Young doc, old doc

Times have changed, and it's critical to change with the times. It used to be that older docs had a significant business advantage over younger ones.

Ken Rubin, CPA

Times have changed, and it's critical to change with the times. It used to be that older docs had a significant business advantage over younger ones. They enjoyed a steady flow of new patients as a result of many years of hard work spent to earn a great reputation and following in the community. Their years of experience enabled them to diagnose better, perform a wider range of procedures, and do them faster. Their experience, skill sets, and confidence enabled them to also have higher case treatment acceptance rates.

Technology did not change drastically from year to year as it does today. There was no Internet, less competition, and life was simpler. Yes, those were "the good ol' days," and those days are gone.

Charles Darwin actually said, "Long-term survival is not dependent upon being the fittest or the strongest, but long-term survival is based upon one's ability to adapt to change." Failure to embrace change can lead to becoming a dinosaur.

There's an expression, "You don't know what you don't know." It's important for someone to recognize his or her limitations in different areas of knowledge. I carefully study success. Some of the most successful people in life attribute their incredible success to their constant seeking of advice or help from others who are experts in areas that they themselves are not knowledgeable.

Over the years I've noticed that when we experience problems, it's often because we think we know what we really don't know. This is what I call the high-danger zone, and it's essential for people to recognize when they are in it.

Young docs have an advantage in that they haven't formed bad habits and don't have changes that they need to make. They have the advantage of having learned dentistry using today's quick, efficient, and superior modern technology, and they employ the latest and greatest in their practices.

Young docs are usually trained how to perform many procedures that the older docs refer out to specialists. When evaluating a dental practice to purchase, the young docs salivate over the opportunity to purchase an older, traditional GP practice. After buying the typical practice from a retiring, older doc, the young doc typically experiences a huge, sustainable spike in income just by capturing the procedures in-house that the older, traditional GP was referring out.

When it comes to marketing, the younger docs are seriously light-years ahead! The older docs remember the Yellow Pages telephone book advertising, and they do understand that nowadays most of the new patients are being obtained through the Internet. While an older doc has likely obtained a website by now, chances are he or she does not have superior search engine optimization (SEO), nor a successfully impactful website, nor a website that is smartphone compatible.

Nowadays it's essential to use companies such as Demandforce, Sesame Communications, Lighthouse 360, or Solution Reach (formerly Smile Reminder). A young doc wouldn't dream of operating a dental practice without using one of these companies. These companies automatically remind patients of appointments via text, email, or phone message. (Don't worry, you can still call some patients manually if you want.). They help you manage your online reputation-which means they obtain and flood the Internet with so many positive patient reviews that existing negative reviews will be buried. They also help you get favorable placement on the Internet by helping with your SEO.

People don't make changes for many reasons. There is uncertainty whether the change will actually improve things and a risk the change may actually make matters worse. Change requires getting out of your comfort zone. Change sometimes creates stress. Change can require a large investment of time, effort, and money. Sometimes people don't change because they simply don't know what they don't know. They are unaware of new technologies, resources, and methods that will help them.

I am happy to see that more dentists are finally taking an interest in the business side of their practices. It's been said that a company is either growing or contracting, and the only thing that is constant is change. What changes do you need to make in your practice?

Ken Rubin, CPA, is a frequent author and popular lecturer on various profit maximization and tax minimization topics. Ken Rubin and Company, dental CPAs and business advisors, have been helping dentists since 1984. Rubin is cofounder of the Academy of Dental CPAs. Contact him at or (619) 299-6161. Visit his website at

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