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February 13th, 2023

Episode 145: 3 Goals to Grow Your Dental Practice

“From my perspective, it’s so important to plan your plan. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I have to tell you, it works.”
~Dr. Bruce B. Baird​

What do you want? How do you make a plan to get it?

Too many dentists go year to year without a plan. Well, they have a plan, but no plan to get there. I like to call that your “wish bone.” If you don’t make a plan, your plans are just that…wishes.

There are many ways out there to plan, but one thing that worked great for me was what I like to call the “1, 3, 5.” What that means is I have a 1-year plan, a 3-year plan, and a 5-year plan. Does that seem a little silly? Planning 5 years in the future?

​​​Well, if you are interested in building a practice that not only grows, but builds value over time, you really have to plan that far into the future.

I want to see you successful. I want to see you living your dream, giving back to your community, and enjoying the freedom that ​financial security allows. So join me today as I break planning down for you and share:​

  • What goals should go into your 1, 3, and 5-year plans​
  • How to break your goals down into achievable steps​​​​​​​
  • The power of an accountability partner

Hi, this is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast and today we’re talking about what is your 1,3,5. What do I mean by that? Well, what I mean is what’s your one-year goal? What’s your three-year goal? And what’s your five-year goal? This is something that, you know, most individuals don’t do on a regular basis. And it’s something that I’ve been doing now for, I guess probably the last 30 years. I started out with using yellow notepads, and the yellow notepads, I would write down, you know, these long lists of the things that I wanted to get accomplished this year, and the next 12 months, and I usually would do this in January of every year.

As a matter of fact, that the Productive Dentists at our seminars and with our coaching clients, we actually do this every year with the, with the office, we help design, what is your one-year goal? What’s your three-year goals? And what are your five-year goals? The one-year goal is important, you can even break them down into monthly goals, even to hourly goals, but I like to have a one-year plan that says this is where I’d like to be. And we’re not just talking about your dental practice, we’re also talking about any goals that you have, for instance, physical goals, you know, I’d, I’d like to weigh this much by the end of this year, you know, and then I break that down into quarterly goals.

Just say, okay, by the end of the first quarter, I’d like to be at this way, the end of the second quarter, not only weight-wise, but I’d also like to have increased my muscle mass by a certain amount. I would like to be, you know, doing my aerobic exercise, so that’s one. Another one might be your spiritual goals. You know, I wanted to, I want to attend church every Sunday, this year when I’m in town. And I do that on a quarterly basis. If I don’t go, then I have to reestablish that. You know, I want to attend certain programs or certain opportunities, professional goals, I’d like to get through these courses by the end of this year. I want to sign up and I want to get through all of these courses over the next 12 months. Now, a lot of the things that I’m doing nowadays is a lot of online type, type of stuff, like online courses and those types of things. So when I look at my practice, I’m saying okay, our practice did, say 1 million last year. This year, I looked at all of my production by procedure reports, what procedures did we do this year, and others? And what procedures did we not do this year that ordinarily we do? And I check this every single year. I also predict what we’re going to produce for the year. In other words, how much are we going to produce this year. When I say predict? How do you come up with a prediction that is accurate? Well, you can’t do that if you’re not tracking. You can’t do that if you’re not looking at all the things that you do on a monthly basis, a daily basis. A lot of people say well, “You know, I really have a daily goal, you know, when you break it down to hourly, you know.” Well, it doesn’t really matter, truthfully, because you’re going to be looking at your goals on an ongoing basis during that time, but I look at these daily, so I know where we’re at.

So let’s just say you had yourself an associate and three hygienists, I set a production goal per hour. Say your goal is 700 an hour. What that means when you set a goal of 700 an hour, what that means is you’re committed to 700 an hour, meaning if you’re going to work 128 hours this month, you have a goal of X amount for the month. I’ll give you an example, let’s say you want to produce $90,000 in a month, okay. And let’s say hygiene, your goal for hygiene is to do 15,000 each per month, and your associate was to do you know, 50,000 for the month. And when I say supposed to do, this is a commitment with the team that says I will do that. So let’s just say it’s 90 and 50, that’s 140 plus another 45, that’s a $185,000 in production in your practice, that’s a two, two and a half million dollar practice or 2.2 or 2.3 million dollar practice, this is a big deal. So as, as you look at this, you say I’m committed to this, that means if you go on vacation, and you’re only going to work 12 days instead of 16, that means you’re going to put your hourly production still to reach that $90,000 goal. Why do you want to do that? Well, from a financial standpoint, you’ve got to set your business up with a Budget to Actual and I’ll talk about that in future podcasts, but you’ve got to know you know what you’re budgeting for, it helps you run your business. This old deal that I wrote, a series of five articles in dental economics about what’s called the dental rollercoaster, one month, we’re rich next month, we’re poor, we did great, we did poor, we did great, we did poor.

That’s not the way to run a business. It’s stressful, it’s very difficult. That’s when dentists say, “Oh, just think I’ll go do something else,” or they go through these issues, and so from my perspective, this is what is so important is to plan your plan, and then to execute that plan, and in business, do that in your life, do that in I’m working on my golf game, and I really want to get my handicap down to a 10 or whatever it is, be realistic. I mean, if you’re a 14, and so you’re not going to be a 10 in two months, but you could set that up and break it down. So then that’s the one-year goals. What about three-year goals? Those are when you start talking about educational goals, as well as your business. What I would love to have as a practice that’s doing two and a half million by this, this period of time three years from now, and you can also break that down into 12 quarters, and so you’re going to work this plan over a period of three years. And so this is where you’re saying, I’d like to go through and I’d like to get all of John courses, courses taken over the next three years, I have a goal of I want to go to become digitally proficient in dentistry, which is the new wave, the new way that things are being done is lots of things are being done digitally, from all on four all on six, to impressions, to Invisalign, to clear aligner training, trays, whatever it is, making nightguards these are all things that are being done now digitally. So you’re getting rid of all these impression materials it is. So with that, that might be your goal over a three-year period. And so that’s what I look at, what about over a five-year period? What are we looking at?

Well, at five years, you want every time, this all shifts one year at a time. Does that make sense? So I’ve got a one-year goal, a three-year goal and a five-year goal. At the end of that year, I now push out another one-year goal, another three-year goal and another five-year goal. So by setting out what I want to be in five years, in five years, I would like to be doing community projects, I would like to have a take-home pay of 600,000 a year. I would like to have you know my handicap down on my golf game down to ten and being enjoyed and planning on playing at least once a week or I want my weight to stay consistent at X. I want to continue to do my exercise because the truth is, if your business is healthy, and you’re physically healthy, and you’re spiritually healthy, and you know you have your friends that you’re getting to spend time with and you’re doing the things that you love. That is I mean that’s living and so, I really implore you to set up these one, three and five-year goals. Also set up an accountability partner with your coach or with another dentist in your office. These are the things that I want to do for the office and make that become a vision, you know, one year, maybe it’s quarterly, but start out by putting your quarterly goals or your monthly goals on piece of paper. This is what I want to do by the end of the month, and so it is a, it’s a process that you go through to find out how much time do I want to have? How much, how many days a week, do I want to work? I know that if I’m doing 800 an hour, I’m making amazing amount of revenue and take home.

So do I need that revenue? Or do I, would I rather have time, would I rather have time with friends and time with family, and that’s going to change. You know, over this 1, 3, 5. After you go through this process for 20 years, your needs and your wants and what your, what’s successful for you is going to change. You’ve fully funded your retirement plan you’ve put money away, you’ve done those things. You may set up over this period of time and a five-year plan. If you’ve been in practice for a long time, you may be saying, “Well, I sure would like to retire at this point.” I see way too many doctors that get to that point and say that, “Okay, I need to retire?” Or something worse. They haven’t spent the time staying fit, they haven’t spent the time doing the things that they need to do for themselves and they again, have difficulties. So you need to plan this out. What I’ve chosen to do, remember, is on a yearly basis, and then I break it down. I look at all of our production-by-procedure reports. I want to see exactly what our production was and what’s interesting, Jeff Busky, my partner, the first time he experienced this, probably 15 years ago, I said, “This is what we’re going to do.” And in December we would always meet and we go through the same things that production-by-procedure. What new technology have we implemented? Are we using the technology that we talked about? Let’s set our goal for this year and our goal might go up by 5%, might go up by 8%, might go up by 10%, dependent upon the procedures and what your goal is, and so I remember setting it up and I told Jeff, I said, “Next year when we get to this point, you’re gonna see how predictable this is.” And sure enough, the next year, we got to the end of the year, and we had actually overshot our goals that we had set by about 10% ,11%.

So we literally kind of blew those goals out of the water. Now that’s awesome because as a business, I planned on a number that’s a million dollars. I have expenses that I have to pay with that million plus what we’re taking home, whatever that is. And so I remember Jeff saying tally, we hit it. I mean, we nailed it. I said, “Well, we only nailed it, because we had the goal.” We knew where we were headed. We work together, daily, weekly, monthly, you know, to make sure we reach those goals. Sometimes I might take off, oh gosh, two weeks to go on vacation and then I knew I only had a few days to work. So I pre-loaded my treatment into the next month.

So I would put in the bigger treatment, the bigger cases. I’d have somebody that needed several implants and a bunch of crown and bridge or veneer case, I would say I was already on goal for this month. So I was telling I said, “Mary, are you a year-round? I’d really like to do this July 13 or 14th, that week.” They’ll say, “Yeah, I’m around or no,” and then I’ll find another time, but I’m pre-loading that schedule so that I know consistently, over and over and over again, I’m going to be able to reach those goals. And that helps you from a business standpoint. It helps you from a personal standpoint, family, friends, all of those things. So hopefully this has been this is just something that I’ve done for years. And again, I started out with yellow notepads.

Today, most of the time, it’s it’s on software, of some type, usually an Excel spreadsheet. So I hope this helps, and remember to sign up for Productive Dentist Podcast, go to If you’re interested in coming to one of our seminars, or coming to one of our workshops, and I will listen I mean I will talk to you guys soon, and thanks for listening. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at podcast at Don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy. roductive dentist Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentists Podcast

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