Let’s be honest…very few orthodontists signed up to go to school until about age 30 so to become entrepreneurs. We went to school to become orthodontists and naturally assumed that if we do good work and are nice to people, we’ll succeed financially. Oh, how wrong we were.
In his book The E-myth Revisited, Michael Gerber tells the fictional story of a gal who loves baking pies and tuns the hobby into business, which ultimately consumes her life and barely makes ends meet. Sound familiar? It should because according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only about 1/3 of US businesses will last 10 years, and there’s a pretty good reason for such a high failure rate. Additionally, many US businesses (and clinicians) don’t “fail” but they underachieve immensely.
Almost anyone who’s ever worked for someone else has said: “I’m doing all of the work, and the owner is making all of the money. If I open my own business, I’ll do the same work and I’ll make the money.” It’s the E-myth at work; The belief that financial success is tied to doing the technical work. But there are two other legs to practice success: entrepreneurial and managerial. Someone needs to grow the business and someone needs to manage it and those someones are us.
All too often, orthodontists fall into the mistake of believing that the technical is what makes us successful. I hear orthodontists all the time: “Do great work and your practice will grow.” Wrong. Sorry if you may disagree with me but you’re arguing with countless numbers of business experts. The trail of failed or underperforming businesses is littered with the bodies of those who felt that a great product alone was all they needed to succeed.
In our geographically exclusive group, OrthopreneursRD, we are doing our virtual book club review of the E-myth later this week so that we can discuss how to implement ideas from the book to help dominate our regions, but the most simplistic lessons are easily understood:
1. Make sure you’re focused on the managerial because those aspects will not take care of themselves
2. You must be an entrepreneur if you want to own your own business because just doing good work and being nice isn’t even close to enough anymore
You went to school because you were a technician. If you were really an entrepreneur, you would have started another business when you were 18 and skipped another 10-11 years of school. Don’t fool yourself into believing that this is the 1960’s and that because your title is “orthodontist” you’re going to make a ton of money and have a successful business. Market factors have never been stronger against us and we need to use every resource we can to grow our businesses and manage them effectively and of course, we MUST do exceptional orthodontics.
That’s why groups like Otrhopreneurs on Facebook make such a difference. That’s why geographically exclusive groups allow everyone to share secrets about management and entrepreneurial growth that can’t be shared in open groups. You should join something because the days of going at it alone are over. There’s WAY too much managerial and entrepreneurial to ever thing we can compete without help.
But everyday ask yourself :”What have I done today to grow my practice and what have I done to day to more effectively manage my practice for lower stress and better predictability.” Learn to embrace more than just the technical and you’ll see new patients go up and stress go down.
All the best,
If you’re not a member of our free Orthopreneurs Facebook page (with over 1000 members as of this penning), there are only two requirements: You’re an orthodontist and you want to join a group of like-minded peers who have come together to solve our common business problems. Click HERE to learn more.