’Cruise into semi-retirement: Plan far enough in advance 10 years is not too soon’

Anita Jupp's career in dentistry spans 30 years and has taken her to all corners of the globe as one of international dentistry's most known and respected practice management experts. Anita has lectured for the world’s leading dental associations in the UK, USA, Asia and Europe including the BDA, ADA, AGD and FDI. She has written four books and has developed a series of training tools on CD.

Anita's area of expertise is dental transitions with a focus on the practice management aspects of the business. She can help your practice transition through the difficulties of a practice sale or retirement planning.

Anita can be reached at 905-339-7843 or www.roicorp.com or www.anitajuppdental.com

What a great time in life for me right now! I admit that during my years of working full time I was a workaholic, but I loved what I was doing. As a Dental Speaker/Practice Coach I had the opportunity to meet thousands of dental professionals worldwide, after 26 years I was concerned about retirement and decided to try semiretirement first.

Now I work less, enjoying more personal time and still working with dental professionals on a part time basis. I have met many dentists over the years that have told me they were thinking about retiring, some were less enthusiastic about dentistry others were worried about not having enough money to retire yet. Reality is retirement happens to us all eventually why not get prepare. Most dentists fail to plan far enough in advance and 10 years is not too soon.

It is great to enjoy the benefits of financial success, to maintain your income and work reduced hours. I have found that many dentists often reach a plateau in their practice, the problem with that is that so do the team. People become complacent, and follow the direction of their dentist which is for them an easy comfortable place to be. It is important to lead by example, to set some goals that are a win/win situation to look at your leadership skills to empower your team.

We all know obvious place to start is to hire an associate and eventually work part time and sell the practice. It is far more than that, to prepare your practice and look for opportunities continue to improve efficiency to identify lost revenue in the practice. Often dentists will tell me how great their recare system is, how good their accounts receivable is, their case acceptance etc. I ask them how they know and I am told time and time again “because my team tell me they are”. When I work with dental practices the systems are often fine or ok, it may be that the team do not know where to improve them, there is an old saying ‘people do not know, what they do not know’ I also know that some team members do not care, this is sad and also very true.

Dentists worldwide have the same concerns and frustrations, both of which you learned little about in University.

1) Staffing issues: Hiring, training and keeping motivated, exceptional
and organized team members.

2) Financial: Reaching financial goals, controlling overhead and a
controlled accounts receivable.

Have a plan. Make the next 5-10 years the best ever financially, especially if you plan on selling your practice. Why let your practice slide backwards and eventually sell it for less. Where do you start?

The aesthetic look of the practice: Make sure it does not look tired and cluttered. It is amazing how easy it is to enhance the appearance of the practice it improves not only the look but makes it a brighter place to be every day.

Computer System: Most computers are underutilized and not used efficiently for tracking treatment incomplete, missed and no show appointments, follow up of pre-determinations and inconsistency with treatment entries. More offices have computers chair side with more people scheduling, entering treatment, entering payment and often many people making entries incorrectly. Patients get lost in the computer and this is lost revenue.

Case Acceptance: In many cases more dentistry walks out the door than is actually done in the dental office. I ask what is your percentage of case acceptance and often told ‘high’ yet the schedule is not full and the lab bill is a low percentage of collections. No one has been consistently following up with treatment incomplete or pre-determinations etc.

Hygiene Department: Most hygiene departments could be much more productive, many recare systems are 50% effective and many patients long overdue for their preventive care and perio treatments. Often intra oral cameras are not utilized consistently, too many no shows, even patient education related to discussing treatment the doctor has diagnosed and answering patients questions, could be improved.

Defined Duties: Accountability is imperative to eliminate ‘ I thought someone else did it’ ‘It’s not my job’  who’s job is it? Often there are too many people involved it is easy to assume someone else has or is doing it. The entire team need to know who is responsible for specific duties, we need each team member to be pro-active, enthusiastic rather than giving excuses why something has not been done. Seeing a list of treatment incomplete from 2 years ago with a potential production for the practice and no one had made calls within 2-3 weeks this is lost revenue.

I met a dentist recently that had sold his practice to a young dentist several years ago, the young dentist was actually a client of mine. The senior dentist decided to stay on part time and was so re-energized by the young dentist, started to take clinical courses and said he was enjoying dentistry more than he had in 20 years. He was also making more money than he had in the last twenty years. He told me he had taken one of my programs years ago and never implemented anything at that time, and said he knows now that if he had he would have been more prepared to retire. He would not only increased his income earlier and chances are he would have increased the value of his practice when it was sold.

These are a  few of many ways to prepare to make your next few years the very best, to allow more leisure time to cruise into semiretirement.

Anita Jupp
Transition Specialist anita@roicorp.com 905-339-7843