5 Tips When Starting a Dental Practice

Looking to open a dental practice but don’t know where to start? Working as a dentist for other practice owners will only take you so far; to take your professional career to the next level, you must open your own practice. Rather than helping to boost the credentials of your competition, all of your hard work will go towards building your own practice. In this post, we’re going to reveal 5 important tips for opening a dental practice.

1. Define Your Service

Before officially opening a dental practice, you should first decide what types of services you want to offer. Some dental practices focus strictly on cleanings, while others perform cosmetic and/or surgical work. The advantage in expanding your services is that you’ll attract more customers and revenue, but the disadvantage is that you’ll likely need to hire associate dentists.

2. Research The Demographic

Another important tip for opening a dental practice is to research the surrounding demographic. Doing a little investigative research into census numbers will reveal key information about the city. Using this information, you can make smarter decisions on how to better run your dental practice.

3. Choose an Easy-To-Find Location

Make sure your dental practice is set up in a location that’s easy for clients to find. If customers are forced to drive down obscure back roads to reach your practice, you can count on some of them taking their business to one of your competitors. Ideally, new dental practices should be set up in a high-traffic  part of town that’s next to a major highway. When customers call to ask for directions, you should be able to provide them in just a few short sentences.

4. Hire an Accountant

Some dental practice owners may brush accountants off as an “unnecessary expense”, but they’re usually worth the price. A professional accountant will help organize your financial documentation, while offering guidance on tax write-offs and other information. Just remember to choose an experienced, licensed accountant that you can trust with your financial documentation.

5. High Population, Low Competition

When choosing a location for your dental practice, look for places with a high population density and low competition. Again, population numbers can be found at your local library, or you can hop online to view records on state-run websites. However, you’ll have to perform your own investigative work to determine the number of competing dental practices in the area.

Office Park Building

3 Tips For Choosing The Right Location For Your Dental Practice

One of the first steps in launching your own dental practice is choosing a location for it. You can have a team of highly skilled dental assistants and receptionists along with all of the right tools and equipment, but unless your practice is in the right location, you’ll have an increasingly difficult time trying to stay afloat. Location is arguably one of the most important elements for success, as it can either make or break a practice. To learn more about choosing the right location for a dental practice, keep reading.

1. Demographics

When you’re scouting potential locations for your dental practice, do some research into the demographics. There are a number of free-to-use resources and records, found both online and at city planning offices, which offer this information. Look to see how the population numbers have changed in the surrounding area over the past 5-10 years. Have the numbers increased or decreased? If people and businesses are moving away from this area, this is a red flag that should send you packing in the other direction as well. On the other hand, locations with large, dense populations of residents along with businesses are a sign of a healthy thriving economy and infrastructure.

2. Competition

Population numbers aren’t the only factor that should weigh into your decision on choosing a location for your dental practice. Another key factor that will greatly affect your business is the competition. Common sense should tell you that trying to muscle your way into a competitive area with several other dental practices nearby will only make your job more difficult. The fact is that most patients stick with the same dentists for ten or more years; therefore, trying to set up a new practice in a location where residents have already chosen their dentist is a poor choice. You can expect some competing dental practices in most busy cities, but make sure the dentist-to-population ratio is low enough so you don’t have to struggle for new clients.

3. Practice Lease

Another important step in choosing a location for a dental practice involves the lease. Don’t just accept the first building that ‘looks’ suitable for your practice. Instead, scout around in the desired area where you want to open a practice and call up buildings/shops with a ‘for lease’ sign. Find out how much space they offer, along with the monthly lease rate. You probably don’t want to operate out of a cramped building with little room to expand.


5 Tips for Starting a Pharmacy

Starting your own pharmacy can be a fun and lucrative business venture that allows you to earn a living while helping others. If you consider yourself a ‘people’ person and enjoy the fascinating world of medical science, owning a pharmacy might be the perfect career path. It’s not uncommon for pharmacy owners to bring home an annual salary of $200,000-$500,000, when it’s done correctly. But you need to know a few things about the pharmacy industry in order to succeed…

1. Pharmacy Location

The location of a pharmacy can either make or break the business. If it’s located around numerous other pharmacies, it will likely be difficult to attract and maintain a strong customer base. Preferably, you want the location to be in a high-traffic area with minimal competition. Cheap industrial parts of town might be enticing to some entrepreneurs, but unfortunately it’s a poor location for a pharmacy. You have to remember that pharmacies rely on walk-in customers; therefore, you want to set up shop around a residential area with lots of people. Do some scouting to locate a highly populated area with little-to-no competition. Even if it costs a bit extra, the price of a ‘premium’ location will prove to be a smart investment.

2. Don’t Hire Unqualified Employees

A common mistake new pharmacy owners make is hiring unqualified employees. Pharmacy technicians and assistants with experience will likely request a higher pay than a worker with no experience. However, hiring unqualified employees will not only reduce your business’s efficiency, but it will also leave you vulnerable to lawsuits. The bottom line is that you should only hire experienced, qualified employees for your pharmacy.

3. Get the Necessary Licenses

You’ll want to get all of the necessary business and drug licenses before opening your pharmacy. The exact requirements varies from city to city, but you can contact the local business planning and development center for more information. They’ll be able to guide you through the process of applying and obtaining all of the necessary business licenses.

4. Focus on Customer Service

Customer service is a key element that defines a successful pharmacy. Most people continue to shop at their preferred pharmacy, so it’s your job to set your pharmacy apart from the competition. Be sure to greet each and every customer who walks into your pharmacy with a friendly “Hello, how are you doing today?” And train your staff to place an emphasis on customer service. Taking just a few extra steps to show the customer you care will leave a lasting impression that ultimately encourages them to come back in the future.

5. Website/Online Presence

In today’s high-tech world, more people are using the internet to locate businesses rather than the phone book. Pharmacies with active websites will attract more customers and ultimately more sales. You should strongly consider having a professional website up and running when the pharmacy opens its doors.


4 Important Tips When Starting A Dental Practice

Starting a dental practice can be a rewarding and lucrative venture that will give you the opportunity to help patients achieve a better, healthier smile. Working in your own dental practice will allow you to help people achieve more self-confidence through a better-looking smile, which is something that draws many people to this exciting and rewarding industry. The following are a few tips to take into consideration when starting your own dental practice…

1. Choose a Populated Area

I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing a well-populated area to start your new dental practice. Common sense should tell you that clients translate into sales and ultimately profits. Leasing buildings and areas in populated city areas certainly costs more than a rural location, but it’s a small price to pay for a constant stream of patients. There are several free tools around, such as Wikipedia, that allow you to gauge the population density of regions.

2. Look For Financing Options

Spend some time researching the different financing options before purchasing a dental practice. You might be surprised to learn just how much capital is required to start a dental practice from scratch. The good news, however, is that financing options are readily available.  A dental practice consultant like 1st Med Financial can help you understand all the different financing options available to you.

3. Do Not Enter a Competitive Area

Going back to the importance of choosing the right location to start your dental practice, you shouldn’t try to force your way into an already competitive area. Once you’ve found a possible location for your practice, check the local phone book or do an on-line search to see how many other dentists are around. Most clients continue to go back to the same dentist for each procedure; therefore, you won’t receive many clients if you try to muscle your way into an area with several other practices around.

4. Don’t Run a One-Man Operation

Some people may attempt to run their dental practice themselves or with a single receptionist. Although this may save you some cash on payroll, it will likely result in poor performance while increasing the chance of mistakes. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t try to run a one-man operation in your new dental practice. Instead, place help wanted ads in the newspaper to look for experienced staff members.


5 Steps When Applying For a Dental Practice Loan

Whether you intend on starting your own dental practice or purchasing a preexisting one, you’ll need to come up with the appropriate capital to cover all of your expenses. It’s not uncommon for preexisting practices to sell for several hundred thousand dollars, and that’s not including its employees’ payroll. Thankfully, there are loans available to help dentists and entrepreneurs finance their dental practice. Here, we’re going to take a look at the top 5 things you should to before applying for a dental practice loan.

1. Business Plan

Before you even think about applying for a dental practice loan, you should first draft up a business plan. This will show the bank or financial lender that you are a serious business person who’s going to work hard to create a successful practice. Place yourself in the shoes of a lender and ask yourself who you would rather hire: someone with a clean business plan demonstrated on paper or someone with ideas in their head.

2. Gather Financial Documents

You’ll also want to gather any and all financial documents pertaining to the dental practice. If you’ve already invested some of your own personal assets into the practice, locate these documents to the show the lender. This will give you some credit in their eyes since you are willing to invest some of your own money. If you intend on purchasing a preexisting dental practice, request that the current owner provide three years of filed tax returns for the practice along with a copy of their year-to-date profit and loss statement. 1st Med Financial can provide a detailed checklist of all the information you will need from the current owner.

3. Check Your Credit

It’s not a bad idea to check your credit before applying for a dental practice loan. Some financial institutes will look into your personal credit, so checking it beforehand will give you the opportunity to address any discrepancies. If you see any debtors wrongfully claiming that you owe them money, don’t be afraid to give them a call to settle this issue. Allowing these unpaid debt claims to remain on your credit report will only hurt your chances of acquiring a dental practice loan.

4. Decide How Much You Can Pay

Of course, you should also decide exactly how much you are willing to pay each month on a dental practice loan. During the application procedure, the bank or financial institute will likely throw some figures out there. Biting off more than you can chew with an expensive monthly payment could place you in deep trouble, so avoid making this mistake. If you intend on purchasing a preexisting dental practice a consultant at 1st Med Financial can assist in analyzing the cash flow. This will help you see what payment amount will be practical.

5. Be Professional

When you begin the dental practice loan application process, the single biggest piece of advice I can give is to present yourself in a professional manner. Carry yourself with a professional attitude. This will go a long ways in conveying your desire to succeed as a new business owner.


5 Tips When Buying A Pharmacy

Buying a pharmacy can be a financially rewarding business endeavor that gives you the opportunity to earn a living while helping others. If you enjoy the complex yet intriguing world of medicine, then the pharmaceutical industry is for you. Instead of starting your own pharmacy, you can purchase a pre-existing one with the roots of success already in place. However, there are a few things you should know about purchasing a pharmacy…

1. Pharmacy Location

The location of a pharmacy can either make or break the business. If it’s located around numerous other pharmacies, it will likely be difficult to attract and maintain a strong customer base. Ideally, you want the location to be in a high-traffic area with minimal competition. Also, pharmacies located near hospitals and doctor offices have a proven track record of success. When a patient leaves their premises, they will likely head over to the nearest pharmacy to fill their prescription.

2. Is It Registered?

Running a pharmacy requires a few additional legal conditions than traditional retail stores and businesses. If you are interested in purchasing a pharmacy, do your homework beforehand to ensure they are registered with the DEA and have all of their official licenses and documentation. You’ll still need to acquire and/or transfer some of the items once you purchase the pharmacy, but it’s important to make sure the establishment is running their business legally beforehand.

3. Relationship With Drug Companies & Vendors

It’s a good idea to check to see what type of relationship the pharmacy has in place with the various drug companies. If they’ve been in business for a while, the pharmacy will likely have strong vendor relationships and should have good buy plans in place. As a result, they’ll receive lower prices and better all-around service. This is a huge advantage once you take over the pharmacy’s operations.

4. Website/Online Presence

Does the pharmacy have an online presence? In today’s high-tech world, more people are using the internet to locate businesses rather than the phone book. Pharmacies with active websites will attract more customers and ultimately more sales, so this is something you should consider on your search for a pharmacy.

5. Inventory

Complete a thorough inspection of the pharmacy’s current inventory. Some owners may try to sell their pharmacy when the inventory gets low, placing the new owner in hot water. Make sure to ask the current owner for a list of their current inventory, including both drugs and convenience items.


Common Hiring Mistakes at a Pharmacy

Whether you intend on opening up new pharmacy or purchasing a pre-existing one, you’ll need to find dedicated, knowledgeable workers who are experienced in the world of pharmaceuticals. By simply hiring the first candidate who hands you an application, you will likely end up with disastrous results. A pharmacy isn’t the type of establishment for workers with no previous training or experience in the medical field. To help make the hiring process easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common hiring mistakes at pharmacies.

1.  Hiring Too Many Interns

Internships are commonplace in pharmacies, with nearly every national pharmacy implementing this program. Allowing an internship in your pharmacy is a win-win situation, as you’ll get free work while the intern gets first-hand experience. However, you must keep the number of interns in your pharmacy to a minimum. Once they start to fill up the already limited space in your pharmacy, technicians will have a difficult time moving around. And remember, interns aren’t able to perform most tasks inside a pharmacy.

2.  Not Hiring Enough Technicians

Pharmacy technicians are one of the most important roles in the pharmaceutical industry. In order to become a certified “pharmacy technician,” the individual must pass a rigorous training course along with an exam. Therefore, you can rest assured knowing they have the skills it takes to work in a pharmacy. As a pharmacy owner, you should always be on the lookout for new pharmacy technicians. They will work as the backbone of your business, handling all of the responsibilities of filling prescriptions.

3.  No “Trainers”

When you are hiring new workers for your pharmacy, think about who’s going to train them. While you can hire some of the workers, it’s nice to have a certified trainer around to take care of it for you. Look for a candidate with years of previous experience working in the pharmaceutical industry. During the interview, ask them if they would be willing to train others. Your pharmacy needs a designated leader to handle things when you aren’t around.

These are just a few of the most common hiring mistakes in pharmacies. Use your best judgment and focus on eager candidates with experience in the medical/pharmaceutical field. Doing so will allow for a smoother operation that ultimately results in more customers.

Buying A Veterinary Practice

5 Tips for Buying a Veterinary Practice

Buying a veterinary practice can be a rewarding experience that allows you to earn a living while helping animals in need. Instead of building a new veterinary practice from the ground up, you can purchase a pre-existing practice with all of the employees, equipment and clientele already in place. It’s important to note, however, that not all pre-existing veterinary practices are smart investments. Purchasing the wrong one could end up draining both your time and financial resources. To help prevent this from happening, I have compiled the following buying tips listed below.

1.  Financial Review

Of course the most important tip when buying a veterinary practice is a complete review of the practice historical and current financials.  The saying goes, “numbers never lie” and a thorough financial review will give you great insight into the value of the practice moving forward.  Keep an eye out for down years or downward revenue trends.  This will give you talking points to discuss with the seller.  He/She may have reasonable explanations, but if he/she doesn’t, you may want to steer clear of the practice.  We see many times when a buyer let’s tunnel vision get in the way of common sense.  It is important to determine the reasons for the downtrend and if they are fixable.  Thinking that you can turn around a failing practice, without understanding the reason it is failing is a recipe for disaster.

2. Staff

A veterinary practice relies on an experienced, qualified staff to operate successfully. When you are shopping around for a practice, do a thorough examination of its staff to determine whether or not they seem capable of running the place. It’s oftentimes difficult to find new veterinary associates that have experience in exotic birds and pets. Having a full, experienced staff at your disposal will make your job ten times easier once the practice is in your name.

3. Returning Clients

Don’t be afraid to ask the current owner of the veterinary practice the client retention/bonding rate. This will give you an idea of overall customer satisfaction at the practice.  While an average bonding rate of 60% is good, a higher figure like 80%-90% would be better.  When a large percentage of customers take their pet to a specific veterinary practice once but never return again in the future, there are likely underlying problems that need to be addressed.  By offering quality services to both animal clients and human owners, a practice can achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.

4. Location, Location, Location

Of course, the veterinarian practice’s location is one of the most important elements you should consider. If the practice is located in some obscure part of town that’s difficult to find, you won’t receive a lot of new customers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad business decision, but location is a critical factor that can make or break a veterinary practice. Drive around the practice’s surrounding area to gauge the traffic. A populated, high-traffic area will make your morning commute take a bit longer, but it’s also beneficial in terms of attracting new customers.

5. Brand

Does the veterinary practice have a solid name that people know and trust in the community? If it does, the practice will likely receive new customers strictly from word-of-mouth referrals. Practices which have spent their resources spreading the word about their brand are far more valuable than fly-by-night practices with no exposure.

Dental Interview Mistakes

5 Common Hiring Mistakes at a Dental Practice

Employees are the backbone of any successful dental practice. You can spend thousands of dollars on marketing and promotional material, but unless you have skilled, qualified employees, all of your hard work is for nothing. Dental practices rely on repeat customers to succeed, and ultimately it’s the staff’s responsibility to encourage customers to come back. Keep reading to learn 5 of the most common hiring mistakes in dental practices.

Mistake #1 – Waiting For The “Perfect” Applicant

One of the single most common hiring mistakes in dental practices is waiting around for the “perfect” applicant. You’ll slowly build up a list of applications and resumes as you wait for the dream candidate to come along. Unfortunately, however, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” applicant, and waiting for one will only lead to other possible applicants finding jobs elsewhere.

Mistake #2 – Hiring Employees With No Dental Experience

You should always check for previous dental experience when hiring employees for a dental practice. Even if the applicant is polite and charismatic, they should still have some form of experience in the industry; otherwise, you’ll be forced to spend additional time and energy to train them. Whether the position is for a dental assistance or office worker, make sure the applicant has at least some form of previous experience in the industry.

Mistake #3 – Not Conveying The Job Properly

Unless you want to find yourself back in the same position a couple months down the road, make sure you fully explain the job position and everything it requires to the applicants. Let them know exactly what they’ll be doing and what’s expected of them. Any applicants who aren’t willing to satisfy this criteria will likely pass on the job, making it easier on you.

Mistake #4 – Jumping The Gun

Waiting around for the perfect job candidate to come along will only harm your search for dental practice employees. On the other hand, however, hiring a candidate too early can also lead to trouble. Give your practice time to draw some potential candidate to see who is the most qualified.

Mistake #5 – Skipping The Interview

Interviews are an integral part of the job application process for dental practices. Don’t hire a candidate based solely on his or her resume. If you believe they are a qualified for the job, ask them to come in for an interview on a later date. This will allow you to ask them additional questions and get to know them in a more personal manner.

Buying Dental Practice

5 Important Tips For Buying a Dental Practice

Choosing to purchase a pre-existing dental practice is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When done correctly, you’ll have a long-lasting, profitable business that offers a valuable service to the community. On the other hand, taking the wrong approach to this venture could result in a constant financial drain on your bank account. To help you get started on the right foot, we’ve compiled a list of 5 important tips for buying a dental practice.

Tip #1 – Financial History

One of the first things you’ll want to analyze is the financial history of the practice. Ask the current owner or manager for a copy of their revenue and expenses going back at least 3 years. Depending on the size of the practice, you may or may not be able to make sense of it by yourself. If the financial information is overwhelming, a CPA or a dental practice consultant like 1st Med Financial can assist in analyzing the cash flow. Make sure to look for sudden drops in revenue along with any outstanding debts.

Tip #2 – Location

Location is a key element that you must address when purchasing a dental practice. Ideally, the practice should be located in a busy, easy-to-find area that’s near a major highway or thoroughfare. A good location will make it easy for new customers to find the practice, leading to higher sales and profits. It’s an all-too-common mistake for dentists to lease buildings located in obscure areas. You may save a couple hundred bucks a month on their lease, but you will pay for it in the long run with fewer clients.

Tip #3 – Competition

I guess you could say competition goes hand in hand with location. Before you purchase a dental practice, do some research to determine how many other practices are located in the same area. Trying to force your way into an already crowded market will make your job ten times more difficult. It’s not impossible to get a piece of the action, but it’s certainly going to require more work.

Tip #4 – Tools and Equipment

Of course, you’ll also want to check the practice’s tools before signing any official purchase agreement. Don’t just take the owner’s word for it, but instead go test the tools for yourself. Make sure they are clean and function properly. If any tools are broken, talk with the owner to see if they will fix them or reduce the sales price to cover the added expense you will incur to purchase them.

Tip #5 – Staff

Lastly, do your homework on the staff to see if they are fully trained and capable of running the practice. Dedicated, dependable employees are an invaluable tool in dental practices. While you can always hire new employees later, it’s nice to have a strong base of loyal workers to start off on the right foot.