Years ago when we first started working with dentists to help them grow their practices we thought to ourselves, “This will be easy, there is so little innovation happening in this industry, beating the competition is not going to be difficult.”
The first problem happened when we went to pull the financial numbers.
The problem was, we couldn’t get them. Not the real numbers. Not the one’s that help you grow your business.
In addition, there were no marketing tools built into the software. (other than the little place where you can put who referred the patient…ohh, please.)
The industry was so far behind in it’s business development you couldn’t get basic reporting or metrics, much less sales funnel analysis.
Here was our mistake, we thought since we had built skyscrapers (metaphorically) in other complicated businesses that helping grow simpler dental business models, residential homes if you will, it would be easy.
What we didn’t realize is that there was no “Lowes.”
The basic back office tools and functions needed to grow a dental practice didn’t exist.
We would have to build them on our own. Every nail, every hammer, every piece of drywall. Painful.
That started a journey of a thousand steps. It was excruciating and expensive but we finally did it. Our dentists could now enjoy the 21st century.
So next time you feel that you just don’t have the tools you really need to run the business side of your practice, don’t get mad at your office manager, just remember, she doesn’t have access to a Lowes.
In a free economy all products and services are driven to the lowest price possible over time. Brilliant thinkers working on operational efficiencies and business scale help industries find a way to deliver products and services at a cheaper and cheaper price to consumers. Look at the price of flour, one of the most precious commodities on earth for feeding people (Paleo Dieters excluded), can be purchased for $0.50 a pound.
And food is isn’t the only thing that’s becoming inexpensive. My first Dell Laptop weighed 7lbs and cost $2500. It didn’t have the storage or computing power of my current IPhone, which is weighed in ounces and cost $400.
This process is called commoditization. And it is a force like gravity that drives products and services to the lowest price possible over time. For consumers and patients, it’s heaven and for businesses and practices it’s hell. There is only one tool businesses can use to fight back commoditization and that is innovation.
Innovation is a world where amazing experiences meet higher prices. So where are you innovating in your practice?
Is your practice an old Dell laptop?
(By the way, “good customer service” is not an innovation; it’s an expectation and its been commoditized so think harder than that.)
If you’re really stuck and cant think of a way to innovate ask yourself this question, What would make our experience feel AMAZING for our patients?
Ask your staff, heck ask your patients.
Here’s the question to ask: I would like to really improve my practice and need your help to innovate some really awesome ideas, what would be something that would make your dental experience amazing?
You may just get some answers that keep your practice from turning into flour.