F*** the business of dentistry
"In life you’ll realize there is a purpose for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, and some will teach you. But most importantly, some will bring out the best in you"
My wife Karen keeps me grounded. She has spent many years learning about nutrition and is currently becoming an integrative health coach - so interesting how much I learn about what "fuels" our bodies - and you can read about how this is related to dentistry in this blog!!
At some point in your younger life you decided to follow a career and become a dentist.
You had the brain and the marks. The lifestyle of your favorite relative, or family dentist seemed pretty decent. You wanted to give it a shot.
You stayed home on the weekends and studied. Or maybe you were a genius already. Who knows. One way or another you made a commitment to becoming a dentist and you had the smarts. You qualified and got funded for the student loans. Or maybe you had someone else pay. Either way....classes started and you earned that degree, only to hear...
"Now you need to learn the business of dentistry..."
What?? You didn't see any textbooks about cash flow and human resources while learning Apexification in a mandibular first molar with a middle mesial canal?
Who told you about overhead while you were learning that a failure to graft fresh extraction sockets can lead to costly second surgeries?
You only started to pick up on this WELL AFTER you invested the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars, and many years of your life. You start to realize that all those people in your class are about to become your competition working across the street from you.
So "F" (orget) about that business of dentistry!!
We started preaching this message a decade ago. The "big supply companies" started to realize that "some" of the skills their employees had were founded on business principals. That much of the guidance they were able to provide to their clients was oriented around the business of dentistry. These employees were asked how they had earned such dedication and loyalty.
It wasn't because they bought donuts and told great jokes. It wasn't because they were the greatest cotton roll broker of all times.
It was because they added value.
Many years ago I wrote a blog called "Fire your dental supplier". I was disapointed by the many reps that lacked any substance. The reps who thought a pulpotomy was simply removing the rind from their orange at lunch.
A challenge I often face in my market is that "all reps are the same". Kinda like you - "all dentists are the same". Perhaps the public attitude is the same about "all dentists" as yours is about "all reps".
There are good, and there are bad. The bad ones in both our businesses could disappear and we would all be better off for it. Over sell, over treat. Charge too much and not provide enough service or a good experience at a fair price.
Sure....they are nice. You have to be "nice" just to get a job. You have to be even "nicer" if you are going to be in sales. You have to be "nice" to be a dentist. There are lots of "nice" dentists....
But where is the skill? Where is the effort to become better. To provide a service that justifies the price?
Once you graduated, you want to focus on your business. The business of dentistry to you should be about becoming the most skilled surgeon possible. Expanding your scope of practice. Constant improvement. Mastering your hands, eyes and outcomes.
THIS IS the real business.
If you are GOOD at what you do and continue to do GOOD and improve - the people will come! I promise!
Will the "bottom line" ever improve?
Believe it or not - there are a few (thousand) people that are experts that can help you with that. People who have written books and blogs. That have analyzed thousands of offices. The answer is already there, and you only need to be skilled enough to find the right people.
Maybe the skill to learn in school instead of dentistry is how to find the right people. How to not blame anyone but yourself if the business isn't performing the way you wish.
Be careful of who you hire too! There are plenty of "salesmen" that are also "consultants". The people who thinks that all diets are equal for every body type. They just want to look at what you are eating and then tell you it's all shit and you should cut down your calories to an unrealistic goal and workout much faster and harder than you are physically capable of.
What about finding a person that will stick with you forever. From the day you open your practice until you are likely done. The person that becomes your personal lifetime business coach. Your valued consultant.
Then the "business of dentistry" simply becomes about "being the best dentist you can be.
The way it always should have been.