production. We believe that sharing your goal daily helps everyone focus on what your goal is for the practice. Then ask the team, What can we do to reach our goal?

Talking about what procedures could bring you to your goal helps the team broaden their focus. For instance, We could do 3 night guards, 2 whitenings, a bridge, a crown, or talk to everyone about Invisalign. This allows the team to think in terms of products, not just dollars. Try it! It works!

2) Talk about your schedule for the day, including a little personal information about each patient and what their reasons are for coming in. When the team knows that it’s Mr. Jones’s birthday week, or that Mrs. Smith mentioned she needs to be sure to get out on time due to a meeting at work, the entire team can work more efficiently and make your patients feel important. Also, if the Doctor needs to any details about a particular patient, this is the best time to discuss it.

3) Talk about the best time to see Emergencies. We want your schedule to avoid Log Jams, and the best way is to plan for when the Best time is for any possible Emergencies to be added.

4) Remind the team to ask for Referrals. The best way to bring new quality patients into your team is to ask your existing patients to help you find them! It’s so easy to get out of the habit of asking people for referrals, but it is the best source of new business. Make this a daily reminder so everyone has asking for referrals as a priority.

5) End the Huddle on time. Great morning huddles don’t take a lot of time. Having someone watch the clock to make sure you start and end on time is crucial to starting your day right!

Dental Practice by Design has seen the Morning Huddle be a game-changer in every office that commits to them and does them daily. Give these tips a try and let us know how they work for your team!

If you have any questions about morning huddles or other ways to help your team win this month, feel free to call or text us at 979-255-2566! We are committed to helping you design your practice for success.

Can You Afford A Vacation?

What’s a Vacation Anyway?

Read the following definition:

A period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation, especially one with pay granted to an employee.

It has become a stand practice in America to avoid taking time off.  Many doctors think, “I’m not making enough money already!  How on earth do you expect me to take a vacation?  Much less, close my office for a week and let my entire team take off on vacation too?!”

We’d like to give you some clear reasons for taking a vacation, as well as give you some helpful tips on how to successfully work it into your practice and financial schedule!

A study was done a while back that shows that most dentists’ production levels fall off after working longer than a six week period without a day off.  Your case diagnosis and case acceptance are both affected by your level of energy… you’re just too busy and too stressed out to diagnosis effectively, and it becomes easier just to recommend “watching” a tooth/teeth that need  treatment than to actually diagnosis an effective treatment plan.  The ability to overcome objections and to accept rejection are lowered.   It’s easier to lose your temper with co-workers.  The communication of the entire team is compromised.  So while you feel that you are working harder, your mind and heart just aren’t “in it” to perform at optimal levels.

The same goes for your team members. Feelings become more easily hurt, important tasks may be overlooked.  When these warning signs start to affect your profitability, it’s time to seriously consider a vacation!

If your schedule is booked to the brim, how can you possibly take off?  First of all, you have to plan ahead!  If you have an important date that has been planned by a family member, such as an anniversary trip or family reunion, those dates need to be placed on your practice schedule ASAP!  The more time you give your team to rearrange and re-schedule patients, the better.  You became a dentist so that you could have some control over your life and your business, and it is okay to reschedule patients when the need arises, as long as you make a conscientious effort NOT to make this a habit!  It’s much better to plan your scheduled days off at the beginning of the year so that your patients are not being shuffled from one day to another, however, if you really need to move patients, this can be handled professionally and efficiently by your front desk team.  If you need help with how to do this, please feel free to send us an email… we’ll be happy to give you some effective suggestions.

If you are short on cash, decide what amount you can afford to set aside for the next 6 weeks in order to fund your vacation and take the necessary steps to work it into your budget.  Hold a meeting to discuss your decision to take a vacation and allow your team members to share in the planning process.

As for your team, many families refrain from vacation these days due to lack of funds. Many team members I have spoken to are having stay-cations due to not enough money to leave and stay in a hotel.   In our practice, we allowed the doctor to take a pre-scheduled amount of money out of each paycheck to put into an account for us to collect at a later date, for vacation funds. It was not a huge amount in most cases. However, saving even $25.00 a check will afford the team member at least a weekend away. It is late to suggest this now as summer is upon us. Think of the added benefit for next year. YES, it is after tax dollars.

This is an effective method for setting up your vacations next year.  First, ask each of your team members to write down any special events they may be planning that requires them to take off.  It is your office, so you get to decide when you will be closed, but we recommend allowing your team to take part in deciding which weeks you will be closed.  Buy an Erasable Calendar in November for the upcoming year. Then plan which days you are going to take off! Everyone has input and everyone  is off at the same time! Sounds crazy? I did it for 15 years and it works. Everyone has rest or fun adventures, and everyone comes back rested and ready to work.

If you would like to discuss how to make this work for your practice, please send me an email.  We want to help you take more time off to be with your family and want your team to be able to do the same!

Solicitors or Speakers, Really?

We often wonder if you read completely through our website seeking the Speaking Engagements or Dates of State or National Meetings we speak at? We don’t! Unlike other Consultants, we do not pay “rent” on a room to speak. Nor do we “reserve” a place to invite an audience.

OH, you thought every Consultant or Practice Management Consultant was “invited” to speak? So prestigious that ADA, AACD or other larger Associations waited in a long line of opportunity just to have the Consultant “speak” at their meetings too? NOPE! The Consultant or Practice Management Guru paid to have that audience!

Are you surprised? Why? Don’t you realize that they are soliciting your Practices? Not all are possibly but many do. They all used to be invited on their expertise and integrity. They often invited you to “Drop by our Booth” at the exhibit hall. If you are an Invited Speaker, the rules are you can not do a personal/professional commercial!

Dental Practice by Design is saving the funds so we can offer you an opportunity to afford our services. We don’t spend thousands on rooms at meetings or booth space. We come to you by means of our own making. To your personal locations.

We do speak. We are speakers, to you and your Team on things you need to hear so you may ask questions privately. Not in a room of hundreds.

I hope this educates you on the “Why don’t you speak at Meetings?”Dentalmeetings0723-dealers-sat

Who is Dental Practice by Design’s Ideal Client??

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Our clients are doctors who really love dentistry but have gotten frustrated in trying to figure out how to make their practice successful. They are hard working dentists whose patients love them. They have a great family at home that they don’t get to spend enough time with. Our dentists know what kind of dentistry they love to do but don’t always seem to be able to find the patients that need those kinds of procedures. Our ideal dentists are not afraid to learn new things and are searching for ways to become the practice owner and leader that they always dreamed of becoming. They are willing to learn new skills and to provide an opportunity for their teams to make more money while they help the dentist reach his/her production goals and take more time off.

Our clients have teams of nice people who want to do better but don’t always know what they are supposed to be doing. The teams are hard working and willing to change the ways they work in order to be more productive. Often the teams we work with need some simple directions and systems to follow that make huge differences in the profitability and efficiency of their practice. These teams are open to learning new methods of communication, organization and systems that make their jobs easier and allow them to make more money.

Our clients have front desks that really want to do a great job in handling the day to day business of the dental practice but don’t always know how to fit it all in. Front desk operations require a number of skill sets that are not taught at dental schools and are different than what other businesses have to deal with. Our DPBD clients often have great employees working at the front desk who just need a few learned strategies to become highly effective.

DPBD loves to work with dental hygienists who want to give their patients a great experience and really provide patients with the smiles they’ve always wanted. Our ideal hygienists are open to learning new ways to hold conversations with patients. They understand that building relationships is the key to filling their hygiene schedule with happy recall patients. They are hygienists who take their job seriously and are not afraid to recommend the best treatments and gum therapies for their patients to keep their teeth healthy.

DPBD understands that every person has a story. We love to get to know the stories of the people in our offices as well as the stories of the patients in those offices. Educating teams on how to hold successful conversations with patients in a way that builds relationships, fosters trust, and encourages the patient to get involved in planning their dental needs is the thing we do best. These particular skills have proven to work in every dental office that we work with to increase production, improve patient retention, and build a solid referral base for the practice.