Is Your Future So Bright You Have to Wear Shades?

In Launchpad by Dental Entrepreneur

How to Write a Business Plan

Whether you’re a new dental school graduate or a veteran practitioner, one of the best ways to secure your future is to document your expectations in an annual business plan. It’s an indispensable tool for communicating business objectives to lenders, contractors and equipment vendors as the need arises. And by making it a habit to refresh your business plan every year, you remain prepared for any unexpected opportunities such as the perfect new location or a great deal on equipment for your practice.

Below are some of the key components of an effective business plan. At Wells Fargo Practice Finance, we offer a variety of free business plan templates available online (see to help organize your planning and research.

  • Executive Summary – Provides an overview of your plan and should include the following:
  • Practice Description – a brief overview of your practice and services, including where your practice is located, your ideal patient and any specialty services you offer.
  • Mission Statement – outlines your practice philosophy and rationale for creating your practice.
  • Financing Requirements – provides a summary of the capital you will need to get your practice up and running if you’re a new practitioner, or cover overhead for the next year if you have an existing practice.
  • Practice Description – Goes into greater detail about the structure of your business, your qualifications for managing the business and your business resources. This section should demonstrate that you have the personal know-how and resources to ensure practice success, including:
  • Practice History – describes your professional experience to date including your professional education, or if the practice is established, more about the practice growth.
  • Management Team and Key Personnel – identifies the principals responsible for financial performance, key team members and their roles, and professional advisors and how they will help you grow your business.
  • Market Research – Demonstrates that your practice is based on a solid grasp of the local market and potential for success. This includes:
  • Market Description – describes who lives in your practice community and what sort of growth you have experienced, or is predicted for this area over the next 10 years.
  • Perspective Customer – describes your ideal patients, including characteristics, needs, income level, education, gender and age.
  • Competitive Environment and Analysis – defines how many other dentists are practicing in the area and the range of services they provide.
  • Competitive Advantage – describes what benefits or advantages your practice offers that competitors in the area do not.
  • Marketing Plan – Describes the internal and external marketing activities you plan to use to attract patients and grow your practice.For example:
  • How will you create awareness and ensure repeat visits?
  • How will you set yourself apart from the competition?
  • What is your marketing budget for the next year?
  • What is your marketing mix – the balance between print advertising, promotions, referrals, email and other elements of marketing?
  • Operations – Details the day-to-day needs and functions of your practice. This should include the following:
  • Location and Premises – includes why you chose your location, the number of operatories and whether you will own or lease the space.
  • Hours of Operation – describes what the work week looks like for every employee and associate.
  • Equipment and Supplies – describes the equipment required now and in the future, in addition to who your major suppliers will be.
  • Staffing – includes recruitment plans, staff roles, compensation and personnel policies. Identifies the resources you are using to create job descriptions.
  • Financial Forecast – The financing package you receive from your lender is based on the numbers in your forecast, so it is critical that you do your homework and make these calculations as accurate as possible:
  • Income and Cash Flow Projection for the first 12 months of practice operation.
  • Capital and Operating Expenses – enumerates the total funds needed to build and/or operate your practice. Be specific and include categories such as contractor costs, loan payments, staff salaries, rent, utilities, lab fees, supplies and other minor expenses.

Consult with your advisors to ensure your business plan is realistic and set an annual date to review and refresh your plan. There is simply no better way to ensure a bright and successful career than to make a solid business plan and update it regularly.

Gavin Shea is the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for Wells Fargo Practice Finance. With more than 17 years of banking experience with an emphasis in practice lending, he leads sales and marketing strategy development and implementation throughout the national footprint.

His industry background offers practitioners a unique perspective as they approach some of the most important decisions in their professional lives. With more than 25 years of healthcare experience, Wells Fargo Practice Finance specializes in helping healthcare professionals acquire, start and expand their practices with various financing options and a signature Practice Success Program.

Contact: 844-626-4317