Navigating the Journey from Solo Practice to Group Practice

Building a group practice requires time, patience, a tolerance for risk, and an eagerness for success. Here’s a high level look at what you can expect the journey to look like when scaling from a solo practice, to a group practice…and beyond.

Phase 1: A thriving solo practice

You’ve built a successful solo practice (or you’re in the process of building one). The term “successful” essentially signifies that you are generating a substantial income that enables you and your family to afford your desired lifestyle. Your income will likely stem from two primary aspects of managing the business:

Clinical Work – your ability to execute patient care with exceptional skill and consistency

Proficiency in Communication – you have the interpersonal skills to present treatment to your patients and they trust in your recommendations

Bonus points if you can guide your administrative team towards implementing basic operational systems that enhance both efficiency and profitability.

Throughout this phase, you will likely establish a solid reputation within the local dental community and among your patient base, earning well-deserved recognition. This is undoubtedly a favorable position to be in.


CTA: Emerging Practice Resources


Phase 2: Proactive vs Reactive? 

Now that your practice is flourishing, you may decide that a straightforward (yet somewhat risky), seemingly high revenue generating solo practice is right for you. Bravo!

As pressures within the industry build and strict regulations become the new normal, you may choose to be proactive and not solely rely on your personal clinical expertise.  As the adage goes, “The best defense could be a good offense.” In this context, a “good offense” could involve owning a small network of practices. Taking the calculated risk to establish a group practice that isn’t solely reliant on your personal clinical expertise serves as a solid defensive strategy.

Certainly, this business model entails more complexity and risk compared to your previous solo practice. However, it can be executed over a reasonable timeframe, allowing for strategic reinvestment in associates (to partially replace your role) and manageable levels of debt, overall representing a methodical approach to growth.


Phase 3: Scale & Sale 

Once you have decided to build a group practice, this next phase is characterized by speed, scale, a clear objective, and a defined timeline. Building a sustainable lifestyle around a group practice with 4 to 5 locations is a valid path and one that can be maintained indefinitely. We sometimes see clinicians aspire to become full-fledged entrepreneurs, focusing on building a rapidly growing business with an exit strategy in mind.

While expanding the business will likely entail taking on more debt, you will want a significant portion of available cash to be reinvested into fueling growth. This phase of growth represents a stark departure from the previous one, characterized by stability and income. Now, it’s primarily about dynamic growth and accumulating wealth.


Final Reflections

We live in an era of remarkable opportunities within the healthcare sector, and dentistry stands as a shining example. The undeniable truth is that you possess the ability to construct nearly anything you envision. However, it’s essential to define your aspirations clearly and understand the motives driving your endeavor. Once you’ve addressed these foundational questions, you’ll be better equipped to evaluate the challenges and pressures that your journey, and indirectly your family, might encounter

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