7 Tips to Carry You Through 2017 Worry Free

Production concerns keeping you up at night?

Every practice owner has been there: awake at 2 a.m. with the cold sweats, sure that the practice’s production is so far down the tubes that personal bankruptcy is imminent. Here are seven tips to reframe and right the situation to ensure a productive and profitable 2017:

1. Take stock. F.E.A.R. stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. The mind can play real tricks when it comes to finances. Print four financial reports for the ultimate clarity: profit and loss (accrual basis), balance sheet, accounts receivable and accounts payable. The profit and loss (accrual basis) will show you any upcoming cases, or income, that will soon be in the bank. The balance sheet will show what you have in the bank and what you owe, which will allow you to calculate what remaining assets and/or credit may exist to float you through a rough patch. The accounts receivable will detail any past-due collections. Call those patients now and get a credit card over the phone. The accounts payable will show any bills that you owe. Call those vendors now and arrange for longer terms. All four of these reports together paint a picture of exactly where you are now. Armed with this information, you have the opportunity to pivot.

2. Think big. If the reports confirm your concerns, the next step, contrary to what your mind will tell you, is to think big. What is your dream production goal? Document it and decide to achieve it. In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” and he reminds readers that wanting is not enough. Now is the time to decide to achieve your dream goal and to eliminate all other possibilities. This single step is critical in getting back on track – and soaring upward from there. The only way the team, your vendors and you can improve this situation is for you to firmly decide exactly where you are going next.

3. Scale back… strategically. The key word here is strategicallyand I might add temporarily. The knee-jerk reaction is to cut costs, at all costs. Don’t cut anything that is making you money, such as the team, employee pay, employee benefits or the marketing budget. All of those are investments, and they keep the practice running and production dollars arriving every day. Instead, renegotiate payment terms with suppliers, labs, and other vendors. Call your marketer, share the facts and your goal and ask them to provide a new marketing strategy to get you there.

4. Rally the troops. In wartime, generals have pep talks with the soldiers before asking them to fight harder. It’s one of the toughest things to do as a leader: maintain a strong exterior when you feel depleted on the inside. Don’t go it alone. Huddle with your marketers to develop communications to share with the team about the state of the practice and your goals, and learn ways to inspire the team to take action. Set benchmarks toward completion of the goal, assign tasks to individual team members and make it clear how they will be rewarded when they reach the goal. Your positive approach will be the clincher.

5. Refinance. If you have existing practice debt, contact a lender that specializes in dental practice finance. Wells Fargo and MedTrust Capital are two of our favorites for their creativity and true understanding of small businesses. Explore with the lender of your choice options for refinancing. Savings of 2% on a $100,000 loan adds up to $2,000, and right now, every penny counts.

6. Reduce your lease payment. Work with a reputable dental realty company like Carr Healthcare Realty to negotiate a better lease rate. A simple meeting with your landlord and the right broker can yield hundreds or even thousands in savings. By doing this, one dentist saved $15 per square-foot in a 3,000-square-foot practice. That’s over $3,700 per month!

7. Surround yourself with success. Stop listening to the naysayers. If you have a Nervous Nellie on the dental team, invite that person to seek fulfilling employment elsewhere. If you have a Debbie Downer in your family, kindly ask them to keep their negative thoughts to themselves. Seek out peers, mentors, consultants and/or business coaches who will believe in you, lift you up and even help you get to your goal. You know what they say about birds of a feather. Flock with the sort that flies high!

Put your production worries behind you once and for all. Get a complimentary marketing plan that will ensure long-term success.