Why You Should Use Long-Term Growth as an Indicator Of Success

Success should be examined over the long-term.

Because we’re self-employed as dentists, we must determine our success by looking at the big picture of profit and business.

by Dr. Lee Ann Brady

Success should be examined over the long-term.I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how dentists measure their success and what counts as a satisfactory day on the job.

This portion of the fiscal year (the holidays) tends to be a mix of large stretches of vacation and jam-packed days where every patient crawls out of the woodwork needing serious treatment before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve (they might be using up their insurance).

Over my career, I’ve found a few things to be true about the fluctuations in profit and business. Mostly, I’ve realized that we have to reconcile the power and freedom of being self-employed with the frustrations and drawbacks to our particular profession.

Profit and Volume Fluctuations: Measuring Success

In January, I have a lot of energy and excitement about my career. I’m ready to deal with the biggest cases and tackle the highest number of patients per day. Sometimes, January agrees with me and ends up being quite busy. But other times it’s slow because people have spent a significant chunk of money over the holidays.

Business usually picks up in February and stays busy until school gets out and summer arrives. Summer is dead and dull. As soon as kids are back in school, though, business is booming once again and carries on mostly uninterrupted through winter.

All dental practices have an economic sine wave. 

Don’t stress out too much if you’re dealing with the doldrums of a slow period at the office. We need to think of ourselves as freelancers. It’s less important that we often alternate between overwhelming business and very slow days. It’s more important that our profits are growing year to year, or at least not dropping off.

How do you deal with boredom or business at the office? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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