1. Develop a practice that epitomizes excellent care of the business and of children. One goes hand in hand with the other.
2. Create and deliver a new patient “experience” that is fun for the kids as well as informative and motivational for the parents.
3. Plan, prepare, and present your recommendations professionally using visual aids—particularly photography.
4. Develop the role of a patient or surgical coordinator.
5. Stay in contact with your referring doctors and their teams through special events and/or courses. Make sure that your referral sources know that (1) you can see all children, not just children with special needs or behavioral challenges, and (2) you will send them back to their original practice, if that is their request.
6. Scheduling is the heartbeat of your practice. Be prepared. Know the school holidays and know your home-schooled children so that they may be called on short notice. Determine how many children from the same family can be seen at one visit. Learn proven ways to reduce broken appointments and no shows.
7. Communicate with your kids: know that your children hear everything, see everything, and are frightened of everything. Use your visual aids and digital teaching tools, as well as comforting words. Be interested in them personally. Make their day: know their sports teams, pets, special interests.
8. Communicate with the parents: know that they feel badly if their child has a cavity or other issues. Empathize while you educate.
9. School visits and community outreach are vital. Know your school nurses and teachers. They care about their students and will value your support of them and of the kids.
10. Turn to the AAPD for marketing support and practice-development tools.