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You didn’t build your dental practice without some sort of plan. And you didn’t create a plan without first having a vision. You know how I know that? Because no one ever wakes up and says, “I want to give myself a whole bunch of work without knowing if that work will ever lead to anything.” Amiright?  

You gotta have a plan if you’re going to be successful but you gotta have a vision of where that plan will lead you. Think of it this way, your plan is how you will get where you want to go, your vision is the place you want to end up at, your point B, if you will. So, in this post, let’s break down what a vision is and how to define it, outline it and make sure it’s on solid ground before you strategize a plan for it.  

Your vision is your point B for your dental practice. It’s where you want to end up at the end of all that hard work. Your vision can be personal or professional or a mix of both so that you’re as satisfied personally as you are with your business results.  

In fact, with the doctors I consult, I make sure they include and prioritize their personal well-being as well as their family’s and team’s well-being. If you don’t prioritize that in your vision, you will watch yourself run ragged for a dream that you’ve come to despise because it’s made too many demands on your mental and physical health. You must be mindful of what you’re capable of and what you need to delegate.   

Along with how you’re feeling personally you want to have a clear picture of what every aspect of your business looks like and where your practice(s) will be when you arrive at your vision. That is typically a 3-year period. So, what is it and how do you use it?  

What is the Vivid Vision® method for your Dental Practice?  

I was introduced to the Vivid Vision method a few years back when I started working with my coach, Cameron Herold. Cameron is the author is Vivid Vision: A Remarkable Tool for Aligning Your Business Around a Shared Vision of the Future and he introduced me to using his Vivid Vision® method in figuring out where I wanted to take my organization. Using that process allowed me to create a vision based on my values, my passions and how I wanted to live my life.  

Cameron Herold on his Vivid Vision® Process

So, what does creating a Vivid Vision® entail? There are 12 key areas of focus that you will need to address in creating your Vivid Vision®. Remember, this vision is your point B, it’s where you want to end up in 1 year, 3 years or 5 years, depending on the current state of your practice.  

I highly recommend doing a full audit of your point A, how your practice is performing right now, so you get a clear idea of how long it might take to get to your point B.

Read this article about assessing your practice, Clarify your Dental Practice Vision: Assess your Point A and Launch your Legacy 

Once you’ve done a thorough assessment of the state of your practice, then you can begin to craft your vision. As I mentioned, there are 12 key areas of focus that you will want to pay attention to as the first steps in crafting your vision. Check out some wonderful examples and a checklist here for some ideas of how to begin and where to put your focus.  

These 12 areas are fundamental to your practice, but they also encompass how you want to live and operate within the boundaries of your organization. This process asks a lot of you in the beginning but watching my organization transform and grow because of this foundation I created has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life. I urge you to take the time to do your due diligence and answer all these questions fully.   

The first thing that goes on the blank page is the statement –  

“It’s December 31, 20__ …”  

This beginning will help put you in the future and let you see what your practice can look like in that year, typically that year will be 1 year, 3 years or 5 years from the day you begin writing your vision. Be generous with yourself, don’t try to solve every issue, transform your culture and double your annual revenue in one year. Give yourself time to fulfill this vision.  

Your Personal ‘Why’  

Why I do what I do – These 1 to 3 sentences are a description of why you started your practice and what you hope to achieve with it. This comes from the heart. Keep it simple and short.  

Core Values – Paired with your personal ‘why’, your core values are what will guide your vision. You don’t want to put yourself in the position of going against your values even and especially in business. Identifying your core values will help you make decisions about your practice while crafting your vivid vision. Do you know your core values?  Check out James Clear’s list of core values here.  

The People in your Dental Practice 

Culture – What do you want your team culture to look like? How do you want to interact with people in your offices? How do you want them to interact with the public and your vendors? What kind of cohesion do you want to build within your teams? How do you want to build that cohesion?   

Team/Employees – Write down every key role in your practice. Do you have the right people in the right seats? Is everyone doing the job they are best at and most passionate about? Do team members work and live with purpose? 

What You Do – Your Dental Practice Focus 

Core Business Activity – What does your dental practice specialize in? Emergency care? Cosmetic dentistry? Are you a concierge practice? Detailing your USP or unique selling proposition will help you create offers, messaging and services in alignment with your core business activities.  

How the World Sees Your Dental Practice 

Operations – How do your patients see your practice? What do your reviews and testimonials say about your services, operations and in-office experience?  

Offices/Headquarters – What does your office feel like walking into your practice? Does the office reflect the types of services you offer? A comforting environment for emergency dentistry? Or a sleek, upscale vibe reflective of a cosmetic dentistry practice? A homey feeling for a more traditional hygiene practice? Does your office aesthetic reflect your practice’s services and values?  

How Your Dental Practice Communicates with the World 

Sales/Marketing – How do you communicate with the world to attract patients to your practice? Do you have a marketing strategy? Is it based on your core values and mission? Is your social media presence reflective of your core values? Is your marketing strategy successful?  

Community Involvement & Giving Forward – Does your dental practice support local and community-based charities or organizations? Do you have sponsorships, scholarships or dental intern programs? How do you give back to your community?  

How Media Portrays your Dental Practice 

Media & Awards – What has the media said about your dental practice organization? How are you portrayed to the public? Have you been recognized in local or national publications?  

The KPIs of your Dental Practice  

Financials – This aspect of your vision is your chance to see the actual heartbeat of the dental practice. What are your sales, yearly revenue and profit? What is your annual growth rate? Have you done an EBITDA analysis of your practice?  

From Dental Practice Owner to Investor and Leader 

Founder Feeling – Although this is the last key area of your vision, I consider it one of the most important ones because this is where you take time to evaluate how you want to show up in the practice, your day-to-day interaction with your practice and your mindset.  

Ask yourself, “how do I want to spend my time?” “What does my daily activity look like?” “How do I want to feel every day?”  

You can also take time to write down your mentors, how you became a dentist, what your core motivation was, your initial passion for starting your business and what personal growth looks like now to you. Take your time. Write down from the heart, where it all began, how it’s going and where you truly want to be by December 31st, 20___.  

This is an incredibly transformative experience if you dare to embark on the journey of crafting your Vivid Vision®. This brief overview that I’ve laid out here is only the beginning. If you would like more information, I recommend checking out Jennifer Hudye and her site Conscious Copy & Co. And here’s more info on my Vivid Vision® process, check out my book, Extraction: The Surprising New Formula to Systemize, Scale and Sell Your Business.

Remember, to get to point B, you need to start at point A, define where you want to end up, your point B, and then develop a strategy for how you’re going to get there. But the first step is always to define what point B looks like for you. Similar to a GPS system, you punch in where you want to go, then punch in where you are, once you have both of those coordinates you can devise or choose a strategy for getting there from here.  

One More Tool for your Toolkit 

At first blush, this process seems involved, complex and let’s be honest, a lot of work. Why embark on this journey? Why give yourself more work on top of running your dental practice? For one simple reason, to give yourself the life you thought you were getting when you decided to open a dental practice in the first place.

As a dental practice owner, you didn’t think you were giving yourself two jobs: being a dentist and running a business. Both are full-time endeavors and years into running your practice, I bet you are not ‘livin’ the dream’ as the kids say 😉 If that’s the case for you I urge you to take this step and find out what a vivid vision® could mean for you, your practice, your team and your family. And by the way, you’re not alone. Many dentists experience a deep sense of burnout and dissatisfaction at some point. That’s why my partner and CEO of OPS, Josh Gwinn, created an incredible and free monthly mastermind.

A mastermind is a group of peers that come together on a regular basis to work out their biggest challenges, share resources and lean on each other to get through the rough patches and celebrate the wins. It is the single most effective tool that an entrepreneur has in her entrepreneurial toolkit.

One of the best ways I know to remain steadfast in your goals, bust through your obstacles, find resources and community to keep you strong is joining a Mastermind.  

And you’re in luck! I run a regular mastermind exclusively for dentists. We get together regularly to discuss the biggest obstacles to growth that they’re facing in real time; share stories of inspiration; share resources and celebrate what’s working in their practices. It’s a wonderful community and we want you to be a part of our movement. Click the button to register for the next one and we’ll see you there!