Part 2: 7 True Secrets to Running A Successful Dental Office

Secret #3: Take care of your patients.

This secret may seem obvious, but stay with me. Of course, we need to take care of patients clinically and provide great dental care for them. But I am also talking about doing things to make sure patients know you and your team value them as people. Patients don’t need to be told that you appreciate their business, but they absolutely need to feel they are personally known and appreciated by you and your team. This is one of the biggest oversights by less-than-successful offices when an owner fails to understand that the absolute best kind of marketing for a dental office is to make sure that current patients feel good about being in the office. Every patient who calls your office or comes in your door should always feel like a person and not just like a number. When every experience that you give your patients is amazing and personalized, they will walk out at the end of their appointment knowing you and your team care—and this ultimately leads to patients helping to take care of the office by becoming loyal fans who bring their friends and family to you.

Secret #4: Take care of your family.

What does taking care of your family have to do with running a successful dental office? As someone who was married to a dentist for over 20 years, I can assure you this one is actually vital for success. Your family is the foundation of who you are and your personal support system. Make sure you value them, take time for them, don’t let work be a priority over them, and try (as hard as it is) to walk out of the office at the end of the day and leave it behind you. Make sure you live a good, ethical life and always do the right thing. There will be good times and hard times at work, but taking care of your family will ensure that they will be there for you during all of those times. Finding a balance between your work and personal lives, rather than letting the office intrude into your family time, will ultimately lead to greater health and happiness. That’s a good thing in itself, but it also positively impacts the success of the office (see secret #1).

Secret # 5: Take care of your community.

We have a real problem in our society right now where a lot of people don’t go out of their way to help others or get involved in their community for non-selfish reasons, at least until there is a disaster or an emergency. Unfortunately, it can happen that we start to view community involvement as something we do as a marketing strategy to get the office name out there, not something we do because it’s our responsibility to be engaged partners in the community. After all, our patients don’t exist in a vacuum—they are part of the community. In the same way, we are not just business owners, we are community members as well.

The secret to getting involved in your community is to do it because you truly care, not because you just want to get good ROI on an event or donation. Think about it: isn’t it obvious when a business is just looking for a photo op or taking advantage of a crisis to look good? When you demonstrate in an ongoing way that you really care about your neighbors and those around you, you will find that the community responds in kind. But beyond just reaping the benefits of community engagement, you will feel like a better human being when you do it from the heart.

Secret #6: Take care of your office.

Although this one falls near the bottom of the list, it’s still in my top seven secrets to success because I have seen so many dentists cut corners. They are so focused on finding ways to save money they fail to reinvest in the office space they have built to do what they do, and inevitably this obsession with saving money now means that they pay for it later. The office space and equipment are not only the way you provide your service, but it is also how others judge you when they walk in. If you do not keep your office looking good and kept up, they are going to assume the same thing about your clinical skills. Your dental office is a reflection of you. When your patients walk in and see that your office is clean, up to date, and comfortable, they will trust you to provide good care for them as well.

Secret # 7: Take care of your vendors.

Before you ask, no, I don’t work for a dental supply company. I bring this one up because I have seen this issue time and time again. So many dentists have bad relationships with their vendors and don’t value their interactions. Successful dental owners think of vendors as people who are there to help them grow and thrive. How you treat vendors will not only impact how much they will go out of their way to help you in the moment, but will also impact your reputation in the dental community and whether you are easy to work with (or not). Always treat vendors well and realize that if you burn bridges, it will eventually come back to haunt you.

The one true secret to success.

It turns out that the seven secrets to running a successful dental office really come down to just one secret: You have to truly care. When you care for yourself, your family, your team, your community, and everyone who helps make your office a success, then you are investing in the long-term health and success of your office and you will see the positive impacts on a daily basis.

Looking for Tips #1 and #2?

Read Part 1: 7 True Secrets to Running A Successful Dental Office.

Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson, BS, MS, FAADOM is the founder and driving force behind Front Office Rocks, and the leading provider of on-demand virtual training and resources for dental practices.