Episode 604: Signs Your Practice is Successful

Many dental practices are toeing the line of success and struggle these days. Because the Dental A-Team is visiting so many practices, the consultants are seeing a theme emerge of what sets these two groups apart. Kiera shares those common threads:

The offices doing well have …

  • Strong leaders and consistent execution

  • A solid vision and knowledge of numbers

  • Regular meetings to show alignment

Those struggling tend to …

  • Try and do everything, all the roles are switched

  • Not have a strong leader who’s willing to fix culture

  • Be more concerned about the dollar rather than investment

Make sure you are assessing your business to know where you stand and what your practice’s longevity looks like.

Episode resources:

Reach out to Kiera 

Subscribe to The Dental A-Team podcast

Become Dental A-Team Platinum!

Review the podcast 



0:00:05.9 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to The Dental A Team Podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent, and I have this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of travelling consultants where we have travelled over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yup, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress, and create a team. Welcome to the Dental A Team Podcast.


0:00:51.7 KD: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera. Alright guys, shout out to all of you. If you are sitting here listening on your free time to a podcast to make you a better person, I just high-fived you, gave you a gold star. If you want, I'll even drape you in an amazing gold... I don't know, gold chain. There you go, you can have that as well. Because honestly guys, people who listen to the podcast, I want to be your friend. I want to hang out with you, I want to talk to you, I wanna know what your life is like because you're the person that I want to aspire to be like. The person who is investing in themselves, investing in their teams, you are the people that I want to associate with, I want to be around. So guys, let me know who you are. Feel free to tag us on social media. You can also email me, [email protected] I literally love hearing from you guys. But just kudos to you. So I want you to do me a solid favor, since I'm doing you a solid favor by doing a free podcast for you.

0:01:52.6 KD: Share this with somebody that you know it would make their life better and easier. Okay, right now I'm going to challenge you. Every one of you knows somebody in dentistry, okay. Think of a person in dentistry, it can be a co-worker, they just can't be a dental A team podcast listener. Who is it who popped into your head? For me, the first person that popped into my head is Sue. Sue was my office manager at Dr. Call's office. Yeah, guys, this is who I used to work for. They were shocked when they found out I was a consultant. Like you should ask them for stories about me as an assistant. I was ruthless guys. Maybe I'll share that one day. But that's the first person who popped into my head of who I would think might actually benefit from the podcast. So again, everyone close your eyes, unless you're driving. Think of one person that you know in dental, can be a colleague. I'm thinking of who at the dental college. I would think Chrissy Topliff and Andy, they got married, they were dental students. Those are two people that I would think of if they're not listeners, they should be.

0:02:50.5 KD: I also thought of just Ariel. These are just like names of students popping into my head that I know are dentists now. Kudos to them. But those are people like again, shut your eyes, think of colleagues, think of people you know. And what I want you to do is I want you to take today's podcast, you guys are already listening to it. So there's those little buttons on your listening... Like the three little dots. Just click that, hit share and text it to that person today. That will help us guys expand our reach of people and just say like "Hey, they asked us to do this and you're the person I thought of today. And this podcast has literally changed my mind, changed my life. It's given me so much hope and I think you would really benefit from it." If each of you guys could do that and help me out, that would be amazing. And then today I'm gonna make sure that this podcast is freaking rad. So that way it's something of value for them who are listening. So for all of you new people that all these people just texted, welcome.

0:03:42.0 KD: I'm Kiera. My last name really is Dent. So for those of you who are new to the show, I've been in dentistry since I was in high school. So for people who might have been listening, let me share a little bit of my background. I was a dental assistant in high school 'cause I wanted to wear scrubs. And then I went into treatment coordinating and scheduling and billing and office management and regional management. I even taught at a dental college for three years. I worked with the first and second-year students, taught radiology with them, helped with all their supplies, all the pieces, worked with the faculty there to ensure that the student experience was amazing. I even put on Easter egg hunts. [chuckle] I decorated the Sim lab. I had a real good time. I know those mirrors in dental school. You guys love those brand new mirrors. So I would hide those in the Easter eggs. It was just a good time. I had a ton of fun. And then I actually went with a student from the dental college and her and I went and started a practice in Colorado. We took that practice from 500,000 to 2.4 million in nine months and opened our second location.

0:04:43.7 KD: And then there were seven practices altogether. So lots of practices, lots of experience. I realized if I could help her do this, there were probably a lot more people that I could help. So that's actually how we started the consulting company. So my job is to... I've never worked with a consultant. I literally have no idea what other consulting companies do. I just go in and do what I wish I would have had, giving the tools, the resources, the fun, the positivity, and making it to where your life is easier from the hundreds of practices that I have coached, consulted, our team has consulted, and we can either fly to your practice or we can actually coach you virtually. So that's a little bit about me. But today guys, I wanted to go into just a topic of life as a business owner, life as a practice. And right now we're going through a shift guys. I've talked to a lot of offices and they are... I think we're kind of like the squeeze of the middle ground is going away and we're either on the side of, we're really struggling financially and we're having hard times with the economy or we're freaking booming and having our best months.

0:05:47.7 KD: And I've been kind of watching and I've been wondering, what's separating those? What are separating the two practices? So I'm going to give you guys some attributes, some characteristics. Again guys, I have a repertoire of about 300 dental practices that I know, that I'm watching, that I'm picking up patterns. Okay. I've talked to a lot of people on sales calls and I'm watching certain people who are executing and implementing, have the same traits as the offices who are not. Okay. So again, it's all data. Guys, I have hundreds. I probably have thousands realistically of dental offices to give you guys the insider scoop of what's separating these practices apart from each other. Okay. So here we go. You ready?

0:06:30.2 KD: Number one, the offices who are doing really, really, really, really well have strong leaders. That is by far the number one thing. Does the doctor execute and implement? Do the office managers know the practice profitability and watch their numbers and do they manage in fairness? And does the team have a bought in vision? Meaning their systems are solid. They're working towards a goal as a team and they're really gelling as a practice.

0:06:58.8 KD: That is the offices that are booming and thriving. Now they don't have to completely be there, but they have those attributes. They have those desires. Those are the offices who right now through everything have been able to hire team members, who've been able to be more profitable than they've ever been and who are on growth patterns. I'm talking, they're adding expansions. They're adding businesses. What's really fun is a lot of these kinds of practices we actually have within our platinum consulting family. I just started rolling it out. It's called Talk About It Tuesday. Don't worry. I surely have a Talk 'a t shirt that I wear for this. Talk about it Tuesday, which is our... I'm thinking of changing it to the billionaires club. That's more of the status and the mindset that I want people to come in with, but we literally talk high-level things to help these offices who are in that same mindset, think bigger, share resources of offices who are just crushing it. Okay. So it's consistent execution. They also... They have fear, but they use fear to motivate them to execute. And they also, I would say are patient. They're not going after every single thing.

0:08:07.3 KD: They're not just trying to like throw, what is it? You throw like a buckshot at a wall and see what hits or you throw a bunch of darts at a wall and see what sticks. They don't operate like that. They're very strategic. They also have very solid meetings. Most of them are running on the EOS traction. Those are the offices that are doing really, really well. When I'm thinking, I'm like, okay, these offices are having their best months in Sucktember, which is usually historically wrong, but they have learned that this month is usually historically wrong. So they have actually prepared this year to be on top of it. Guys, I rave about Sucktember and how can you prevent Sucktember? These offices are actually implementing 'cause right, they listen, they execute and they implement. So that's where the squeeze is happening. So that's some attributes on that side of it. Systematized practices, leaders who are executing consistently, having meetings to make sure that they're all aligned with each other. And then they're also... Most of them are reaching out for coaches or they're a part of higher level masterminds. They're involved in higher level groups.

0:09:08.6 KD: So they're not hanging out with the... I don't know, I don't wanna say like the meme groups are not fun 'cause those are really fun, but that's not where they spend the bulk of their time. They're spending the bulk of their time with higher learners, people who are elevating them to higher levels. That's the attributes of these people... They're reading... Most of the people in there are sending me books all the time. Let me just share a couple of the books that I have recently been given by offices of these attributes 'cause they are actively learning, actively investing. So one is Rich Dad's Retire Young Retire Rich is one of the books that I was given. Negotiating Genius, The Dream Manager, The Energy Bus, A Happy Pocket Full of Money, Expanded Study Edition, The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership, The Starfish and the Spider, Ninja Selling, The Subtle Art of Not Giving an F, guys we keep it clean here, The Four Obsessions of Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni, Who Not How by Dan Sullivan, Effortless by Greg McKeown. So just a couple of quick books that literally... People are texting me these books saying "Hey Kiera I just read this, you should read it."

0:10:22.3 KD: They're sharing with each other. But that's some of the attributes of these offices that are not struggling. It's not a struggle. Then again, and those are the offices that come in, I tell them what we're gonna do for consulting and they're like "Yup, done, execute." Because they've thought about it and they're like we need a consultant, we need an office, somebody who can train our office to be the elite practices. So we're going to come in and we're going to hire. Now the other side, again like there's a squeeze, like I want you to think of an hourglass right with the sand in it. That middle section are practices who are kind of sitting in the edge. So I'm like I'm watching this year, there'll be a squeeze where offices are either becoming rocking awesome, profitable and growing or they're really starting to struggle. So the offices who are really struggling, I will say that they have pure chaos. The doctor is trying to be the doctor, the office manager, they're trying to do it all and they don't have a strong leader that can help them run their team.

0:11:20.9 KD: So that's number one. Number two, they're more concerned about the dollars rather than the investments. I'm watching it all the time. They're like "Oh I don't think I can hire that person 'cause honestly I don't know if I can afford it." Whereas my other office is like we need that person and we're gonna find a way to make this happen. We need that consultant, we're gonna find a way to make this happen. So it's two different mindsets. It's an afraid one rather than a confident one. So again just imagine there's this hourglass squeezing and which side are you falling in because there's that middle realm that has been there for a while where you could kind of be on both sides but I'm watching, economy is getting tighter, people are not wanting to spend as much money. Things are squeezing in and you're either going to be on one side of this hourglass or the other and who are you more like?


0:12:07.1 KD: Hello Dental A Team listeners this is Kiera and you guys how was your 2022? I want you to look back and tell me was it the year of years or was it a really hard year? Did you crush it or did it crush you? This is the time guys for end of year, Dental A Team Platinum is welcoming you, where we will physically fly to your practice. We will come and we will elevate your dreams and make them into a reality and guys, space is limited and prices are going up. This is not a sales pitch. This is not something where I'm trying to scare you into it. I'm just facing the reality of inflation is here, flights are expensive and I want to see as many people as we possibly can and serve as many as we can. So if you want to be part of our elite group of people, there are limited spaces 'cause our consultants can only see as many. We are taking on 10 new Platinum offices by the end of the year and that's it. That's all we have space for. So if you want to be one of the elite 10, come join us. Be a part of our top-notch elite doctor community. Be a part of our office manager and hygiene and front office communities. Get your operations manual done and live the life that you've only been dreaming of today.

0:13:20.8 KD: Email me [email protected] and make 2023 truly a year that's unforgettable. We are a complete tax write-off and like I said we are only taking 10 offices. So don't get left behind. Be one of those 10 and I cannot wait to give you the biggest warmest welcome to completely and utterly changing your life for good. Welcome to the Dental A Team. I can't wait for you to join us. [email protected] Cheers to 2023 and making you your best self yet.


0:13:55.3 KD: So the second side of the hourglass is I'm watching it. People who are just struggling, they aren't willing to have conversations with their team members. They just kind of allow the negativity, the burnout, to be the culture of their practices where on the flip side those offices are not talking burnout, like literally in those meetings I have with them burnout is not being had because this is just a way of life. It's not that we're trying to be insensitive but they just know we're here to work, we're gonna hire people, we're gonna make this fun. They've got their teams bought in, they've got systems rocking and rolling but those offices I'm not hearing burnout, but I think it's because they've got the management team that equally feels the same way.

0:14:39.2 KD: The other side is they're burned-out, they've got this negative vibe. They are spending money on things that they think are like flash in the pan diet. So like we're going to go get implant certified so that we could do implants but they've got no freaking team or systems or anything and therefore they're going to go spend money on this. They're not going to implement it. They haven't implemented the 25 other things they've just done because they don't execute consistently. They don't have integrity with themselves that they know when they go to reach out to do something they're gonna fall through. They haven't trained themselves to be that way. They're more passive. They're more lackadaisical. They're more trying to figure out, is this really gonna work? Is this not going to work? They sit and wait too long without executing. Now I'm not saying be crazy 'cause remember on the other side the elite side we've got offices who are patient, they look at their numbers and they execute in a timely manner but they execute. The other side's like "Oh well maybe like, maybe it'll get better in like six months and we'll do it then."

0:15:44.5 KD: Guys it's not going to change. You're in chaos and you're going to keep creating this pattern over and over and over again until you do something to disrupt that pattern and radically change. And that's either hire somebody new, hire a coach to... You've gotta change who you are so you're doing miracle morning in the morning. You go freaking running because you want to run. You have discipline in your life but that's where it's going to change on that other side. So again I know this podcast has to be really great 'cause you just shared it with your friends but I really really really want you guys to see the attributes the patterns. Again sales people are like, "well you know... " when they call me to work with us, "well you know... " "let me just get things in order." I'm like you've reached out 'cause your life is not in order.

0:16:26.9 KD: If everything was in order you don't need me. Period. You don't. But they get scared and they don't execute on what they know they need to do. So that pattern is going to reflect in the rest of their life. They are not gonna hire the person they need to because they'll get scared. So they'll hire a junior person trying to make it work. They will... Again, and there's nothing right or wrong in this. It's just looking at patterns and data to see where do you fall and how can you mirror an attribute of somebody who's different than you and to get the life that's different than the one you've got. If you've got the life you want, keep rocking it. If you don't. Here are some things to change. So executing consistently and knowing that you've got that discipline to do so. The elite practices look at their numbers first before they make any decision. Where am I at? What do I need to do? And how will I get there? Their team is bought into it. The other one, teams are not bought in. They don't have meetings. They don't have structure. It is pure chaos. They don't know how to run...

0:17:23.8 KD: They look at their P&Ls. They don't look at their numbers. They don't even know if they're profitable or not. They haven't read Profit First to make sure that they're setting up emergency fund buckets. That type of chaos. You can just see... And again guy's, there are... Tony Robbins actually I really love something that he... I learned at one of our conferences and it was the life cycle of a business, okay. And what I really have loved about it is, it really does break it down for me at least in visuals. I'm a very visual learner and what it is, is it really takes you guys through kind of where we are. And I loved it and again I learned more and more and more and I'm not perfect at it. But he talks about how business... We start out as infancy. We're little baby infants. And this is where you don't know how to create cash flow. But you are just starting out and you're there. Then you have your toddler years. Okay, so the toddler years like you kind of know how to walk, you kind of know what you're doing. And I would say a lot of the practices in chaos are in toddler stage.

0:18:27.7 KD: Then you get into the teen years. This is your growth stage years. During this time like you've got a hold on things but nothing set in stone. Just like a teenager. Your business is growing at a massive pace. You're establishing your role in the marketplace and your turnover is decreasing unlike the toddler phase right. They're falling down constantly turnover, turnover, turnover, turnover. But you still are kind of crazy. You don't have the vigilant adaptable and planning ahead foresight. You don't have strong leaders in your company and you're trying to develop that. And then when we do, and this is when we fall into adulthood or prime. And this is when you're starting to hit your strides. So I'd say those offices are in this adulthood. They've got day to day tasks that are overseen by management that you can probably function without direct CEOs inputting. You're able to expand into new markets. You really truly have an exit strategy to cash out on your business. So you've got things in place like you could turn this over and sell it to somebody if you wanted to. But you really really really right here get to make a decision.

0:19:36.8 KD: And are you going to fall into the aging gracefully or are you going to reinvest in the business in adulthood and make it stronger and better and better and better. That's hiring other people, doing different coaching, finding different ways to have it. So then we move into the aging one where we start to get old and we are no longer as apt and agile in our businesses. We don't think ahead of where we're going 'cause we're on the dying place. Guys I do see dentistry kind of moving into an aging industry because right here guys there's DSOs buying it up and if you forecast out and you're not in dentistry if you stepped out of it and you looked at it just like it's easy to see like real estate has been booming it's probably going to move into aging. Who knows I could be totally off guys, no one has a crystal ball. But if I look at dentistry, dentistry I think has been in the prime of adulthood but by us selling to all these DSOs moving things out, we could be putting our industry into an aging one.

0:20:34.3 KD: It's okay I still think we've got at least a 20-30 year lifespan on it. But at the same time don't be deceived by not looking at your business and seeing where it is and what is the industry you're in. So there's twofold, one what is your business what stage are you? Are you an infant? Are you a toddler? Are you a teenager? Are you in your prime of adulthood? Are you aging gracefully? Or are you basically on the decline to death. Where this is where we don't have new patients coming in. This is a doctor who's about to retire. They're not trying to pump in new technology and new ideas and grow the practice, they're like "Listen I'm here to work until I want to retire." And that's totally fine. But then you're going to death of the practice or we sell it to a new grad or someone who's got that vitality and energy and they come and pump new life into it they probably take it back to a toddler stage where it's like psychotic again and then they move into teenager and then they move into adulthood.

0:21:28.5 KD: So I would say offices who are in the elite are right in that teenager to adulthood stage. Offices who are scared are in that infancy to toddler stage and it's like how do you get out of there. One, it's time, two, its experience, three, it's hiring somebody who's going to help you. Four, it's having mentors. Five, is having a better group of friends to elevate you to learn more. Those are really the ways that you get out of it right? You can pay the time and hard knocks. You can sit there and suffer. You can hire somebody to teach you how to do it. You can join better mentors and friend groups, like go see another office, see how they do it. Look at it. But you've got to have the hunger and I would say the hunger and the grit is going to differentiate between this hourglass sides. In the middle I would say is grit and determination and discipline. Grit, determination and discipline is literally the middle line and if you've got grit, discipline and determination, you're gonna fall in my opinion to the side of the elite practices and you're going to grow and continue to grow.

0:22:32.2 KD: If you lack the grit, the determination and the discipline you're gonna fall on to the chaos side. And I watch it over and over and over and over and over again. So guys who are you? What side of this hourglass are you going to fall into? You better believe for me I'm like there is no freaking way I'm going to be on the dying side. Not a chance. Like that's my standard. I will never in my wildest dreams be a decaying business, period. My standard is I will always be growing so I will do whatever it takes to make it work. That's the grit and I'm like fantastic. Guys do you know how many people I have freaking reached out to to mentor me, to teach me. I'm like I don't know marketing. Who is my friend who... Who do I know who could teach me marketing and I call them and I reach out to them and I work with them. So I want you guys to try it out, to see where are you at and what are you willing to do to not be there or to continue to be there because just because you might be on the elite side does not mean you stay there.

0:23:32.1 KD: Everything is fluid. Things can change in a second. You could lose your awesome office manager. You could have your... A competitor move in next door. That's why you got to be on SWOT analysis and on high alert. That's where coaches can help. That's where guidance can help. That's where having great mentors and great friends. Reading books. Being alert. Keeping your business alert and that's not just offices like doctors. It's office managers. It's leaders. It's hygienists. It's dental assistants. All of you really being bought into it is what's going to make your practice flourish. So guys if we can be a resource for you, if you're like, "holy cow I need help," email me, [email protected] But if nothing else, make a decision today that you will have the grit, the determination and the discipline to always be the thriving business and make the changes today to be that person. Start acting like that elite practice. Start changing your ways to be like them. Mimic and mirror them. That way you can become them. Guys I'm so excited to welcome the new people who are here. Thank you guys for sharing this podcast.

0:24:41.0 KD: Like I said just click those three buttons. Share it to one person today. Bring in more people to our family. And if this podcast has served you, go back guys. You head on over to thedentalateam.com. Click on our podcast tab and you can literally search for any topic in that search bar. I have hundreds. I'm about to record an episode for our six hundredth podcast. I'm talking hundreds and hours of resources there for you. And you can just find it by any topic. So guys reach out if I can help you. [email protected] or head on over to our website, thedentalateam.com and click on schedule a call. I'll chat with you. I'll see if you're a great candidate. I'll see if we can help you. And if not you will always always always receive some extra value of advice from our team of something that you could go take and implement. Even if you're not cut out to be a client yet, even if there's things that need to change, I promise you I will always give you something of value that will make your life even better.

0:25:38.2 KD: So you have nothing to lose. Literally nothing to lose. And if we can help you I'd love to. And if not I'd love to give you some free advice customed for your practice. So reach out. I'd love to chat with you guys. And as always have the grit, have the determination and have the discipline and decide which side of that hourglass you're gonna be on. And with that guys thanks for listening. I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:26:01.9 KD: And that wraps it up for another episode of the Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.



Download our in-person interview form, resume scorecard, and a sample Office Manager job ad for FREE!

Enter your email address to get more information!