In the previous article, I recommended working to cut your spending, but today I am encouraging you to consider hiring an associate. You may be asking whether these two recommendations are counterintuitive. If your practice is at a point where you can consider adding an associate, your overall production and collections can increase while your work load and stress level decrease. You may be surprised at how ready your practice is for such an associate. There is a common misperception in dentistry that an associate dentist can only become valuable when the practice owner is as busy as he or she can be doing clinical dentistry.
Five years ago, I decided to share what I had learned opening three dental practices from scratch by writing the book Dentistry’s Business Secrets: Proven Growth Strategies for Your New or Existing Practice. I needed to free up time in my schedule to dedicate to writing. After 15 years of clinical dentistry, plus four years of dental school, my body was feeling the cumulative effect of hours of bending over patients while performing dental procedures. Due to the challenges involved in performing procedures like root canals and extractions, I had been referring these treatments out to specialists for several years. When I looked to hire an associate, I realized I could add these procedures back to the list of services we provide. My patients appreciated not having to go to another specialist and our production increased accordingly. My current associate has expanded our list of services even further as he is able to perform complex procedures, including the All-on-Four Dental Implant System.
Hiring an associate has freed me up to focus on the business side of running a successful private dental practice. It has allowed my dental practice to expand the services we offer and increase our monthly production. Having an associate has decreased the impact on my body from long hours performing difficult dental procedures. All of this has led to a reduced tendency for burnout. When a dentist is able to overcome the natural obstacle of accepting another dentist into the practice environment, the rewards can be remarkable.