ACT 1: THE CAT STRING THEORY
NOTE: The next few weeks will feature a series of posts intended to help you jumpstart and improve your practice while it is still early in the New Year. So stay tuned and be sure to read every week. MG
Ever notice that if you dangle a string in front of a cat, they quickly tire of it and won’t attack again while the string remains still. The cat only shows renewed interest when you try to take it away. It is as if there is an enhanced value for the string when the cat thinks that it is about to disappear. This same theory is true in every aspect of life. It is the law of scarcity. You’ve seen the ads that say “supplies limited” or “offer expires soon”. In Dentistry, the danger is in accepting or giving way to the complacency of being relegated to a perceived outcome. You become the type of owner that is OK with average or just good or good enough. The idea of striving has been eroded by years of unattained goals, and a practice that fails to meet your expectations. In a way, we as “sheeple” follow the pack and settle for what is left over instead of endeavoring for all that is possible.
Today the large corporations, insurance companies, and national dental supply companies have decided that they make the rules and will dictate the future of Dentistry. Insurance companies give corporations with multiple offices an increase in reimbursement over the independent dental practitioner, giving the big guys a profitability head start on you and me. Dental supply companies sell supplies, equipment and services out the back door to large corporations at 40-60% discounts over what they insist on charging the independent dental practice. Finally, dental corporate entities are able to take advantage of both of these while also being able to negotiate lower costs for lab work. They also have deeper pockets for marketing and well designed and implemented systems and protocols for the “business” of dentistry.
This climate change in Dentistry has altered the playing field and leaves very little room for error in the actions we take to preserve our profession before the large corporations and insurance companies take over everything. We are a vulnerable profession where time is short, and the “string” is rapidly being taken away. Now is the time to act! Now is the time to stand up! Now is your opportunity to have a voice in your future! It will soon be too late. Complacency and procrastination are over-rated. I am reminded that the Chinese character for crisis has two components. The symbol looks a little like someone perched on a cliff. The combination of these two characters to make one word come from the words “danger” and “opportunity”. The moral: In every crisis lies opportunity.
Most of you have been reading or listening to me for years. Most of you have followed my logic and thoughts, but fewer have stepped up and created the practice that you always thought you would have. I have to apologize to those who still languish or have failed to heed the call to action in my writings. I was hoping that I would be so profound in my wisdom and so accurately concise in my explanations that it would only take a paragraph to transfer a life altering thought or action. Clearly, I was mistaken. In my inadequacy to encourage you to action, I find myself grasping at straws to reignite that enthusiasm in you for your profession. Another year has passed and another one is before us. What could you do to make a difference in your life? What would you be willing to do to grow 15-20% this year? Can you step out in faith and commit to the changes that can help the independent practice of Dentistry survive and thrive?
As we speak, more and more consumers are deciding on the business model and type of practice that they will pay for products and services in. Consider this: You are where you want to be because if you wanted something different, you would already be doing something about it. I know that everything worthwhile is up hill. I also know that I have never seen a practice that couldn’t improve their production by 20%, lower their overhead by 7%, or double their new patients in less than 12 months. So here is the challenge. I am going to write a series of posts with a series of actions you need to take. Each week there will be another action to take and a box to put a check in so that you can begin this journey towards improvement. I would like to hear your feedback and suggestions.
ACT 1: Join BEST for Dentistry (www.bestfordentistry.com) and use the companies assembled there for services and products to begin to lower your overhead. Simple, no cost, and just a slight detour in the way you control your spending. It is the first step in becoming the person it takes to lower your overhead and preserve the independent practice of Dentistry. Checking this off of your list should prove that you are serious about change. You have one week to check this off before we go to ACT 2.
The drama continues. This is how you Summit.
Michael Abernathy, DDS