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“It’s an exciting - and scary - time when you’re making the leap from owning a private practice to running a dental support organization,” says AJ Acierno, DDS, who is CEO and co-founder of DecisionOne Dental Partners, a DSO with 25 practices in the Chicago area.

 

It’s about making a mind shift from one practice to many.

In my view, your mindset can never change from what it's been like to be a clinician. Your patients, doctors, and team members have come be first no matter what the size of your organization. You must still motivate people to believe in your vision and follow your leadership. You must still empower people and develop trust. You must still treat patients well and established systems. 

Dentists don’t learn how to build a business in dental school. But in the end, you are still working with people, leading people, and now learning how to build a business that supports multiple clinical locations with centralized business operations.

Effective call-coaching with Patient Prism. Schedule a demo ›You can’t be everywhere to support everyone like you did in a single practice location. If you’ve been successful in private practice, you may hesitate to relinquish control to others as you scale but most entrepreneurial dentists discover they need help after 2-3 locations. The successful office manager you have leaned on may find it difficult to manage multiple locations at the same time. Plan to hire ahead of the curve, and hire those who have expertise in marketing, supplies, human resources, mergers & acquisitions, accounting, and so on. You will need these people to help you establish and lead your central business operations.

While working as a dentist in my own practice, I had to trust someone at the front desk. I had to trust the front desk to collect payments, receive and make phone calls, and host patients in the waiting area. As a CEO, I now must trust associate dentists to lead their teams and trust the people in the departments behind the scenes to support all the locations.

In summary:

  • You will shift from feeling competently in control to realizing you need human resources with expertise to help you run the business.
  • You will need to ease your control at the same time you are learning to trust these experts.
  • You will naturally maintain the mindset that the patients, doctors, and team members come first but now you will be concerned about the larger organization and what is best for everyone across all locations, not just in the location where you originally built your private practice.

 

You will need to focus on creating the infrastructure.

Rather than focus on doing dentistry with patients, you will need to spend time and effort on building the business infrastructure. Once it is successfully in place and led well by great employees with leadership qualities, you can spend more of your time with patients or developing the clinical expertise of your associates. You don’t have to give up doing the dentistry you love.

While creating your infrastructure, you will need to define the guiding values and objectives for your organization. You will want to hire the best people and educate them to be aligned with your values and objectives for the DSO. You will need to trust them to help you create the best systems to operate the business and help create a culture in which all centralized departments and the teams in your multiple locations enjoy working. This is how you will motivate and retain your valuable employees.

 

You will become the clarity keeper.

Across all of this effort, growth, and relationship building, you will need make sure your vision is being reinforced and employees clearly know what the DSO stands for. You may not be directly overseeing accounting, hiring, marketing, purchasing, insurance coordination, or software usage, but you will make sure the infrastructure that grows is composed of people and systems aligned with your vision.

You will make sure your employees clearly know how you want people treated – both team members and patients. Systems can be improved, so you will make sure there's clarity about the operational systems and then trust your employees to use good judgment.

At DecisionOne, we want our teams to feel empowered to improve systems. We always say our systems are like a road. You can go this way on the road or that way on the road; just don't go off the road. Keep true to our vision of how people are to be treated.

 

Additional Resources to Help You Grow

The Patient Prism blog and the Patient Prism Academy video library feature hundreds of dental industry experts presenting recommendations and examples for leading and growing your dental practice, multi-location group, or DSO. We invite you to schedule a Patient Prism demo at a date and time that is convenient for you. See why Dental Products Report named Patient Prism a Top 10 Game Changer and a Top 10 Technology Product of the year, and why we received a Cellerant Best of Class in Technology award at the ADA annual conference. 

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