Hamid Ryan Kazemi understands the obstacles a dentist faces when establishing a new practice. It goes far beyond the technical skills and training they receive in dental school. In fact, opening a new practice is such a challenge that the American Dental Association (ADA) provides a guide, Starting Your Dental Practice, to all fourth-year dental students via the dental school faculty.
With all the technical demands of dentistry, getting a successful and profitable business up and running is an additional drain on a dentist’s time and resources. This puts establishing a thriving client base further down the list than is desirable.
“Once the essential aspects of a new practice are in place, professionals can concentrate on growing their business and making it profitable,” Hamid Ryan Kazemi said.
Kazemi has spent the past twenty years building his own oral and maxillofacial surgery practice in Maryland. More recently, he has taken on a mentoring role, sharing his knowledge via free coaching sessions with other professionals in the field of dentistry.
Hamid Ryan Kazemi Shares Tips For Launching a New Business
Though he primarily coaches other dentists, Kazemi believes the basic business success tips he shares are applicable to any industry.
“Dentistry has the same challenges to starting a business as other professions,” he said. “Some of the start-up demands are unique, but by following the tips a successful result can be achieved by any company.”
Finding the right space to house your practice is the most important business decision a dentist will make. A dental office lease can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and will project your image to the public. Providing a convenient location with easy parking is important for patients. Having reliable power and utilities is critical to the smooth operation of the practice.
Before signing a lease, seek professional advice. Have a reputable contractor assess the property, then secure the services of a legal or real estate professional before signing anything.
Hire With Care
The employees in a practice are what patients first see when they visit. Getting the right mix of personable and professional will free the dentist to concentrate on the practice.
John Rossheim, a journalist who covers careers, employment and workplace trends, said believes it pays to devote time and resources when hiring nonclinical positions in his article How to Hire Office Staff for a Medical or Dental Practice.
“Whether you’re starting up a practice or replacing a retiring worker, hiring top talent is one of the best opportunities to create the practice you want,” he said.
Hamid Ryan Kazemi agreed, saying, “The best resources at a dentist’s disposal are to talk to other professionals. They have experience that is invaluable to a new practice.”
Talking with other dentists or business professionals before you make critical operational decisions can save the business time, money and lessen the stress on the owner. Most dentists belong to professional associations and though technically competitors, are willing to share their knowledge. By passing along their lessons of experience with others, dental professionals are elevating the practice of dentistry as a whole.
The transfer of knowledge is both ways, even if it doesn’t appear so at first glance. A new dentist has been given the most up to date training and is more aware of the advances in technology. What may seem like a one-way flow of information is in reality a shared learning experience.
Once the location has been chosen and the staff hired, the next obvious step is to find patients to fill the chairs. This is where networking can be invaluable to a new dental professional.
When Hamid Ryan Kazemi first started offering his free coaching to local dentists, he was surprised by their lack of networking knowledge.
“When I began my practice, I sought out other dental professionals for both their technical knowledge and to learn how to create a successful practice,” he said. “My staff and I have worked with over 250 dentists in the Washington, D.C. area gaining both knowledge and clients. Now I want to pass along the techniques I learned to a new generation.”
Networking is more than just joining professional associations. There are many events outside the profession that will contribute to a successful and profitable practice. For instance, if you specialize in pediatric dentistry or orthodontics, it makes sense to participate in events focusing on children or teens.
Ask, Listen, Learn
Just showing up to an event or signing up for an association is not enough. To get the maximum benefit from a networking opportunity, new professionals should ask, listen and learn. It is a time to ask questions that other professionals with experience can answer best. It is also a time to listen to the answers and learn how to incorporate them.
Some professionals are naturally inclined to networking environment, while others feel uncomfortable about seeking advice from strangers. Like most aspects of life, time and practice will help alleviate the pressure. The easiest way to relax is to just be natural and ask a lot of questions. Find an experienced networker to talk to and they will help you overcome the initial awkwardness.
All businesses can benefit from application of these best practices, especially in the area of networking. Sharing knowledge is the best way to build strong relationship with peers and customers alike. Seeking the advice of professionals will help answer many of the questions around establishing a new practice.
“A careful networking plan will often answer the rest,” Hamid Ryan Kazemi said.