Why Complete a SWOT Analysis for My Dental Practice?

by Beau Peters

The market growth of dentist practices is expected to grow by 5.2% this year. Why should that matter to you? It’s one small indicator that the dental industry is seeing somewhat of a boom. On one hand, that’s a good thing for the industry as a whole. More people are paying attention to their oral health and getting the treatment they need.

On the other hand, more growth within the industry means more competition for your practice. This kind of growth could cause new practices to pop up and existing ones to expand their efforts in targeting new patients.

With that in mind, it might be time to revisit your own business strategy. Your goal should always be to bring in new patients while improving patient retention and loyalty. One of the best ways to learn how to do that is with a SWOT analysis.

What exactly is a SWOT analysis, and how can it help your practice move forward in a changing oral health industry?

What is a SWOT Analysis?

SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

A SWOT analysis is meant to help a business organize each of those categories and develop a strategic plan to improve each one. As someone in the oral health sector, you might think you can’t perform this type of analysis on your own, but it’s actually quite easy to do. The beauty of a SWOT analysis is its simplicity, offering clear answers quickly.

One of the easiest ways to perform a SWOT analysis is by creating quadrants – each one featuring a category. From there, you can simply go through each quadrant by asking your employees and co-workers for their opinions. What do they think about your practice’s strengths? Where could you improve? What opportunities are available? Are there any threats to the way you do things?

Once you have several answers for each quadrant, analyzing your SWOT chart is about “connecting the dots.” How do some of the threats connect with weaknesses? Which strengths can you use to take advantage of opportunities? This should also be a group effort, allowing you to come up with a strategy for your practice’s future that everyone is excited about.

Embracing Changing Trends

After completing your SWOT analysis, determining where you can make the most effective and impactful changes should be the top priority in your strategy. Many weaknesses and threats can be combatted by embracing changing trends – especially in technology.

Your SWOT analysis may tell you where your practice is falling short. Investing in advanced dental equipment and technology is great for your practice. But, if you’re not investing just as much into making changes that will impact your business’s future, you’ll fall short.

So, how can you prepare for the future and embrace those changes?

To start, consider the evolving workplace. Thanks to tech advancements, more people are working from home than ever. While not everyone can do that in a dental practice, you may be able to let some of your staff members work remotely if they don’t have to directly deal with patients. For others, you might consider non-traditional hours or workdays.

Another trend that will only continue to become more prominent is sustainability. People want to support businesses and practices that have a social and/or environmental cause. You can embrace that cause in your practice by:

  • Getting rid of aerosol products
  • Purchasing eco-friendly scrubs
  • Using natural lighting whenever possible
  • Switching to green products

By combining the quadrants of your SWOT analysis with the demands of the future, you can determine which strengths you can use right away, and how to build up your weaknesses by embracing change that will move you forward.

Developing a New Strategy

Getting on board with changing business trends is only half the battle. Your SWOT analysis might reveal that your weaknesses are due to a lack of strategy. Maybe you’ve become complacent in the way your practice runs. Or, maybe you’ve never needed to focus much on marketing before. But, with the industry becoming more saturated, now is the time.

Thankfully, you can use your strengths to develop your strategy, ensuring it includes a strong focus on social media. Improving your digital presence will help with patient retention, but it will also attract a new target audience. If you want to improve your social media presence, consider some of the following:

  • Running Facebook ads
  • Utilizing Instagram
  • Making YouTube videos
  • Sharing your blog/articles
  • Going live for Q&A sessions

One survey found that nearly 10% of Canadians are somewhat afraid of the dentist. Your strategy should involve changing their minds and easing their fears so they’ll come into your practice. Connecting with potential patients online is a fantastic way to do that. It humanizes your practice and can make a patient more comfortable before they set foot in the door.

A SWOT analysis is designed to make strategy development easier. Seeing those quadrants so clearly can help you to improve your weaknesses, expand on your strengths, take care of threats before they become serious, and capitalize on opportunities.  If you’ve never performed a SWOT on your practice before, now is the perfect time so you can stay competitive in a growing industry.

About the Author

Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.