After graduating from the University of Mississippi Dental School in 1992, I did a public health residency for two and a half years and then worked for another doctor before deciding to open my own practice in Tupelo, MS. in 1996.
The practice grew over the next five years, but it was not orderly progress. As the practice grew, so did the disorganization. I realized that if I didn’t get organized, then when I had to hire more people, it would just lead to chaos.
About that time, I received some information on Sterling that described what was occurring in my practice, and most importantly, how to make it all run smoother.
So, last May I decided to get some help from Sterling. I went and did the Sterling program and then had a consultant come to my office to organize things and get the staff all operating on the same page. Doing this allowed everyone to open up to one another and realize we are all working toward the same goal. Getting the staff to know what their job duties were taken some of the chaos out of the office and the staff started getting along better.
We started implementing the Sterling program in earnest in August and hit a record high that month in production. This continued into the fall where production stayed more consistent than in the past, rather than the high ups and lows we had previous years. This consistency made it easier to pay bills and pay me since the income wasn’t falling off after every good month. We wound up growing over twenty-five percent in 2001 compared to the year 2000. Then we again hit record highs this year  in consecutive months.
Seeing that we had really moved up to a higher level than we were operating at before, I realized that I was going to need some more help to keep up with the expansion. I was working out of four operatories and realized that I needed more space. So, I hired someone to design an addition to my office. Initially, I was going to add two or three operatories because I had located an associate who was going to come and work here.
But then I went to a Sterling workshop and saw that I needed a more efficient operatory set up. So I added five operatories to my clinic and will let my associate work in the four old ones, while I get to work out of the new ones. (Rank has its privileges.) I will have a total of nine by the time my new associate starts in July.
I also realized that my Office Manager would have to become more responsible and handle a lot more duties when we become a two doctor office with 10-12 staff. So I also sent her to Sterling to do their office manager program so she will be ready to handle the expansion.
One of the biggest advantages of doing the Sterling program is that I have allowed my office manager to take over some duties I was doing myself. Since I don’t have to worry about these things anymore, it frees me up to do more dentistry which is what brings in the money.
The biggest change for me, however, was learning how to be an effective leader and get my staff to do the things I want them to do. I have more peace of mind knowing that there is more organization. This means I don’t take the office problems home with me at the end of the day, which also works out better for my wife and three children.
In dental school, I didn’t learn anything about how to run a business which is what any doctor with his own office is doing. Sterling taught me how to run a business effectively and efficiently.
Brett Hildenbrand, DMD