How dental professionals can capitalize on side businesses

2020 06 01 16 40 1334 Panebianco Chris 400thumb

As we head toward the end of 2020, I had the opportunity to talk money matters with Chris Panebianco, the chief marketing officer for Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG). He has more than 11 years of experience in financing for dentists, and I thought it would be good to get his thoughts because he has worked with the market before and during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

In our Q&A, I asked him about a trend we're beginning to see with dental professionals: starting a side business to make up some of the revenue lost in the wake of COVID-19. Whether it's a team member who has seen his or her hours cut or a dentist who is pursuing a passion outside of dentistry, Panebianco has some thoughts to offer as people continue to plan for the new year.

Q: We hear about so many people in dental practices who were creative and pivoted to starting their own businesses during the pandemic. What are you hearing about this from a national perspective?

Chris Panebianco.Chris Panebianco.

A: The topic of healthcare professionals pursuing new business opportunities has been trending in the U.S. media and, as a lender that works with dentists, we're also hearing it firsthand from our borrowers.

Dentistry was one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic. It forced professionals to adapt their practices to safely provide patients with the care they need, but it also enabled them to consider new ways of doing business, both inside and outside of the office. Even as dentists are back to seeing full patient loads again, they continue to pursue alternative ways to strengthen their financial position through side businesses.

Q: What are the advantages of a "side hustle," besides the potential income?

A: While potential income is the main driver for dentists to pursue a "side hustle," there are a number of other advantages.

For example, the freedom that comes with owning a business. You're in control of the operations and decisions. You get to decide the investments you make and the risks you're willing to take. You choose how much time to put toward it, and you can reap the benefits.

Also, a side business can serve as an outlet for you to pursue a passion or personal interest, whether it's in dentistry or not.

In an uncertain economy, a side business can help put you in a more secure financial position and give you more financial control. In the face of a pandemic, having multiple income streams can help safeguard your career and provide financial relief.

Q: How have some of these entrepreneurs found success?

A: We work with dentists across the country every day, providing business loans to help them enhance their practice or pursue new business opportunities. We've only seen an increase in borrowers across the board. Those who are looking to start a new business are taking a variety of paths.

Some dental professionals are pursuing new opportunities to share their expertise, such as through consulting or teaching students. Today's remote environment makes it easier for dentists to fit these opportunities into their schedules without disrupting day-to-day patient responsibilities. Others are following more traditional business opportunities, such as real estate investments or sales, or pursuing a personal interest, like writing a book.

We're seeing that entrepreneurial dentists who find success are those who seek out opportunities that speak to them both professionally and personally.

Q: What's the best piece of financial advice you would offer in regard to a side business?

A: Once you know what you want to pursue, you might need access to funds to get started. Finding the right partners will be critical to meeting your goals.

Every lender and loan are different, so dentists and team members should do their research. Some things to look for are repayment terms, speed of funding, and credit impact. Obtaining the lowest monthly payment possible will give you more access to more cash every month that you can use to cover costs or set aside for the future. Especially in a recovering economy, having access to cash is critical. Working with a lender that can get you money fast will enable you to put your plan into action and get to market quickly. Understand what type of inquiry the lender makes during the application process, so you can protect your credit standing.

Once you have your financing in place, you can take the next step with confidence to get your business off the ground.

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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