How To Shift Gears From Dentist to Dental Entrepreneur

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Not so long ago, the term dental entrepreneur didn’t exist in our vocabulary.

Even hearing dentist and entrepreneur in the same sentence was uncommon.

Today, it’s a different story.

Many in the Savvy Dentist community will be familiar with the term; some might even embrace it.

Even beyond our audience, there is growing awareness around the concept of dental entrepreneurship.

I’m pleased thinking among dentists is evolving. It means people are stepping up.

As practice owners, the ability to shift gears from dentist to dental entrepreneur is in our hands.

Mastering the right skills will make for smooth gear changes into scaled and profitable practices.

Here’s a handful of the ‘must-haves’ for moving on up.

#1 Follow Through

We’re all guilty of starting something, or lots of things - and not finishing them.

A common flaw among business owners, we often fall into this habit simply because we have so much going on.

Not following through means we let people down.

As a result, we feel lousy, and then follow through even less.

It’s a counter-productive cycle.

By contrast, successful dental entrepreneurs have mastered the art of completion and seeing things through.

These habits go hand in hand.

They demonstrate integrity and let people know: I do what I say I will.

The ability to follow through is a fundamental ingredient to a dental entrepreneur’s success. Now’s the time to master it.

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#2 Be A Visionary

While there’s safety in numbers, success can be found in being visionary.

We’re conditioned to believe that a visionary is someone ‘out there’, i.e. not us.

But a dental entrepreneur isn’t limited by that thinking.

The dental entrepreneur is the visionary.

Rather than follow everyone else, the dental entrepreneur is making things that don’t exist.

They also create niches and meet market needs.

We live at a time when anyone can be a visionary, including a dentist who’s shifting gears to become a dental entrepreneur.

My tip: find that thing that excites you most. Then find a way to win. It’s the pathway to dental entrepreneurship.

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#3 Build A Great Team

A dental entrepreneur never works solo.

Instead, they focus on building a great team.

They recognise the power of one is vastly outweighed by a group of inspired and skilled professionals.

But what if they don’t do the work as perfectly as me?

Great question.

A dental entrepreneur recognises perfection is not the precursor to practice growth.

Actually, it stymies it. Big time.

Becoming a dental entrepreneur means: giving up control and the need for perfection.

It doesn’t mean taking your eye off the ball.

Handing over tasks to team members must be done appropriately.

Think job descriptions, standard operating procedures, regular performance checks.

Apart from making life more manageable, these tools help a dental entrepreneur’s practice to grow – without their direct involvement in every detail.

#4 Use Time Wisely

When growing a practice, it’s tempting to take on every shiny new thing that comes our way.

We do this under the belief that if we don’t, we’ll miss out.

While it might seem strange, the exact opposite is true.

A dental entrepreneur understands this principle.

Applying a strong filter to opportunities and activities, a successful dental entrepreneur will make decisions about new projects by asking this question:

Will this project take me closer to my goal or further away?

If it means moving closer, great, they’re all in.

Discernment about the investment of time means the dental entrepreneur remains laser focused about what’s most important.

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#5 Create A Living Culture

We’ve all been to places where the negativity in the air can be felt.

A dental entrepreneur doesn’t go to places like that.

They don’t run their practice that way either.

A dental entrepreneur invests in their team, their business culture, and they keep people accountable.

Visions, purpose and values are written down and visible.

Due diligence is done on prospective employees.

New team members are trained properly.

Words of encouragement and affirmation, rather than criticism, are part of huddles and team conversations.

People feel included, valued and supported.

Expectations and responsibility are second nature.

Employee churn rates are low.

The team functions like high performers. That’s because they are high performers.

They are the dental equivalent of the New Zealand All Blacks.

Willing to go the extra mile, do what it takes, pick each other up, find a way to win.

It takes time to create a living culture, but it starts with an intention and a willingness to make tough calls.

A dental entrepreneur will have hard conversations and move people on if they don’t fit.

They do this with the certainty a living culture enables their vision.

And you can too.

Final Words...

We can be lured into the belief that dental entrepreneurs are born, not made, but it’s just not true.

Every dentist can learn and master the skills that make a dental entrepreneur.

All it takes is the right intention, backed by the discipline of consistent deliberate action.

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