Roger P. Levin, DDS
Planning for the future is a very important step for dentists. Setting goals keeps the team motivated and focused. What are your long-term goals? Setting them up is easier than you think.
Levin Group research shows that practices performing in the top 10% nearly always have a defined strategic plan. What’s yours? Do you even have one? If not, you may be scratching your head and wondering how to develop one. Don’t stress. Just know this: strategic planning is about answering a single question-where do you want to be in five years?
What is strategic planning?
Strategic planning is creating and designing goals and objectives that will help you reach your long-term vision. When dentists work with clients, they start by laying out clear objectives and goals—with deadlines—that are written and measurable over a five-year period. What’s so special about a five-year time period? The world of dentistry is changing so rapidly that anything more than five years would be very hard, if not impossible, to predict or plan for.
A strategic plan in seven steps
Use this strategic planning process to plan a new direction for your practice.
• Step 1: Identify five core values—These core values are yours, the owner’s, true beliefs and will likely remain the same for 50 years. Practices need to identify their values and work hard to live up to them every day.
• Step 2: Set 5–10 specific “major” goals—These goals should be clearly written, measurable, deadline-driven, and assigned to a responsible party.
• Step 3: Create a vision—Work on answering that single question: Where do you want to be in five years? You should also add in a financial analysis so that you can set realistic goals based on your current situation.
• Step 4: Write a vision statement—This is a brief and clear topline statement that outlines the vision, accomplishments, direction, and future of the practice during a five-year period of time.
• Step 5: Prioritize goals—Not all goals are equal, and it’s critical to focus on the highest priorities first.
• Step 6: Create a timeline for goals—Numerous strategic plans have failed because there were no timelines and no accountability. Each step of the plan should have a deadline and a responsible party assigned to carry it out.
• Step 7: Measure and monitor the plan—Hold monthly meetings to measure your plan’s progress and timelines. Without a monthly update, focus will be lost and it’s less likely that you’ll achieve your plan.
Strategic planning is one of the most fundamental business processes in which you can engage. Follow the steps here to create an effective five-year strategic plan for practice success.
Roger P. Levin, DDS, is the CEO of Levin Group, a leading dental management consulting firm. Founded in 1985, Levin Group has worked with over 30,000 dental practices. Dr. Levin is one of the most sought-after speakers in dentistry and a leading authority on dental practice success and sustainable growth. Through extensive research and cutting-edge innovation, Dr. Levin is a recognized expert on propelling practices into the top 10%. He has authored 65 books and over 4,000 articles on dental practice management and marketing. To contact Dr. Levin, visit levingroup.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.