The Naked Dentist: Be like Mike

2015 03 10 14 43 22 538 Marshall Curtis 200

It's a Friday night and my buddies from high school and I are all watching a basketball game at a local sports bar. The game is not a great one, and one of my buddies says, "Basketball games will never be as fun as when we got to watch Michael Jordan play."

Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.Curtis Marshall is the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel.

The next several hours are spent talking, arguing, and laughing over the reign that Jordan had in the basketball world. We talk about stats, best games, worst games, memorable plays, and, of course, championships won. Never once during the night did anyone, including me, talk about how much practice took place for Jordan to become the legend that he is.

Jordan has said, "The minute you get away from fundamentals, the bottom can fall out of your game, your schoolwork, you practice, whatever you're doing."

Jordan put in countless hours of hard work to be able to play in the NBA. When he got there, he didn't decide to take a break from those grueling hours of practice. He remained consistent and practiced every day. The result of his work is the legacy that he left that still leaves grown men talking about it for hours at sports bars around the world.

Who is the Naked Dentist?

I am the Naked Dentist. No, I am not a dentist, I am not always naked, nor do my clients practice dentistry naked. I have a powerful analytic tool that strips a dental office of all its clothes, makeup, and accessories to reveal the true problem areas. At that point we can maintain dental performance or systematically improve performance to reach forecasted goals. Today I want to talk about how to become the Michael Jordan of dental offices.

Dr. Mississippi

Dr. Mississippi had bought his practice straight out of dental school from a retiring dentist. He put in a lot of hard work and long hours to make this a successful practice. Dr. Mississippi was constantly pulling reports, looking at his profit-and-loss statements, doing everything he could to run the business side of the practice.

He reached the level where his patients, staff, and, most importantly, his wife were all happy. As time goes by, the practice gets larger, and Dr. Mississippi is happy to see new patient numbers continue to grow, but he is concerned about the actual dollar amount for his take-home pay. He can't figure out why it is lower with all the new patients he is seeing. Dr. Mississippi gives me a call to see if we can get to the bottom of this.

Sync Dentrix and Quickbooks data

After syncing my software up with his practice management system and looking over his numbers, I can see instantly what has happened.

"Dr. Mississippi," I said "Look at where you were in 2012 and where you are now."

He paused and stated that his collections were the same, and then followed with this question: "So why am I taking home less money?"

Loss of $200K

In 2012, he collected on average $100,000 per month; with 60% overhead, his take-home pay was $40,000 per month. Now he is still collecting $100,000 per month, with 80% overhead. That difference cut his take-home cash in half. No wonder he isn't happy and his wife isn't happy. Whether it is expenses going up or not ensuring current market rates are met, many metrics play a part in this situation -- for example, payroll, marketing, lab fees, insurance fees, and supply costs.

The only thing that changed from 2012 and now was that he wasn't monitoring the business side of his practice. The reason why he stopped monitoring was because of the following:

  • It was difficult to gather and track all the data/metrics/numbers.
  • He thought that he had reached the point of happiness and figured that all he needed to do was to maintain the status quo.

I see this often when an office starts to grow. The doctor assumes that things are going great, because they have lots of new patients who are keeping the office busy. The doctor then gets caught up in the bustle of the office and forgets about the business part of the dental office. Hence, the take-home cash suffers.

I want to be like Mike

To reverse Dr Mississippi's practice and increase his happiness, we followed a simple approach: Monitor and track key numbers within the practice. With our analytic tool, it now takes him 10 minutes per day to accomplish this solution.

The business part of any dental office is the day-to-day systems set in place to ensure that all the small tasks get done every day, just like Michael Jordan worked every day, to help the dental office continue to succeed.

Remember that when you start to have that success in the office, this is not the time to stop! Monitor and track your individual practice daily to be able to ensure the success that you want. If you need help, contact me so that I can help you become like Mike.

Let's get naked together.

Curtis Marshall serves as the vice president of marketing at Dental Intel. If you would like your practice to be in the next Naked Dentist column and have your practice undressed, contact him at [email protected] or 801-380-7070.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.

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