Where’s the leadership from “organized dentistry?” Maybe I’m not seeing it. Maybe it’s there and I’ve just not picked up on it. However, I just don’t think it’s there. Maybe in fact, it shouldn’t even be present? Maybe they don’t belong in the conversation on most Dentists’ mind: Dentistry is becoming commoditized and one of America’s last cottage industries is disappearing.
Look, the ADA’s mission isn’t to defend the solo practice dentist from extinction. Behind closed doors, I doubt their mission is really anything other than preserving their own existence. By default, that is what every non-profit organization’s primary goal is: keep their own lifeblood flowing. The ADA’s tagline says it all: “ADA: America’s leading advocate for oral health.” It doesn’t say, “ADA: Dentists’ leading advocate for success.”
And, the AGD’s mission is also partially absent supporting the solo Doc – yet closer than the ADA’s: “Your voice for excellence through education and advocacy.” They believe education is the answer…another clinical course, another gadget used, to increase the likelihood of your survival. Yes, education is required. But, it’s but a small part of the overall success. And sadly, clinical education is what most Dentists want… when they all NEED and must get more BUSINESS education if they are to be profitable in the next 5 years.
Proof for my points: When was the last time you saw a public health message on TV or on radio suggesting the public reach out to a local ADA Dentist? Why isn’t the leadership from these organizations on TV doing interviews? See what I mean?
What’s worse than not really supporting you as a Dentist through a public advocacy campaign? Neither one of these organizations has a business focus. Neither one will come to your rescue or defense when you need it most. As long as you pay dues, they’ll spend your money on initiatives that further their own mission, whether it aligns with yours or not.
Therein lies part of the disconnect in Dentistry. And, just like my dad told me when I was a young pup, learning about life: If you want something done, DO IT. Because, no one else will do it the way you want or likely with the passion you have. In Dentistry, if you want to succeed and you can’t lead your team to success, you’ve no chance. None. And, now you know, it’s not organized Dentistry, a bunch of lurkers on DentalTown with no treatment to do, or, some fly-by-night, here today, gone tomorrow gooroo who’s never been able to run a successful business, let alone a dental office.
None of these folks are as interested in your success as you are. YOU must want it … whatever you define as success … more than anything in the world. Because, if it’s to be, it’s gotta be up to you.
Right now, you and I both know Dentistry is undergoing a massive change. It’s going to be really ugly for most solo dentists. It’s going to destroy lives, marriages and fortunes. When the Commoditization of Dentistry has taken its toll, in just a few years, the leftovers will be mere shells of their former selves. The vast majority of solo Dentists will be working for peanuts, broke, overheads to the moon (Dr. Roger Levin reported in the August 2015 issue of Dental Economics that the median practice overhead was 74.62%), unable to take 2 week vacations, ramrodded by a “team” of overly-spoiled and demanding employees who’ve got you by the … well, stones, you’ll be chained to your chair, drill in hand, unable to live the freedom you were promised when you started out decades before.
There are solutions emerging. Some “big names” are accepting them, drinking the Chain Dentistry Kool Aid, unable to see another, more lucrative way out. I don’t fault them for their actions; I just have to wonder what the “average” doc’s gonna do and if most will be OK working for another 4 or 5 years or more, for the man, to earn-out their buy-out from the big chain that comes knockin’.
Another solution, one that will shake the Big Chains to their very core, one that will allow independence, higher sales prices for practices, better retirement solutions, better earning opportunities for new and experienced dentists alike, without the golden shackles the Big Chains are hoping you’ll cuff yourself to
It’s called Franchise Conversion. What is it? Franchise Conversion is the act of taking an existing dental practice and installing proven business systems that work to create a business that doesn’t necessarily require your presence to make money.
I’ve owned a dental office here in Salem, Oregon for over 11 years now. I started it from scratch. What’s crazy is, I’m not a dentist. Yet, using my dental office as a research and development “lab” over the last decade+, my team and I have perfected business and marketing systems that can take any practice from where it’s currently operating to an entirely new level…all while lowering overhead, increasing production and, freeing the owner up to do more of what they want and less of what they don’t.
The sea-change is here. It’s already showing up in a number of markets in which we work with our current ClearPath Society® Members. Doc, it’s up to you to clamor aboard the life boat or try to survive the rough seas alone…and if that’s your choice, you’ve gotta be honest and ask yourself, “How’s that working out? Do I really want to drown, or, do I want to partner with and be part of something bigger, more stable, and, more profitable, yet retain my unique character, individuality and maintain 100% of my own clinical decisions?”