Once Upon a Time…a Dentist Signed a Bad Lease

We’ve all heard this bedtime story. The one about the dentist who after years of dental school and associating, decided to start their own practice.

Eager to get their practice underway, they go through the necessary steps to select a location, secure financing, and happily sign off on a ten year dental office lease provided by their landlord. But, they miss the critical and most important stage that ensures a healthy and successful dental business — reviewing the details of the dental office lease.

The fairytale starts to go south when our doctor realizes that the office lease they were so eager to sign initially is now impeding the growth and security of their business. They find themselves buried in clauses and contractual obligations that hinder their ability to practice alternative forms of dentistry, bring in associates, expand the practice, or eventually sell it.

Having incurred significant financial loss due to unreasonable rent escalations, a forced practice relocation (at the doctor’s expense), and a decline in business, our dentist is forced try and sell the practice and return to associating.

The moral of the story? Starting a practice requires planning, long-term thinking, and a thorough understanding and review of the dental office lease.
The Storyboard: Outlining the Plot
Before starting a dental practice, it’s important to understand your current situation and what your career goals are as a business owner. A young dentist fresh out of school will have different needs and goals than an established, end-of-career dentist. Identifying your needs and career goals will clarify what your dental office lease should do for you.

Create a plan that will clearly define your budget, timeline and long-term business and professional goals. The office lease should support your objectives, not hinder your […]

Needs Analysis | Preparing for Dental Office Lease Negotiations

Signing a bad lease can put you in a costly and vulnerable position as a dental tenant. An important task that every dentist should complete in preparation of a dental office lease negotiation with their landlord is a comprehensive needs analysis.

The needs analysis should outline the big picture, your current situation, and short and long term career goals. In turn, you will be in a better position to negotiate a lease that supports your plans, and protects your family and estate from financial and legal risks down the line.
Items to Consider in Your Needs Analysis
Your age and phase of career should determine the details you need in your dental office lease. For example, if you are in the early stages of your career, perhaps an associate or new graduate looking to start or open your first practice, “fixturing” language will be highly relevant to you. If your new office is an empty shell, you’ll need the appropriate time to build-out your practice without incurring rental costs.

What about a tenant improvement allowance? Often landlords provide funds or an “allowance” to tenants to help offset expensive build-out costs.
You practice General Dentistry, but what if you decide later in your career to expand your services to offer patients endodontics, orthodontics or other forms of dentistry? You’ll want to ensure your lease will permit you to do so in its “Use” provision. List out in detail all of the specific types of dentistry you foresee yourself offering to clients to ensure you’ve covered all of your bases.

Protecting your “market” is another item to consider. Having an “exclusivity” clause present in the lease will prevent […]

Social Media Marketing in Dental | The Focus On Facebook

Recent studies have found that social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. each have their own unique way of engaging consumers.

Facebook reaches more than half of the world’s global audience (55 percent) and for the purpose of dental practice marketing, it is most definitely your best opportunity to bolster your practice’s marketing position. When managed well, Facebook allows dentists to proactively enhance the relationships with your existing dental patients, while making a positive impression with their family and friends. Think of Facebook as a modern-day referral system. It’s an easy and effective means of connecting with your dental clients that provides great value.

Will Facebook Marketing Work for Your Dental Practice?
Many dentists are skeptical, intimidated or confused about social media.  Facebook has been around for nearly 10 years, but it is still relatively new for many small businesses. Those that have recently acquired or started a dental practice that have utilized Facebook often find it difficult to quantify success and end up abandoning their pages due to perceived poor results and nothing by way of a concrete financial return on investment. The truth is that Facebook has the potential to provide great benefits as long as you set some real expectations for yourself and your dental practice. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Nike have millions of Facebook “likes” but you must avoid comparing your practice to these corporations. As a dental office, if you have 10 percent of patient households liking your business, you are a “rock star” practice.
Patient Perception
Setting up a Facebook account may not deliver busloads of new patients to your dental practice, but having a winning presence will bolster your Internet marketing presence and separate your practice […]

3 Keys to Effective Dental Branding | Dan Pisek, Full Contact Marketing

Whether starting a new dental  practice, transitioning a purchased practice, boosting an existing practice or getting a practice ready for sale, there are many things to address to realize the big picture success that you desire; the right financial, operating and marketing systems are all keys to your success.

More dentists are realizing that effective dental office branding is a key component to their success when getting started with a new office, growing their existing practices or getting their practices ready to deliver a larger sale price when it comes time to retire.  Having the right dental brand identity is a valuable asset and it should be managed well.
Key Considerations to Effective Dental Branding
1) Your name.
Using your only your name to identify your practice does not provide potential new patients any information about what you are as a practice, where you are located, the type of dentistry you provide or anything about the patient experience that they can expect. Keeping last names out of the practice name will position you better for growth, especially when hiring associates.  Patients who make an appointment to see one of the dentists at your practice won’t feel short-changed if they aren’t seeing the dentist whose name is on the door.
2) Your logo.
Your practice name and the design of your logo say a great deal about your healthcare philosophy and the type of clientele that you wish to attract.  It is a competitive game out there and most consumers today want to work with a modern, progressive-minded, and inviting dental practice.
3) Your website.
Every day people leverage the internet to research their buying decisions.  Have a distinct website that stands out from your competitors’ and connects your practice with your specific target […]