When business is booming for prolonged periods, the satisfaction is immense – it feels like you’ve finally got everything right in your practice, and you’ll naturally be proud of your achievements. Maybe you yourself thinking “Hey, we’ve made it work here… why not somewhere else?”
It’s a tempting thought, and it’s worth seriously considering.
But should you really expand your practice? Will you be able to replicate your success elsewhere? Is your business acumen truly that solid, or did you just get lucky?
It’s not an easy decision, so here are a few things to consider if you’re mulling over the possibility of expansion.
Take a Critical Look At The Root Of Your Success
If you’re considering expanding your practice, you’re obviously making a significant profit, or at least you should be (if not, shelve your expansion ambitions this instant!). But before you commit to a monumental new undertaking, it pays to turn a critical eye to the causes of your success to see if it’s replicable.
Honestly compare yourself to your competition. If you’re doing better than them, what have you done differently? What’s your unique advantage?
Why do people choose you over other available practices? Don’t be afraid to ask here! Encourage dentists and staff to casually ask loyal patients, and see if you can get a feel for your value from the customer’s point of view.
Also, consider that perhaps your success may be a result of a favourable location, in terms of either quantity or quality of competing practices.
The key is to determine whether you’ll have these same advantages in the location you plan to expand to. If demand outstripped supply at the location of your initial practice, but you now want to set up shop in the heart of a competitive area, you might find things don’t turn out quite so rosy.
And look at the quality of the competition – if you were a big fish in a small or medium pond, it only makes sense to expand somewhere devoid of other big fish. If your success rested on being the best around, make sure this would still hold true where you intend to expand. Otherwise, you’ll be entering an established local market with no significant advantage.
Is your Magic Formula Replicable?
If you’ve decided that you do in fact have something special, and you’re confident that can enter into your new target market with a significant advantage, then that’s a great start.
But it pays to give some thought to whether or not this is really something that can be transferrable.
If the magic comes from your staff synergy, consider whether you’ll be able to re-create that in a new location with an entirely different collection of people.
Have things just luckily worked out, with everyone getting along really well? Or is it something you’ve worked hard at, constantly testing and tweaking things and finding the perfect setup?
It’s actually more promising if your staff synergy has come from conscious effort on your part to create it – it’s those processes and systems that you put in place that are your transferrable equity.
Perhaps the magic comes from the great deal you got on excellent premises that allowed you to create the perfect atmosphere and ambience. How likely is it you could do that again in a new location?
The ability to transfer “what makes your practice special” is really one of the key factors for success in expansion.
Is there Room For Improvement In Your Current Practice?
Although the thought of doubling your profits via expansion might send pound-signs flying in front of your eyes, it often makes more business sense to perfect what you have before you scale it, especially with a brick-and-mortar dental practice where the results of expansion are uncertain.
The most reliable way to increase profits is to keep working on your own dental practice, especially if you can identify room for improvement. Have you really squeezed everything you can out of your marketing and your internal processes? Is the entire patient experience as pleasant as possible, or is there room for improvement?
Not only will making these improvements directly increase your bottom line profits, they’ll also create more lasting, transferrable value in your dental practice. That way, when you do decide it’s time to expand, you’ll have an even more successful business to replicate.