North Texas Dentistry Volume 9 Issue 4 2019 ISSUE 4 DE | Page 12

practice management Avoiding the September Slump by Bethany Petty We hear it all the time – “It’s a down month, but it’s September” or “We are expecting to be slow since school is starting.” Whether it’s Septem- ber or another slow month, each practice expe- riences trends that can often be repetitive or predictable. Over time, we create explanations for these slow times and generally treat them as acceptable. What if we treated the slow sea- son as abnormal and avoidable? Here are some ways that can help your practice avoid the “September Slump”. 2. Prepare for the slow times in advance. 1. Know your trends. If you are uncertain of the trends in your practice, then take time to get to know them. To spot trends, you can utilize both subjective and objective data. Question your team. They are often keenly aware of the slow times. Lean on your practice management software for the objective data. It is important to research correctly. We like to compare apples to apples. In other words, compare months that should look alike. For example, compare January of 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 – are there similarities? 12 NORTH TEXAS DENTISTRY | All too often, practices are sitting in the slow times wishing them away. Preventing the slumps takes preparation months in advance. Once you identify the slow times in your practice, begin to prepare. Knowledge is power and gives you the ability to prevent the slump. For example, you can financially prepare for the slow month. As you establish your marketing budget at the beginning of the year, make sure to include extra funds for the two months leading up to your slump month. You can also prepare in advance by identifying the weak aspects of your prac- tice that need improvement. For example, if your research revealed that your practice notoriously has less case acceptance in June and July, then invest in training your team in treatment acceptance methods. 3. Include your team in thinking outside the box. First, make sure your team knows that you are not okay with having a slump month. Many staff members view a slump month as acceptable, normal, and even pleasant. They must