People & Practice: Talking with Chris Bentson

People_&_Practice_Podcast_Chris_Bentson

Chris Bentson is featured in the new episode of People & Practice, LLC‘s The Survival Guide For Orthodontists podcast, hosted by Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein. Chris discusses how orthodontists can take the disruption in the industry and use it to their advantage by offering the same convenience patients are seeking from mail order alignment companies.

This episode digs deep into the nuts and bolts of what forces are affecting the industry and the tools available right now to help independent and small group practices beat the big box orthodontic companies.

  • How has disruption by Smile Direct Club and Invisalign affected small independent practices
  • The future of orthodontics is bright for the practice that adopts teledentistry technology
  • Address the growth of corporate dentistry and consolidation of practices

Listen here: https://pplpractice.com/episode-5/

About the Podcast:
The Survival Guide for Orthodontists, is the podcast that makes YOU the authority in Orthodontics in your community. Get ready for insights on how to compete on expertise and trust against mail order and retail orthodontics. It’s not always about the lowest fees. Dr. Leon Klempner and Amy Epstein, co-founders of People & Practice, know the business of orthodontics. They bring you insights, tips, and guest interviews focused on helping you thrive in a massively disrupted industry. Put more patients in chairs by competing on expertise and trust, not the lowest fees. The podcast is available on the People & Practice website, Apple Podcasts, and Soundcloud.

NESO: A Revolutionary Learning Experience

We’re heading north to attend the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists’ (NESO’s) 93rd Annual Meeting, November 6-9. This year’s meeting theme is Connecticut Still Revolutionary Orthodontics Is Evolutionary. We are honored and excited to be a part of this annual event that represents over 1,250 members from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the Canadian Provinces of Québec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

At this year’s event Bentson Clark & Copple will not only be exhibiting (booth #515), but Chris Bentson is honored to be a part of the “Joining, Acquiring, or Selling an Orthodontic Practice: Ask the Experts” presentation. This is a joint lecture from three of the orthodontic industry’s transition planning leaders: Chris Bentson, Roger Hill and Dr. Eric Ploumis. This two-part, half-day educational lecture is scheduled for Friday, November 7 from 1:30pm – 5:00pm (with a 30-min scheduled break).

Chris’ portion of this lecture will review the current consumer market for orthodontics and how it affects your practice positioning. His presentation will include a description of the transition process, an illustration of the relationships between key financial and operational data needed to examine practice health and a general review of overhead targets. In addition, a few of the current trends seen in today’s growing practices will be discussed.

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As mentioned above, plan to stop by our booth while attending the event. We will be happy to speak with you if you are considering the possibility of a practice valuation, practice transition, partnership, relocation or the sale of your complete/partial practice. If you are undecided about your future, we would be more than happy to discuss your options and help guide you in the best direction for your practice and future endeavors.

Reasons an Orthodontic Practice Cannot Grow

As valuation and transition consultants, we have the duty to analyze a practice for sale or purchase with great scrutiny. When performing a practice valuation study, we analyze the last three years of a practice’s financial performance and operational performance for each practice. This provides us not only the revenue and expenses, but the patient flow, the conversion ratios from new patient exams to starts, the fee structure, the marketing plan, etc. More importantly, when visiting each practice, we observe the physical facility, fixed assets in service, staff, location within the practice’s drawing area, competitors’ location(s), and so on. We also perform a detailed demographic analysis of the patient drawing area. Needless to say, we end up with a great deal of data on each practice; having the opportunity to see practices in every geographic region of the country.

Taken together, we see practices that are declining at various rates, practices that are maintaining a relatively flat “status quo” with regards to growth, and practices that are growing at various rates. We see these practices in all areas of the country, in all environments, generally battling a similar competitive and economic environment. However, there are situations that cause a practice not to grow.

There are many contributing reasons as to why a practice cannot grow: competitive environment, demographic environment, geographic limitations, and so on; however, our observation of the number one reason practices cannot grow is because they do not currently operate with efficient systems. Systems are perhaps the key foundation to growth and without them, a practice in chaos will experience greater chaos as it makes decisions and tries to grow, ultimately imploding under the weight of poor systems. Some examples are:

• If patients are not seated on time, adding growth to a practice will only exacerbate the problem.

• If cases are not finishing on time, growth presents real problems as chairs fill up with unhappy zero contract balance patients.

• If the highest level of customer service cannot be currently offered, then providing the same average, predictable, run-of-the-mill, mediocre service inhibits growth.

• If the staff is turning over at an accelerated rate, and there is gossip, backstabbing, and an ununified team that is just getting by, growth is not in a practice’s future.

• If there is poor direction and leadership from the owner, counting on the staff to pick up the leadership role and grow the practice is likely not going to occur.

To learn more, read Chris Bentson’s article, Observations on Growing an Orthodontic Practice, published in Orthodontic Practice US January/February 2013 issue.

Publication Focuses on Adding an Orthodontic Associate

There are many magazines, journals and newspapers that our team reads on a regular basis to keep up with current news and events in the orthodontic community. When a publication arrives, it gets passed around the office with a sticky note, indicating who has read it and who has not. (It’s ultimately a pretty good system unless the sticky note falls off.)

Chris Bentson has been recently published in a couple of orthodontic publications. His most current article is co-authored with Daniel Sroka, JD, who has served the legal needs of Bentson Clark & Copple’s referred clients since 2004. The April/May 2013 issue of Orthodontic Products Magazine features Plus One: What You Need to Know when Adding an Associate to your Practice.  Below is a short excerpt from the article.

“Adding a doctor to the practice is a big decision and affects a great number of systems in the office. Change will occur. Thus, having clarity about why you want an associate is often the first question to ask. While there may be many motivations for bringing an associate into a practice, typically, an owner doctor chooses to bring an associate for one of three reasons.

The first is to help with the workload of treating patients due to practice growth. The second is to allow for more time out of the clinic or away from the practice, or, said another way, to increase the quality of life for the owner doctor within the practice but not necessarily to grow the practice. The third reason is often as a first step in a future transition plan where partial or full equity will eventually be offered to the associate doctor, but that plan is not yet defined.”

Click here read the entire Orthodontic Products article.

Partnering with the AAO

We are always honored when approached by the AAO to participate in an opportunity to educate the orthodontic community. Over the winter months, Chris Bentson along with a handful of other industry experts recorded the AAO’s The Business of Orthodontics Webinar Series. It is a 9-part educational webinar series that consists of lectures addressing the core competencies for starting and managing an orthodontic practice. Chris presented three lectures in The Business of Orthodontics Webinar Series:

• The Pathway to Ownership, Partnership, Associateship
• Growing A Practice
• Overhead Management – Industry Norms and Understanding Market Segments

These learning lectures are now online and available via the AAO member website at no cost to members. To view one or all of the lectures in this series, log onto AAAinfo.org, go to the “Education” section and click “On Demand Learning,” then on the upper right tab, “View all On-Demand Lectures.” One hour of continuing education credit is available for each Business of Orthodontics lecture. For a full list of webinars included in The Business of Orthodontics Webinar Series, check out the Feature Resources section (page 22) of the AAO’s The Bulletin April 2013 edition.

Sure Bet: Learning Opportunity in Las Vegas

We’re traveling to the upcoming topsFest meeting. The 2013 topsOrtho Users’ Meeting is being held at the Green Valley Ranch, located just 15 minutes from the Vegas strip. Lectures were created with all topsOrtho users in mind, from beginner to advanced, for doctors as well as administrative and clinical staff. This is the perfect opportunity to gain continuing education credits and mingle with other topsSoftware users.

There will be a wide variety of speakers featured, presenting on a diverse array of topics. This year’s meeting includes many top doctors and consultants including Char Eash, Jackie Shoemaker, Joyce Matlack, Dr. Mark Sanchez (along with many others) and the amazing topsOrtho team. Chris Bentson is also honored to speak at this year’s topsFest event. He is scheduled to present on Friday, February 1st at 9:15am on the topic of Today’s Orthodontic Marketplace.

Chris’ presentation is broken into two portions. Part one will primary discuss the current economic state and market conditions of the orthodontic community. A detailed breakdown of an orthodontic practice expense statement and its benchmarks will be offered to attendees. The data gathered from Bentson Clark & Copple’s 2012 Annual Resident Survey will be featured in order to provide a general understanding of how their choices will affect the future of the profession. Part two of the presentation is focused on the top eight trends in practice growth. Examples will be provided of social media, aligner technology, corporatization of dentistry, fee structure, referral trends, abbreviated treatment times, purchasing a competitor’s practice and starting an orthodontic satellite office.

 

Be A Lifetime Learner

Last weekend, Doug Copple and I (Chris Bentson) attended a study club meeting held in Atlanta, GA.  The meeting was a two-day affair hosted by a nationally-known orthodontic consultant which brought together about 30 practices. This year’s meeting revolved around the theme of marketing.

To get the meeting started, a tour was arranged of a local fast-growing orthodontic office that is currently incorporating a number of very new, fresh ideas.  Next, a list of topics to be discussed during the event was created by the meeting’s attendees via an open discussion forum. Overall, the meeting was focused and solely centered on discussing ideas to raise the level of performance and service in each practice represented.

All in all, it was an enormously educational experience for all attendees, including myself. I came away with several key thoughts. Foremost, in order to run a successful enterprise you must commit to becoming a lifetime learner. The orthodontic marketplace is continually changing (the meeting discussed consumer and competition changes). Keeping up with these shifts require effort to study and learn how to adapt one’s business. I was also reminded that practice ownership takes a great deal of work and determination. We all can learn by sharing ideas, taking the risk to ask questions and be open about one’s successes and failures.

Every orthodontist was an exceptional student during his or her formative years. We all know that practicing doctors commit to the standard requirements for continuing education. However, not all continue with a genuine thirst for knowledge and desire for new ideas. If you feel stale, stuck in a rut, upset about the condition of your practice; pause for a moment. Ask yourself if you’re really still learning about running your business and considering new clinical ideas. The practices we see that are vibrant, growing and thriving are being operated by “lifelong learners” who are continually trying new ideas to achieve growth and excellence in all areas of practice life.

On the Road Again…Traveling to Tucson

The fall meeting schedule has been in full swing for the Bentson Clark & Copple team! We are once again packing our bags, putting together our marketing materials and reviewing our PowerPoint presentation for the upcoming OrthoSynetics’ 2012 Practice Meeting. We are honored to be invited to participate and can’t wait to finally get there!

We are extremely excited about the 1950’s themed Friday Night Sock Hop. We have heard through the grapevine that Chris Bentson will be rocking a leather jacket, white t-shirt and loafers at the event. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled (and snap a photo). The evening’s entertainment will include a performance from Shanana from the movie Grease! That should be a treat for all.

There will be a wide variety of speakers featured presenting on a diverse array of topics. We always enjoy speaking alongside industry leaders including Dr. Ben Burris, Dr. Mark Coreil, Dr. Jack Devereux (along with many others) and the wonderful OrthoSynetics team. Chris Bentson is scheduled to speak on Saturday, October 20 at 10am. Below are the details regarding his lecture.

Today’s Orthodontic Marketplace and How It Will Shape Tomorrow
Saturday, October 20 @ 10:00am
This presentation examines the economic state, current trends and existing benchmarks of the orthodontic marketplace and how these factors will affect today’s orthodontists and impact the future of the industry. The following areas will be discussed in detail:
• Current consumer and business owner behavior
• Operational and financial benchmarks
• Overhead standards
• Current trends: cause and effect

Upcoming AAO-Sponsored Orthodontic Resident Webinars

Bentson Clark & Copple is honored to participate in the AAO’s The Business of Orthodontics Webinar Series. This 10-part educational webinar series is directed toward today’s orthodontic resident community. The webinars began in September and will continue through April 2013. The series covers topics from starting/purchasing a practice to selling/retiring from practice, and everything in between. The webinars will be presented by a variety of industry insiders and consultants.

Chris Bentson will be presenting his first webinar (out of three that are scheduled) on October 9 at 8:15 PM EST/5:15 PM PST, and will last 75 minutes. There will be allocated time at the end for a question and answer session. The title of his lecture is Path to Ownership, Partnership, or Associateship.

For residents, understanding the options for employment, how to find them, and what to review when you do find them is extremely important. This webinar will be directed primarily with an orientation to the process of how buyers and sellers or employers for orthodontic opportunities happen. A review of the current market conditions and review of the timeline, expense, and materials needed to review an opportunity will be discussed. Current valuation methodology and a high-level overview of the operational and financial metrics that should be reviewed will be covered as well as associate pay, and cash flow pro-formas. Partnership methods of buying in will also be discussed.

This webinar series is free for all residents. It is funded by the AAO with the generous support of the AAO Insurance Company (AAOIC). For more information please contact the AAO.