Last updated on July 27th, 2018 at 02:22 pm
About Bruce Smoler, DDS
I went to Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago and graduated in 1987. Then, I was accepted to Periodontal Specialty School but decided to take a year deferment to work in my father’s practice in Michigan. I planned on being his associate for one year before going back to Chicago to specialize. One year turned into two and then more. I enjoyed being a generalist and not limiting my practice to just one area of dentistry, but we had two locations and it was a challenge running separate offices without having effective management systems in place. Early mentors had a wide range of clinical skills and performed many specialty level services.
I sought out mini residency programs across the country to upgrade my skill set, as well as offer more comprehensive services to my patients. Clinically I was able to perform a high level of care for my patients, but I was constrained by the limitations in our business knowledge.
When I joined my father’s practice in 1987, my father had 1 associate and 3 hygienists with a total of 8 ops between the two locations. In 1993, we built a new 8-op 2800 sq. ft. facility to replace the original smaller office. By 2000 we decided to sell our newer satellite location to focus on our larger main office. In July 2001, I bought my dad out. Things were tough initially, (business dropped off about 20% that year and it took about 18 months to get back on track to steady growth), but it was a great lesson in perserverance for me.
What motivated you to start looking for management help?
After my dad retired, I was working more, which just meant more stress and practice management issues in general to deal with. The outlook did not appear bright without seeking management help. If I didn’t make things go right then, when would I be able to? Staffing issues, both from the standpoint of hiring and firing as well as training, organization and proper division of duties, were all major concerns. Financially, we were doing okay, about $75-90,000 a month, but it was a lot of effort and stress every day, every week and every month. I was working minimally 36-38 hours a week. Not to mention working through lunches, never getting out on time – even looking to work on my day off. It seemed all I could do to get ahead was just work
more and more. At the time, I had one hygienist and a total staff of five.
Had you tried anything (including consulting) to handle any of these problems?
As a CE junkie (over 5,000 CE hours) I have taken numerous programs across the country, both clinical and management. None of the management ones had the answers I was looking for. Some had wanted me to be tied to them to make a decision instead of my learning how to manage my own organization with the results I was looking for.
How did you hear about MGE?
In 2005, I attended a free one-day seminar. The information sounded good, but I was not ready to make a change at that time. Then in December of 2010, I attended another one-day seminar and it just clicked. I signed up for the MGE Communication & Sales Seminars along with the MGE New Patient Workshop.
Your new patient numbers have doubled. How did you accomplish that?
My staff and I did the MGE New Patient Workshopin the spring of 2011. We learned a lot. A major thing was the importance of surveys and how to ask questions of the people you want to become your patients. In particular what THEY are looking for – which may be different than what we were promoting. We market to families in our area for our general dental services, and we also have several programs in place to attract patients for particular services. Our new patient flow has doubled since we’ve been with MGE (from 16-18 up to 35+), and we are also getting more patients looking for specific services (i.e. implants), because of our targeted marketing programs.
How did the MGE Communication and Sales Seminars impact your practice?
I place a lot of implants in my office, which is a higher ticket item in terms of price, so being able to help patients overcome their fears and objections to treatment is extra important for me. These seminars completely changed how I present treatment and as a result, our collections made a big jump within a very short time. We were already doing well by many standards, but we had no real idea what our potential truly would be. Just fivemonths after starting with MGE, we hit our highest ever (in practice history)number of new patients, collections and production all in the same month! By that time, I knew MGE was right for me, and had already enrolled in the MGE Power Program.
What benefits did you see from the MGE Power Program?
I’ve experienced tremendous growth personally as well as professionally. Being in control in my business and having the ability to find ways to keep engaged and enjoy what I do every day makes all the difference. It allowed us to buy up and mergeanother smaller office into our practice in May of 2014. Without the MGE Power Program, I wouldn’t have had the confidence or management skills to accomplish such a smooth integration. We now train our staff in a very controlled and organized manner, which gives the entire team the confidence and know-how to be able to get the goals met as well as help more and more people on a regular basis. We’ve also sorted out office organization and delegated duties in an intelligent manner for smooth growth. You can see the payoff in that we’ve more than doubled revenues and have a very happy, supportive staff.
Before MGE, collections averaged about $90,000/ month. Presently, we’re collecting around $200,000/month (with a high of $234,000). Wehave a total of 13 staff, full-time and part-time. We’re in a growth phase, so we’ll be adding clinical staff as well as looking to add associate hours.
What are your plans for the future?
I am looking at additional growth and expansion to achieve my dreams. Before coming to MGE, it was unreal for me to be able to double my practice in 18 months with me working 20% less. But that’s exactly what I did and the growth is continuing. My life is much calmer and in control with a lot less concern or worry. It’s priceless to be able to see the results of our hard work creating a great office and organization. Very liberating.
What advice would you give another dentist who was considering coming to MGE?
MGE makes you a better business person, with clearer thoughts and insights. This in turn I believe makes you a better dentist! Everyone has their own unique vision. MGE provides you with the tools to achieve yours