Every day, we’re faced with decisions about what to do with our businesses. Do we hire more team members to help with what feels like an influx of patients or do we try to max capacity the team we have? Do we use that better lab which costs more or do we try to “make do” with the mediocre one that just doesn’t seem to hit the level we need? Do we give that free retainer to the kid who lost it after just a week or do we charge them for it? Even more importantly, do we go welcome that new orthodontist in our community, or do we view them as a competitor and never introduce ourselves?
We have choices that are driven by our goals, fears and aspirations. When we first own our practices, inevitably we’re driven by fear and ego. We’re small fish in a big pond and we haven’t yet felt the taste of success. We owe a lot of money to a lot of people and we’re not in control of our destiny…or so it feels.
The one thing that we CAN choose to do is realize that we are remarkably lucky to be in the position in which we find ourselves. We have a huge potential in front of us and we’re our own bosses. We can choose to be scared and make decisions from that fear and “scarcity” mentality or we can choose to realize that there is a whole world that wants our services and if we do great work, market ourselves tirelessly and work ON our businesses instead of IN our businesses, we’ll have more than we ever expected. However, it has to start with an understanding of the abundance mentality; The idea that we can give and give and give and that for every bit we give, we’re going to get back way more. But, we don’t give for that reason.
We give because it’s the right thing to do. We give because it makes us feel better inside. Theres an old adage: “The gift is for the giver.” It’s completely true. If you go through life giving and not asking for anything in return; Doing it solely because doing so makes you feel better, you won’t believe the way it will come back to you. Karma is an awesome equalizer.
I’ve become friends with my “competitors” and it’s opened some professional doors for me. I never charge for clear retainers and they thank me profusely and refer me lots of new patients. I see out of town emergency patients when they’re visiting relatives in my area and don’t charge them a penny and they end up leaving me a really nice online review. I’ve made hundreds of sports mouthguards even on kids in braces with other orthodontists, and I feel great that the kids’ teeth are protected and so do their parents who then bring siblings to me for their braces. Sure all of the aforementioned things MAY bring me business, but I feel great just doing them for their own sake. Period.
I see many of my colleagues talk proudly about “selling” retainer insurance or lifetime retainer programs yet I do the opposite; I give away every clear retainer to every patient, asking for nothing in return. Maybe I’m the idiot. Maybe I’ll lose money. Perhaps, but it makes me and my team feel so good doing it and that’s priceless.
So, the next time you’re faced with an opportunity to do a “favor” for a patient, do it. see how you feel. The “abundance mentality” means there’s a lot out there for all of us. In a day and age when many of our colleagues are running around screaming about the sky falling on our profession, I feel pretty bullish, and I plan on sharing it with everyone around me. After all, what’s the point of a great journey if you’re not sharing it?
All the best,
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