When you buy a dental practice, a huge amount of the goodwill you’re purchasing is the staff. A dental practice’s staff are the engine of its success. 

Yet, no matter how nice of a boss you are, you’re guaranteed to see some turnover in your first year or two of ownership. 

When that first staff member quits, as sad as you may be, I want you to recognize this as a key moment to catapult your practice into the next level of success by learning to say “no” two times. 

When it comes to hiring, successful practice owners default to “no” at two different levels. 

The first level of “no” is deciding whether to rehire in the first place. By far the most significant expense in a practice is employees, and most practices for sale have expenses higher than the recommended 28-30% of collections dedicated to paying staff. 

If you can avoid backfilling the position – do it! This is your chance.

Give your remaining staff a chance to step up. They can take on new responsibilities! Delegate more! Outsource a few things! Get more efficient at their daily tasks with more to do! And, occasionally, stop doing tasks that don’t add any value. 

With the money you save on hiring a whole new person, you can afford to give raises and bonuses to those still in the practice if they hit new targets and goals. 

And your staff overhead might just come back down to benchmark levels – leaving more money for YOU.

And if you absolutely must hire someone, you’ve arrived at the second level of “no.” 

When you’re interviewing – default to “no” in every interview. Ask around to the best dentists you know, and they’ll let you in on the secret of the default “no” in interviews. In every interview, you’re looking for reasons to say NO. 

You read that right.  

You’re trying NOT to hire.  

If you go into every interview thinking that you might hire this person, you will look for reasons to say yes.  The candidate might have a brilliant answer to “tell me about a time you handled a canceled appointment.” – and you’re thinking “yes!”  If she doesn’t also have a brilliant answer to “tell me about a time you had to persuade a team member to use your solution rather than your own”, you’ve got a problem.  The candidate will be great at the transactional part of her role, filling a hole in the schedule, but will cause tension in the team if she’s not able to work well with others.  If you’re looking to say yes, you’ll be swayed by the first answer. If you’re looking for reasons to say no, you’ll see that in the second.

Hire well by NOT just running out and hiring every time someone quits. And hire well by defaulting to “no” in interviews and your life as a boss will become considerably easier. 

And when that day happens, be sure to send me a note and say, “Brian, this ownership stuff is a piece of cake!” 

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I created a guide called “77 Questions to Ask to Avoid Buying the Wrong Dental Practice.”
Get the guide here for free (all I ask is a quick share in return).
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