The dental industry has seen an influx of cash from venture capitalists and investors. In August, dental startup Flossy managed to raise $14.7 million on a series A funding, and the amount of funding in the entire healthcare industry has been rising for years. Given the highly fragmented nature of the dental industry, investors may hope to consolidate dental practices, creating something larger and more efficient.
More money means change, and some dental practitioners may be worried about change. But regardless of what stage you are at in your career, venture capitalists present an opportunity. In addition to the potential funding benefits, dentists can learn from how venture capitalists operate.
How can you improve?
For a venture capitalist, it is all about the numbers, particularly return on investment. Dentists should be prepared to think more along those lines.
But the bottom line is not the only number which a venture capitalist considers when choosing where to place his money, and the same is true for you. A venture capitalist looks at numbers like revenue growth and cash flow, but the numbers you look at can be quite different.
For example, how much are you working? How much do you want to work? When do you hope to retire? Is a long-term investment worthwhile if you plan to leave the industry within a few years? You can use return on investment to calculate whether an investment is a good idea, especially within the confines of your business.
Take a more numbers-oriented approach, which understands that every part of your practice, from the machines to the patients to your personal circumstances, is an investment of some sort.
Venture Capital and Patients
Some dentists may worry about an influx in venture capital because they might believe that it might cause a change in focus from patients to profits. But there is no reason you cannot pursue both.
The fragmented nature of the dental industry means that reputation and word of mouth are even more important compared to other industries. If you wish to attract venture capital, showing that your patients are well-satisfied is a good way to garner support.
But do you know whether your patients are really satisfied or not? Ask patients to fill out feedback questionnaires and guide them to review websites such as Google or Yelp. Regularly monitor review websites and respond to positive and negative feedback.
You may be missing out on opportunities to receive investment because venture capitalists do not know about you or how successful your practice is. It is thus important to get out there and market your business.
First, remember to regularly network at local events such as with your local Chamber of Commerce. By getting outside, you can find opportunities which you will not be able to find online.
But there is a path for online marketing as well. Consider hosting a blog or YouTube channel, which details how your business operates and how patients can take better care of their health. By showing that your practice is responsive and informative, you can attract people, both patients and investors, who otherwise might have never heard of you.
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