Many people ask me about various aspects of a passive income dental practice where you don’t actually work much in the practice yourself. Here is a collection of tips that may help.

1. Ensure you have a staff member who you trust to look after everything. This person should ensure systems are adhered to but most of all, they should treat the business as they would their own. This manager should have the best interests of ALL your staff in mind. Of particular note is to ensure the manager does not make others do things that they won’t do themselves. The manager shouldn’t exploit their position by giving themselves, or their friends, advantageous outcomes (such as the best shifts etc). Staff members will see this and not only lose respect for the manager (thus making their life more difficult) but also become unhappy in their job.

2. When you are present at the practice, be present. Interact with your team, ensure they get adequate time with you. We aren’t corporates. Our staff should absolutely feel close to us and buy into our vision.

3. One of my managers has said to me that the staff won’t care about the business more than the owners do. My main practices do very well and sometimes I’ve been guilty of “neglecting” the smaller practices (at least in the eyes of the staff of those practices). This is very easy to do because your focus has always been on your first practice. If you start a second practice or a branch practice that you don’t work in yourself as much, be careful to ensure that the staff see you care about the second practice and that it’s success is just as important to you, as your first practice

4. If you don’t have to work in your practices clinically, this gives you an immense amount of free time to spend with family and friends and do other things you enjoy. Personally, I’ve been blessed with pretty good earnings which has allowed lots of freedom without having to work much clinically. As your practice grows, this passive income is great. However there is a catch. To ensure the continued success of my group, I personally spend lots of time on strategic thinking, marketing and more recently, staff happiness and culture. I don’t do tasks that can be done well by my practice managers or other staff. Mechanical tasks like bookkeeping, payroll etc, are frankly speaking, a complete waste of my time. I can pay someone much less than my time is worth, to do a much better job than I can. Too many times I see dentists caught up doing these tasks and that leaves them little to no time to do the things that will ensure business growth. If you aren’t spending time IN the business, ensure you are spending time ON the business. Consider yourself very lucky that even though you are having to work on the business, you have amazing flexibility with your time and can do things on your terms. You aren’t confined to fixed patient appointment times etc. This is absolutely worth protecting.

5. Have a system for clinical and patient experience audits. It doesn’t matter how good the service you offer is, if your dentists are not doing work to a high enough standard, the long term viability of your clinic will suffer. In our group, we audit every single patient appointment across all our practices by reading the dentists notes, looking at their radiographs and photos as well as asking them any questions we may have. I don’t personally do this, but if any major issues arise, it’s passed into me for further investigation. It’s not enough to see that finances are solid. Even with dodgy dentistry, the money will be good in the short term but the reputation of the practice will suffer in the long run. Don’t turn a blind eye to that associate that crowns anything and everything and has really short appointments just because they are earning you lots of money. After they have left and their work starts failing, the costs and headaches will NOT be worth it. This is something I’ve observed myself in friends/clients practices.

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