By Jen Butler, MEd, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

October 26, 2018 -- Becoming a dentist is really going to a highly, well-rounded technical school. You are trained and focused to become an expert in one singular service. Then you graduate and go to work for someone else, making 30% of the production when you could be capitalizing on all of it. You're accountable to a team you didn't hire and report to another doctor with equal (or maybe even lesser) qualifications.

Then the itch begins. It's time to open your own practice.

Jen Butler, MEd
Jen Butler, MEd.

Entrepreneur Michael Gerber has written about that moment when technicians (in this case the dentists or hygienists) conceptualize why they want to work for themselves as the entrepreneurial seizure.

"If I work for myself, I will have more time, more money, and more freedom than if I work for someone else," they say to themselves.

The difficulties technicians have with starting a business is they've started it for all the wrong reasons and rarely possess the skills or attributes necessary to build a sustainable and successful business.

Accepting the above factors as true is the single, most defining factor between a business cupcake and a business badass.

Business cupcake

Let's think about defining the business cupcake.

I started to ponder what we call someone not savvy in business, but I couldn't think of one. As far as I can tell, there is no common verbiage to identify the characteristics, attributes, and skill levels of someone supremely educated in a service or technical skill while also working within a highly, private practice industry.

“It is possible to go from a cupcake to a badass with the right information.”

This just doesn't apply to dentists. It is a common model for all medical professionals and specialists, lawyers, veterinarians, counselors, psychologists, and more. All of these professionals enter specialized training school to achieve the top of their profession before they enter the world of business.

It is this end result that such professionals struggle with because they ignore the reality that business is their profession and their trade is their job.

Business badass

These are the dentists who either by study, skill, natural talent, or grit and gumption have achieved what most dentists hope they gain by going through the rigors of dentistry. Their names are known in the dental space as a "leader," "guru," or "tycoon." They have loyal followers that covet their advice in hopes to get some of the same results.

It is possible to go from a cupcake to a badass with the right information. It requires focusing on the following seven concepts:

  • Understand business versus practice management.
  • Fearlessly face facts.
  • Embrace evolution.
  • Intentionally create team synergy.
  • Lead by direction.
  • Fiercely strive for repeatable and predictable processes and systems.
  • Trust and verify for consistent results.

Jen Butler, MEd, has worked in the area of stress management and resilience training for more than 25 years. Register to hear her podcast here. You can contact her via email here.

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


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