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Get Your Dental Business and Marketing Strategy Right – Start with the SWOT analysis.

Vandana KatyalBusiness Coaching, Uncategorised

Information about both the external environment and your organisation’s internal capabilities is crucial to informing your goals and strategy and making the right business decisions for your practice. If you are at the helm of a dental practice start-up or run an established business it is essential to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to your business.

The SWOT concept  is the work of Kenneth R. Andrews who is credited with writing the text portion of the classic: Business Policy: Text and Cases. For Andrews, strategy emerges from aligning “environmental opportunity” with “corporate capability;” he writes:

“In deciding what strategy should be [. . .] its principal subactivities include (1) identifying opportunities and threats in the company’s environment [. . .] and (2) appraising the company’s strengths and weaknesses. The strategic alternative which results (is) a matching of opportunity and corporate capability (Learned et al., 1965, p. 20).”

SWOT analysis guide for dental practices

SWOT: Strengths and Weaknesses

A good starting point is an assessment of what a dental practice does well and what it does less well. In general good strategies take advantage of strengths and minimize the disadvantages posed by weaknesses. These are internal environmental characteristics of  a business and help assess business capabilities internally.

An example of strength may be the unique selling proposition of your practice such as extended hours offering flexibility or payment plans with no interest, increasing reach and affordability of your services. An example of weakness may be inadequate staffing, training or equipment available to grow the business.

SWOT: Opportunities and Threats

Opportunities assess the external positive factors that represent the reason for a business to exist and prosper. These are external to the business. What opportunities exist in its market, or in the environment, from which the dental practice will benefit? An example of opportunity could be to respond to market forces and start to offer virtual dental appointments via tele-dentistry (e.g. via Dental Monitoring) or create more brand awareness to increase your market penetration and share. Change in demographics, economy and attitudes can also be a potential opportunity to grow and develop your practice.

Threats include factors beyond your control that could place the strategy, or the business, at risk. A competitor starting a new business and offering more value in response to the customers needs in order to satisfy their needs. Increase in costs of dental supplies or lack of supplies could also be a potential threat that could affect your business. An economic downturn is another area of threat leading to reduced spending by the consumer for their health care. Its is important to be aware of all potential threats that are realistic and know then year-by-year.

In a nutshell, SWOT analysis helps you identify alternatives that address the following questions (Carpenter et al. 2010. Principles of Management):

1. Strengths and Opportunities (SO)—How can you use your strengths to take advantage of the opportunities?

2. Strengths and Threats (ST)—How can you take advantage of your strengths to avoid real and potential threats?

3. Weaknesses and Opportunities (WO)—How can you use your opportunities to overcome the weaknesses you are experiencing?

4. Weaknesses and Threats (WT)—How can you minimise your weaknesses and avoid threats?

You will be surprised how much this exercise will help you identify your key strengths and where to go next in your business. For practice sales, this is a useful exercise as well – giving the buyer a nice overview of current and future directions. It will help you formulate your Unique Selling/Service Proposition and why should the customer choose you! Good luck and make this a team activity!



Author: Dr Vandana Katyal, Specialist Orthodontist, Business owner, Author, Speaker and MBA candidate 2019

What People Are Saying

  • Dr Katyal’s courses are always very practical, interactive and based on up-to-date evidence. I have completed other orthodontic courses and I have found the structure and organisation of BOSS to be superior. Whilst Dr Katyal is very encouraging of GP dentists doing orthodontic treatment, she ensures that we understand our scope of practice, which allows patients to have the best outcomes. Looking forward to doing more BOSS courses in the future!

    Dr Brodie Hil, Dentist VIC
  • Boss is an amazing seminar well ran by Dr Katyal and her team. The group is small and Dr Katyal caters to the needs of the group. We bring cases along to discuss and we can interrupt to ask questions.
    It’s not like other seminars where you get lectured to and they take a few questions at the end . By which time you can’t remember the question you wanted to ask .
    The many lecturers are funny , informative and a pleasure to listen to . Ohh ohh I forgot … it’s held at the Hilton hotel and the food is unbelievable!!!

    Amy Lg, Dentist, Sydney
  • Many thanks to BOSS and Dr Vandana Katyal for providing me with a great learning platform for clear aligners. With a previous background in fixed orthodontics, I have always been interested in incorporating clear aligners to give my patients all options when it comes to providing orthodontic treatment in my practice.

    After attending BOSS lectures, Dr Katyal has helped grow my confidence in using clear aligners by providing one on one mentoring on clin-checks and also going through some of her own cases that she is treating with Invisalign which has been an eye opener for myself.

    I have now got multiple cases of Invisalign undergoing and I don’t shy away in presenting clear aligners as a treatment option for patients requiring orthodontic treatment in my practice.

    Amrinder Oberoi, Dentist, Sydney
  • I have been attending BOSS Courses since early 2016, and am so pleased to have found Vandana and her team! As Orthodontics is such a vast study in itself, BOSS breaks it down into practical and easy to understand concepts, which allows you to become more aware of the orthodontic status of all your patients. I have found so much confidence in being able to deliver orthodontic treatment to my patients after attending BOSS. If you’re someone who hasn’t done any orthodontics and are looking for starter courses, this course is fantastic. It is also a great opportunity for those who have had orthodontic experience in the past (like myself) to enhance, grow and learn more!

    Dr Radhika Singh, Sydney
  • I just attended the 2018 Boss Course 1 in Melbourne. It was a comprehensive introduction into orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning. I have walked away feeling confident in my knowledge and abilities. I recommend this course to beginners and those with more experience. The group was small and the course felt tailored to our individual levels of experience. Dr Katyal was so kind and approachable and generously shared her knowledge. The course was heavily scientifically based and Dr Katyal frequently referred to the literature and gave recommended pre-readings to enhance our knowledge and make the most of the session.

    Dr Rachael McDonald, Dentist, Melbourne
  • Dr Katyal shares so much of her own protocol and is extremely generous not only with her time but with the well thought out information she provides along with the course such as inventory lists, marketing material and case presentation templates. She tailors her advice to your own experience and helps with appropriate case selection, points out possible pitfalls and helps you understand how to overcome them. The course is also up-to-date using the latest technologies in orthodontics and is heavily evidence-based.

    I would recommend it to anyone wanting to start doing some orthodontic treatment or looking for a more comprehensive course to assist in some ortho they are already doing.

    Dr Becky Dudman, Melbourne

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