Everything Dental Blog – Growth, Leadership and Humility 

Growing Solo and multi-site dental practices does not happen without missteps and unforeseen challenges. Growing a business requires investment, good people and patience. A business must grow fast but it cannot grow faster than the team’s ability to adopt and implement new strategies and processes. For long term sustainable growth, the employees must believe in the vision and mission of the company. Even well informed, well intentioned and customer service driven team members will become apathetic and unenthusiastic if the infrastructure and support is not congruent to management’s vision.  

Organizations that experience high turnover of clinical and administrative team members should find the balance between retainment and cost containment. You must create a challenging and rewarding professional work environment. The cost of training new employees and sluggish production is way too costly for any organization. Your associate, administrator and auxiliary team members are not just responsible for their clinical or operational roles. They are part of an interactive team and they are your practice ambassadors. Ambassadors create great patient experiences and enhance treatment acceptance because they believe in you and the organization. In the era of healthcare consumerism, these practice ambassadors advocate for you and the practice in the office, online, in the community and among other dental professionals. 

Employees should be proud to work for your organization. They must believe that their compensation/benefit package is competitive and that you provide education and opportunity for advancement. Long term employees who have held various positions in your organization are a true asset. They will thrive in future leadership roles as you scale up. You cannot buy that kind of experience, continuity or loyalty.

Most dental entrepreneurs are determined, focused and always looking for their next opportunity. On the group practice front, there are basically three types of business people that want to own multi-site dental organizations. 

  1. Successful dental clinicians that have learned that a high level of customer service, inspired team members and streamlined processes are the key to growing a healthy and profitable business. These exceptional people grow because the market demands it. They are busy and opportunity is knocking.
  2. Another type of dental entrepreneur is the business person that happens to also be a dentist. This highly skilled clinician has the operational know-how and the people skills to acquire and grow under-achieving dental practices. They grow their organization through smart mergers and acquisitions where opportunity is abundant, and the team culture is transformative. These businesses are built with the intention of selling to a DSO for multiples of EBITDA in the future.  
  3. The third type of dental entrepreneur is the investor/financier who views healthcare, specifically dentistry as a highly profitable and scalable business. Their aim is to acquire, grow and sell the business over time. They will add multi-specialty services to advance patient care and grow revenue. They will invest in technology that enhances diagnosis, improve outcomes and reduces procedure times. 

Every business owner wants to operate and build a successful entity. Sometimes external forces can enhance or hinder growth and sometimes the difference lies in one’s capacity to know their strengths and weaknesses. Most dental entrepreneurs are slowed or limited by these four variables. 

Access to capital.
Access to talent.
Debt and risk tolerance.
Leadership without humility.

Regardless of the entrepreneurial type, the characteristic that delineates one entrepreneur from the other is good leadership and humility. People want to follow leaders with an inspiring message and vision. While, you do not need humility to buy and build a business, you do need humility if you want loyal employees and followers. Humble leaders use their skills, experience, empathy and knowledge to inspire others to work together towards a common goal. A great leader will acknowledge others for their effort and successes. They empower employees and embrace collaboration because they know they need others to succeed. An inspirational leader has courage and integrity and other business people trust doing business with them. This is the fuel that feeds the cycle of opportunity! A great leader shows appreciation and is generous with praise and reward. They embrace their humanity and their actions inspire us all to be better!