Don’t Panic, Plan.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why I am writing this post now. All you have to do to is turn on the news. All around us are reports about back-to-back, off-the-chart storms and hurricanes, life-threatening earthquakes, and wildfires popping up like never before. It’s a lot. And sure, it’s enough to make you feel pretty humbled, but I’m here to tell you, it does not have to make you feel helpless.

What I’m saying is, there’s no better time than the present to create a detailed emergency plan for your practice. I get it, as a small-business owner, this task is a little trickier without a “corporate headquarters” to help you out. But the truth is, disaster preparedness is especially important for businesses like yours. In fact, FEMA reports that more than 40% of small businesses, lacking a solid emergency plan, fail to reopen their doors after a disaster strikes.  So let’s dig in and make some plans now, so that together we can beat that statistic.

Be a People Person
Have you ever noticed that when news crews visit the scene of a disaster and interview the victims, standing among their destroyed homes, the response is usually the same, “Well, these are just things. The most important thing is our whole family is safe.” I’m sure you feel the same way about your greatest resource, the members of your team.  So start by asking for their help. Put together an emergency task force to help you create a detailed plan with their safety in mind. Consider things like:

  • A defined evacuation plan
  • Clear instructions and ownership of each duty,
  • Provisions for those needing extra assistance
  • Adequate supplies (water, batteries, chargers, flashlights, first aid kits, whistles, tools for shut-off valves) for all of your staff and the maximum number of patients who could be at your office.

Talk Ain’t Cheap
During a disaster, communication becomes more important than ever. Make sure all of your staff’s contact information is accurate, and that at least a few key employees have access to that information so that they can act as point people if needed. These “communication officers” should also have contact information for vendors, your payroll provider, patients, etc., and understand who needs to know what.

Think Outside Your Phone
Because you won’t be able to depend on cell service, consider alternate means of communication for your practice, your staff and your patients. For example, during these latest events, Facebook has proven to be a great way for people to provide updates and to mark themselves as safe. We’ve also found that during Hurricane Harvey, PatientActivator’s® communication tools have come in really handy.

Geek Out
Let’s face it, our lives are on our computers. So while we have fewer paper documents, records and reports to worry about, we still have to be concerned about the actual hardware that allows us to store all that stuff. Back up your data regularly and store it off site, or better yet, send it to the cloud. And, of course, if you do still have some actual paper documents, make sure you have copies — off site and in a secure, fireproof, waterproof location.

Power Hungry
And while we’re on the topic, let’s spend a moment talking about keeping power flowing to all of this technology. What if during a key procedure your practice goes dark? Could your computers handle a power surge? Think about all the electronic items that would be unusable should you lose power and consider getting a back-up generator or battery system for your computers.

Cover Your … Assets
Recently, when the city of Houston became covered in water, I was amazed to learn the number of business (and home) owners who did not have flood insurance to cover the extensive damage to their properties. When’s the last time you checked your insurance coverage? Do you know what is and isn’t covered? What exactly is an “Act of God” any way? Is your current amount of coverage appropriate for the size of your business today? What about your equipment, could it be replaced if needed? Do yourself a favor, and make sure you’ve got the coverage you need to help you bounce back completely and quickly.

But don’t take my word for it, ask the real experts how to do your future self a favor and get your emergency plan together today. Take a look at the following websites for some additional guidance. And if you are a 1-800-DENTIST member, make sure you’ve got us on your important emergency contact list!

American Red Cross

FEMA

OSHA

CDC

Small Business Administration

I’m absolutely crazy about Dr. Wayne Kerr

I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Dr. Wayne Kerr earlier this year and frankly I was blown away. Wayne’s tales of success and failure from his 35+ year career in dentistry had me laughing hard and seriously rethinking a lot of what I thought I knew about how to succeed as a solo practitioner. I’m thrilled to tell you that Wayne is my special guest for an all-new webinar tomorrow.

“Winning the Long-Game in Dentistry” is filled with humor, great insights and proven business principles that improve lives, practices and financial health. I hope you can join us. A good time is guaranteed, especially during the live Q&A session. It’s going to be a wild one. Click here to register.

 

 

Give Us the Social Lowdown!

Greetings, loyal fans!  We are doing a survey to gather the latest information on how practices are dealing with social media, and we value your opinion enough to give you a chance to win a sweet prize, a $500 Amex gift card!

To take the survey, which is appropriately named “How Dental Practices Use Social Media,” click here and you’ll be automatically entered to win. It will only take a few minutes, and of course we’ll be publishing the results, which you won’t want to miss!

Cracking the Insurance Code

I’m not talking about treatment codes here. I’m talking about how to stem the revenue erosion that many practices are facing by accepting dental plans, and I’m doing it in a webinar with my good friend Bernie Stoltz, the CEO of Fortune Management. His company has helped more than two thousand practices solve this challenge and build strong practices with happy patients.

We will go into alternative methods of satisfying your patients needs without compromising your profitability, and how to make choices about accepting plans as part of an overall strategy.  If you’re hoping to thrive in the next decade, this webinar is a must!

It happens on Tuesday, July 11th at11 am PT / 2 pm ET.  Click here to register.

Here’s what we know already: “Insurance” is now the #1 reason people pick a new dentist. This game-changing consumer behavior is hurting profits at practices nationwide. Join me and Bernie and learn new, better ways to leverage your insurance and dental plan offerings to maximize production and patient satisfaction. Here are some highlights:

  • Why insurance is your #1 hidden marketing expense
  • Best insurance strategies for 2017 & beyond
  • Tips on choosing the right plans for your practice
  • Smart new alternatives to traditional dental insurance

Don’t miss this informative, fast-paced presentation followed by a live Q&A session.  And as always, if you register but can’t attend, you’ll be sent a link to the recording of the session. See you online!

50,000 Facebook Fans Can’t be Wrong!

I’m very excited about my upcoming webinar on June 14th.  It’s with Dr. Anissa Holmes who, along with being named one of the top 25 women in dentistry, also has 50,000–yes, 50,000–fans of her Facebook page.  I am in awe of this, and we’re going to dig deep into how she managed this.

She’s also going to talk about how to effectively advertise on Facebook, how she generates 50 new patients a month from Facebook alone, and even how to use Facebook to fill last-minute cancellations. We are going to pack your brain with social media wisdom, so don’t miss it!

That’s Wednesday, June 14th, at 11am PST, 2pm EST. Register by clicking here. As always, even if you miss the webinar, if you register you will get a link to the recorded version emailed to you.  You may just want to watch it twice!!