Expert advice from Myke Woollett

Explaining the basis of marketing metrics

Practice Plan Podcasts, Social Media and Digital Marketing Leave a Comment

Digital marketing expert Myke Woollett explains the basis of marketing metrics for a typical dental practice. He discusses the reasons why you should think about marketing metrics and shares easy to implement advice about where to start.

What you’ll hear:
  • The relevance of marketing metrics in your Practice
  • How buyer behaviour impacts on your bottom-line growth
  • Advice about the best way to manage enquiries

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Why visit the hygienist

Fran White Dental Health Leave a Comment

Fran White is a dental hygienist and therapist at El-Nashar Dental Care. We asked her why it’s so important to visit the hygienist…

Some people think of the hygienist as painful and unnecessary and would rather spend those hard earned pennies on a treat like a haircut; they simply don’t feel like they need a hygiene visit as they don’t want to be told how to brush their teeth.

I’m aware that visiting the hygienist is not a popular pastime; the moans and groans I get when new patients enter my surgery confirm it. However, give me five minutes and I’ll explain why I love this job, and why good oral hygiene is an investment in your long-term health with benefits that can last a life time.Read More

Achieve our vison

How we achieve our practice’s vision

Suki Singh Practice Management Leave a Comment

Regional Support Manager, Suki Singh, speaks to award-winning Practice Manager Rachel Dilley, about how they work towards achieving their business’s vision… 

Town Hall Dental in Brighouse has an ambitious vision – to be the premier dental practice in the North of England. It’s an aspirational aim, but the practice is proving they are up to the challenge, it has over 100 five-star reviews from patients on social media, 92% treatment uptake and last year won the UK Best Patient Care at the Dentistry Awards.

I meet with Rachel on a regular basis to discuss new ideas, track progress and brainstorm, and I know that creating positive memorable patient experiences and remaining focused on this overarching vision has been key to their success. Working with trusted providers and building strong business relationships is also important, and one of the steps Rachel took to ensure they are continually achieving their vision was to swap plan providers.

I asked Rachel to share her story so far…Read More

your questions answered

Where is the best place to begin when considering a diary zoning system?

Lisa Bainham Practice Management Leave a Comment

This is a question that we often get asked to advise on, particularly by practice managers who are looking for a system that will ease the day-to-day running of the practice. Appointment zoning does exactly that, providing a structure for the front desk team to better manage the clinicians’ time which increases efficiency, making the entire team less stressed and enhancing the experience for patients.

The fact we are regularly asked this question suggests many people recognise the benefits of zoning the diary, but simply don’t know where to begin. It can be tricky to introduce new changes or different processes into a practice, particularly when it comes to something so integral to the daily management, like the appointment book, and the fear of disruption or doing it wrong can sometimes hold people back.Read More

5 steps you should take with new starters

Five steps you should take with new starters

Janet Edwards HR and Team Development, Practice Management Leave a Comment

Janet Edwards, HR Manager at Practice Plan explains the right processes to have in place when it comes to integrating a new team member.

Even the most self-confident of people may experience some form of anxiety during their first few weeks at work. First impressions count and a planned induction programme is the most effective way to help someone settle in and adjust to their new environment, whilst providing a warm welcome to your practice. It will also give you a chance to identify any training needs to support your new member and give them a sense of belonging.

With this in mind, here are a few key things to ensure you cover in your practice induction.Read More

Expert advice from Ashley Latter

Why dentists find discussing fees challenging

Practice Plan Practice Management Leave a Comment

Ashley Latter explains the reasons why many dentists find it difficult to discuss fees with patients. He suggests easy to implement ways to overcome these difficulties and illustrates what can happen if you don’t.

What you’ll hear:
  • Why Dentists find talking fees challenging
  • Reasons why 90% of patients don’t buy on price
  • The danger to your nett profit by reducing the fees in your head
  • How to feel more comfortable discussing fees with self confidence

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Better the devil you know

Selling your practice to an associate – is it better the devil you know?

John Clarke Practice Management Leave a Comment

Irrespective of your current age, most principal dentists have retirement plans that include eventually selling their practice. Having evaluated how much money you will need to retire on and whether your practice is attractive to potential buyers, other key considerations revolve around timings and determining who the right person is to sell your practice to so you can set the appropriate wheels in motion.

The latest Practice Goodwill Survey statistics released by the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers (NASDAL) paints a mixed picture for the quarter ending 30 April 2018. Average goodwill values for UK dental practices have fallen slightly to 132% of gross fees compared to the previous quarter ending 31 January 2018; however, average valuations have increased by 4% to 140% of gross fees.

“Key considerations revolve around timings and determining who the right person is to sell your practice to so you can set the appropriate wheels in motion.”

This rise, according to market experts, is linked to a number of practices attracting high demand from large corporate buyer competition, such as BUPA, Portman and Genesis.  As ever, practices situated in the ‘right’ location in major cities with good transport links and nearby amenities attract considerable interest, but this is of little consolation to principals who own practices in more rural areas.

It can be tempting to sell your practice to a large corporate group. Several have entered the arena in recent years and are looking to quickly grow their market share so you may not be short of offers. Most corporates will be of a sound financial footing. This is appealing if you own the freehold of your practice’s building as you can negotiate for a corporate buyer to lease the property from you, thus providing a valuable income stream in your retirement.

But there are also some potential pitfalls to consider when selling to a third party. Some corporates may approach you directly and make an unsolicited offer to buy your practice which may fall short of its true valuation. Discussions over the terms of sale could become more protracted due to their specific demands as they will want to ensure your practice will complement their existing portfolio. Furthermore, corporate buyers are more likely to insist that you remain as the principal dentist for a set period of time even after the sale has completed so that practice revenues are not adversely affected by existing patients leaving.

“Selling to an associate dentist, particularly if they are an existing employee, may be a more timely and financially sound decision that will allow you to enter retirement on your own terms.”

Does the thought of losing control over how and when you retire leave you feeling uncomfortable? If so, a better option might be to sell your practice to an associate as there are no shortage of potential buyers who are looking to take the next step in their careers.

Selling to an associate dentist, particularly if they are an existing employee, may be a more timely and financially sound decision that will allow you to enter retirement on your own terms. The associate will already know the inner workings of your practice which can ensure a more seamless transition for patients and staff alike, thus helping to protect the longstanding reputation that you have established within your local community long after you have departed.

Some high street lenders are risk averse when assisting associates with financing and adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In contrast, specialist commercial finance providers can be more flexible in their willingness to tailor a financial solution to meet an associate’s needs and offer step-by-step support throughout the buying process.

“Always speak to specialist accountants, lawyers and financial providers who are experienced in handling sales of dental practices to ensure the least amount of stress for everyone involved.”

Choosing to sell your practice is a major, life-changing decision. But it might be that it is a case of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t when it comes to determining who is the right person to sell to. Regardless of which option you pursue, always speak to specialist accountants, lawyers and financial providers who are experienced in handling sales of dental practices to ensure the least amount of stress for everyone involved.