Archive for Dental Business Operations


How Intriguing are your Numbers?

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What numbers are you tracking in your business and professional life? What is important for you to be tracking?

Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Health: See the list I mentioned last week such as BMI, triglycerides, cholesterol, weight, blood pressure, and what to track for business successheart rate. What others are important to YOU? How regularly are you exercising? How much water are you drinking daily? How many hours of sleep do you get daily? How many HUGS (yes, hugs) are you giving and receiving daily?
  • Business: Production, collections, number of referral requests, failed appointments, cost to the business of failed and short-noticed cancelled appointments, collection percentage, managed care adjustments, hourly productivity, P&L line item costs such as marketing, rent, lab fees, office and dental supplies, and any and ALL investments made in employees…not just their wages.
  • Financial: How much is enough? Are you being supported by a Certified Financial Planner to help you create your economic future of choice? How well have you calculated your year of retirement? How much do you save or need to save every year? Where do you want your kids or grandkids to go to school, college, and post-college? Are you on track to save for these expenses? How often do you intend to replace your autos? What are the returns you need on your portfolio to hit your targets? Have you established your investment policy guidelines that will help you identify your risk tolerance? Again, how much is enough and how will you know if you are there?
    The numbers don’t lie. What are yours?

Remember, there is a reason we have scoreboards at sporting events. There is a reason we have speedometers in our cars. There is a reason we count our money. What does your scoreboard tell you? At what “speed of life” are you moving?

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Your Numbers Intrigue Me!

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Nope, you’ve got me wrong!

Venus vs Clara BowJust because I’m a guy, you are probably presuming I’m thinking about this…

Not so! I’m talking about the comments made to me by my cardiologist at my recent annual post-stress test visit last month. In 1988, I had a heart attack that should have killed me and yet, 26 years later, I am still here. Truly a gift from GOD! As part of that gift, I have learned the value of tracking my NUMBERS.

These numbers are very different from what you see in the photos. They are HEALTH NUMBERS. Regarding my health, they have to do with the numbers related to my blood serology, stress test results and my weight (OK, I guess you can throw in 1-10 as it relates to my good looks index).

I have discovered the world is full of “opinions,” “advice,” and “profundities”…however, the numbers tell the tale and the TRUTH! Here are some rather compelling NUMBERS as per my cardiologist’s report and discussion. I have compared my last year with this current year (worth your evaluation):

Weight 200 lbs. (too damn fat!) 175 lbs.
Height 5’8.5″ 5’8.5″ (still short!)
Blood Pressure 110/72 112/76
Heart Rate 72 bpm 72 bpm
BMI Calculated 30 kg/m2 (too damn high…morbidly obese) 26 kg/m2
(Normal range <200)
199 mg/dL (too high) 158 mg/dL
(Normal range >39)
51 mg/dL (too high) 49 mg/dL
(Normal range <130)
112 83 mg/dL
(Normal range <150)
182 mg/dL (way too high) 132 mg/dL
Time on treadmill 11.5 minutes 12 minutes

NumbersLet’s cut this medical verbose crap! At nearly 68 this is Great news! This is Kick-ASS! While no guarantees I will be here tomorrow, it is encouraging that I can remain in-service to my family and YOU for the foreseeable future. Even my “pudgy” prior weight can’t camouflage the real NUMBERS…numbers don’t BS.


  • My pudgy weight is down 12.5%!
  • My height remains the same – thank GOD I did not shrink this year! But I think my ears have grown bigger.
  • My BMI (Body Mass Index) is down 13.4%!
  • My Cholesterol is down 21%!
  • My Triglycerides are down 27.5%!
  • I lasted longer on the treadmill.
  • I “retired” and donated to Salvation Army 32 pairs of pants, 27 EXTRA large shirts, a dozen 40 inch belts, two bags of sweaters, T-Shirts, FAT-man pants & sweatshirts.


  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has lost 26 pounds in 66 days!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has reduced his belt size from 40 to 35! Awh, if I suck it in…a 34!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has now found himself fitting into T-shirts he purchased 9 years ago!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has gone from a 38 inch pant to a 34 ‘ish. 4 inches is HUGE…shhhhh!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has gone from a 48 plus sports jacket to a 42 and I can button it!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron has gone from never playing a piano to playing like Billy Joel!
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron is more attractive to his Bride. (I never asked her to say this.)
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron receives compliments from his kids that he is not so “pudgy”.
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron feels better about himself.
  • Fat-man Dr. Ron will probably live longer and enjoy his family and the love in his life!

If you know of someone who would benefit from learning their numbers, please feel free to forward this along to them.


Who in your business can you ROMANCE?

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Now, before you get your shorts in a knot and presume that I mean “really romance,” what I really mean is what are the possibilities that there are team members, patients, or vendors that you can or need to acknowledge and recognize in some fun, easy, simple way?

Imagine if you took the time to “catch people doing things RIGHT” in your business. Imagine acknowledging people for taking great care of your patients, customers, or clients. Imagine receiving multiple referrals from those you serve. How can you “METAPHORICALLY” romance these important people?

Dental practice work life balanceHere are a few ideas for your consideration:

  • Tell team members why they are important. People who understand that their efforts make a difference to the success of the team want to make sure their team “wins.” Let everyone know how important they are – everyday!
  • Include your patients, vendors, and anyone who enters your practice. Let the world know about the achievements of your team. Another certification? Brag about it. Going the extra mile? Brag about it. Tell everyone about your great team!
  • Include your community. Let your local and professional communities know about the great things your team has accomplished. Put their picture in the paper or in a wall display in the waiting area.
  • Remember important dates. Birthdays are expected, but do you remember when each person joined the team? Make a note on your calendar or in the computer. When their anniversary pops up, write a short note, give them a gift certificate, or a special mug. They will appreciate you remembering their special day.
  • End team meetings with a round of acknowledging STAR actions.
  • Leave notes of appreciation throughout the office in unexpected places (i.e., the refrigerator or by the time clock).
  • Give an ABCD Award. Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.
  • Holiday shopping and wrapping can be tiring. Hire a personal shopper to help with the shopping and wrapping for one week.
  • Energizer Bunny® Award. Use a pink bunny to recognize the achievement of specific goals that required someone to keep going, and going…

Who in your business will you ROMANCE this week?

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What’s it like in your Dental Office: Real Service or Crappy Service?

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At EVERY point of contact you have with your patient, guest, or client, are you and your team delivering Real Service?

Without an honest inventory, we will not know what we don’t know! For practices that feel like they are struggling, I suggest they wake up and re-evaluate your direction and vision. Real Service is the distinctive competency that will separate you from all the others. Period! From my experience, less than 5% of those business owners will take the information I share around service and service excellence and apply it. That means 95% of those who have heard, read and have been trained in delivering Real Service won’t take advantage of this remarkable practice and life-builder.

how to hold your dental staff accountable for customer experienceWhere does that leave you? In a “sweet-spot!” Do what the 3-5% of those who implement do and set yourself apart from the rest. Don’t be fooled by a slick speaker or some “institute” to think that having the latest and greatest technology trumps Real Service.

Here is an exercise I invite you to do with your team at your next Monthly Gathering. Ask the following questions with the team and record the responses. Answer honestly. Don’t be afraid to identify any blind spots, as this is your opportunity to correct them. Then prioritize your list of ideas and identify a Champion (leader) for that initiative. Empower them with both the responsibility and the authority to take the task to completion, all with a time-line, budget and measurables.

  1. Customer expectations are always changing and today are at an all-time high…and rising! How are we keeping up with these expectations? Provide 5 examples from the past month.
  2. “There is only one boss, the customer, and he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” ~ Sam Walton. What is our “attrition” rate in this business? How much is going out the back door and for what reasons?
  3. You can say what you want about who you (think) are, but people believe what they experience. What is the “experience” our guests receive at every point of contact with our business (phone, marketing, face-to-face, hand-offs from one team member to another, financial discussions, personal contact, follow-up, etc.)?
  4. We want our standards to be what our competition considers above and beyond. What are our minimum standards? How do we define above and beyond? How do we differ from other service providers?
  5. “Different is not always better, but better is always different.” ~ Dale Dauten. How are we better? How do we know it?
  6. A recession is a terrible thing to waste. What are we doing to, not only survive, but thrive as we come out of the most current recession. Remember, in the majority of the cases, it’s NOT the economy!
  7. “In the end…there is only one point of view that matters, there is only one perspective that matters and there is only one perception that matters – the customer’s.” ~ Jeffrey Gitomer. Do we know, really know our customer’s perception? How do we know? How often do we check?
  8. Why is it so hard for many businesses to understand the need to focus on the way their customers look at them?

Be honest with yourself. Let me know how it goes.

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How important is it to care about what your patients have to say?

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If you answer “YES” to any one of the questions below, then it is important to care about what your patients have to say.
core values for dental ceo's

  • Do you want your business to grow?
  • Do you want more new patients?
  • Do you want your patients to come back?
  • Do you want to stand apart from the average?
  • Do you want to make more money?

Some practices use electronic systems like Smile Reminder or Demandforce to survey their patients, however, if your questions are bland and generic, you will learn very little from your guests. Also, I’ve discovered that many practices fail to pay attention to the survey results. Consider doing an in-office, live survey, crafting practice-specific questions that will provide you with real-time and valuable information that can have a dramatically positive impact on your business. When the survey is complete, compile your responses and share the “learnings” with your patients, along with the ACTIONS you intend to take.

If you would like to receive an electronic version of my Top Ten Tips On How To Do Office Surveys, type “Surveys Top Ten” in the subject line of an email and I’ll send you a copy.

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Do You Think I Care What You Have To Say?

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You bet I do! For all fifteen years of my Coaching practice, twice a year I have surveyed my clients. I want my coaching services to be world-class, legendary, and 5-star. That’s what sets me apart from others. It is my distinctive competency and anything less than this standard is an opportunity for growth.

The survey results are in and here is a brief summary of what my clients had to say:

1. How well is Coach Ron meeting or exceeding your coaching expectations?

Dissatisfied: 0%
Satisfied: 0%
Completely Satisfied: 100%

2. What value do you place in Coach Ron creating the “Eagles Nest,” a private Facebook page for team members to glean “best practice” ideas from other practices in our coaching family?

No Value: 0%
Little Value: 37%
Very Valuable: 63%

3. How responsive has Coach Ron been to your needs (i.e., extra calls, document review, resource information, support with your team, etc.)?

Dissatisfied: 0%
Satisfied: 0%
Completely Satisfied: 100%

4. What do you most value in our coaching relationship and why?

  • The opportunity to develop ideas and bounce them off an experienced expert.
  • Experience, wisdom and honesty.
  • Consistent excellence.
  • The feeling that there is always someone in my corner who understands me.
  • I depend upon your candid, even painful, insight to keep me on track and away from preventable dangers.
  • Personal relationship and how well Coach Ron knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my personality traits and me.
  • Your balance and clear-headed thinking.
  • Your availability, the expanse of extra materials and ease with which they are received and your openness.
  • Encouragement and a person to exchange ideas with.

5. How well do you believe the presentation of your Simplified Business Plan to the Mastermind Group prepares you for the FUTURE of DENTISTRY?

  • The plan is useful in articulating my goals and plan for the future. Who knows what hidden traps and ploys from others this may keep me from.
  • It is “essential” to my survival.
  • It keeps your clients focused on future visioning and possibility thinking.
  • Awesome idea! It has really stretched my way of thinking and planning for the future.
  • This business plan idea has continued to open my eyes to existing ideas and other ideas that I never even considered.

What have I learned and what ACTIONS will I take as a result of the survey?

  1. I need to remain vigilant and be certain I “under promise and over deliver.”
  2. My private Facebook page, Eagle’s Nest™, needs more of my attention and to set a timeline as to when to pull the plug if interest does not grow.
  3. Acknowledge and recognize my clients for their support, love and loyalty. As a consequence, I have prepared a special gift for them all.

Action Item for This Week: have you surveyed your clients (and patients) yet this year? If you need ideas on how to do this, I’ve got you covered, here.

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Do You Care for, Value & Appreciate Me?

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Over the past two weeks, I have received an unprecedented number of calls from dental auxiliaries upset that their doctors don’t appreciate them. They tell me that they are “bustin’ their butt” (exact words from two of them) and yet they get no recognition for the extra effort and, often, not even a Thank You!

staff appreciation tips for dentistsMy experience has shown that the #1 complaint from dental auxiliaries is not low pay, not boring work…rather, it is a perceived and widespread lack of acknowledgement for what they do and the above & beyond they invest in serving the patients and the practice.

I don’t know if there is something in the water or the unbelievably cold weather that has gripped our country this winter (except for Arizona and the west coast), but I do know this is a real issue in many dental offices.

One hygienist asked me to call her doctor and tell him how his team is about to mutiny on him if he doesn’t at least try to be grateful. When I spoke with this doctor he told me the following: “Hey, you can coach all you want, but these employees are getting the highest wages in the area. They work only four days a week and I pay for their continuing education and health care. That’s enough. They should know I’m grateful so this is a nuisance complaint.” While he is not a client but a friend, this is a real story.

So I have two questions for you:

  • What advice would you give one of your friends if he/she responded this way?
  • What ways do you recognize and acknowledge your team members that you are willing to share with my readers?
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Persistent Consistency in the Dental Office

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This is the key to Rick’s business, Clean Sweep Chimney Sweeps, Inc. This man has mastered the art of service with panache. He’s taken what many might perceive as an innocuous business and made it remarkable.

core values for dental practiceEvery three to four years I call Rick to clean and maintain my fireplace and chimney and every time he bedazzles me with just a few things that make his craft unique. His simple marketing approach sets him apart from others.

EVERY time (persistent consistency) he has been to my home he:

    dental patient care

  • Is on time.
  • Lays down rugs at the doorway and into the house protecting wood floors and carpets; generously ‘drapes’ his work area to prevent any rug damage or soot accumulation.
  • Puts on ‘booties’ every time he enters the house, regardless of how many times he needs to go back to his truck for materials or equipment.
  • Is meticulous on his technique with no dust or soot flying around the house.
  • He is invisible…that is, the only way I knew he was here is I had a clean fireplace!

dental practice management tipsRick is persistently consistent in just a few things…the few things that make a BIG difference. No need for a lot of ‘bling’…just simple, effective, customer pleasing – real CUSTOMER CARE.

I have and will continue to recommend Rick to anyone who wants excellence in his or her chimney care and maintenance. How much does he charge? Who cares. When you hire Rick, price is irrelevant. Watching this master craftsman is worth the fee.

Action Step: What can you do today to make your Dental Practice “persistently consistent”? Share your ideas below, or on my facebook page.

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What a Bunch of CRAP…

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Yep, that is what I have heard time and time again over the years from clients when I insist that they develop, write out and share with their team their Business CORE VALUES. “Coach Ron, this is nothing more than an outdated corporate-world bunch of ‘crap’ to expect that I should do this nonsense“…is a common theme I hear.

setting core values for dental practiceAround Christmas time, I received a plea for help from a ‘former’ client who admonished me years ago for insisting he formulate these Governing Values for his practice and team. As he explained his conundrum, I asked him to pull out his list of CORE VALUES that had been conveniently filed in a desk drawer.

When I asked him to read them out loud, several jumped out for him: honesty and integrity, give my best always, each of us is our own manager, and speak impeccable words. Here were his final words to me:

Coach Ron, after all these years, I had no idea why you wanted me to do this exercise and at this very moment, I now realize that these Guiding Principles are the solution to all my problems and certainly to my current challenge. I now have the solution to my difficulty and can I come back to work with you?

While all my coaching seats are currently occupied, he immediately realized the value and the power of having his CORE VALUES as part of his practice Vision and culture. So, no…having written CORE VALUES is NOT a Bunch of Crap!

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Practicing Gratitude in your Dental Practice

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Last month we celebrated Bosses Day.

Dr. Della Bella's TeamOne of my clients was stunned, startled and star-struck by what his team did for him. They knew the most powerful and predictable people-builders are praise and encouragement.

Dr. Della Bella’s team wanted him to know how much they appreciated him and flooded him with all kinds of acknowledgements. He described it as follows:

A nice surprise awaited me this morning as, unbeknownst to me, it’s BOSSES DAY!!!! It started off with pastries and coffee for our morning huddle. As I went back through the clinical area of the office, EACH treatment room is adorned with Bosses Day balloons and laminated messages taped to each unit. Flowers and balloons awaited me in my private office and gifts – Flat Alex Coasters and a Bosses Flask were presented.

This office has a culture of acknowledgement and they proved that by acknowledging the acknowledger with the effect that Dr. Alex felt loved, valued and appreciated.

ACTION ITEM: What can your team do this month, the month of Gratitude, to unexpectedly thank their doctor for what he/she does on their behalf…and Doctors, what fun ideas might you conjure up to recognize your team mates.

Keep this thought in mind: “All children (and adults) wear the sign: “I want to be important NOW.” Many of our problems with them arise because nobody reads the sign.” What will you do today to read someone’s “I need to be important NOW” sign?

Click on this link to see how the Della Bella team surprised Dr. Alex…P.S. check out the amazing corn beef sandwich.

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