Five tips to make the most of your budget and run a successful dental practice

Heading to a dental show in the near future? John Clarke explains how to make the most of any exhibition you attend.

Whether you are looking to purchase specialist equipment or IT software, refresh a single surgery or make extensive improvements to your whole premises, running a successful dental practice requires ongoing investment to attract new patients and retain existing ones. Keeping up with rising patient expectations for receiving modern treatments that utilise innovative technology and services requires careful financial planning. After all, it can be all too easy to underestimate the costs involved, particularly given that unexpected expenses can quickly add up.

If you’re thinking about making a change, attending the forthcoming BDIA Dental Showcase is likely to offer you the inspiration to grow and maximise the profitability of your business. The dental exhibition (4-6 October Excel, London) will feature nearly 400 suppliers who will be demonstrating products and services that could give your practice an advantage over your competitors.

If you’re going to the BDIA show, here are five tips to help you to get the most out of the event.

Understand your patients’ needs

Does your practice have a growing number of private patients who are willing to pay more for additional cosmetic treatments that may require you to create a new surgery? Or perhaps you would be better modernising your practice building to make your premises more welcoming and adding an extended car park to the rear of the surgery to provide quick, easy and free parking access.

Consult the views of your staff and patients to gain a consensus of opinion before committing to any investments for your business.

Spending less could cost you more

Don’t underestimate how investing in specialist consumables and leading technology can transform the impression patients have of your business. Outdated systems and equipment can reflect poorly on your service and damage confidence levels, which may prompt patients to look for a new dental practice.

In contrast, integrated telephony and practice management software can help ensure patients never miss an appointment and allow you to more effectively communicate with them based on their treatment preferences.

Get permission first

If you don’t own the freehold of your business’s property you must obtain permission for any refurbishments from the landlord before proceeding. Even if your proposed changes are cosmetic and relatively minor, make sure your landlord is ‘in the know’ so they are fully on side. This should make them more receptive should you wish to make more drastic changes to the practice building in the future.

If in doubt, seek a specialist solicitor with a comprehensive understanding of the dental sector for trusted legal advice.

Pre-plan your visit

Seventy five per cent of exhibitors will be making special offers and price reductions specifically to those that commit to making a purchase at the BDIA show. Research the companies in attendance and identify the types of suppliers you wish to see to give yourself sufficient time for planned meetings and unscheduled conversations. Don’t forget your shopping budget, agree this in advance to get the best value from your available cash reserves.

Don’t seek finance at the last minute

Some trade show visitors leave thinking about finance options until the last minute. Don’t be faced with buyer’s remorse or enter into a finance agreement that you have not had a chance to compare.

It’s worth approaching a specialist finance provider in advance who can offer tailored funding solutions through an unsecured loan facility over a period of one to five years. This will enable you to spread the cost of refurbishments, practice relocations and purchasing specialist equipment and technology in a convenient and flexible way without placing a strain on your cash flow.

For more information visit

You can meet John and his team on stand M35 at the BDIA Dental Showcase.

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