Braydich Dental recovered their loss, hired five additional team members, and expanded their office from ten chairs to seventeen.
expanding capacity, leadership, systems, increasing production
In March 2020, Dr. Mark Braydich and his brother Dr. Rudy Braydich had to do the unthinkable... the COVID-19 pandemic was forcing dental practices across the world to shut down. (They didn’t have to shut down completely, but they were only allowed to see emergency patients.) To make matters worse, their practice was down in revenue 38% from the year before.
Uncertain how long this would last or what was ahead, for the first time in their practice’s 43-year history they made the difficult decision to lay off their entire staff of 30 people.
“Laying off our entire staff was something I never would have imagined we’d have to do in my entire career or my brother’s career,” Dr. Mark said. “It was really hard. People count on us to provide for their families and we felt like we were letting people down. It was extremely stressful.”
Dr. Mark Braydich is co-owner of Braydich Dental, founded in 1977 by his brother, Dr. Rudy Braydich. Mark joined the practice in 1992. Rudy took on the role of a father to Mark after their father died when Mark was only one year old, and Rudy was 15. “My brother has always been a father figure to me,” Dr. Mark said. “He’s been a great influence and a great mentor to me over the years. He’s typically accused of and called my dad because of our age difference.”
Located in the small community of Hubbard, Ohio, Braydich Dental serves the small population of about 15,000 and draws patients from about a 20-mile radius. “We do everything in our practice,” Dr. Mark said. “You name it, we do it.”
Looking to survive the pandemic, Dr. Mark found and downloaded Dr. John Meis’ Hundred Days Recession Recovery Checklist on Facebook. “It was a hundred questions on how you were going to handle surviving the pandemic,” Dr. Mark said. “I couldn’t answer all the questions.”
Hoping they could survive the challenges ahead, they completed all the modules in the checklist, subsequently joining The Team Training Institute (TTI) as a Blue Diamond Member in June 2020. “Going through the checklist training brought awareness to things that were going to happen that we didn’t know how to handle and wouldn’t have thought of on our own,” Dr. Mark said.
Braydich Dental survived, recovering much of their loss, ending 2020 only 8% down (instead of 38%). Not only did they bring back their team, but they also hired five additional team members and expanded their office from ten chairs to seventeen. Plus, 2021 is going strong and they are earning $80,000 more per month than they were pre-pandemic. “I don’t think we would have gotten to that number if we were not a member of TTI,” Dr. Mark said. “I hate to think where we would be without them. And 2021 is off to a fantastic start.”
Here are 9 ways they overcame their challenges in 2020:
#1: Get Your Team on the Same Page
With 30 team members, Mark and Rudy knew it was important to have everybody on the same page. Training made their team more cohesive and improved overall performance. “We brought in TTI Coach Bert for Hygiene Explosion training in July,” Dr. Mark said. “Although it was specific training for hygiene, it brought everybody together and was terrific team building.”
#2: Increase Awareness, Confidence, and Performance
After going through their first training in July, they had record production collection plus a record number of visits. “I thought we were doing pretty good with hygiene, but we didn’t have a preventative services program like TTI outlined,” Dr. Mark said. “That was an eye-opener. Not only does it help with prevention, it helped the team with diagnosing a lot of the simple cavities. It’s increased awareness and confidence.”
The role the hygienists play and the TTI risk assessment are setting the Braydichs apart from their competitors and more teeth are being protected too. “The risk assessment is such a powerful tool,” Dr. Mark said. “The hygienists weren’t really aware before and now that we do the risk assessment, look at the grooves and the sensitivity and root exposure... their awareness was a one and now their awareness is a ten. And adding the production-based pay scale elevated their engagement. Then seeing how they are helping their patients more, makes them even more motivated. The TTI program paid for itself a month later, to be honest with you.”
#3: Go In With The Right Mindset
After the Hygiene Explosion training, their office went through Perio training in January and will do Case Acceptance training in June. Change is always challenging, however, both doctors led their team with the right mindset and right attitude, which made the transitions go smoothly. Feedback from both staff and patients is positive. “Any time there is change, it takes a little longer with the patient,” Dr. Mark said. “But once we got used to it, it shed a whole different light.”
Hygienists and patients alike are happy with the changes. Patients have a better understanding of what is going on and why they are having problems. Plus, they are provided with a better way to combat their problems. Hygienists like the changes because they now deliver a plan of what patients can do to help themselves. “It’s a win, win,” Dr. Mark said. “Before, there were a lot of frustrations coming from patients when they’d come in and wonder why they get cavities. But now we’re identifying causes and have a strategy for using fluoride and doing different things that are based on science.”
#4: Develop Leaders
In the past, Mark and his brother struggled with how to give more responsibility to Rudy’s daughter, Sarah. “My brother’s daughter Sarah has been a hygiene assistant, probably since the age of six or seven,” Dr. Mark laughed. “And then she became certified. We always wanted her to take over the role of Office Manager, but we had no clue on how to do that.”
With the help of their TTI business coach and the TTI training on how to be an office manager, Sarah (now in her early thirties) is thriving in her new role. “It allowed Dr. Rudy and myself to focus more on the clinical side,” Dr. Mark said. “And she helps the team out. She is doing extremely well and learning a lot. It really took a lot of stress off us as doctors and owners and allowed us to experience better success.”
They’ve also used the TTI training to develop their team leaders better. Things that weren’t being resolved before are now getting done, and everyone is happier.
“We’ve always had team leaders,” Dr. Mark said. “And they’ve done a decent job in their role, but before if there was a problem, someone would come to a doctor. They weren’t always comfortable coming to us because we were busy. Now the lines of communication are way better because the team leaders go to the office manager with problems. Before a lot of the things that my brother and I would say we wanted to do or a complaint we planned on resolving would never get done. We’d get busy, and a week or three goes by and nothing happens. Now all these things are getting done, and it makes all the difference in the world. It increased the employee level of engagement and happiness–and the morale is a lot better.”
#5: Explore All the Ways You Can Expand Capacity
The brothers discovered that there were bottlenecks affecting their production and used multiple strategies to resolve those.
When the office opened back up, Dr. John emphasized that people going back to work wouldn’t necessarily have vacation time to take off to go see the dentist. “TTI helped us to figure out how we were going to meet that pent-up demand while making it convenient for our patients,” Dr. Mark said. “Opening an extra day helped solve the initial capacity problem while we were building out our practice expansion.”
The second way they expanded capacity was to add additional staff, hiring three new hygienists and two dental assistants. “By using the TTI system we discovered we didn’t have enough assistance, so we hired two assistants,” Dr. Mark said. “That helped with the flow of everything, and the doctors became more productive.”
The third way they are expanding capacity is by building out a new office, going from ten chairs to seventeen. They hired a doctor pre- COVID-19 to expand their services to sedation dentistry and are in the process of hiring another doctor to relieve their workload and free up their schedules.
#6: Get Better at Same-Day Dentistry
“We were always okay at same-day-dentistry, but TTI gave us a new awareness and opened up more opportunities that we didn’t have before,” Dr. Mark said. “We were capacity strapped, and workforce strapped before. By adding dental assistants and getting the extra chairs, it made same day dentistry a lot more feasible and easier to do. Once we bring in another doctor, our same-day will take off.”
#7: Put Systems in Place
Implementing systems has made their life easier by making procedures duplicable and helping them identify and solve problems quicker.
In November 2020, the brothers expanded their practice from 10 chairs to 17. They hired three new hygienists and two dental assistants fresh out of school. They used the 3/3/3 System to train their people and get them up to speed quicker. “This training was huge for us,” Dr. Mark said. “Our new hygienists were able to sit in on our first training. The concept of the three days, three weeks, and three months was a big system we took advantage of–by putting these new hires through that we could see what their strengths and weaknesses were and get them on board quickly. Plus, by using the TTI system, we discovered we didn’t have enough assistance.”
#8: Utilize Tools to Diagnose and Fix Problems in Your Practice
Powerful tools and coaching quickly brought to light where they needed to make changes and how to go about it.
“We were introduced to Dental Intel,” Dr. Mark said. “Being able to analyze our numbers and then have the coaching from Sherrie every month, we were able to see where we are strong, where we are weak and where the low-hanging fruit is. The hygienists can see their numbers too, which has been powerful. It’s been a big eye-opener.”
New hygienists were missing the boat on rescheduling people when they came in. By looking at the data they were able to catch it in one month and correct it. “It was fine the next month, but without that intel, that could have gone on forever,” Dr. Mark said.
They also found a dip in collections and were able to diagnose the problem and correct it. “Our collections went out of whack in November and December, but by January the front desk and Sarah were able to figure it out and correct it.”
They also are improving patient retention. “We’ve always been exceptionally good at attracting new patients,” Dr. Mark said. “We’re very good at their first visit and their experience. We identified through TTI that our struggle is in keeping them as repeat business. That’s our weakness, so we are working on that and talking about it every month and every week. Getting that turned around is going to be a really big deal.”
Between the training, coaching, and leadership development, doctor productivity is up 25% for both Mark and his brother since joining TTI. “Frustration is down because we’ve got better systems and better training, so problems are being handled not by me or my brother unless it’s a major deal which shows in doctor productivity,” Dr. Mark said.
#9: Figure Out What Your Vision Is For the Future
The Braydichs participated in a Vision Day with Dr. John. This helped them gain clarity for what they want, which helps them determine the building blocks they need to put in place to make their vision a reality.
“I’m a goal setter,” Dr. Mark said. “And I consider my brother and me to be high achievers who always want to do better. But where we set the bar and where Dr. John sets the bar is night and day. However, by going through Vision Day and doing the different exercises, we feel confident we are going to get there and that we can do it.”
During the day they came up with the mission statement of “Complete care for your family in one place.” “That is going to be all over our marketing,” Dr. Mark said. “We also determined that while we had good core values, we weren’t tying behaviors to those, so now we’ll be doing that. We found things we need to pay more attention to and were able to lay a good foundation. Once we get our home office solidified, then we will evaluate if we want to add additional practices.”
“When the pandemic hit, we knew there would be ups and downs and weren’t sure how to handle it,” Dr. Mark said. “We needed the right mindset, the right attitude, and the right systems in place. It’s hard to single out just one solution from TTI that made the difference in our practice. Within the first two months of joining TTI, you could feel a shift in energy. The office just has a hum and busyness to it. People are excited to work here. We’re a patient-centered office. There are no egos. The more people that come in, get fixed and are happy, the happier everybody is–there’s momentum.”