Welcome to the Dentist's Office

Welcome to the Dental Office blog. On this site we will share information on how we conquer the real-world challenges that we each face in our pursuit of running high-quality, successful, profitable and harmonious dental offices.

The Dental Blog invites you to share your knowledge, successes, failures and crazy stories with fellow dental professionals. Sharing our combined knowledge, we can each create our own unique dream practices.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

It is very easy to get lost in minute by minute activity in our offices to lose the enjoyment of our chosen profession. We often focus on the late patient, the grumpy patient, the accounts receivable, the lab work that needs to be redone, the staff members who are squabbling and all the other daily noise of our offices and miss the big picture that we enjoy the work we do and the people we work with.

I hear from so many colleagues that they used to love going to their office but now dread it. It is easy to get worn down by daily challenges and miss the good things that happen each day.
My advice to all my burned out friends – try to remember why you became a dental professional and the fun you had when you first started treating patients. Try to take a moment each morning before you start your first patient to set a goal to smile more, do exceptional work and find satisfaction in your daily accomplishments.

Don’t worry – be happy!
Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Educaiton Systems

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Does Your Office Need a Website?

Probably the most common question I get asked by dentist is “do I need a website for my dental practice”? In 2012, the answer is an emphatic “YES”!

Today, people go to the internet for almost everything. Whether we are surfing the net on our computer, iPad or phone – we are all internet crazy. If you are still paying for a Yellow Pages ad and you don’t have a practice website then you have it backwards. People look for a local dentist much more often online than in the local phone books.

In future posts I will discuss what features that you should have on your website and what features actually are liabilities for your website. For now, the important concept is that you must have a website.

Another quick tip – unless you are a legitimate website designer, DO NOT try to build your own practice website. Nothing will send a prospective patient running to another dental office faster than a practice website that looks amateurish. The prospective patient will think if your website looks crummy then your technical skills might be as well. Your website does not need to look all tricked out it only has to look professional and clean.

In future posts, I will also discuss the benefits of hiring a local website designer to build your site versus hiring a company that specializes in creating dental office websites. Both options have advantages but I do prefer one option over the other. Your website does not need to be expensive to be effective for your practice.

There will be many dozens of future posts about how to make the internet your practice’s best friend. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an internet wizard to make the web work for you.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Leading by Delegating

One of the biggest mistakes made by dental CEOs is that they tend to micromanage their office staffs. They believe to be in control of their practice that they must be part of every aspect of their practice at all times. They want to make all of the decisions on every aspect of their practice. Not only is this management style counterproductive but it is also exhausting.

The best management style on every level is to hire talented people, share with them what you want them to do and then let them do it!

In no way am I saying that you are not going to be coaching your staff as they need guidance or corrections but you must empower your staff to make decisions within the scope of their job description. Talented and mature staff want to know what you expect of them and then to be trusted to do their job.

Avoid the common management mistake of only correcting your staff when they make errors – while this is important – you must also look to praise your staff for doing what you entrusted them to do. Praise goes further than criticism.

The most effective management style is to create an office of talented and responsible staff members who manage their areas of responsibility. Great staffs are full of members that respect each other and encourage each other to do their very best.

You are free to concentrate on your patient’s dental care when you know that your staff is professionally handling the other aspects of the office’s needs. Also, as the CEO of your practice, you are free to pick aspects that you want to control as your assigned areas. I liked to keep marketing, internet presence and continuing education as my areas of responsibility (aside from being in charge of the dental care).

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Paid Search for Your Dental Office Website

Have you ever wondered why there are specific websites recommended on the top and side of the Google and Bing searches?

The answer is that those businesses pay to be shown when you make a specific search. Every time a person clicks on one of these recommended links, the advertiser pays a fee for that traffic.

Dental offices can use Google (AdWords) and Bing paid search to make sure that their office websites are being seen whenever someone types in a specific set of search terms. You can pay for very specific searches. For example if your office was in the city of Anaheim, California the you could pay for the specific search terms such as: Anaheim Dentist, Dentist Anaheim, dental office Anaheim, etc… Your website would only be recommended when those specific terms were entered into the Google search box and you only pay when someone clicks on your specific ad – this is highly target advertising – you are only getting viewers for people looking for your office.

You want your search terms to be very specific. If you were just to ask Google to send you traffic for the search term Dentist then you might get 100,000 viewers to your website but 99.9% would be from over 100 miles away from your office and not legitimate potential customers. You would also have to pay for 100,000 clicks on your ad to Google which would be a ton of money. You must be specific – you want to pay for targeted viewers.

Setting up your Google and Bing advertising is very simple but learning how to use the marketing features takes some time. You shouldn’t just set your marketing up once and never return. You should go back on a very regular basis and adjust your bids and make other adjustments to your online paid marketing campaigns.

You might be best off to pay your website designer to help you set up your marketing if they also offer that service. It will cut down on your learning curve.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Dental Website SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

You have built your beautiful and functional dental office website but it will do you no good if no one ever sees it!

Step one is building a great website then step two is setting it up so when your patients type in that they are looking for a local dentist in your community that your website pops up at the top of the search list. This is called SEO or Search Engine Optimization.

I would suggest hiring a local SEO company to help you with this task. They will check to see how Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines actually read your website. They will also make adjustments to help the search engines properly find you.

Your website should be optimized for a specific kind of traffic – local traffic. Your website SEO should be tuned to draw traffic from people looking for dentist in the cities near your office. Your SEO company will be inserting key words and targeted webpages that draw the search engine’s attention for searches that match those of your most likely patients.

SEO sounds straight forward but it is a bit of an art form. You will be working with a local SEO company for a bit of time and adjusting your site content to maximize the potential local viewers over time.

Getting SEO maximized for your website is a huge move forward in marketing your website.

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is a practice website really necessary?


First let me start by saying that I do not make or sell dental websites. Why am I saying this upfront, because I am about to sound like a dental website sales person. If your practice does not have a website, then you are INVISIBLE to the majority of people who are looking for you.

The days of the Yellow Pages is long over – I am not saying not to be in your local book but rather it is only 1/10th as valuable to you as your practice website (and I am being kind to the local directory guide).

Everyone has computers, iPads, tablets and phones connected to the internet today and people believe that anything they want to find information about should be available to them within seconds online.

Not only should your practice have a website – it should have a quality website. If I was to look for a dentist and find a cheesy or sloppy website, I would move on to the next website option immediately. I would also leave any dental website that had outdated information, multiple typographical errors or non-functional links.

Your website is the face of your dental office and you should spend some time and thought on how you want the world to see you. I would hire a professional website developer who has done dental offices in the past and understands the key areas your patients will want to explore on your website.

Smart offices make sure that their phone number, office hours and location are easy to find.

We will talk about elements of a great local area dental office website in other articles. Also – making sure your website is one of the first ones that people see when they look for a dentist in their area is just as important as having a great website. Having a great website that no one ever sees is no good either. We will talk about how local area website SEO (search engine optimization) in future articles. Bottom line –the #1 area you should be putting energy into to increase new patient business is your website!

Dr. Corey Gold
President – Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What do vacations really cost?

Everyone loves vacations but what is the true cost of your vacation?

Well, first their is the cost of your actual vacation - the travel, hotel, food, etc. but then there is the hidden cost that is actually a LOT more expensive. You have to factor in the cost of your office for your week(s) off. You have a ton of overhead during your time off and no revenue coming in to offset your costs.

This means that every day you are closed has to be supported with revenue generated during your time on. The more weeks off, the more money you must generate during e weeks in to cover your down time.

Staff members rarely understand the true cost of your closing the office and giving them a paid vacation. They take it for granted that paid vacations are just part of the perks of working.

I find it helps to let your staff understand the true cost of their weeks off. Having a staff meeting to help them understand that the rent needs to be paid, insurances, salaries, utilities, phones, loan payments, borrowing costs, etc. They should understand that their free time is not free.

Bringing the staff into the overhead discussion often makes them appreciate the vacation time you give them. It often gives them incentive to find ways to increase revenue so that they can justify more vacation time.

A profitable business can afford to do MORE for their staff members - higher pay, more vacations, better benefits, new equipment, etc. Bring your staff into the conversation.

Dr. Corey Gold
President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Your schedule vs. patients schedules

Every dentist has to make many decisions in how best to operate their business. One of the first and most important decisions is what days and hours to be open.

The hard question to answer is should I be open at the hours that my patients have most availability (early mornings, evenings, weekends) or should I be open during hours that best fit my preferred hours.

A lot of patients will go to your website and see your available hours. They often won't even call your office if the hours listed don't match their schedule. Offices with limited schedules are missing out on a lot of business they don't even realize.

With everyone online today, many patients will surf the net for dental offices in their areas that's best fit their needs - days open, hours open, insurances accepted, servos offered. Your office is not their only option. You are in competition for patient business with a lot of other quality dentist who may be making their offices more accessible to potential patients.

Consider your patient's needs when setting your days and hours of operation. What seem to be small decisions are really huge decisions!

Dr. Corey Gold President - Advanced Continuing Education Systems