DEBRA MILLER | DIRECTOR OF COACHING
Given the chance, I think most doctors would enjoy being able to work less and earn more. Not only would work/life balance improve but rising income would add to your lifestyle spending power and overall net worth.
At the same time, a lot of doctors don’t believe it is possible for them to work less and earn more. In their minds, they have an equation that links how much work is required to earn a certain level of income. That equation tells them that to earn more, they need to work more. On the flipside, it also tells them that if they work less, they will earn less.
They also point out factors in the practice that seem to preclude the possibility of working less and earning more. Often, they believe their team as not ready or capable of rising to the challenge. Or they express doubts that their referral base could refer more cases.
More referred cases are the primary driver of higher income for endodontists. (A secondary driver is which insurance plans you participate in, which affects the reimbursement rate per procedure completed.)
So, for your income to rise, you need to complete more cases and there is no denying that sounds a lot like working more, not working less. In fact, completing more cases in the context of your current team structure, practice systems, and clinical workflow is probably more work. But it doesn’t have to be!
How More Cases Equals Less Work
In my mind, “work” has two meanings. The first is the “I’m going to work today” meaning, which is the time we spend away from our family to earn an income. The second meaning is “labor” … something that draws our physical and/or mental energy to accomplish tasks. Before I address the first one, let’s talk about the second one.
How much you feel the labor of anything depends on how much you love doing that task, and how much resistance you feel while doing it. Even when you love something, if you experience a great deal of resistance to achieving your goals, it can diminish the love significantly. Likewise, even an easy task that you hate to do feels like a huge burden.
Most endodontists have settled around a middle ground between what they love (delivering endodontic care to patients), the “labor” it takes on a daily basis, and the income it generates. But when you try to change the parameters, such as completing more cases to earn more income, the resistance scales up dramatically.
There are doctors who complete 4 cases a day and they feel stressed and labored. Other doctors complete 8 or 10 cases a day and feel effortless ease all day. The difference between the two is how you have optimized your team, systems, marketing and workflow. It’s no different than if you were a baker. The systems to bake and sell 100 loaves a day aren’t going to work for baking and selling 1000 loaves a day.
When doctors refine and improve their systems so that 8 cases per day are just as easy as 4 cases per day, what happens is that 8 cases actually become easier than 4 cases. It’s literally less work and more income on a per day basis! Professionalizing your practice to that level means purging out so much inefficiency, repeated effort and timewasters that were rampant at 4 cases per day (but allowed to persist). Suddenly, everything is in place for you to effortlessly complete more cases than you ever thought possible.
How Efficiency Drives Growth
What is common is that inefficient doctors and teams have difficulty believing they could complete twice as many cases during the same time. Their inefficiency is literally obscuring their opportunities for growth. Getting past the disbelief mindset is often the biggest challenge at the beginning.
The truth is that 90% of growth in an endodontic practice is driven by the team. When the team becomes focused on optimizing the doctor’s time, improving daily flow, and scheduling patients smartly so the doctor is never rushed nor ever idle, the value of the doctor’s time inside the practice can soar.
Value outside the practice soars too. If you have 50% overhead expenses to begin with, and you increase the number of cases you complete by 50%, then profits almost doubles! Wow!
Cases, Income and Work/Life Balance
It might be hard to visualize from where you are now, but this transformation of “work” is experienced by our clients over and over again as they grow. And it’s matched by a tremendous increase in income. For most doctors, going from 4 cases per day to 6 cases is enough to double their take-home. 8 cases per day can triple income!
Once you are successful at that income level, then you really have choices about how many days you are going to “go to work” … the first definition of work that I mentioned. For example, rather than 3 times the income, maybe choose 2 to 2.5 times the income while working one day less per week. Or, you can also keep your practice and income growing by integrating an associate, which opens up many short- and long-term options for amazing work/life balance.
There are so many possibilities and I always love to talk to doctors about their vision and how it can be achieved. I invite you to contact me anytime for a complimentary practice analysis and transformation conversation using the button below.