Strengthen Your Business Skills to Protect You and Your Practice

You probably aren’t looking to return to school anytime soon, but as dental professionals across the world know all too well, attending continuing education courses is essential to your growth as both a practitioner and business owner. 38.1 per cent of Canadian dentists* are interested in attending a CE course on running a small business. As the industry expands and the competition grows stronger, this number should be considered low.

The majority of dentists who opened their own practice turned to accountants and other dentists for help with the process. Legal and industry advice is priceless, but in an age of #MeToo, regular legislation changes and the constant need to understand and best the competition, small business courses give insight into many unfamiliar areas.

Here’s a breakdown of what Canadian dentists are ready to study when attending small business school:

67.4%  Management Skills

60.4%  Human Resources

50.5%  General Budgeting/Accounting

42.9%  General Legal/Insurance/Permits

23.8% Networking

Management Skills
Running a dental practice is certainly not a one-person job. Most dentists have accountants and consultants to assist with the big picture of managing a business, however everything is ultimately the responsibility of the practice owner. Team management is a major concern for Canadian dentists – whether it’s hiring qualified people to fill vital positions, building a well-rounded and cooperative team, or ensuring patient care is always the number one priority.

Strengthening management skills shows dentists how to efficiently and effectively develop the ‘perfect team’, whether that’s working with current staff to improve, or finding new, qualified team members. This personal growth in managing gives dentists the opportunity to delegate tasks previously burdening their day-to-day and enhance overall practice operations.

Human Resources
When broken down further, there is a significant difference in dentists looking to further understand HR.

44.2%  Practices earning less than $500,000/year

63.8%  Practices earning between $500,000 and $1.5 million

67.5%  Practices earning more than $1.5 million

This divide should be reason for concern. Regardless of practice revenue, staff size, location, etc. understanding and implementing an HR plan is crucial. Staff and management are only covered when there is a policy in place to protect their rights in the office. Even current policies should be reassessed to ensure complete coverage for everyone managing and working at the practice. As Mariana Bracic wrote in a recent Oral Health Office article, HR problems can arise from anyone, anytime, whether you expect it or not. While smaller practices may staff less people, that’s no reason to assume the risk of an HR issue is any lower than larger, or corporate, offices. It’s easier to take the time educating and protecting yourself and your practice now rather than face problematic issues down the road.

Any of this sound familiar? This just scratches the surface on the valuable, and much needed, skills to enhance for your practice. Right now, there are just over a third of Canadian dentists ready to learn, but with the presence of group and corporate practices in the industry it may be time to learn what you can do to strengthen your team, practice and self.


Let us know: What small business skill set would you like to strengthen?


*Between February and March 2018, RKI, a third party independent research house, conducted a 10-minute online survey of active, practicing non-hospital affiliated dentists and dental specialists on behalf of Oral Health. Using Oral Health’s subscription list, a total of 398 dentists participated in the study (with 219 completing the survey to the end). Assuming a total of 20,000 dentists in Canada (and 398 total completes) the margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.86, 95% CI.

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