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cosmetic dentistry_ beauty & science

18 I I practice management _ marketing cosmeticdentistry 1_2012 _2012: are you staring into the abyss? Have you a thought out a plan for how you are going to continuegrowingyourbusiness?Areyougoingto continue doing what you do and see diminishing returns in our struggling economy or wing it and take up opportunities as they present them- selves? I would suggest you formulate your vision for three years from now. Include every area: team, marketing, sales, operations, customer service, finance, etc. You need to imagine that you are walking into your practice three years from now. What do you see? What are patients saying about your prac- tice? What is the team talking about in the staff room? What does your day look like? What treat- ments are you carrying out? What are your plans for the evening? Think about it NOW and WRITE it down. Studies repeatedly show that writing your thoughts down and then sharing them with your close friends make them more likely to happen. It makes you accountable. Your vision document will probably fill three pages. Re-read and refine it. Once you are happy with it, share it with your team. It will help them understand their role and whether this is the sort of practice they would love to be associated with. Once you have your plans, don’t just bury them away in your desk. Take them out at least every monthandreadthemoutloud.Dotheystillexcite you?Perhapsyouhavechangedyourmind.Tweak and revisit this picture regularly. _Marketing first steps Beforeyouformulateanexpensiveplanofhow you are going to populate your daybook with loads of new patients, ask yourself: Do you know what sort of patients you want to treat? Do you know why your current patients come and see you? What is your ideal patient? Everyone has a different idea of what makes a patient ideal; some characteristics are non- negotiable, like ‘pays their bills on time’; some may not be important to you, like ‘smells nice’. For me, the ideal patient: _is punctual and informs you if he or she is run- ning late; _pays bills on time without hassle; _is a raving fan (enjoys being in your practice and refers others, who also become raving fans)— some practices never need to do any marketing; the raving fans do it for them; _respects you and other team members—often they are respectful to the clinical team but not to the office staff; _listens to your clinical advice and then makes an informed decision; _attends all maintenance and hygiene appoint- ments as prescribed; andFig. 1 My marketing plan Author_Dr James Goolnik, UK