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Most of my articles come from speaking with other dentists on the phone, or via text or email. Just the other day, Dr. Nathan Ho from Facebook Dental WinWin (you should join the group) had this quick question:

Good morning Mike, 
Do you have a marketing calendar on an Excel sheet that you can email me?
Thank you in advance. 

I hadn’t thought about this is a while but this quick strategy is something I have done in my practices as well as at home. It works great, costs less than ten dollars, and will change your life. There are a lot of options from an electronic/digital standpoint but I still like using a large laminated, year-at-a-glance project calendar posted it in the staff area with all of the graphs I use to monitor my staff.  The reason I go “old school” with this large, hard to miss calendar is that 89% of the people you run into are visual learners. Place this in an area that your staff can’t avoid and it will be the start and hub for all of your internal and external marketing and practice management planning.

At the first of the year I would take a permanent marker and mark off all of the holidays during the year using one color of marker (usually a black one). I used a permanent marker because these dates never changed, but dry erase works, too. I would then mark off my own vacation, continuing education, trips, etc., in a dry erase marker of a different color.  Color-coding everything will eventually imprint the minds of your staff to know exactly what that color means on the calendar. We would also use this for marketing.  I would mark off each marketing effort/item (in a different dry erase color for marketing) by first marking the actual finish date and then go back and fill in all of the necessary prep dates: design, photos, offers, printer, postage, etc.  This is the easiest way to track everything and also makes your staff aware of the actual process and timing. I want to get all of the staff being future focused on the year. Each member of the office had a performance graph along with graphs for key metrics for the entire office. (If you would like to see an old photo of our bulletin board area with the calendar and the performance graphs, just click here.) This presentation of key ideas and planning forced everyone to stay engaged. The feedback was great from the staff and physically posting everything elicited better ideas and really decreased any flaws in our strategies. Everyone was always conscious of where we were, how each of us was doing, and what was coming up in the future. Great strategy, easy to implement, and was sustainable for almost 40 years. I always looked forward to physically laying out the next year. While we certainly planned everything, it was amazing at how this dry erase calendar allowed us to adjust our aim and deliver a better product. Try it. You will like it.

This is how you Summit.

Michael Abernathy, DDS
972.523.4660 cell
[email protected]

PS. We are often asked about upcoming opportunities to hear Mike speak. He will be presenting at the end of September in Portland. For all the details, just click here.   (MG)