In this blog, the focus is on two main challenges that affect dental practice owners: designing a marketable brand and improving team performance. How do you do all this while loving your work and retaining empathy?
Brand and Team: The Two Sides of a Successful Practice
Q: What issues have you had to deal with in the practice lately?
A: My best days are when the team is working together and everyone is getting along. We are a small team of 4 employees and close like family. It is disappointing to hear from an employee that they feel like another team member is not performing to their best abilities.
I prefer my team to come to me with solutions rather than problems. Team members can get fixated on one another’s lack of performance and start only seeing negatives both real and manifested. I encourage our team to be openminded and discuss these conflicts so they can achieve resolutions rather than build up animosity.
Q: What’s one of the greatest struggles you’ve faced in your time as a practicing dentist?
A: One of the biggest struggles I encountered was an advertising violation in my first year of practice. It was a hefty fine and warned a second violation would come with discipline action against my license. It was upsetting because our advertisements weren’t more in violation than many other dental advertisements, but we were singled out by a local dentist who turned us in.
It created a challenge for us to still advertise but to do it in a way that wouldn’t be seen as a violation by other dentists or the dental board. We came up with a plan that could differentiate us as cosmetic dentists without being laudatory or making us sound better than other dentists. We created the brand Smile Stylist that patients could connect with and emotionally associate with high-end cosmetic dentistry.
Q: What is your advice for troubleshooting problems?
A: Take a time out. Don’t react immediately. Ask questions. When you feel yourself getting upset or ready to lash out, take a few minutes or a day to sleep on it. See the problem from the other person’s perspective, then ask questions.
Q: What about dentistry keeps you motivated and inspired to deal with difficulties or letdowns?
A: You have to love what you do in life. You have to have the passion to improve, to always take things to the next level, to resist mediocrity, and to never let things get stale. You’ll focus on the good and sleep well if you’re always trying your best.
What have you done to give your practice a cohesive brand? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!