Successful Practice Management–Two Types Of Practices

What’s holding YOUR practice back?

Is your practice making the kind of money you need and want?

If the answer is no, then read on.

Practice owners across the country have a similar problem. They are excellent practioners, good people and do great dentistry–but most of the problems they face in life are somehow related to their practice and work.

How is that possible?

They are experts in their field, they went to school for years and they work hard–sometimes too hard. It seems like if they are going to have problems in their life, they should be related to something else–like where to invest the large sums of money they’re making.  😉

All too often though, the opposite is true. Their time and attention are completely absorbed in their practice to the detriment of other things in life, sometimes very important things like family and personal goals. Their practice becomes something that pulls them down and constantly demands their attention. And then, even with all that, it STILL isn’t where they want it to be and they STILL aren’t making enough money.

Two Types Of Practices

Most people don’t realize it, but there are two types of practices.

1. Organization Style

2. Single Person Style

The first type of practice runs like an organization. This means that its employees are trained in established administrative procedures, the practice has policies and protocols, the staff have defined jobs they do and they run the practice as a team–an organization.

The second type of practice runs like a single person with a bunch of “helpers.” This means that one person does everything really and he just has people who might help him in different areas. All the decisions, all the problems and all the work all go up to him. Even if he is really good at delegating, he has so much traffic across his plate that he hardly has time to tell anyone what to do. In this case the owner is the one running the practice, and that’s it. There is no real organizational structure, no matter how many people are running around.

Keep in mind that each of these practices can be large or small. It isn’t about how big they are; it’s about how they’re set up and how they run.

Effects On The Owner

These types of practices affect the owner differently. Very differently.

In the first, organizational-type practice, the owner can come and go as he pleases. He doesn’t even have to be there to practice dentistry, as long as there is another doctor working that he can count on. Regardless of how many staff he has, he isn’t an integral part of the machinery of the practice. Sure, he knows how to run it and oversees that it is running right, but he can leave for a day or two, or more, and the practice can still run.

In the second, single-person style, the owner IS the practice. The practice runs only if he turns every wheel, and pulls every lever. He is in a constant battle to get everything done and it seems like no matter how much time he invests it isn’t enough. He has people coming to him continually for direction or advice. If he stops working, the practice stops functioning. In short, there isn’t any organization there to run. It’s just him, and if he’s gone…there’s nothing.

In the first type of practice, the owner receives benefit from the practice because, as an organization, it helps him to achieve his goals. In the second type the owner is constantly putting energy and effort into the practice, because there really is no organization at all besides himself. It’s just a bunch of people demanding his time and attention.

In the first example the owner stays refreshed, happy and excited about the future of his organization. In the second example, work is a drain on the owner, who just can’t wait to get get out of there. He may love dentistry and patient care but to heck with all the junk that goes with it.

An organizational-type practice is like a rocket booster for the owner. A single-person type is like an anchor tied around him.

The Difference

What makes the difference between these two types of practice? Management know-how. That’s it. Some dentists manage their practice as a business owner building an organization, and others manage their practice as a doctor. Doctors don’t run businesses–they treat patients. Business owners run businesses.

The difference in practice management styles is MANAGEMENT. If someone was trained as a doctor, with only a couple courses in business or running a practice, then no wonder they struggle with management and business issues–they simply weren’t trained in it.

At Hanses Management, our goal isn’t to be someone’s permanent consultant.  It’s to actually train them in what they need to know to run their own practice.  We aim to train them in the tried and tested real-world tools of management, so that after they’re done with us they can be their OWN consultant.

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