The relationship between dentists and their patients has changed dramatically over the past decade or so. And this is a good thing. In the past, you could argue that there was no connection between the two parties at all. Dentists steered clear of the strategies that more conventional businesses used to keep customers and attract new ones. It didn’t seem like dentists felt the need to “compete” with other practices. But those times are long gone. Dental practices can no longer sustain themselves by doing the bare minimum or simply expecting patients to come to them. They must now make more of an effort to stay relevant , stand apart from their competitors and, just like any other business, provide a pleasant customer experience.
But this is easier said than done. One of the only constants in the dental industry is cash flow problems, which are usually attributed to the very nature of medical professions. Companies like United Capital Source, however, offer small business loans for dentists designed specifically to neutralize the ongoing financial limitations of dental practices.
1. Lower Costs = More Demand
Most media coverage about dentists revolves around the same topic: access to insurance. Far too many hard-working people do not get dental insurance through their jobs. For a while, the average person’s initial response was to just stop going to the dentist altogether. But soon enough, dentists started to see that limited access to dental insurance was having an effect on their finances. This was especially prevalent for dentists that treat a lot of young adults. Letting this demographic go could have serious consequences. So, dentists began offering low-cost plans for patients forced to pay out of pocket. Suddenly, mid-income patients could afford to go to the dentist multiple times a year without digging into their savings.
Low-cost plans benefit the practice as well because it shortens their business cycle, allowing them to plow more money into their practices at a quicker rate. The risk is a massive increase in demand. Busy seasons are even busier, and slow periods are shorter. Sufficient inventory and staff must therefore be on-hand at all times. Thankfully, United Capital Source can approve and distribute numerous types of small business loans in a matter of days, allowing dental practices to secure and maintain all the resources they need before they actually need them.
A popular business funding program of ours for dentists is credit card processing loans, or merchant cash advance. This type of working capital loan is highly appropriate because it only deducts payments when a debit or credit transaction is made. Most dental patients do not use cash for the aforementioned low-cost plans. Dentists can continuously order inventory, pay their workers and serve patients without being restricted by the fixed, monthly payments of traditional small business loans. Though funds for a merchant cash advance can be accessed at just about any time, the primary advantage of this business funding program is the ability to prepare for a surge in demand when you normally would not have the money to do so.
2. No Good If No One Knows
In addition to competitive prices, the public’s lack of dental insurance has prompted dentists to showcase their marketing skills. Low-cost plans aren’t any good if no one knows about them. You’ve probably been getting social media notifications or emails from your local dentist to remind about limited deals or upcoming appointments. Some emails might also contain thoughtful blog posts about taking care of your teeth during certain holidays or how to tell if you might have a cavity. The point is, your dentist is now reaching out to you in ways he or she never did before. They want to make you a loyal patient before another practice takes your business with an even cheaper plan.
Marketing is something dentists didn’t usually have to worry about, so you can’t expect them to have the money to pay for long-term marketing campaigns. But this is just another extremely useful function of a merchant cash advance. In the months leading into the busy season (or holidays like Christmas and Halloween), dentists can fund marketing campaigns even though business might be on the slower side. The increase in appointments that ensues as a result of the campaign would likely pay off the majority of the debt.
3. Advanced Technology Becoming Commonplace
Equipment for dentists used to be relatively standard. Then an increasing amount of practices began offering new types of x-rays, new ways to fill a cavity, and painless lasers to replace sharp edges. Why doesn’t your dentist offer these things? You guessed it: They are expensive. But in just a few years, dentists could discover that patients are willing to trade their local dentist for someone located much farther away because the procedures are that much less invasive. Advanced equipment could very well become the new standard. And thanks to companies like United Capital Source, it is within reach for even the smallest of practices.
Credit card processing loans do not have fixed due dates, which means you can theoretically take a little longer to pay off the balance if sales are slow. So, as long as a practice is expecting a steady stream of patients in the near future, it can order all the expensive equipment his or her peers are using to boost profitability. Besides, patients will be less hesitant to come to the dentist when they don’t have to look forward to nearly choking on x-ray film or the soothing sounds of a cavity-filling drill. A merchant cash advance is easy to pay back already, so a statistical likelihood of increasing revenue will eventually make this investment more worthwhile.
Don’t Worry, We Saw It Coming
Dentists who are worried about the future will be pleased to know that United Capital Source can gradually help them obtain every tool they need to calm their nerves. They should remember that they are not the only profession that now requires advanced technology and above average marketing skills to stay competitive. Small business loans now exist with their individual cash flow dilemmas in mind, and will therefore require just a few minutes of their time in order to be obtained.
*Photo credit to Matt Madd