Thirty years ago, I opened a dental practice in a tiny Midwestern town. I was a country dentist who performed general dentistry with little prosthetic work and not much insurance. After five years of solid growth, my accountant, who had 15 other local dental clients, told me I had peaked out. I was already making more money than the other dentists, and he said it would be impossible to make more than that in a small town. In other words, my growth would stagnate.
On top of that, I had staff problems. I was angry with the staff most of the time and constantly complained about them to my wife. My front desk person, who was older than me, thought she knew how to do everything better than I did. She ignored my instructions and told the other staff my instructions were not a priority, to get to them when they had time. She booby-trapped my collections by telling patients they could pay their bills when they wanted to, that the doctor was in no hurry. I loved dentistry but hated dealing with staff issues. It was a constant source of stress.
In 1991, I attended a Sterling seminar and became a consulting client. We implemented their management by statistics system which took the guesswork and emotions out of managing the practice. Using statistics, I was able to see which staff were productive and advance the ones who deserved it instead of the ones with the biggest smiles. Just as importantly, I was able to weed out the bad staff, including the front desk person. With Sterling, I acquired the tools which proved my accountant wrong. By the year 2000, my country practice, which he said had reached its peak, had grown from $250,000 per year to over $1 million. Despite the growth, the practice ran smoothly which diminished the stress and gave me more time to spend with my family.
At 49, I retired to relax with my wife and move closer to my four children who had grown up and moved away. But I became bored with retirement, and three years ago opened a new practice in another small town during the worst economy ever. I started slowly with limited office hours and again worked with Sterling. I went to their workshops with my staff and asked for their help in hiring the right people. Using the tools Sterling had given me, I built my second million-dollar practice. Our monthly production is currently $200,000 and we see 100 new patients per month.
Twenty-five years ago, I was told it would be impossible to grow my practice any more than I had in a small town. Fortunately, I did not listen and instead became a Sterling client to make the impossible happen. Sterling helped me build not one, but two-million-dollar practices and restored the balance to my life.
Paul Rodeghero, DDS