I started taking courses in cosmetic dentistry right after I got out of school in 1985 and now have a cosmetic/restorative practice. I was quite successful in the technical aspects of the profession. I am a lecturer on different types of cosmetic procedures for different companies and frequently have doctors coming into the office to watch my procedures. I’m also part of the mentoring program at the University of Minnesota, working with second and third-year dental students. But the business aspects of my practice were far from stellar.
For 15 years, I still hadn’t been able to break the $50-60,000 barrier.
So I called my friend, John Powers, a dentist with whom I had attended a Sterling seminar back in 1987. He said that he was still using the technology and still goes to the Sterling seminars. So I decided to give them a call and signed up for the program.
It was a great experience. I went out to Sterling for two weeks and learned a lot. When I got back, I started to apply the tech. But I quickly realized there was no way I was going to be able run the practice, keep producing dentistry and implement all the programs. It’s like changing a tire while driving sixty miles an hour. It would have taken me about six months to put everything in place. I said I can’t not implement this tech, so I signed up in April and did a SPEEDO* in May.
The Speedo consultant was awesome. She was very helpful with implementing the programs, the bonus system and use of the awareness scale. We would see clients in the morning and then she would train the staff in the afternoon. She taught them how to study, went through communication and all the job descriptions with each employee. She got everyone using stats, set up the communication lines and the mail center. She established an executive council, got the new office manager on post and assigned everyone positions on the org board. The staff really pulled together, started using the communication system, dispatches, meetings and reduced the amount of Dev-T*. They were producing well and the stats showed it.
Personally, the second biggest win I had out of the SPEEDO was learning how to deal with covertly hostile people. Just learning how to deal with people and understanding how they click and where they are on the Tone Scale, rather than letting them manipulate me and run over me. My former consultant would say to let the staff run the place. Now I am the one in charge.
But the biggest win for me was that I finally achieved financial freedom. Previously, I was frustrated with the practice and felt I wasn’t getting anywhere. We always spent what we produced and sometimes more.
The first month after the SPEEDO, June, we produced $84,000. I took two weeks off in July, but in August and September we were again over $84,000 and topped $100,000 in October. In January, which is typically a slow month, we hit a highest ever figure for that month, and it was over $84,000.
Before doing the SPEEDO, I spent a lot of nights worrying about how I was going to pay my bills. I always paid my bills. If someone wasn’t getting paid, it was me. Now I just apply the tech and don’t have to worry anymore. In fact, I gave myself a $75,000 bonus at the end of 2001. It’s the first time I was able to do that.
I think there is so much technology to put into place that, if you want an immediate reward, it is vital to get a SPEEDO. I know that I hit my reward in June. The SPEEDO paid for itself in the first month.
Joe Varno, DDS
* SPEEDO – Staff Production Enhancement and Establishment by Debug Officer
* Dev-T – Developed Traffic