A Guide to Annual Planning for Dental Practice

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Every successful business has a business plan, a roadmap to guide them, and undoubtedly contributes to its success. A dental practice is no different.   When it comes to having a solid plan there are some best practices to follow, nothing too complicated, it just requires putting in some effort and forethought. For the business owner and its employees, the plan serves as a strategic guide that can further the dental practice toward its vision and gives a clear direction to all involved. Creating specific goals, metrics, and budgets is critical, and while annual planning can provide specific business measures for your dental practice, you also must be flexible enough to accommodate unexpected changes.

What is Annual Planning?

Annual planning lays out a comprehensive plan of action including personal accountability and team accountability. It aims to clarify the overarching goals of the practice typically for the coming year and identifies ways of accomplishing those goals. Simply, it increases the chances of success. Annual planning allows a business, like a dental practice, to have a road map to enhance performance and achieve specific goals throughout the coming year.

Preparation of Creating an Annual Plan

  1. Review your old annual plan, last year’s goals, and use the things you’ve learned to recommit to your company’s core values and specific priorities.
  2. Review the practice’s vision, core values, budgeting, and other financial information like a profit & loss statement.
  3. Gather annual production and collections for the whole practice and by the provider. 
  4. Figure out days you will be closed for holidays, CE, and vacation and add up working days in the coming year
  5. Identify any crucial problems and issues they may impede progress.

What to Include in the Annual Plan for Your Dental Practice

While there are several different annual plan templates out there, typically for a dental practice it should contain the following elements: 
  • Stated goals in the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound), which help to clarify ideas, enhance productivity, and puts success insight; stretch goals demand extra effort and innovation to achieve greater payoff. 
  • Budget and financials should include a projection for income and expenses (overhead, supplies, labor, etc.) for 12 months.
  • Timelines and checkpoints require splitting the overarching goals into smaller milestones to be achieved within specific times or deadlines.
  • Outline expectations and responsibilities in your annual plan, this means that for each goal it should be clear who is responsible for getting them done (manager, dental assistant, hygienist, etc.) and indicate by when.
  • Vision is updated with new aspirations so that you and your team can see the destination before you as something to aim for and guides the team’s decisions and actions along the way.
  • Production Goals for the overall office in the coming year, then broken down to daily targets for what each dentist and hygienist will contribute.
  • What you will need to increase or decrease in Marketing, Training, People, Systems, and  Technology so that you will grow the practice toward your vision and goals.
The annual plan for your dental practice doesn’t have to be tedious to produce if you utilize the right tools, processes, and plans. Dr. Brian Passell and Fortune Management can assist with the annual planning for your business. We have the essential tools to execute your plan and get you ready for business smoothly. 
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