To-Do List for Starting Your Own Dental Practice Business

Setting up a new business of any kind requires careful planning. If you’re starting a dental practice, the process of setting up the business, the space, and the equipment can be overwhelming, so it’s important to be organised. That means a to-do list is absolutely essential, helping you to quickly and efficiently get ready to open your doors, and hit the ground running with as few glitches as possible. All aspects should be covered, from marketing, to equipment, to hiring practice, and employee management. Read on to see what you need to do in order to make your dental business a success from the get-go. 

Business plan

The key to any business venture is planning. Creating a business plan that is realistic, thorough and highly detailed is essential, and will lead to smoother progress on what can often be a rocky path. In all likelihood you’ll be taking a loan or some other form of investment to start your dental practice, and you’ll need a business plan for that. There are some excellent resources online, including templates, to help you. And don’t forget to add in the other items on this list as you go through. 

Budgeting

This should be first on your plan. Starting a company is an expensive business, and you’ll need to make sure you have all bases covered on start-up costs, payroll expenses, equipment outlay, insurance, etc. Again, securing finance is not going to be easy without a detailed and realistic budget, and you should also make sure you’re secure enough to deal with some unexpected outlays (there will be some!). 

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Location and space

A dental practice is a local business, so it needs to be in the heart of the community, or at least surrounded by residential areas, rather than in a business park or industrial estate. If you are surrounded by housing you are likely to attract regular customers. The centre of town will give you more walk-in trade. Research is essential to determine the location of other dental practices in the area, as many people have trusted dentists, and aren’t likely to switch. The lease of the space should be factored into your budget and business plan. 

Equipment

The upfront cost of equipment can be daunting when starting a dental practice, but it is essential. Quality chairs, lights and handpieces, among many other items, should be factored into the budget. Regular maintenance is crucial for your equipment – handpieces especially can be fragile and can fail if not looked after properly. You’ll need computers and relevant office supplies as well. Again, this should be in the budget, including estimated costs for items such as cartridges and paper for printers, etc. 

Space and layout

Dental practices come in all shapes and sizes, but you’ll need to make sure you have enough space to work. You’ll need an office and waiting room (though these are often combined in more compact practices), at least one surgery room, as well as conveniences for both staff and patients. Again, planning is vital, once you work out how much floor space you’ll need you can add a lot into your business plan. The size of your practice will likely affect your location – a space in the centre of town may cost much more than one on the outskirts. 

Staff

If you are a dentist, you may not be intending to hire a second straight away. But, you’ll still need more staff – a receptionist, one or two dental nurses, and an office manager – these are the basics. You may not be able to afford a dedicated IT worker, but maintenance of computer systems as well as online marketing materials is essential to your business’ success. It’s wise to plan ahead of time, as recruitment isn’t always easy, especially if you are outside a large town or city. You’ll also need to know the salaries for each position, which may vary area to area. 

Marketing

Even if you’re the only dental practice in town, you’ll still need to come up with a marketing campaign. Social media marketing is a great place to start. Cheap and cost-effective– major platforms are free, or have relatively affordable advertising and promotion. You may want to mail out flyers or brochures – as dentists are local businesses, targeting locals is logical. 

Starting a dental practice isn’t easy. You’ll have many headaches, hidden costs, and multiple things to juggle at the same time. But planning ahead, with an effective to-do list, will save you time, money and energy as you launch your business. 

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