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Finding the experts who will help guide your business

Feb. 21, 2023
Accountants, hygienists, schedulers, and much more. How do you get the right advisors to help you run your business? Here's what to look for when adding these important team members.

No successful dentist opens a private practice without assembling an effective task force. From schedulers to hygienists, numerous seats need to be filled to ensure patients get the care they need. In essence, you already know not to go it alone. But are all your seats occupied? Do you have qualified people in every role so that your business not only survives, but thrives? 

I’m not talking strictly about your office team, although it’s of paramount importance to get that part of your business squared away. But rather, what happens once your operation is up and running and you have a steady stream of loyal patients? 

Having a panel of experts to guide you takes precedence. Along your journey to success, several key people will serve you in expected and unforeseen ways. You need a definitive cadre of like-minded professionals to share ongoing insight whenever possible. Building your own specialized nucleus of talent is not only worth the effort, but also absolutely critical for your livelihood and the sake of your business. 

What to be mindful of 

Here's a close look at the criteria to keep in mind when it comes to finding the right accountant, attorney, financial advisor, and business coach. Not everyone with a degree is an automatic fit, so take the time to look beyond the credentials. To be clear, proper certification should not be overlooked, but you need to consider other meaningful aspects in your search. 

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I encourage my clients to ask their peers for recommendations. A wholehearted recommendation is a much better starting point than “He’s an OK accountant who gets the job done.” Ask your counterpart if their accountant is someone they’d trust with a potentially life-altering scenario that requires definitive expertise. If the response is lukewarm, then there must be a better fit. You want the best employees working in your office, so it should go without saying that you want to find the most trusted advisors. Also, take the time to read reviews. A string of negative criticism should set you on alert. If you come across instances of past litigation or multiple violations, those are equivalent warning signs. 

When it comes to onboarding the best people, price factors into the equation. The bottom line? You need someone you can afford. If you can’t regularly pay someone for their services, then you can’t consider them. It’s tempting to look at hourly fee schedules right off the bat, but that’s only half the story. If it takes one attorney 10 hours to accomplish what another can do in two hours, then the more efficient one makes better sense, even if the hourly fees are double. 

The next point to consider revolves around the business of people. I tell my clients that we’re all in the people business. If we can’t consistently make people feel good, then we’ll soon be out of business. The business of making people happy is a broad topic worthy of its own book, but we can quickly boil it down here to at least give a basic framework. You need to work with others whom you can relate with. Mutuality is key. 

Your core values need to match. Stay away from anyone unscrupulous. Focus on relationships that emphasize win-win outcomes. Look for those who embody an entrepreneurial mindset of creativity and innovation. Some of your future challenges will inevitably require tailor-made solutions. Veteran experts who come across as stuck in their ways may end up getting you stuck in a rut also.

Now the team is in place

Once you’ve assembled your team, you’ll notice how well members play with each other. You want team players, not prima donnas. You need people who stay in their lane. A financial advisor who tries to give you legal counsel and vice versa could lead you astray or into the crosshairs of your other experts. This creates unnecessary drama and tension and can put you in an uncomfortable situation, or even in legal hot water. You want to foster the spirit of cooperation, not competition and condescension. Roles are kept separate for a reason. Adhere to them accordingly and everyone benefits. 

An easily overlooked criterion involves accessibility. Successful professionals likely have full schedules, which adds a layer of complexity to the relationship. How do they manage their high level of business? Do they have proper systems in place to ensure that your questions and concerns are addressed promptly? If they’re truly accomplished at what they do, then they’ve nailed this critical component of their business. They might not always be at your beck and call—we’re all busy people, so a degree of understanding is important. But if your calls routinely go unanswered, then this person no longer has your best interests in mind. 

However, it’s a two-way street. When you expect others to respect your time, you must do the same in return. Otherwise, you run the risk of someone no longer caring, and sooner or later, no longer willing to continue the relationship. Furthermore, you must pay them in a timely manner. Every payment they must chase down is a red flag for them. Don’t let it come to that. 

So, you have a well-oiled machine in place. This is when growing becomes really fun and success becomes inevitable. Never lose sight that you’re in the people business. Be eager to assist your fellow associates. Look for every opportunity to grow their clientele, and they’ll assuredly return the favor by sending you patient referrals. 

When excellence reigns supreme throughout your organization, continue its spirit by talking about it with everyone. That’s how it spreads, and it’ll spread like wildfire when you’re squarely focused on it. There’s no substitute for the leverage that comes directly as a result of having the right people in place. Value your experts, and they’ll take care of you and your business for a lifetime.   

Setting off on the right foot doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Guidance is readily available. Whether you’re just getting started or looking for a fresh new perspective, you may contact us directly at (973) 422-9140 or [email protected]. My staff and I welcome your questions.

Editor's note: This article appeared in the February 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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