Brenda Barbour

Brenda Barbour

Productive Dentist Academy

Creating your business game plan for 2022

Your best year ever can be 2022. What does your best year ever look like? As Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks Pete Carroll says, “To accomplish the grand, you have to focus on the small.”

Most dentists close their eyes and hope for 2-10% growth. Using a generalized, shotgun approach like this will put you on a treadmill and will do little in moving the dial for building long-term value. 

Top-performing dentists know how to activate change by using this time of year to map out strategies to achieve specific growth. Now is the time to create the winning game plan for you, your team, and your patients. 

Reflect on the year. Celebrate your wins, note what needs to be calibrated, and ask yourself:

  • Is 2022 the year I commit time to working on the business, not just in the business?
  • What type of mindset am I leading my team with? Abundance, scarcity, optimism, or pessimism?
  • Is this the year I add to our service mix?
  • Am I just riding the wave, or am I going to take a stand for a change?
  • Will I perform like the top 5% of dentists and be intentional about building value?

Here are three key elements you can harness to create your winning game plan for 2022.

Forecasting business growth: Get specific  

Just like a football team, your growth strategy includes multiple elements including the players, equipment, competition, and fans (patients). For example, let’s say you want to expand your service mix next year. You would want to plan each play involved in the service mix:

  • What CE courses will you attend?
  • What is your plan to consistently train your team so the knowledge is integrated?
  • What new marketing tactics do you want to use to target new patients?
  • How will you create new brand awareness in your community?
  • What type of profit do you anticipate this new service will bring into the practice?

Forecasting is being able to visualize goals for increased new patients needed as well as actual results on production and collection. At Productive Dentist Academy, we know establishing your dental practice’s Profitability Incentive Point (PIP) is key. This means discovering beyond your breakeven point. It includes:

  • Debt pay-off strategies
  • Including an additional 10% return on investment for owners
  • Taking 5% and putting it into savings

To properly forecast growth, you will want to determine the annual growth production desired, minus your average adjustments, to determine your needed monthly net production. Break these down to what your hourly production must be, by provider, to achieve both your PIP and practice growth goals.

Exceptional patient experience requires your leadership

Maintaining status quo stagnates growth. Successful dentists continue to embrace the core belief that extending extraordinary patient experiences starts from within. Consistently seeking new ways to add value to the patient experience through relationships and community involvement is key.

According to the BRM Institute1, scientific studies show that the words you use affect others on a psychological level and play an important role in outcomes.

For example, do you value your hygienists as diagnostic partners that can provide preventative care or periodontal gum therapy? Or do you view them as mere maids that provide cleanings and check-ups? The words you use with the team are heard by patients, and most importantly, can be energetically felt by all. By embracing a team mindset, one where every member participates in improving the health of patients, you foster patient health advocacy.

Patient Health Advocacy shows up in each and all team member’s daily roles and duties, elevating roles and ultimately the value of oral healthcare entirely. Are you envisioning and positioning your team as:

  • Guides who help patients through the entire process including screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up appointments
  • Resources that ensure patients have the necessary information they need to make the best decisions for themselves regarding their health
  • Navigators through the complex world of working with insurance companies, employers, case managers, and outside vendors for financing and treatment services
  • Supporters who listen to the patient’s concerns and personal considerations, suggesting alternatives that work for the patient

If you’ve ever looked at other dental practices and wondered how easily they seem to have “the right people” in “the right positions”, look to the leadership in the practice. Successful dentists schedule annual planning time with the entire team because they know A-players want to understand the game plan. Utilize your team strengths to mastermind what’s possible with regard to practice growth. 

Goals are far easier to achieve when you are in the game together. Discuss team incentive desires as growth is achieved. When you empower the team to give input and share in the rewards, ownership takes on an entirely new meaning. 

Analyze For Efficiency

If you can see it, you can track it. If you can track it, you can measure it. If you can measure it, you can improve it.

  • Systems: Evaluate for effectiveness and efficiency. Pay close attention to the impact each system has on practice growth and profit. What areas can you improve?
  • Scheduling: Are you using an effective template to achieve your goals? Is it being followed consistently?
  • Treatment Acceptance: What percent of patients say yes to your treatment plans? What percentage are completing treatment? If it is below 20%, and your accounts receivable is below 1x the annual monthly production, chances are your financial options are too rigid, and patients aren’t getting as healthy as they could.
  • Financial Options: Does your practice make it easy for patients to say yes to care? Are all financial options offered currently creating a healthy cash flow for the practice?
  • AR and Insurance Aging: Revenue cycle management is critical. For example, standard billing AR over 90 days should be less than 9%. In insurance aging, there should be zero claims over 60 days. What correction strategies can you immediately implement?
  • Recare and Reactivation: Understanding your patients, and how they best prefer to be communicated with, massively improves your chance at success. Communication isn’t about you, it’s about how your target audience prefers to be communicated with. What campaigns do you have in place for communicating with patients that need additional care? Are all your patients expected to respond to a text?
  • Marketing: Are you tracking your marketing efforts? Are you attracting the patient that allows you to practice the services you most enjoy? Are you diagnosing and achieving ideal treatment acceptance, or are you attracting new patients that do not need dentistry? Evaluate your marketing budget to properly allocate funds needed to attract both the volume and type of patients you desire.  Then track your return-on-investment of all marketing.

The ability to recognize and acknowledge new perspectives are a prerequisite to growth. The team that shows up to play at the Super Bowl does not win by themselves. It’s the coaches on the sidelines, seeing the big picture and guiding the success of each play, that ensures the win and takes home the trophy. 

Success cannot be accomplished without equal participation between the doctor and team. As dentists and business owners, it is a common myth to believe you must be an expert in all areas of the practice. As PDA members Drs. Edward and Richard Lee of Brooklyn explain, “Knowing your strengths and leaning into expert support is the most efficient way to grow your practice.”

By getting specific, analyzing your opportunities, empowering your team, and pulling in industry expert business guidance, you can plan, take action and reach new heights of success in 2022. 

eAssist can help

Brenda is a member of eAssist’s Consultant Network and recommends eAssist Dental Solutions as the trusted partner you need to succeed in 2022. Consider outsourcing your dental billing processes to a trained team that can collect 100% of what you are rightfully owed from insurance companies. This allows your in-house team to focus on what truly grows the practice, while your cash flow remains consistent. Learn more by emailing, calling 1-844-327-7478, or clicking here!

About the guest author

With over 30 years in the dental industry, Brenda Barbour knows the value of reconnecting dentists and teams with the core value of Patient Health Advocacy. She is passionate about supporting doctors and teams in understanding how their roles impact both the health of the patient and the health of the practice. Patients move forward in health and the practice reaches new levels of success. As a Productive Dentist Academy Business Consultant and Strategist, she is passionate about guiding practitioners to overcome present challenges and lower their stress. By mentoring team members about the business side of the practice and understanding key performance stats, both team engagement and the practice grow. Click here to contact Brenda and discover what Productive Dentist Academy has to offer. 


1 Source: “The Neuroscience Behind Our Words”, by Lindsey Horton.


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