Running a business comes down to three skill sets; you create something, you sell something, and you watch the numbers. If you create dentistry you must check out our free online continuing education on DentalTown.com. The courses are outstanding, relevant, and created by wet-gloved dentists.
If you are selling something in dentistry, you have to market what you sell. There are many high-quality businesses to assist you. You can prosper with marketing genius Fred Joyal at 1-800-DENTIST. Rebecca Palmer at Practice Café also has a ton of great marketing ideas. You could increase your yellow-page response for less money with the number one phone book consultant in dentistry, Bob Beckmann with Directory Rx. Dentistry has several direct-mail gurus as well, such as Ed O'Keefe, David L. Stone, and Jerry Jones. The best marketing books in dentistry are by Rodger Kurthy, DDS and Howie Horrocks.
To learn what watching the numbers can tell you, go back to night school and get your MBA, or take management courses especially for the dental office from Sandy Pardue, Sally McKenzie, Linda L. Miles or Risa Simon.
The secret to running a business is finding the right people to run each skill set. If you ask all the dentists to list their top problem and dilemma they would like to master, personnel/staffing is the number one issue for at least half of them. Whether you have a staff of four or 14, they all have to get along. Each person is unique, with a different brain, raised in a different environment, has an individual personality--not to mention the obvious gender differences!
Whether it is with your family, patients, or staff; functional communication based on mutual respect for each other is critical. It is very unhealthy and less productive to work when your staff members are bickering, or they do not posses the skill sets to resolve issues without hurting someone's feelings. Getting along with other people takes skill and commitment. Here at Today's Dental we have implemented techniques that continue to improve the overall awareness of how important it is to respect each other.
One technique we use is the "Top Dawg of the Month" award. This award is to recognize a staff member for an exceptional job well done. It is handed out at our monthly staff meeting along with a gift certificate. The "Top Dawg" is actually chosen by the staff by entering their nominations in the lunchroom "Idea Box".
Please note, an exceptional job well done can be anything recognized by another co-worker such as willingness to help, a compliment from a patient or even a great sense of humor! The complements are placed in the "Idea Box" all month long and read by the office manager at a staff meeting. It is awesome to be recognized for a job well done by your fellow peers and teammates. Here are a few real examples we pulled from our own "Idea Box":
* Amy--Your patient on Tuesday raved about you at check-out, how professional you are and what a great job you did.
* Kim--Thanks for all the running around you do for the office, it is appreciated.
* Jan--You are so willing to help, always there to do that FMX or whatever needs to be done, thank you.
* Colleen--You always keep everyone smiling around you with your laugh and sense of humor.
Another technique we use is "Team Reading." We provide a book for each staff member, which is read and then discussed at the staff meeting. The book we are currently reading is Dr. Phil McGraw's Life Strategies. Our staff is encouraged to apply what they read to their personal and professional relationships. The topics of discussion have ranged from how we talk to each other on the walkie-talkies all day long, to how we handle difficult patients. You will find your staff learning new skills and techniques, discussing problems openly, positively, and constructively creating an even more positive environment.
A third technique we use is "Quarterly Employee Reviews." Quarterly reviews give you the ability to discuss current relative issues this quarter, instead of allowing issues to build up for the entire year, only to be discussed at the annual review. The formality of a quarterly review stresses the importance for everyone to keep open the lines of communication among staff and between management and staff. A copy of our form can be obtained by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.