Volume 31: Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School

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When you graduate from dental school there is much more to think about than "where can I get an associateship". It is important to remember that dentistry is also a business and good business practices are very important. Consider the following:

  • It is important to find a good associateship even if there is no hope of buying into the practice or buying the practice. Pitfalls would be signing an overly aggressive non-competition contract that is going to eliminate owning a practice in the same community if that’s the community where you would want to practice down the road.
  • Find an associateship that will give you broad experience. Broad experience can also be obtained by joining study groups or taking additional courses. Working in under serviced communities can also give you the experience you need and the cost of living should be lower.
  • Before you purchase a practice you have to feel comfortable with all the various phases of dentistry. That relates to both techniques and speed. Once you own a practice it is more difficult to take a week off to attend additional courses because the overhead continues. Dentists with greater depths of dental education are more successful in their careers.
  • Live within your means. The flashy car should not be high on your list of needs. Get your school debts to a controllable level. You do not want your school debt to limit the purchase of a practice when you are ready to purchase. New start-up practices have problems of low cash flow.
  • Find an accountant – one with a number of dentists as clients – who will help get you started, set you up with sound accounting principles and conservative spending habits. Many dentists do not live within their means and find out too late what they should have done when they started their practice.
  • Use an experienced lawyer who has a number of dentists as clients before entering into any material contract – whether an associateship, a lease or the purchase of a practice.
  • Try to find a mentor dentist as the principal in your associateship practice – one who would give you advice and direction to avoid as many pitfalls as possible.
  • Treat each patient as if they were family. Recommend procedures you would give to a family member. First, show that you care. The rewards will follow.
  • Don’t judge yourself by what others say that they can do. There are all kinds of exaggeration of accomplishments. Be true to yourself and by constantly improving your techniques through continuing education you will arrive at a position of confidence in all your accomplishments.
  • Marry the right spouse, who will be supportive in your career. This will account for more than 90 per cent of your joy or sadness in your life. It is more important than money or fame.

So there it is. Experience tells us that life in general, and the practice of dentistry in particular, isn’t always simple. But by following the above basic guidelines – augmented of course with good common sense – your chances of being rewarded both spiritually and materially with a lifetime of happiness and accomplishment will be greatly enhanced.

The Professional Advisory

  1. One Year Later

  2. Dealing with Unsolicited Offers

  3. Covid-19 Practice Sales Update

  4. When is the Right Time to Sell Your Practice and Why?

  5. Partnership Pitfalls

  6. The Real Cost of a Dental Practice Set-up

  7. Smaller Practice Realities

  8. Dental Market Update - 2019

  9. Creating Your Own Most Valuable Practice (MVP)

  10. Small Practice Economics

  11. The Market is Very Efficient

  12. How Can Dental Practice Values be Rising and Declining?

  13. Hygiene as a Value Driver

  14. The Value of a Good Team

  15. Is it Time to Move?

  16. Staging A Dental Practice

  17. The High Cost of Dying

  18. Deal-Busters

  19. Patients - Attract and Retain

  20. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  21. Is There a Buyer for Every Practice?

  22. Good, Better, Best - The Market has Spoken

  23. Smooth-Sale-ing

  24. Buying Time

  25. Patients, Patience, Patients

  26. A Real Patient

  27. Why Do a Practice Valuation? I'm not Selling

  28. Irrational Exuberance or The New Normal?

  29. Do dental equipment and dental technology affect a practice value?

  30. Finding and Being a Mentor

  31. Bigger is Better

  32. Dave's Top Ten List for Buyers (Vendors should read this too!)

  33. How Well Do You Know Your Practice?

  34. Dave's Top Ten List for Vendors

  35. What will happen to dental practice Values in the next 10 years?

  36. Your Premises Lease is an Important Asset

  37. What are Associates Thinking?

  38. There is Life Outside the GTA

  39. When Is the Right Time to Sell My Dental Practice?

  40. Mergers are a Viable Option

  41. Is Your Associate an Asset or a Liability?

  42. Has your Practice Facility Kept Up With Your Billings?

  43. The 100 per cent of Gross Myth

  44. The Past, The Present and The Future

  45. Caveat Emptor

  46. Overpaid Long Term Staff

  47. Selling your Practice in Stages

  48. A Potential Pitfall of Selling Shares

  49. Value in Your Practice Through Balance

  50. Only Trusted Staff Can Defraud You

  51. To Own or Not to Own Practice Real Estate? That is the Question.

  52. Coping With A Large Patient Base

  53. Successful Dental Practice Transitions

  54. Taking Care of Business

  55. The Investing Dentist Phenomenon

  56. Two areas to focus upon that could negatively impact the value of your practice

  57. Organize your Debt in Order to Sell your Practice

  58. Having a Better Team

  59. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale

  60. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3

  61. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 2

  62. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 1

  63. Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School

  64. Transition - What to Expect

  65. Discussion on Digital X-Rays

  66. Partnerships and Shotguns

  67. Strategic Planning - How to Get Started

  68. Calling All Vendors - Practices have Gone Up in Value

  69. Purchasers: Expect to Pay More for a Practice because of Lower Professional Corporation Tax Rates

  70. Matrimonial Practice Valuations

  71. Purchaser's Guide to Affording a Practice

  72. Location Improvements Throughout Your Career

  73. Small Practice Valuations

  74. Partnerships – The Best and The Worst

  75. Changing Location When the Opportunity Comes Along

  76. Visual Presentation of Your Practice

  77. Presentation of Charts

  78. Your Premises Lease Can Be Your Worst Enemy

  79. How to Select an Appraiser for Your Practice

  80. How Are Your Billing Ratios?

  81. It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets

  82. The Importance of Separate Financial Statements

  83. Five Time Frame Levels to Sell a Practice

  84. 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data

  85. How to Buy a Visible Practice

  86. Why is there a shortage of good practices today?

  87. The Importance of Equipment in the Purchase of a Practice

  88. The Balanced Practice

  89. Will My Practice Be Saleable in The Future?

  90. Buyer Be Aware

  91. Excess Profit - The Second Key

  92. Patients and Profits are the Keys

  93. Plan Ahead