One of my favorite books, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko shows that those making high salaries, including doctors and dentists, are not the wealthy.
Wealth is defined as the money that comes in each month. Wealth is what’s in the bank.
He goes on to explain:
“A major fallacy in thinking on the part of most professionals I have counseled the past 30-plus years is equating high gross income with actual wealth. I would say that 95 percent of professionals believe that increasing their income means increasing their wealth. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“Recent national research shows that 90 percent of all general dentists in the United States have a net taxable income of $135,000, plus or minus $42,000 a year. Stated clearly, this means that 90 percent of dentists make a maximum of $177,000 a year or less, no matter what their gross income.”
And you are worth so much more than $177,000.
From a marketing perspective, there are 5 things you can do today to create wealth:
- Document your goals, backward. All marketing begins with goal setting. Begin at the end. What do you want to have in the bank by year’s end? Subtract total expenses and cost of goods sold from last year, adjusting accordingly if you foresee these figures to be higher this year. Now you have a solid projection for total income needed to meet your goal. Document all revenue streams from last year: dentist production, associate production, hygienist production, etc. Then add potential new sources for income, brainstorming all possible streams until you see a way to get to your total income goal. Read on for some examples of possible income streams. Once you have all income streams defined, document the specific marketing tactics needed to attract that income.
- Publish your book. You already wrote it, even if you don’t realize it. Perhaps you have contributed articles to your local dental society’s magazine. Maybe you have written a blog. No doubt you have rattled off a few long emails to colleagues about insights or challenges in dentistry. Compile your works, and you might be surprised how much meaningful content is there. Consider having a freelance writer ghostwrite your book based upon the content you already have. Publishing is easy and fast through CreateSpace. Royalties from book sales can be a terrific added income stream to build wealth. Once the book is published, specific marketing strategies for this income stream may include promoting the book on your practice website and your social media pages, sending out free copies to close contacts to spread the word, selling copies at dental events, and initiating an email campaign to a database of potential readers.
- Sell videos of your lectures. If you have ever spoken in front of a group of dentists, you have a double-whammy income stream. The content from the presentation is yet more fodder for your book, and you can sell videos of your lectures online. Over time, even a $19.95 one-time fee for access to all your videos can add up and really contribute to your wealth. Specific marketing strategies for this income stream look a bit similar to those for a book: online promotion and email campaigns will work best.
- Rent out an operatory. If you have more space than you need, consider renting out an operatory to a fellow dentist. Several of our clients do this with great success, particularly with a well-trained front office, distinctive brands and unique patient bases for each of the two practices. This passive income further builds your wealth. Marketing for this income stream may be as simple as posting an ad on Craigslist to advertise availability. Remember to promote what’s in it for them (“start your practice with far less overhead cost” or “effortlessly expand the four walls of your practice”) in addition to compelling features (“state-of-the-art dental equipment included”).
- Inspire your team. Work with a practice consultant to refine the way that you, your associate and your hygienist deliver care. Most practices can see a higher volume of patients without sacrificing high-integrity care just by fine-tuning systems and processes. More efficient patient flow through the practice can add up to even more wealth over time. Internal marketing – that a virtuous circle where happy employees cultivate happy patients, and happy patients bring more patients – is your best bet here. And your practice consultant can guide you through how to implement an internal marketing plan that will drive bottom-line results.
And bottom-line results add up to true wealth.