15 Minute End Of Year Review

Episode 088

This week on episode 88 of Business of Dentistry I recommend 5 items for a quick end of year review of our practices. This snapshot will give us a look at where we have been. It will also give us an idea of where we want to go moving forward. Happy New Year!

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Typically I don’t dwell on new year’s resolutions, I set goals but I don’t focus on that at the first of the year. Today we’re going to look back – not to regret what we didn’t do but to give us a start to the new year. We can look at what we didn’t accomplish as information that helps us determine which way to go this year. It’s looking back to look forward!

On today’s episode I’ll cover 5 quick points to look at the big picture at the end of the year. The first is where did you start last year with your team? How many did you have at the beginning of the year and how many were with you at the end of the year? How many are the same team members, and how many transitioned out of your practice and into other work environments?

Personally I started with ten and ended with ten, but two transitioned out and two new people came in.
I look at this information because I believe stability in a team leads to success. It also gives you an indication of what kind of leadership you are giving and how you are taking care of your team. How you treat your staff impacts how your clients are treated, all of which impacts your long-term success.

In my case I had a 20% transition rate – I don’t think it’s too bad although I’d prefer to have zero! The two team members who left did so for different reasons.

One left to work in her children’s school as an administrative assistant. She wanted to be off when her kids were off and working when her kids were in school. Because I couldn’t offer her that type of schedule, I understood and we left on mutually good terms.

The second person was also working in an administrative role in my office. She gave her two week notice and was a bit upset when she did. She left because I brought a newer surgical assistant from a part-time position to a full-time role, because one of my other surgical assistants was out on maternity leave.

When I did that this administrative person was upset and found another job working on the clinical side. She was trained in both the clinical and administrative side of dentistry, but I didn’t talk to her enough to know she wanted to work on the clinical side. So  her leaving was on me, that was my responsibility as a leader.

Which leads to point #2: reduction, controlling overhead and spending in my practice. I had some goals in this area and we were close to reaching them. I’m still waiting on some final numbers to come back but I believe we will have a 3.5% reduction in my practice’s overhead. I know that may not sound like a lot to some people but I think about it like a 3.5% raise!

This second point also leads to our final three: production, collections and time off. This year I had a 1.6% increase in production (or charges) over last year.

It isn’t very much nor is it impressive. In fact I was disappointed in it. Then I compared it to collections, where we had a 1.4% increase – nearly the same.

The real factor that made me feel better though was I reduced my hours; I shaved off nearly an hour every day and took 16% more time off compared to last year. Those numbers tell me I worked 16% less but still increased production and collections and reduced my overhead – all of which are positives!

Those are all things to think about: team transition, overhead reduction, production, collections, and time off. I believe they give you an indication of what worked, what didn’t and where you want to go this next year. Take a look at these five areas in your practice and let me know what you find, after you listen to episode 88 of Business of Dentistry!


Tweetable: “Look back to look forward!” 

Episode Resources

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Schedule Like A CEO

Episode 087

We’re back after some time away from the podcast. This week we discuss a way to schedule our upcoming year like a CEO. We also talk about some ways to improve management of our email and team projects on this episode of Business of Dentistry.

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It’s the end of the year and I wanted to mention to you three things I’ve implemented as policies. The first is scheduling like a CEO. CEOs schedule months in advance, some as far as 18 months ahead of time. While we typically can’t do this with patients we can schedule our personal commitments in advance. We can put the big rocks in first, so to speak.

In our office I have a policy to go into the practice management schedule at the end of every December and look at the holidays for the upcoming year. Then I’m supposed to decide how many days off we are going to take around those holidays. For some it’s just one day, and for others it is multiple days.

I do that by the end of December so my entire staff can look at the schedule and make plans in advance for vacations and other time-off requests. This is the fourth year we’ve been scheduling like this and it has been working well.

Another thing we do is to plug-in fall breaks and spring breaks for the local school systems. They are important for those of us on the team with children, we want to plan for time off with our families.

The breaks are also important because it’s typically a highly productive time for the office. Fall and spring breaks are when many people want to schedule wisdom teeth removals and other surgeries; we need to know when these breaks will happen every year so we can schedule accordingly.

Finally, in my particular case, I have my Navy reserve obligations so I plug in the dates I know I will be away fulfilling those duties. You may have other commitments like conferences you know you are attending. You want to input those dates as far in advance as possible. For me I already know I have some conflicts with patient appointments, but I have caught those conflicts far enough in advance that we can reschedule easily ahead of time.

To actually add these dates I go through my calendar month by month. I look at which holidays fall in that month, and then I ask if I will be off on that particular holiday. Then I go back and look at any CE, conferences or Navy commitments, I add them to the calendar. Next I look at the spring break and fall break dates and add those.

If you look at this particular way of scheduling, this allows you to put in the most important things like time with kids, holidays, vacations and get them scheduled ahead of time. Doing so lets your team know those dates and plan around them. It will lessen your stress and your team’s stress, everyone can work out their requests for vacations and holidays well in advance and you all can avoid a lot of unnecessary conflict.

The second thing I have started doing is a personal policy regarding checking email. I’m constantly checking my phone and my desktop to see what emails have come in. I’ve decided to reduce this as much as possible since it is such a distraction. Someone I have been following about this topic said checking your email constantly is like running to the mailbox every two or three minutes to see if the mail has come!

So turn off notifications and schedule a specific time every day when you check emails. It could be first thing in the morning, over lunch or before you leave the office. Just pick a time and block it off to take care of email, and then focus only on email at that time.

Finally a third policy I’ve been following is to communicate drop dead dates and deadlines with my team. This is something I’ve been good at with my military team but haven’t done so well with in the office. You may already do this but this is something I am working on getting better at now.

Those are the three things I am focusing on going forward: scheduling like a CEO, managing email better, and setting deadlines for my office team.We will see how these all work out and will adjust as necessary.

Listen to today’s show to hear those details plus a listener shares what they are doing regarding free consults and no shows. Check it out on episode 87 of Business of Dentistry!

Tweetable: “Checking email constantly is like running to the mailbox
every few minutes to see if the mail has come!” 

Episode Resources

Voices of Dentistry Summit 2018
Email me

Business of Dentistry on Facebook

Connect with me on Twitter
Leave a review and subscribe on iTunes