After graduating from the University of Buffalo and working as an associate, I bought a dental practice in Granbury, Texas, a small town about 30 miles outside Fort Worth. I liked the idea of working for myself: being independent and making more money.
After two years as a practice owner, I was making more money than I had as an associate, but I was far from happy. Since dental school hadn’t trained me in how to manage a practice, the place was out of control. The staff were uncooperative and there were not enough patients. I tried everything I could think of to turn it around. I tried being nice to the staff. I tried being mean. I tried asking the staff what they thought I should do to improve the practice. I took different practice management courses, but there was no real improvement. I was not getting much sleep. I was irritable. It was hard for me to take time off. I was getting desperate and needed a big change real quick, but nothing I had tried so far had worked.
At that point, I found out about Sterling. I spoke with several dentists who had been with Sterling and from their stories and their experiences it looked like just what I needed. I signed up for the Sterling program and finally learned how to take charge of my practice. Sterling also helped me with assembling a top-notch support staff and training them in how to do their jobs. With Sterling’s guidance, I was able to start effectively marketing the practice and our number of new patients has gone from 10 a month to 50, much of it through referrals.
Life has continued to get better ever since. Two years ago, when I started with Sterling, I was producing less than $50,000 a month. In a short time, I was up to $70,000 and am now in the $80,000 and $90,000 range. And since the office is running smoother, I am achieving all that extra production without having to work extra hours. In fact, my total hours have down a bit since I don’t have to spend as much time managing the practice.
Most importantly, I feel that the Sterling program has given me my life back. I have the independence I wanted when I bought the practice. I have a staff I can trust, so I can take a day off or go on vacation without worrying about things falling apart in my absence. I sleep better, I am more relaxed, I am more easy-going. I feel like I am back to being myself.
The University of Buffalo did a great job of giving me the technical skills I needed to be a competent dentist. Sterling has given me the skills I need to manage my dental practice. Between the two of them, I now have the practice and the life that I want.
I am well along the way to having the practice I envisioned when I first decided to be a dentist.
Maureen St. Clair, DDS