Mike Shoun, CEO
Affordable Image
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What is the Best Single Bit of Advice for a New Dentist?
By Mike Shoun, CEO

A few weeks ago I was asked an intriguing question by a young, new dentist that made me step back and think for a moment. The question was, “If you were to open a dental practice with all that you know, what would be the single best piece of advice you would share?” Considering that I am in the marketing profession, my first instinct was to say marketing. However, I did stop to think deeply about my choice before offering my words of wisdom.

In my mind I kept going back to, “You need to have a strong marketing plan. Yes, that is what gives you success. This will be my answer, as marketing is what brings in the patients. If you don’t have a well thought out marketing plan, then failure is inevitable. That is the best advice I should offer.” Then I thought, “To market a new practice, I would need a great location. Yes, a great location.” Thoughts raced around in my head. Then I realized, “You need to have great staff. The team is only as strong as you are, and they are the ones who make the marketing plan and my services work.” My mind went around and around on what truly is the best single bit of advice I should give.

To have a successful dental practice, I know that you need a great location, a strong team, and you have to market the practice. You already have a fantastic education, so that is solid. What is my advice to this young man who is looking at me like I am the guru of all that has ever been set before him? I am stumped on my answer. If I answer incorrectly and point him in the wrong direction, I will feel horrible. The thought of opening a practice of my own makes me feel nervous and overwhelmed, as I believe all new dentists must feel.

I clear my throat and out comes the most powerful, thoughtful answer I could think of: “That is a good question.” I search my mind. Obviously I have to offer an answer, and soon, but this is a tough one. Every time I think I have that single answer, I think of another one that needs to go with it.

I have education, location, staff and marketing. Marketing encompasses a huge aspect of the business, from the office décor and staff uniforms. It is the printed and digital collateral. It includes all social and online presence. So this must be it. I think I would advise, “Make sure your marketing is top notch.” This makes perfect sense. It is my business and I know how critical marketing is.

Then a bright light goes off and a huge smile comes to my face. The answer to this young new dentist is clear as day and it makes perfect sense. I look him in the eyes and say, “Young man, the best single bit of advice I can offer you as a new dentist starting your practice is to understand that it is a business first. If you understand that it’s a business, all your passion for dentistry will be rewarded. Businesses run successfully with the right experts to give you advice. If you run it like a business, you will be around for many years and your patients will be taken care of and will continue to see you.”

In the end, all the items I knew were important just needed to be summed up. All successful businesses have these elements: location, service and marketing. Hire the best experts in any area of need, and your practice/business will be around for a long time.

Mike Shoun is the President and Owner of Affordable Image Dental Marketing Solutions - a full service marketing company dedicated to the client's overall success. 

Mike can be reached at (602) 265-2299 ext. 211, or email mike@affordableimage.com

Visit www.affordableimage.com for more information

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