Building value to scale your DSO is all about predictable performance. No matter how many dental practices are in your organization, you need to show they are producing predictable results. Kathy Lynn-Cullotta, co-founder of i3 Ignite, recommends building and managing your organization in three key ways to deliver this consistent performance.

At i3 Ignite, we are in the business of igniting and scaling growth for organizations like DSOs. With our 20+ years of C-level experience, we guide emerging DSO owners in overcoming challenges to make sure their growth initiatives are appropriately focused and won’t burn out. 

Having the right systems, the right people, and the right data will help you scale up your DSO effectively. So, what key things should you focus on?


1. Focus on Data from Each Practice Location

You are going to need to have data that shows how your different practice locations are performing in different areas of the business, for example, new patient engagement, hygiene performance and profitability, restorative treatment performance and profitability, feedback on the patient experience, staff retention, etc. Knowing what to focus on in each practice will move each one forward and reduce variance between locations. 

i3 ignite recommends continuously coaching your teams in each practice to improve metrics. It’s all about that old saying, “Measure what you want to manage.”


2. Hire an Experienced Management Team

Part of the challenge for a lot of organizations is to think through how to staff the local level and how to staff at the DSO level. At the DSO level, we feel strongly that you need to have executives who have a lot of experience and some ability to create processes to build the business and clinical support infrastructure that does not exist yet for the organization. They will need to be excellent judges of the right directions to take the business, have how-to knowledge, be good at strategic planning, and be a motivator who empowers teams. 

You are looking to fill in your infrastructure gaps with leaders who want and have proven they can lead growth initiatives. You are looking for complementary backgrounds and skills. You are looking for leaders who will bring to the table fresh energy and ideas. This means hiring executives for your management team that have broad and deep experience in the DSO environment or a similar health service industry such as ophthalmology or dermatology.


3. Constantly Improve Your DSO Model

The third key thing is to always be thinking about how you can make your business model better and, at the same time, implement very specific changes that will move the needle as early as tomorrow or early next week. Create some urgency around that to keep the momentum going. Don’t lose focus on your goal.

You need to work at both the strategic level and the tactical level to make a difference. Think through your strategies and implementation. Again, metrics are key. It starts with data and then involving a management team that has breadth and depth of experience to do data-driven coaching. 

It’s not just about adding locations. You are also strategically and tactically trying to improve your model as you scale. Maybe you are adding services and monitoring those to see if they prove positive for building more value in your DSO. At the same time, you will be monitoring performance results, implementing changes, and coaching for specific behaviors and processes in each location to create predictable results across locations.

As you implement changes and measure the results, you pilot test them with a single location to prove they are adding value. If they are adding value, this may be the direction you want to go across your locations. Some initiatives may be best applied to like-size or like-services locations instead of all locations. You can strategically think that through and test that out. 


Additional Resources for Scaling Your Practice, Group or DSO

Some additional Dental Practice Resources from Patient Prism will you grow your practice, group, or dental service organization during the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

  • Is your hygiene schedule looking light? Patient Prism asked Rachel Wall, RDH, founder of Inspired Hygiene for her tips to fill the hygiene schedule this Fall. Click here to download “5 Ways to Avoid a Hygiene Schedule Nightmare.”
  • For our guide to Converting More Calls During COVID-19, click here
  • For Patient Prism’s guide for Marketing Strategies During COVID-19, click here.
  • For Patient Prism’s guide on Teledentistry Options, click here.
  • For Patient Prism’s guide on Staying Safe in the Dental Practice, click here.

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