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What’s your BHAG?

“I’m always amazed how overnight successes take a helluva long time.”-Steve Jobs

I’m in the middle of reading “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish and in it, he talks about Jim Collins and Jerry Porras creating the concept of “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal”. This is that goal you choose for your organization for maybe 10-25 years years from now. It doesn’t mean you have to grow huge or make a certain amount of money, so don’t think you need to be a DSO-type practice to get there.

Maybe you want to work 2 days a week and make a certain income. Maybe you want to alternate working a month then taking off a month to travel the world. Their point is to make a goal for exactly what you want, no matter how outlandish it is and get there. But how?

They suggest that you simply break down your BHAG into a series of 3-5 year targets divided up into annual goals. These are broken down further into “actionable steps the business can take over the next few weeks or months, adjusting tactics as the market conditions dictate.”

So, ask yourself: “What are my long term  goals?” Set it down in writing and figure out how to get there, little by little.

As HD Thoreau once said: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Your success isn’t based on some arbitrary set of factors beyond your control. You can do whatever you want, but it takes energy and effort.

Set your BHAG, figure out how to get there and do it!!!

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if your region is available.

 

Net Promoter Score and What It Means To You

I see a lot of posts about polls, but in all honesty, most aren’t at all scientific and generally test things that are either not fixable or irrelevant. It is for this reason that the Net Promoter Score (NPS) was developed.

Never heard of it? That’s OK because it’s used by many companies to determine how likely their customer are willing to continue supporting them.

Created in 2003 by Fred Reicheld, a partner at Bain & Company, the NPS is a great barometer of customer relationships and is used by companies like Amazon, Costco, USAA, Apple and many others.

It asked only one question:
“Calculate your NPS using the answer to a key question, using a 0-10 scale: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?”

Respondents are grouped as follows:

  • Promoters (score 9-10) are loyal enthusiasts who will keep buying and refer others, fueling growth.
  • Passives (score 7-8) are satisfied but unenthusiastic customers who are vulnerable to competitive offerings.
  • Detractors (score 0-6) are unhappy customers who can damage your brand and impede growth through negative word-of-mouth.

Then, just do a simple calculation:
% Promotors – % Detractors=Net Promoter Score

Average companies may be at 10% but the aforementioned companies like to be beyond 80% and some of the top Apple stores are upwards of 90%.

I have two questions for you:

  1. What’s your score?
  2. What can you do to make it even better than it already is?

So, if you’re inclined to send your patients a poll, avoid all the questions about customer service and how they were treated, or why they chose you and focus on the one simple question that matters.

It might just take your practice to the next level.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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You Can Give Just a Bit More To Your Practice

I often have orthodontists tell me: “I have a busy life and can’t commit any more time to my practice.” Today, I am asking you to challenge yourself if you want to have the practice of your dreams. You have more you can give…if you want to.

There was a time when I trained for triathlons. Nothing big, but amidst all of the biking and swimming, one of my weekly workouts was a simulated sprint of a 5k run. I was living in Seattle and it was a hilly course, and while I was never a very good or fast runner, I enjoyed it.

About 6 months into my running life, and right after my first sprint triathlon, I found myself stuck at around 24 minutes for my 5K. Certainly a respectable time but I knew I could do better. But, no matter how I attacked my pre-set course, I would always finish within 10 seconds of my 24 minute standard time. Then one night everything changed.

I remember lying in bed thinking about my run the next morning. I had just seen a film about the legendary runner Steve Prefontaine and something his character said in the movie. I couldn’t shake the quote from my head.

From the movie:
“I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”

I asked myself if I could push myself harder during my 5K training and endure more than I already was. I was crossing my “finish line’ exhausted every time and didn’t think I had a lot more in me, but I promised myself that the next morning, I would dig deep and push myself to my limits.

The next morning, I ran harder than I ever had, allowed myself to push through the limits of the pain I had previously endured and came across the line at 21:17. That’s a 6:52 mile pace!!!  If you’re not a runner, it may be hard to realize what had just happened, but for a guy relatively new to running, who had been pushing and training pretty hard, greater than 1 minute per mile drop in time is MASSIVE!!! Best of all, that time because my new time to beat and I continued to lower it from there. I never became an elite runner, but that one incredible morning changed the way I looked at pushing through limits in my life.

The lesson I learned was that when I felt that I had reached my limit, when I felt there was nothing left for me to give, there was always something more I could reach down and produce. It’s a lesson that has carried over into my practice life.

I have three kids and an amazing wife. Yes, I spend time with them but my practice is my 4th child. The more I push myself to continuously grow and innovate the practice, the more the products allow me to enjoy my personal life. The more I push myself to travel and visit other offices and take cutting-edge CE courses, the more my patients benefit. I don’t want to get on a plane to a course or office, or sit on the couch at 11pm working on a marketing plan, or work up a pro forma at 5AM but I know that if I don’t, I won’t be giving my all to my practice or my patients. I’m not saying that you need to change your personal life. Just give that extra bit of time (when you think you don’t have it) to help your practice be all it can be. Irrespective of your personal life, if you’re a business owner, your business needs the attention it deserves to grow. Sure, there are times in all of our lives when acute situations prevent us from being able to spend the time we like, but over the long haul, the more you push yourself in your practice life, the more you will reap the rewards.

Everyone’s life circumstances are different, but if you think you’re giving everything you can to your practice life, I’m willing to bet there’s just a tiny  bit more you can do every day to innovate, to grow, to market, to produce better outcomes. Sure there are times when you’re wiped out, where all you want to do is simply sit down and take a deep breath, and that’s totally OK. But, think back to my story and the time when I thought I had no more to give and ultimately found that there was A LOT more than I imagined left in the gas tank.

Please don’t misunderstand the message. Don’t grow your practice at the expense of your personal and family life. But just like me in the running analogy, most of us have something else “left in the tank” when we think we don’t. Take this message in the positive way in which it’s intended: To motivate you to push that little bit harder.

You’re not competing against anyone but yourself but your practice’s life depends on it. So, starting right now, push a bit harder, do the things you need to do to help your practice because every drop you put in will come back ten fold later.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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What’s Your Take Home Efficiency?

I’ve asked people what their most important practice metric is. I’ve gotten answers like “production”, “collections” “take home salary” and even “collections per assistant”.

Sure, you can produce $5 million/year if you have enough patients, but are you doing it on 250 doctor days/year? Maybe you’re doing it on 150 days/year with an 80% overhead. Both of those are scenarios I want to avoid.

I was listening to a lecture the other day and I heard the doctor talk about the number of days they worked. So, I started thinking. If I could take home “X” per year, I’d be happy, but not if I did it on 250 days/year. Wouldn’t I be happier if I could make “X” in 100 days/year? So, I calculated my net production per day and was interested in seeing how it looked versus previous years, and as expected, it was rising substantially. But that’s not my “take home”.

So, I started doing it for my collections and the same trend obviously appeared. Then I looked at my yearly overhead for last year and multiplied that times my per day collections and that created my per day “take home”. That seemed like a great way for me to see my “take home efficiency” (THE). If I was taking home  “X” for every day I was in the office, and wanted to work less and make the same or more, then I would need to become more efficient with my systems, or I was under-scheduled for the number of days I worked per year and could consolidate, or my overhead was too high, all things I could correct.

But then I asked myself: “What about practices with multiple doctors that are doing huge volume?” It occurred to me that the formal could help me realize when I need to add day or an associate. It’s a bit of an equalizer. For instance, a single doctor practice collecting $1 million/year on 185 days and a 50% overhead means $5,405collections/doctor/day and a THE of roughly $2700/doctor/day. The $2.3 million 1 doctor practice on 185 days and 60% overhead is doing $12,432 collections/doctor/day and a THE of $4,972. And the 2 doctor, $3.5 million practice open 225 days/year (expanded hours, etc based on one doctor working 150 and the other working 150 for instance (working some days together and other alone, but open roughly 5 days/week)) at 60% overhead is doing $11,666 collections/doctor/day for a THE of $4,666. The THE is less than the single doctor practice.

Of course, you could also figure out the number of hours you’re working per day and calculate this time down to THE per hour but I suspect that would only be useful if there were different numbers of hours being worked per doctor.

We all want to make as much as we can on the least amount of days, right? So, I’m just suggesting you take a look at what you take home every single day you’re in the office and evaluate if you’re more or less efficient than you were last year, perhaps before you added an associate or started taking (or not taking) certain insurances.

At the end of the day, this helps us look at our work days like a day laborer who is paid a contracted take home rate for their day’s work. Maybe we can consolidate our days and take home more. Maybe we can hire more team members per day and be more efficient. Maybe our systems have helped us take home more. Maybe you’re making way more per day than last year but feeling burned out and need to make some changes.

We need to make sure we take exceptional care of our patients, but take home efficiency seems like a simple barometer by which we check to see how well we’re taking care of ourselves and our families.

As always, I’d love your feedback.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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The Odell Beckham Jr. In Our Practices

The football world online was thrown into a tizzy this week when the NY Football Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ), their star wide receiver whom they just signed to a massive long-term contract. Most were shocked, and couldn’t understand what happened. After all, you don’t generally sign someone to a $90,000,000 five year deal and then trade them one year into it. The comments about General Manager Dave Gentleman and the Giants were relentless.

“The Giant’s are crazy.”…”Gettleman should be fired.”…”I can’t understand their plan.”

And my personal favorite “#LongLiveDaveGettleman”….written by a rival team’s fan page.

While the Giants have made some questionably horrible moves this past week, this one perplexed me as a business owner and not a sports fan. After all, they are losing so much money on this deal. How could the very traditional and deliberate acting ownership allow it? There had to be more to it, right?

The press was decidedly against this deal on every level. Then, a couple of days later, some articles started discussing how Odell was a on-field distraction with his antics and the team had just gotten tired of it. How OBJ had supposedly said “FU” to his coach twice in one game last year. How he threw his QB under the bus in a recent interview. How the three highest paid (and arguably biggest prima donna) wide receivers in the NFL have 22 seasons among them and zero super bowl wins. All of a sudden, the discussion had shifted and it made me think of my practice teams over the last 27 years and my willingness to “trade” a superstar, prima donna employee when they weren’t acting in a way I needed.

However, unlike the general manager of an NFL team, we’re often afraid to let go of an employee who might be hurting our culture. When I was a younger practice owner, I operated from a position of fear. I was fearful to let someone go because they seemed too valuable. It would hurt my practice. They meant too much to the office operations.

Nonsense.

Nobody in your practice is too valuable. Culture and teamwork are the number one priority for long-term happiness and productivity. Nobody is above that.

That employee who feels they may know it all, who has done all the ordering, or tracks all the lab cases or scans faster than the rest but has openly displayed hostility or undermines your authority must go no matter how valuable you think they may be. No, another 15 conversations won’t change it. No, you’ve given them enough chances. Yes, you CAN go on without them. You’ll actually thrive without them and it should a simple decision. As the old saying goes: “There is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’.”

So, maybe the NY Giants ARE in freefall and maybe trading OBJ will turn out to be a huge mistake. In the end, I don’t really care. But, if we use this moment as an opportunity to examine our own handling of our practice teams, and a chance to upgrade our practice culture, that would be an amazing thing.

So, don’t drop the ball on this one.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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Sometimes, It’s the Little Things

I love crazy socks (and weird belts too, but that’s another post). So, when I recently came across a couple of interesting pairs online, I snatched them up.

When the socks arrived and I opened the package, my wife rolled her eyes and my kids laughed, but I noticed something else. Tucked in the back of the package was a little, handwritten note from John, the owner of the company. All it said was: “Thank you so much. I hope you love the socks. John.”

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It wasn’t a long note and it wasn’t even written for me. “He” probably wrote hundreds of these to be added to the packages, but it’s interesting how that turned this purchase into a more personal transaction for me. Instead of simply buying from a company, I was supporting what seemed to be a nice guy. In the back of my mind, it makes me more likely to WANT to buy from “him” again.

I don’t know if there is even a “John” from “John’s Crazy Socks”, but it’s amazing how one little 2 sentence note made all of the difference for me. Now, if their socks are bad quality (they’re not) or aren’t interesting enough to purchase (they are) no note would make up for that. But they are, and it does.

All too often, we practice owners try to develop new ways to grow our businesses. Marketing, advertising and contests seem to rule the day, but sometimes as simple handwritten note or personal touch can make all the difference.

When I started my practice, every new bonding got a phone call that night. Every referral got a hand written note to the doctor who referred them. As I got busier, the noted stopped and the calls diminished.

I think this is a reminder it’s time to start them again. It’s simple, easy and representative of the kind of practice I run. I’m not a huge DSO. I’m just a guy who tried to do good ortho and take care of those around me. I’m not “Krieger Orthodontics”. I’m “Glenn” the doctor who cares about his patients.

Oh, and thank you to all of you for reading my blog and attending our meeting. It means the world to me. 🙂

Glenn

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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Google Reviews For Practice Growth

A 2018 study by Bright Local showed some interesting trends about online reviews that every orthodontist should consider reviewing:

86% of respondents use reviews to decide on businesses: If you’re not actively asking your patients and their parents to give your office reviews, your not helping your practice with one of the greatest marketing tools out there.

Of all of the industries for which people use reviews to decide, “healthcare/medical” was third behind “restaurants” and hotels. I know, times have changed. I remember the days when it was illegal for dentists to advertise at all. A large, bold name in a phone book was about all they could do. But, good or bad, today’s consumers choose their provider based on reviews. (bit it’s different based on age group.)

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Look at the top 5 reviewed industries based on age group

91% of 18-34 year old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Keep that in mind. This is the segment of the population that’s becoming a growing part of our practice and will continue to grow over then next 25 years. Be prepared to market to them in the way they want you to.

84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Yep, they care as much about your reviews as they do if one of your patients (a friend) tells them about how wonderful you are. That’s a huge shift from years ago.

90% of consumers read 10 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business. This means that even if you get a bad review, think of burying it in a lot of great reviews. Unless they’re specifically looking for a bad review, they’ll probably not see it unless they’re specifically looking for it.

Oh, and 73% of consumers think reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. So, even if you have 500 reviews, never become complacent.

Ask yourself what you are doing to generate reviews to grow your practice. It could mean all the difference to your practice’s future.

I hope this helped!

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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Don’t Fear the GP

“Pigs get fat. Hogs get slaughtered.”– Business lesson #1

The other day, I showed a method of treatment that our private OrthopreneursRD group had seen in one of our monthly webinars. It was designed by a PhD in Biomechanics and is a very different and interesting concept in tooth movement. Of course, many were skeptical, and that’s to be expected until results of many cases are seen. But some had seen a clip of the inventor saying that he might sell this product to restorative doctors and of course, that caused great concern. Many orthodontists are worried about general practitioners (GPs) doing orthodontics and their concern is that it will cut into their business growth.

I’m here to tell you not to worry about restorative doctors doing lots of braces.

I was a GP for 20 years and I know that space. I still have many close friends who are restorative doctors and most of them do not want to be involved in orthodontics beyond the occasional clear aligner case. I was at a lecture where a representative from Align showed that only 10% of their annual cases are submitted by GPs. When I occasionally go into my referring GP’s Invisalign accounts to help them with their cases, they rarely do more than 10-15 cases/year, which equates to one case per month. Sure, if you add up all of the “10-15 cases per year” it can be a big number, but it’s been that way for a while.

The overwhelming majority of GPs don’t want to do tooth movement beyond the occasional clear aligner case. Maybe you know those one or two docs who love to do in-house braces, but they are not the norm and many of that group do it for a few years and then give up. Their practice software isn’t set up for long-term payment plans and most restorative assistants aren’t trained in ortho. Tell me why a restorative doctor would rather dabble in ortho when they could do quadrant and implant dentistry, which is far more profitable with way less headaches when done properly. It’s only when one scales orthodontics that it becomes profitable and most GPs don’t want to do that. Don’t believe me? Think back to your first several years in practice. How profitable was your ortho practice?

Many DSO’s have in-house orthodontists to capture restorative cases, and corporate orthodontic chains can certainly attract a fair part of the population, but most aren’t looking to implement the latest and greatest approaches to tooth movement.

I remember when many of my oral surgeon buddies were worried about GPs doing in-office implants and they were right. Since I graduated in 1992, GPs have certainly embraced doing implants in their offices instead of referring them to oral surgeons or periodontists, but somehow, the oral surgeons have continued to do well. It appears that the sky is not falling after all.

We should be looking at technological innovation as a place for us to set ourselves apart from everyone else doing tooth movement. Sure, new techniques and technology need to prove their worth, but we should be far more concerned with learning how to master them than whether or not GPs will be using them.

As the opening quote of this post infers, it’s alright to want orthodontists to do most of the ortho cases out there, but we also need to acknowledge and accept that a percentage will be done by restorative docs, and that’s OK.  Let’s focus on becoming the best clinicians we can become and help the cereal public understand why our dedication and training set us apart.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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Is Treating Sleep Disordered Breathing in the Orthodontic Office a Fad?

fad
/fad/
noun
  1. an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.

As I write this post, the AAO MidWinter Meeting “Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics: Consensus and Guidance” is wrapping up. Numerous sleep medicine courses for the orthodontist are popping up and even our Orthopreneurs Summit in September will be have a fair amount of lecturers teaching about diagnosing and treating sleep disordered breathing (learn more about the meeting here).  Sleep disordered breathing is definitely a hot topic in our field.

But I recently saw an AAO sponsored lecture entitled: “Is Sleep Related Breathing Disorders Another Déjà vu of Temporomandibular Disorders in Orthodontics?” The title caught my eye because I lived through the “TMD Revolution” and remember how everyone in all of dentistry (not just orthodontics) diagnosed TMD issues for everything from headaches to ringing of the ears. Courses sprung up everywhere and like many other fads in dentistry, a weekend course could be taken to make you an “expert” in all things TMD, as well as help your bottom line.

There are numerous “fads” (others’ word, not mine) in today’s orthodontic world . From clear aligner therapy to lingual orthodontics and sleep disordered breathing, we can find courses and meetings to help us learn more and like TMD, there are debates on both sides for each topic.

But my specific question is: “If we make a considerably better living treating our pediatric patients’ sleep disordered breathing, does that mean our motives are corrupt and that this “fad” is wrong?”

Many out there act as if the answer to the aforementioned question is “yes”. I’m biased because I’ve been following the world of SDB for about a decade. Like many of you, it took me many years to “see the light” and while the essence of the proper treatment modalities for each presentation and the diagnostic criteria are still being unraveled, we know for sure that we can help many pediatric patients who are slipping through the cracks. In doing so, we WILL make a better living in our practices.

While I am sure there are some out there who will embrace the world of SDB to make more money, helping these children who suffer from a poor night’s sleep is one of the most rewarding things I do. To see a mom crying tears of joy because her child’s life has been changed by our intervention, or to hear a parent tell me that her child is now a “totally different kid” because of subtle, easy to implement treatment is incredibly fulfilling.  Don’t believe me? Watch a testimonial video of one of the moms in my practice HERE.

There are so many voices out there screaming about SDB being a fad because of cynicism or a false sense of comparing SDB to some sort of previous dental or orthodontic fad. I don’t believe it is, and when TMD was in vogue, I took a 500 hour course on the impact of occlusion on the muscles of mastication and TMD to separate fact from fiction. I see SDB as being no different. We need to “separate the wheat from the chaff” in the rapidly evolving world that is pediatric SDB. How do we do this? Take many courses from many instructors. Do a lot of reading and of course, document your results from your own treatment outcomes so you can review the impact of your treatment choices. Don’t think that you can attend any single course or meeting and suddenly become an expert.

As I’ve said numerous times, I believe that Orthodontics is the central hub of the wheel that makes up the pediatric SDB treatment team. We, as a specialty have the ability to “own” this field as ours and we have all of the tools in front of us to become gatekeepers for this problem. By educating and working with well informed and trained ENTs, GPs, oral surgeons, myofunctional therapists and pediatric dentists, we can helps countless children (and their parents) lead better lives.

And yes, you WILL grow your practice if you immerse yourself in the educational world of SDB. As you help children sleep and breath better, word will spread and new patients will come to you from far away. You WILL see a better bottom line as you help children who were never screened in the pediatrician’s office. When you treat them, suddenly you will find siblings, parents and friends who become your non-SDB patients and yes, your practice will grow.

The literature is there to support what we’re doing and prudent screening, interviews and proper referrals can change lives and bring tremendous fulfillment.

If it’s a fad, I hope it doesn’t go away.

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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“Money isn’t everything…but it ranks right up there with oxygen.”

How important is money to your practice? As an orthodontist, how do you feel about the title of this post? It’s actually a quote from one of the most respected motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar. He was a huge inspiration in my life when I was a young dentist. I would listen to his tape series (yeah, an actual cassette series) on my way to work every day and I realized that for every hour of clinical CE I took, I personally needed 10X more time working on my business growth and profitability. How about you?

But Ziglar’s comment tended to rub me the wrong way at first and I needed an explanation to better understand it. After all, I wanted to help people. Saying that I wanted to make money sounded, well, disrespectful. Zig’s point is that if you don’t make money, your ability to practice and help others dies.

My experience with my fellow orthodontists is that most consider themselves artisan health care providers first and business owners second. As a matter of fact, it’s almost impossible to have a discussion about a new clinical approach or a way to be more profitable without someone adding “but always do what’s best for the patient” as if the best clinical outcome and most profitable almost have to be in conflict with one another. We also tend to get more excited about a new clinical technique and not so much about a new book on leadership or marketing.

Let’s move forward in agreement that almost every orthodontist I know wants what’s best for the patients and tries to give their best outcomes for every situation. But, we need to make a living and we need to acknowledge that money is the reason we go to work every day. Orthodontics is the profession that allows us to make the aforementioned money and Ziglar’s comment tells us to never forget that.

Allan Dib, author of “The 1-Page Marketing Plan” states: “If you didn’t go into business to make money, then you’re either lying or you have a hobby, not a business.”

Are you OK recognizing that you run (or plan on running) a for-profit business? I know that you’re doing everything you can to become the best clinician you’re able to become, but are you doing everything you can to become the most profitable business owner too? Reducing overhead often requires many tough emotional decisions and we need to be prepared to make them.

Yes, we must serve our patients well, but I knew an amazing clinical instructor in dental school who actual declared bankruptcy twice because he was so focused on clinical outcomes and not the business side. His story isn’t unique. A dentist friend of mine (an amazing clinician) recently shut his doors and while chatting on the phone, he said : “I wish I had worked harder ON my practice and not just the clinical.”

I beg you to PLEASE focus on the business side of your practice. If you’re diligent, you already have the skills to become a great clinician. You were trained for that, but I’m asking you to work on becoming more profitable, focus on your business strategy, read business books, find business mentors, go to business meetings, because you need these things to help your practice succeed.

Sure, there are new clinical techniques you need to learn and new technology you have to understand, but keep in mind that you were trained in clinical and not business. And if your business doesn’t make a profit, like my clinical instructor, you won’t be able to help others. In addition to being your clinical best self, strive to be the most profitable orthodontist you can be. And never forget my other favorite Zig Ziglar quote:
“Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.”

All the best,

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Want to be a part of a geographically exclusive Facebook group like none other? With monthly webinars and CE courses with top speakers in the industry, there are only two prerequisites: You’re an orthodontist (yes, you can be an associate) and you want to contribute to a group of like-minded peers who have come together to share our practice ideas and solve our common business, leadership and management issues. Email me at Glenn@OrthoPreneursRD.com to learn more and to see if you’re region is available.

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