Don’t Let Your Practice Take the Summer Off

Go ahead, disappear!

Let’s see…where are you going to go this summer for a week or two getaway? Get your imagination in high gear. Maybe a canoe trip in the Rockies, whale watching on the Pacific Coast, trekking in the Laurentians, fishing off Newfoundland, participating in the Calgary Stampede. Every province and territory in Canada has wonderful, exciting, relaxing or entrancing vistas and activities for you to enjoy. Or maybe your own backyard would be your favourite spot.

While we hope that you enjoy your summer and take some time off, there are certain factors to consider in creating a stress-free and enjoyable vacation. A shortage of funds before and after the time off can spoil the treasured moments, so a little planning is in order.

Also, you probably want your practice to be busy when you are there this summer. Little could be more frustrating than giving up those wonderful sunny days to come into the practice and then finding yourself twiddling your thumbs or watching TV or reading magazines due to lack of work in the practice.

Plan ahead and behind

There are a number of things that you can do which will keep your practice flourishing and prospering throughout the summer.

In preparation for summer, contact your referring dentists and find out when they will be away as well as let them know when you will be away and when you will be back. After you return, call your referring dentists and let them know that you are back. This not only lets them know that you are there and ready to accept their referrals, but reminds them that you like getting their referrals.

Don’t postpone

Even though you are planning to take time off, don’t postpone those new patients — get them started and explain that it will take a little longer to make their denture as you will be off for a week or two. Don’t feel that you have to finish up all the work that you have in the lab and get it delivered before you leave. First of all, this will make you so stressed that by the time you go on holidays, you will need the entire time just to unwind.

This would mean that when you return, there will be nothing for you to do and it will take a few weeks to get things rolling again. When you close the practice, you knock all the momentum out of it and it takes effort to get it moving again. It is a great feeling to come back to a dozen or so pans with work in them. Within days, the entire practice is back to normal including the cash flow.

Step it up

Get your advertising stepped up in the summer if it is a slower time of year for you. One of our clients told us that their summer months were always slow and by statistics this was actually true.  However, after more investigation by the consultant, it came to light that this client stopped all advertising at the beginning of the summer “because everyone was going to be away on vacation.” This pattern was a self-fulfilling prophecy and the summer would be slow for him.  When the consultant got him to continue his advertising throughout the summer and actually step it up, the summer months became some of the busiest of the year.

If your appointment book is not full enough, then get busy reactivating those patients that you haven’t seen in three or more years. Don’t be bashful about calling patients that you haven’t even seen in 15 or 20 years. At the very least, you will be able to update your patient files.

Timing is everything

Plan your advertising cleverly. Don’t send out flyers or start an ad just before you take your holiday. People don’t want to call and hear that you are away, they want to see you now. Run your ads or send out your flyers just before you reopen your practice.  In a location where there is a major employer who shuts down for a month or so during the summer, like G.M. or Ford, then plan your vacation during this time. If you don’t want to take your vacation then, don’t worry — even in these locations, there are still lots of people around so advertising and reactivations work.

Summertime is prime time for seniors. They are out and around and willing to visit you as opposed to the winter months when they are away in Florida or very disinclined to leave the house in the frigid weather.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to The Art of Management Inc. and a clickable link back to this page.

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