Orthodontists Give Happiness

Orthodontists Give HappinessThis editorial was written by Patrice Connor, Circulation Manager of the Bentson Clark reSource, and previously published on LinkedIn.


Money is an echo of value. – Bob Burg

I have enjoyed getting to know Bob through his books and podcasts. I have even had the pleasure of visiting with him on the phone. He is a great inspiration in many ways.

One podcast in particular, with Lisa McLeod discusses selling with noble purpose…noble purpose. I thought about that for days. Can I use the word “noble” to describe anything I do? NO! The first time I thought about it I actually laughed. Ha!

Then I thought some more. My thoughts ran from the industry, orthodontics, to our company, to my bosses, what we do, how much I admire them for their knowledge of this industry, for the way they do things, our clients (orthodontists), how hard we all work to improve the lives of these doctors during the most important times in their lives, how lucky I am to be a part of a company where its leaders use integrity in all things, my role in all of it, leading to our publication. Therein lies my task – to increase its distribution – but how? Noble, there’s that word again.

I have learned so much about orthodontists, the industry, and the education, what it takes just to attain this level of education. I have read some great articles on outstanding doctors and practices in orthodontics. Many of them do wonderful things to help so many in and out of their communities. They are creative, smart, family-oriented and of course, they love kids. Still thinking about my role in all of it.

What finally hit me is really what should have been on my mind first and foremost – my children – three girls to be exact. Two of them wore braces. My youngest it seems wore braces for her entire childhood, well actually from about 5th grade through her freshman year in high school. Her teeth were a mess. She is now 21, absolutely beautiful, with four years of college behind her and a teaching degree to be coming soon. She has an amazing smile. I will NEVER forget the day her braces came off. As I write about it and any time I think about it, I tear up. Every time. The glow of happiness, confidence and satisfaction that was in her face, all because she had an orthodontist. Noble! What a profession, to be able to give that to someone especially a child. What a gift. Yes, the gift giver is noble, as is this profession.

I can proudly say that what we have to offer is a tool to assist these doctors, these givers of happiness, in managing their practice. I can also proudly say it is the best in the industry. In any field, staying on top of trends and data is extremely important. We can help with that. Orthodontists create beauty and happiness. What a job! Our tool is an aid to help them do what they do. Maybe there is some nobility there after all.

To learn more about this tool, the Bentson Clark reSourceclick here!

Co-Branded Orthodontic Resident Experience

Going from residency to full-time business owner is a big leap. Over the years, many people have asked, “Why don’t they teach doctors how to deal with the business aspects of running an orthodontic practice when they are in school?” The truth is – there is not enough time or resources. The orthodontist who wants to own their own practice must rely on others to help them make that leap successfully.

Bentson Clark & Copple’s newly released 2014 Resident Survey reports that only 14% of current residents feel his or her orthodontic program has done a ‘very good’ job in preparing him or her for the business aspects of owning a practice. On the other end of the spectrum, 20% rank his or her program as doing a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ job.

It is often heard from residents that they receive very little training in owning a practice and rely on conferences, lunch & learn presentations and attending regional or national meetings to gain knowledge and information. The Bentson Clark & Copple team understands the need to educate the resident population outside of the clinical setting. That is why we are happy to announce a new educational partnership with Ormco.

Ormco is known within the orthodontic community as a company that builds trusted relationships with orthodontists, providing a breadth of innovative products and solutions to enhance their professional lives. Bentson Clark & Copple is committed to helping orthodontists achieve their career objectives through successful practice transitions, at both the beginning and end of one’s career. In conjunction, this newly-created partnership directly targets the resident community to offer guidance before they become submerged in the myriad challenges of practice ownership.

As part of this partnership, the Bentson Clark & Copple team will present a one-hour co-branded education webinar to each orthodontic residency program in the United States. With the help of Ormco’s outstanding sales team, each residency program is anticipated to be reached by the summer of 2015. The webinar will discuss the following: transition timelines, current market data, common types of practice transition, major factors in price/value, practice activity trends, practice overhead and expense data.

Our endeavor is to help educate the future leaders of the orthodontic community, provide useful data and help residents make smart decisions about his or her future plans. Overall, both companies hope this undertaking will increase the level of satisfaction residents have in regard to their preparation for the business aspects of owning an orthodontic practice.

True Overhead of an Orthodontic Practice

P&L StatementWe find that a doctor’s Profit and Loss Statement (or P&L Statement) hardly ever reflects the true expenses required to produce the top line revenue stated. Why? Depending on how the practice is structured, there are a number of discretionary expenses that a doctor and his/her accountant may choose to run through the practice. Some common items hidden within a P&L Statement are the doctor’s payroll taxes, the doctor’s health/life (and sometimes disability) insurance, the doctor’s retirement contributions, automobile expenses, and certain travel and entertainment expenses, just to name a few.

To understand the true overhead of an orthodontic practice, it is often necessary to deduct these expenses from your P&L Statement, and then recalculate your overhead rate. After doing so, the question most doctors ask us is how they compare to industry norms. While there is no correct answer to what a practice’s overhead should be, we have produced a document that will help doctors compare his/her overhead to the average benchmarks seen in the orthodontic practices we value. Click here to access this sample P&L Statement document. Once you download this reference sheet, take out your P&L Statement from the last complete year and begin to make entries. Enter your actual expenses in the unadjusted column on the left (entering each into the best available category), and then remove discretionary business expenses in the adjustments column to determine the final adjusted figures, which will provide your true expenses to operate the practice. In an hour or less, you’ll have the best view of your practice.

Click here to download the sample P&L Statement.

Copyright Compliance in the Orthodontic Industry

Recently, a number of AAO members have received a letter from the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) regarding the alleged improper showing of movies in waiting rooms or other areas of the members’ orthodontic offices. The letter that has been received is strongly worded suggesting doctors should enter into a licensing agreement in order to avoid paying penalties in the future for violations.

The AAO offers a sampling of frequently asked questions regarding the MPLC and the display of movies in orthodontic offices. Also, the Bentson Clark reSource discussed copyright compliance a few months ago before this issue was brought to the orthodontic mainstream. Contact Bentson Clark & Copple to request a copy of an article regarding copyright laws and infringement written by Daniel Sroka, the attorney that drafts the majority of Bentson Clark & Copple’s legal documents.

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.

Big Shift in Patient Demographics: Does it Matter to You?

In December 2012, the United States Census Bureau released its long-term demographic projections. It revealed a fundamental shift in the US population among various ethnicity groups. The released projections included the following findings:

  • By 2043, the non-Hispanic White population will no longer make up the majority of Americans.
  • Intermarriage for first- and second-generation Hispanics and Asians is on the rise, causing a blur in racial and ethnic lines and increasing the number of individuals who identify themselves as multiracial.
  • Children of immigrants are the fastest-growing demographic group.
  • Moving forward, the United States will become the first major post-industrial society in the world where minorities will be the majority.
  • Among children, the point when minorities become the majority is expected to arrive much sooner, in 2019.

What are the implications for orthodontic practice owners? It likely depends on how much longer you plan to practice. If you are at the beginning of your orthodontic practice career or envision working for 30 more years, the implications of the minority friendliness of your practice, your market strategic and target marketing will be significant.

In 2012, for the first time, racial and ethnic minorities became a majority of babies under age one for the first time in United States history. Ten years from now, this group will be the majority of children in braces.

Perhaps it’s time to step back and ask, “How minority friendly is my practice?” That is a good starting point to begin thinking about and planning for the changing patient demographic that could be your practice’s reality in ten years.