Transitioning From Being a Dental Provider to an Entrepreneur

Picture this: a pediatric dentist is well-known and loved in his community, known for his ability to connect with young patients and parents. He has a knack for encouraging families to agree to more complex treatments and hospital cases, in addition to their routine cleanings. This not only ensures the best care for his patients, but also drives the practice’s revenue. As he sees the practice thrive, he envisions building something even bigger. In order to start his next practice (and a few more after that), he needs to make the transition from hands-on provider to entrepreneur. 

Building a Beautiful Business That Runs Without You

At Skytale, we often talk about building a beautiful business—one that can run without you. This can be difficult for many folks who began their practice as a sole provider, but who now wish to either retire from the practice altogether or scale and grow the business.

Translating the way you operate your business to others, passing the baton so you can transition into a management role, comes with roadblocks and discomfort. But this transition from provider to entrepreneur is often what moves your business beyond a plateau to help you build something even bigger. Learn how to build a beautiful business that not only endures, but flourishes in the ever-changing dental landscape.

Steps to Transition From Being a Hands-on Provider to an Entrepreneur

Let’s use the example of a pediatric dentist who wants to open another practice. He’ll need to find an associate to replace himself as the primary dentist at the first location, and ensure his staff is able to continue to run the practice without his direct oversight. Here are some considerations into this phase of the process. 

  1. Consider your motivation: Understand why you want to step back from practicing. Is it because you want to scale your business? While growing a business is hugely rewarding, it also requires an investment of time and energy. (If you’re stepping away for retirement reasons, you’ll probably follow a different process.) 
  2. Train your team: Find the capable individuals to fill your role. Are you prepared to mentor and train them to reach the levels of productivity you’ve achieved? How can you share your vision for growth? It’s normal to expect a dip in productivity for a few months as you train up an associate. To get him or her up to speed quickly, you’ll need to be available for mentorship and training every step of the way. It’s a hands-on process, not a direct hand-off.
  3. Document systems and processes: Your first practice might run effectively because you and your team know how to get things done. But in order to grow beyond one practice (or five or seven), these processes need to be clearly documented for every critical role. What does success look like? What does it not look like? How do we troubleshoot? Documenting SOPs equips people for success and helps them align with the practice’s goals. Use these documented processes to help replace your presence and scale yourself across the business. You can’t be everywhere at one time.
  4. Set clear goals: Define specific goals for the practice, including budgeting, forecasting, and growth targets. Establish KPIs to track progress and adjust as needed. Define the actions needed to improve each KPI. This way, the team knows not just what is happening, but also how to make corrections.
  5. Reflect and learn: As one practice begins to run without you (and you’re focusing your efforts on opening the next one) review the transition. Identify successes and areas for improvement.
  6. Be ready to adapt: Be prepared for unexpected challenges, like turnover. You’ll need to be prepared to step back in when necessary, if a provider goes on leave. You may be managing the business now, but you’re also setting an example and continuing to move the practice forward.
  7. Build your support system: You don’t have to do it all on your own (even if that’s how you’ve gotten this far). Surround yourself with the right people. This means experts who can support your scaling efforts effectively—experts who have experienced exactly what you’re going through.

Hurdles to Expect When Moving from the Provider to Entrepreneur Role

Wanting to Do Everything Yourself

Even if you ran your business single-handedly from day one, at a certain point, that’s no longer sustainable. And it’s definitely not going to work if you plan to transition away from day-to-day patient care and into entrepreneurship.

In order to build a team that can support the organization’s growth, you have to have the courage to let go of certain tasks. Trust that your team members are properly trained and capable of taking the reins.

Documenting Processes or “Secret Sauce”

Many practices have a hard time documenting the key factors for their success, or secret sauce. The mentality of “I know it, I’ll handle it myself” hinders scalability. To truly scale, you have to document essential procedures.

It’s also crucial to build robust systems even before you begin growing. It’s like building a sturdy frame that’s bigger than the current picture—ensuring resilience and adaptability in the face of change.

Waiting for Payoff

It takes a lot of stamina to undergo this transition. As you’re scaling and building million-dollar assets, are you still paying yourself the same amount you were when you started?

For providers who have learned to be frugal as they grow, this can be especially challenging. However, you have to pay yourself a competitive market rate for your role as it changes to manager or CEO. Especially if you have your sights set on selling in the future. If you never pay yourself properly, that line item won’t be in the budget. Consider market rates for all roles in your business, including your own.

Forecasting Is Crucial

Create a forecast and fine-tune your budget. Establishing KPIs can help your team stay on track for productivity. For instance, setting a target number of patients seen per day to effectively monitor patient volume and create the opportunity to make adjustments to stay on course. It also helps every member of your team understand how their individual role contributes to the success of the organization. 

Get Help From Experts as You Transition From Being a Provider to an Entrepreneur

It’s possible to move smoothly from being a provider to an entrepreneur, but it helps to have an expert on your side. Skytale Group helps healthcare practices navigate growth. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow your business.