Death of an Orthodontic Practice

November 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

It’s 2020 and I decide my son, Timmy, needs braces. At 8:00 pm on a Friday night we take a quick jaunt down to the i-Braces store at the mall. We meet the gal up front and she quickly arranges for Timmy to get signed up. After two electronic scans and two impressions, we leave. I signed up for the 12 month plan at $150 a month, no credit check. About a week later, a package arrives from the factory in Idaho with Timmy’s clear invisible trays, an instructional DVD, and the 800 number for a 24/7 hotline for any type of support. My wife was ecstatic that we saved close to $4000 by doing it this way. About 60 days later, after church on Sunday, we dropped by for another scan, without any appointment. Again, one week later, Timmy’s new invisible trays arrived.

Don’t think this will happen? YOU ARE FOOLING YOURSELF!

What are you supposed to do? It’s a vastly changing marketplace where your market share is being decimated by a mall store selling invisible tray braces, dentists who are signing up their patients for a 6 month solution, and a farm league that is sending out new Orthodontists at a rate that can’t possibly be absorbed into the population without taking business from you!

The future is not bright unless you CREATE MARKET DISTINCTION….NOW!

Look at it this way; It is like the dinosaurs. The last great dinosaur standing was the T- Rex. He had a field-day consuming the herbivores that died out first. His populations actually increased before he, too, became extinct. That is precisely what will happen with the Orthodontic business model as it exists today. Sure, you will always be needed for the difficult cases, and you will be on staff on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the dental practice of your friend to handle these cases. But the 3.5 workday week will be long gone UNLESS you are the biggest, baddest Orthodontic office in town. Again, that is market distinction.

So, what do you need to do? Think outside the box! One thing, for sure, is that you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can hire firms like ours to help you with your sales, market position, and movie creation and production for your website so that you are different and you lead the pack. You can open up to possibly expanding your hours so you don’t need parents to take off from work and children to be removed from school in order to make your office hours. Really, isn’t it ridiculous for you to expect everyone to take time off to see you? Especially when there will be options like the mall stores and “After Hours Braces”.

It’s 2030 in America and there are no Orthodontic offices except for those that have either absorbed the local dentist or have been absorbed by the larger dental offices. You pretty much can kiss the large house and the Mercedes goodbye unless you are the one doing the absorbing.

Mr. Loew is a consultant with Creative Network who provides consulting advice to major U.S. corporations, Small businesses, and Professionals. His expertise is sales and market positioning. He has helped guide dozens of companies into dominant market positions over the last 30 years..

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