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The biggest mistakes dentists make: Not analyzing the practice as a business

For well over 100 years, that was a valid impression. The law of supply and demand dictated success for most dental practices, even if they were not run in a businesslike manner. Now, in the challenging new dental economy, success is no longer guaranteed. Yet many dentists still ignore the importance of analyzing the state of their practice in business terms.

In the business world, there is a commonly used diagnostic tool referred to as a SWOT analysis … which looks at a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Related article: Swot Analysis: A critical step in strategic planning for every dental practice

For CEOs of major businesses, having an annual SWOT analysis is as natural and as critically important as seeing a physician for an annual checkup. If something is off—the corporate equivalent of high blood pressure or cholesterol—the need for treatment becomes clear.

In thousands of conversations with dentists throughout my career as the Founder and CEO of Levin Group, I have heard dentists explain that their practice is not doing well but they have no idea why. They can’t tell if there’s a problem with production, overhead or any of the other 25 critical practice targets. They don’t know the percentage of patients who are currently scheduled, how many inactive patients they have, their case acceptance rate, etc. ... all the data points that have a direct and fundamental bearing on the success of their practice.

Performing a periodic SWOT analysis solves this problem. By identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the analysis plays a central role in driving growth. For example, if the practice falls short of the targeted 98% of all patients scheduled at all times, it indicates that the practice should be doing more with the patients it already has… and that a downturn in production will occur if the practice does not come up with a corrective strategy.

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