Many dentists prefer to own their practice but too many are trapped in positions where the options don’t match what they hoped for in practice ownership. For example, if you’ve ever wondered “where” to open your practice, you’ll need to become acutely aware of two core concepts. But more specifically, you’ll need to understand how those concepts relate to startups. Those two concepts are Visibility and Signage.
In this article, you will be exposed to jarring truths about visibility and signage. Here, you will gain a perspective that can accelerate your growth, creating a very profitable first year in startup practice ownership.
For example, one of the case studies we explore together will show how one of our High-Level Consulting Clients regularly attracts over 100 new patients per month while saving 50 percent on real estate costs. The fascinating part is that she has virtually no signage or visibility. You’ll see why you might not need them in your startup practice either.
Should you choose a location with visibility like McDonalds? Not necessarily. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to do that in order to be successful. When you read to the end, you’ll learn about a startup dentist who cut real estate costs by half and got so many new patients that she was forced to pause marketing efforts.
It starts with ignoring the advice from people who pretend to know how startup practices succeed. Those with opinions are not the same as those with experience.
We call those people the “peanut gallery.”
This group of people has strong opinions about startups without a few hundred case studies to teach from. This group could include vendors, colleagues and even loved ones. They have good intentions, but their sample size of startup practices is so small that their advice can hurt more than help.
It’s important to ask yourself if you really take the opinion on such an important topic from someone who hasn’t helped hundreds of dentists create successful startups. For example:
What about advice from someone like an equipment sales person? Did that person create the successes they speak of or just sell the equipment? Their compensation comes directly from an equipment sale, and I have yet to find an X-ray unit that determines the success of a startup practice.
What about the opinion of a colleague who opened a practice 10 years ago? That colleague’s experience with a single practice may not be relevant for your practice, in your town, built for your clinical experience in practice ownership. With a sample size of just one, be highly cautious of following the advice.
Today’s successful startups are creating rapid growth by addressing the realities in this new era of dentistry. Current growth strategies have evolved and when implemented well, the results can create a strong trajectory for years of growth. To achieve this, ensure the peanut gallery doesn’t impact your planning stages.
There is no topic more filled with peanut gallery wisdom than that of your practice’s visibility.
Location, Location, Location
Dentists have been told by infomercials, realtors and so-called “experts” that location-location-location should be your priority. They make suggestions to prioritize opening on busy intersections or the heaviest traveled roads. Below, we will share an example from one of our High-Level Consulting Clients. Her case study will reveal to you why those suggestions are factually incorrect.
Through the process of negotiating, buying and opening this client’s practice, she is now able to own a building she loves. Her practice is located on the back-side of a building on a slow road. Her startup and is exploding with growth, as you’ll see in the numbers below.
Take a look at her building here:
She attracts over 100 new patients per month … in her startup … without pricey real estate. In fact, through her first year in business, she surpassed an average of 100 new patients per month in every single month. An interesting byproduct of her rapid growth is her dramatic decrease in her marketing budget. Recently, she told the marketing agency to pause the marketing campaign because she has too many patients (over 1,500 in 14 months).
Surprisingly, she’s on the back side of that building. It is on a side road just outside of town; visibility not included.
The solution is not to buy the expensive McDonalds corner location. Businesses like McDonalds buy corner locations because their business must attract the impulse-buyers. As you know, impulse-buyers are good for coffee and fries, not crowns and prophies!
What about potential cost savings? Instead of paying a million dollars for the expensive corner real estate, you would spend less than half that. See, commercial real estate prices can drop by 50 percent and over when you’re just one block off the main street. Your building can still be an icon in the community, grow rapidly and avoid overspending on corner location property.
The Texas Case Study
In this Texas Case Study, you’ll see the brown building from one of our clients the picture below.
Do you see the brown building up on the hill? As you can tell, there is very little visibility here.
He just surpassed his six-month income goals in just three months without visibility. Allow me to reinforce the point again: six months of income in his first three months, all while being on the third floor of a commercial building without visibility from the main road.
That’s why we are telling you to not believe the so-call experts who say visibility is your top priority. It’s just not true.
After negotiating millions of dollars of real estate deals all over the country, we’ve learned a lot. Signage is one of those topics that people believe has an absolute answer.
Look at this image of a practice in my hometown, just outside of Philadelphia (in full disclosure, this is not one of my clients, though I’ve met the owner multiple times).
This doctor took the advice from others, buying a building with good visibility, road frontage and a sign. Those things sound good on paper, fitting the proverbial checkboxes. Unfortunately for her, those checkboxes have not worked well. The problem is in her results. She attracts just 10 new patients per month, less than half of the monthly national average for new patients. This poor doctor even got the largest sign, legally allowed in her town.
I hope these case studies create a lasting feeling because I want you to remember that the typical advice from the Peanut Gallery isn’t right for startups. While great signage is a good thing, most signage is worthless.
Let’s take a look at our other two examples and see what kind of signage you can find.
Exhibit A (look familiar?)
If you take a close look at the sign, you won’t see her name because it’s not there.
The contractor didn’t finish her sign in time for the Grand Opening, so she opened her practice without one. Even without the sign, she still had 96 new patients in her first month.
She now has more patients than she can handle after just 14 months.
You may remember the brown building up on the hill in Texas. This image shows a closeup view of the structure.
As you might notice, there is no signage in site, preventing you from knowing even which floor his practice is on. Yet, paradoxically, he’s the doctor who reached his six-month income goal in half the time we planned. The point is that signage has played no role in his growth.
The Winning Plan for Startuups
When considering a startup, the stakes are high. But it’s worth investing the right amount of time and energy in proper planning because the rewards of success are even higher. Proper financial planning is imperative. Learn about proper startup budgets in this ground breaking article covering startup cost. [link: http://howtoopenadentaloffice.com/dental-practice-start-up-costs/]
Don’t let the peanut gallery tell you to expect success from any single topic like visibility or signage. By avoiding that kind of advice, you can easily cut your real estate costs in half and increase your new patient flow to over 100 per month.
The solution is to follow the proven 13 Stages of a startup, not just one topic like visibility.
Get a free copy of the 13 Stages Video training here. [www.idealpractices.com/13]
Incredible success stories are being made all across the country—and disasters are being avoided—by simply focusing on the entire process and implementing it the right way.
For doctors who are considering opening a new office, we are offering one copy of my created a demographics article for your research. In my bestselling book, Choosing the Right Practice Location, I cover dozens of concepts related to this topic. You can learn more about those principles in this article on our website. [link: http://howtoopenadentaloffice.com/dental-demographics/]
Good luck to you and your future in practice ownership!