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Are you ready to open your own practice?

If you’re thinking about opening their own practice, here are a few points to consider.

Analyze your risk tolerance

Whether you purchase an existing practice, open a new office from scratch or enter into a partnership with other dentists, launching your new practice requires a significant financial investment.

While a successful dental practice can generate the needed cash flow to pay for any loans, there is still a risk involved in starting a business. Be honest and don’t put yourself in an overly stressful situation if you don’t feel it suits your personality and risk tolerance. Does the concept of not receiving a paycheck scare you? How comfortable are you with the prospect of having both good and bad months financially? Are you in a position to budget for an unpredictable income stream?

9 to 5 or 24/7

If you thrive on a predictable workweek, then owning your own dental practice may not be the right choice. During the first few years of ownership, it could sometimes feel like work never stops. You’ll may need to be involved in every aspect of operations and will quickly learn that filling in a patient schedule is a job all in itself.

Planning vacations can become more complicated too. While being the owner means you can choose to take off a few days without asking for permission, it also means that taking one or two weeks off may be far more challenging to manage compared to taking vacation time as an associate.

A numbers game

Just like any other business, running a dental practice requires that you monitor profit and loss statements, payroll reports, cash flow statements, tax returns, balance sheets and other financial documents. Even with an accountant and bookkeeper, you’ll need to have a firm grasp on  the key numbers and what you need to improve.

Leadership and management

As the owner of your own practice you will be looked up to for guidance. How do you feel about training new employees? What about disciplinary action? Do you have it in you to fire someone? Not everyone is suited for taking on a high-level management and leadership position.

What are your long-term financial goals?

Do your dreams go beyond where a dental associate salary can take you? Everyone has different goals, spending habits, needs and obligations. If you place a high value on earning more money than a salary can provide then opening your own practice might be the way to go. The upper-end potential of an owner usually exceeds the maximum earnings of an employee.

Seek advice from your peers

Sit down with several practice owners in your professional network. By sharing their personal experiences, they can help you make a more informed decision.

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