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Dental Finance 101: You’re a Dentist First, Do What You Do Best

You’re a busy dentist who has put a decade and several hundred thousand dollars or more into schooling. And many of you have added hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, into a dental practice. Will you allow the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your entire life (your education and dental practice) fall short of its potential because of distractions?

Do you spend time doing stuff unrelated to dentistry, or dabbling in side hustles that probably won’t result in your getting the most out of your original investment? The business of dentistry is worthy of your significant investment … and your focus.

New Patients and New Services
You’ve developed expertise; a highly specialized skill set. Gaining that expertise has a high price, and the reward is you earn a very high rate per hour for the work you do—$500, $700, $1,000+. The business of dentistry is a combination of both increasing new patients and increasing new services. You could spend your entire career focused on those two areas and never stop innovating.

Want to have a successful practice? Then outsource everything that is not your core competency so you can concentrate on what you do best. If you get to the point where you’d like to grow even more, teach other associates how to do the same thing as you expand your footprint. Outsourcing non-core activities and building an advisory board allows you to free your energies, get more people into your chairs, build your brand, and add to your skills through CE.

Your highly-trained clinical skills will generate significantly more income than anything else you can do. It’s essential you focus on the highest value activity—and in most cases that will simply be your production. This is the major reason you should consider seeking consulting advice to help you do one or more of the many jobs that need to be done for a practice.

Move Past It
If the idea of paying someone else to handle things puts a bad taste in your mouth, you need to first decide if a do-it-all-yourself approach will really save your bottom line. Too many dentists feel they don’t want to pay for things they can do themselves. But they miss the opportunity to grow their practice to a larger size, which is far more lucrative than saving money on the tasks they might choose to do on their own.

Remember, you’re worth $500+ an hour when you’re working at what you’ve become an expert in, dentistry. Usually it’s not worth your time to do things that can be done by somebody else (who could probably do it better and faster, and at a cost that is much lower than the $500+ an hour you can make). Your knowledge in dentistry is what actually increases practice and personal revenues.

You’re Still in Control
Outsourcing different jobs that need to be done at your practice is not the same thing as outsourcing all of your decisions. By getting others to complete smaller tasks that are not your expertise, you’re putting yourself in a position to be the gatekeeper of the good advice you’re receiving. At the end of the day, the buck will still stop with you.

There are good marketing consultants, there are good CPAs, there are good attorneys, real estate professionals, and financial advisors. By maximizing the value of your time, you’re left with more time to do the things that you’re uniquely qualified to do.

Conclusion—For the Best Results
You need to be the very best dentist you can be. When you delegate anything that’s not your core competency it boosts your profits—plus, it creates more time for you to bring balance into your personal life.

You’ve already put a lot of time and money into the skill and business of dentistry. Don’t let it fail because you’re putting time, energy, and money in places that don’t deserve it like your practice does.

Reese Harper, CFP® is host of the Dentist Money™ Show, a weekly podcast dedicated to helping dentists make smart financial decisions. He is also the founder and CEO of Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm which focuses exclusively on dentists and specialists. His trademarked planning methodology called Elements® is used by dentists all over the country to plan, invest, and retire better.


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