Growth and expansion are important to every business, no matter the industry. Every dental practice owner hopes that their clinic will grow with time. Sometimes your practice may not grow as much as you would like or vice versa. But the important metrics like the number of patients, revenue etc. should show an upward trajectory over the long-term.
As your clinic grows, it brings a few different challenges with that. In general, smaller practices tend to struggle more with sudden growth. Larger clinics or hospitals are better equipped to cope with a sudden increase in patients. Not only do they have the financial resources but they also have the space, tools and equipment to quickly expand. Unfortunately this also means that smaller practices generally do not have the expertise to manage their growth.
Why Is Managing Your Dental Practice Growth Important?
As we said before, growth brings its own set of challenges to the table. Sometimes a practice grows suddenly in a few months. This can be due to various factors like extra publicity, closure of a competing clinic in the area or anything else.
In most circumstances, practice growth happens slowly over a period of time. It can be so slow that you don’t even notice how much everything has changed. You find yourself with more patients than you can handle and your staff is stressed-out or overworked. So it is very important that you plan for and manage the growth of your practice.
How to Manage the Growth of Your Dental Clinic
Incremental growth of a few patients is usually not that difficult to handle. Suppose your existing team and resources can handle 50 patients a week. A few extra patients will not put that much stress on your clinic. But what if you are faced with 60 clients or even 75 a week?
The first thing you need to do is to determine if this increase will be permanent or it’s just a temporary one. Like any other industry, dental clinics also face seasonal increases in demand such as the summer months for the holidays. Keep a close watch on your patient numbers for a few weeks. If the increase persists even during the slow months, it is time to expand your clinic’s footprint.
Depending on how much your practice has grown, you may need to invest in bigger offices, more equipment and/or even hire new staff members. Each one of the decisions will require careful consideration and can have consequences on other parts of the practice. For instance, suppose you move to bigger premises. It would mean higher rents, maintenance costs and utility bills. You should be able to cover these expenses with the extra revenue. If you cannot do that then there is not much point in expanding!
Another area that can be impacted by your growth is HR and tax laws. For the purpose of legislation, practices are often grouped into different categories based on size. Hiring more people can put you in a different group. That will have an impact on how much tax you pay, how you are assessed or how you need to comply with different regulations. Sometimes smaller practices are exempt from stringent compliance requirements. By hiring more employees, you might lose those exemptions. So always check with experts to see how a change in practice size can impact those requirements.
Generally people assume that everyone wants their practice to grow. But it is not always the case. Some dentists prefer to keep their practice stable if they’re very comfortable where they are. But if you are interested in growing your practice, make sure you are ready for it!