The short answer is; of course you can. But you will need to be a very patient person.
A dental practice in an area where the dentist/population ratio is less than 1:1,650 is below the national average. This means it’s going to take longer to penetrate that market than it would if the ratio was above the national average.
It also means it’s going to take more marketing money and require much more patience on your part.
A classic mistake that we see is that a dentist will want to open a practice or relocate a practice to an area where he or she wants to live. That’s perfectly reasonable. But it’s also full of pitfalls.
If that area is saturated with dentists, then it’s going to be an uphill climb in order to gain enough market share to make a good living.
We routinely recommend that if you’re young and just starting out, begin where there’s less competition. Work on dominating that local market through the marketing mediums of the internet, properly done and properly targeted direct mail and, once you have a patient base, internal marketing.
This strategy will allow you to grow your practice without having to spend (or borrow) a large amount of money on marketing in order to overcome the severe disadvantage of having a competitor on every corner.
Build a nice practice in a community that needs a dentist. Is that community where you will want to live for the rest of your life? Probably not. But if you can get started, build the practice without going into horrendous debt, you will be able to eventually move to where you’d really like to live and practice.
And if you’ve been prudent, you will have learned a lot about how to run a practice and you will likely have the funds to mount a great marketing campaign in the new and much more competitive area.
So yes, you can succeed in a saturated market. But only if you adjust your expectations.
Expect that your marketing budget will be much larger than you’d like it to be and will require you to spend more than you’d like. Expect that whatever marketing you do will have poor results for a long time. Abandon any idea that all you need to do is run a few radio spots or send out a couple thousand postcards.
Expect to have to make adjustments to your marketing content until you find something that produces a decent result.
And finally, expect all of this to be a long haul.
That’s where the patience comes in.