Within just 2 months, Castle Rock Family Dental went from $160,000 a month to $185,000 a month and they continue to grow.
production, management, systems, expansion
In the 30 years Dr. Scott Brody has been practicing dentistry, he’s come across a lot of ideas. But implementing and getting his team on board was always a struggle.
While new technology offered the opportunity to replace manual processes, the constant changes and staff turnover made it difficult to keep their SOP (standard operating procedures) updated. Dr. Brody felt sure this was partially responsible for some of his staff turnover.
“There were a lot of things I knew I should be doing, but we were busy” Dr. Brody said. “I felt like we were shooting from the hip. There wasn’t a good onboarding system in place, so we’d end up just throwing people into the deep end of the pool, and that’s not the way to train your team.”
Dr. Brody and his wife Lisa, a dental hygienist, own Castle Rock Family Dental located in the small, but exploding community of Castle Rock, Colorado. Practicing for 30+ years, the practice has gone through multiple transformations. After buying the practice, they expanded from three chairs to five, began doing comprehensive cosmetic cases, and completely transitioned to fee-for-service.
In 2008, when the stock market crashed, nobody had the money for elective dentistry anymore, so Dr. Brody transitioned to a more traditional family practice and changed the name to Castle Rock Family Dental. He still enjoys doing cosmetic dental work, but it’s not the focus. In addition to family practice, he is also a top Invisalign provider.
In the last few years, they’ve experienced tremendous growth with people moving to the area. Not wanting to stifle growth, Dr. Brody acquired space adjacent to their office and expanded from five to eight ops, but by the time it was complete, it was already too small.
He bought another space next door and joined a group of dentists who were trying to learn from each other on how to create their own little DSO (Dental Service Organization). “I spent a year trying to educate myself and learn how to bring on an associate to grow into office number two without making any big blundering mistakes.”
Realizing he needed help to take his practice to the next level, he began looking for a mentor. “The reality is we needed to be doing many little things consistently,” he said. “We were not following through. That was really the key and the reason why we weren’t where I had hoped to be at that point.”
During an Invisalign seminar, Dr. Brody and Lisa were introduced to Wendy Briggs and Dr. John Meis. After hearing Dr. Meis speak, they signed up with Team Training Institute as Blue Diamond members in July 2021. “When I heard Dr. John talking, I knew the two of them would connect and that he would be able to help Scott move forward,” Lisa said. “The struggles Scott’s had over the years are grounded in frustration that the knowledge is there, but it's just not happening. As a dentist trying to do full-time dentistry, you don't have the time to train people up yourself. He was the office manager, dentist, CEO, and guru, and trying to be the glue. This caused huge levels of stress, but he was also having financial success, so it was a blessing and a curse.”
The Team Training Institute is helping with the implementation of Scott’s vision, follow-through, and keeping up with the ever-changing landscape.
The office is projected to double revenue by the end of 2022. (In 2020, they did $1.5 million and are projected to hit $3 million by the end of 2022.) In 2021, after six months of working with The Team Training Institute, there was 25% year-over-year growth. In 2022, their first full year, they are projecting 50% growth year over year, however, Dr. Brody believes the value and growth will be even more significant once they have an associate in place because he will no longer be the only producer.
Here are the biggest contributing factors to their success:
Before working with The Team Training Institute (TTI), both Dr. Brody and Lisa felt their hygiene department was doing a great job. They were profitable and had implemented an assisted hygiene model and profit sharing. However, there was a struggle between the front and the back. The hygienists wanted to keep the schedule full, and the front was feeling like it was all about the money.
“Wendy presented how we could make the business side of the hygiene department successful and also provide an amazing gift to our patients by letting them know about preventative services that will save them their dentition and their money for the years to come,” Lisa said. “From a moral standpoint and a place of integrity, it feels good, and our hygiene department is running well from the flow standpoint. Everyone is working as a team and supporting each other. Instead of having the hygiene department as an island unto themselves, they are working much more with the overall vision for the office. That was all Wendy Briggs’s direction, so I’m super excited by that.”
Within two months of starting with The Team Training Institute, they went from averaging $160,000 a month to $185,000 per month. They continue to grow. As of May 2022, they are averaging $230,000 per month, even with a couple of slow months and taking four weeks off for vacation between January and May and another week due to contracting COVID-19. Patients are also receiving better preventative care. Prior to The Team Training Institute, zero roots were being protected and zero sealants were being done. Today when compared to their peers, they are one of the top two practices protecting teeth.
“It’s about helping our patients,” Lisa said. “I really care about our seniors. When they're retired, they don't have the funds to spend on new crowns because of recurrent decay. Being able to look them in the eye and feel confident about letting them know that we have a great product that can help them to save money and their teeth for many years to come feels incredible.”
Dr. Brody used to shy away from offering services to adults such as sealants because he’d hear complaints about out-of-pocket expenses that weren’t covered by insurance. “I was surprised at how easy it was to implement the services we weren’t offering,” Dr. Brody said. “The Team Training Institute created a paradigm shift. I was missing a whole avenue of how to treat patients because I was brainwashed by insurance benefits and how they’d trained my patients. The first month, people were saying “yes” to the treatment we offered, and I was shocked. We saw an immediate return on our investment right out of the gate and paid for the first year within the first couple of months.”
Nail Down Your Systems
Dr. Brody credits TTI for helping him implement important systems and making real progress. In 2021, they changed their practice operating system. Prior to The Team Training Institute, they were doing everything manually, which caused things to fall off and not be completed. They’ve also completed front office systems, the re-care system, and the hygiene department systems, and are working on their SOPs.
“We still need to commit more time to implementation; however we have software we are happy with and now we’re trying to get other systems nailed down,” Dr. Brody said. “I really appreciate seeing our KPIs and having our monthly calls with our coach Karleen. I'm no longer just gauging the success of the practice on how much money is in the bank checking account. We’re getting back to focusing on the key things that we need to be watching to know where we have opportunities for growth.”
Get Management In Place
Dr. Brody never had an official office manager before, although he tried to fill that role unsuccessfully for the past five years. “I had someone kind of fit that role, but when she had to leave quickly to move to Florida and take care of her mom, I went through a number of people at the front,” Dr. Brody said. “I got extremely frustrated and felt I was losing ground. When I sat down with Dr. John, I felt here is an opportunity to put it all back together and get help in doing it right.”
Today Dr. Brody is in the early stage of building the management team. He has an assistant lead, a front office lead, and Lisa is currently the hygiene lead, although she is transitioning out of that role and into more of a leadership role in the practice. “I see my team’s excitement,” Dr. Brody said. “I see their growth and what it's doing to take things off my plate. They can tackle things without having to bring it to me.”
In preparing his office for growth and creating redundancy to tiger proof, Dr. Brody’s team has grown from nine employees to thirteen. While they don’t have an associate yet, they are working to bring one on as quickly as possible after Dr. John helped the Brodys realize that if they want to maximize the value of the practice, they also need another doctor. With Dr. Brody being the only doctor, if he’s not there, the production falls off. Having multiple doctors also makes it more attractive to a buyer because production can be sustained.
Before TTI, Dr. Brody was hesitant to hire an associate because he’d heard about bad experiences from other doctors who’d attempted to bring one on. “I had a mindset that I'm already busy and that's just going to make life harder,” Dr. Brody said. “During the Vision Day I discovered that bigger is not harder, which was helpful for my wife to hear because she was hesitant to condone my desires to grow bigger. Although I was hesitant before, now I feel much more confident in that being the right direction and having resources and people to help me implement in the most effective way, without making too many mistakes.”
They’ve already hired one associate who will join them next July after she finishes her commitment with the Army, and they are currently interviewing associates to bring on an additional associate right away.
“Before I would have definitely been the negative angel in his ear saying, “We’ve got somebody coming in a year, there's no way we should hire on someone else because how can we afford it,” Lisa admitted. “But Dr. John has the vision. We know that you can't just listen to anybody and believe that success will come based on what sounds like a great idea. However, over this last year, TTI’s mentorship has continued to provide growth and success. At this point, I am still the more conservative one of the two of us, and I am fully behind us getting an associate this year, knowing that we already have somebody coming on next year, and that certainly would not have been the case had it not been for The Team Training Institute and their support.”
Create The Vision and Write A Plan For It
Dr. Brody and Lisa did a Vision Day with Dr. Meis in February to map out what had been spinning around in Dr. Brody’s head and provide clarity.
“At the Vision Day, Dr. John emphasized that Scott was an incredible producer, but it was killing him,” Lisa said. “When you're running that fast you don't have the patience to do the training or bring along the team. What Dr. John and TTI have done is really come alongside us, reassured us, and helped us make a fantastic plan that dives deep into our current situation with regards to our finances, our culture, our systems, what’s working, and what’s not working. We’ve got it down on paper so we can reflect on it with our employees and get everyone on the same page. We’ve got time built into our schedule to work on these things now. Even though we have more to implement, that’s where I’ve seen a significant reduction in stress because we've got a mentor and a plan.”
Dr. Meis along with TTI coaches Bert and Karleen have helped them to address capacity blockages and employee challenges, such as how to deal with the regular daily dramas.
“Having our coaches help with all of that reduces pressure,” Lisa said. “You’ve got somebody helping you maneuver through the day-to-day and can sit down with Dr. Meis to write down where you want to go and figure out what you need to do to get there. Hitting our goals feels amazing and we can see our numbers and our finances continue to grow and that’s really exciting.”
Get A Mentor To Help With Expansion and/or Exit
Before working with The Team Training Institute, Dr. Brody spoke with an emerging DSO who approached him about buying his practice. “I felt like they were trying to steal the practice from me,” he said. “I didn’t feel the offer was fair.”
After that, it was on his radar to find a mentor to help him expand to a second office instead of selling the practice.
“As we worked with The Team Training Institute, it became extremely clear that Dr. Meis is really who I’ve been looking for to help mentor me through that process, which is why we've started with their CEO group. I am absolutely looking forward to office number two. And after going through the Vision Day, I realize now that the thought of number three and four, which seemed scary a year ago, now I am much more confident that won’t be exponentially harder. I could envision having a third, fourth, and fifth practice. I don't really have a clear vision of that, but that no longer seems like pie in the sky.”
Remove the Stress of Retirement
One of the concerns for Scott was his exit strategy. It was important to him that he was well prepared and financially secure so that he and his wife would never be a burden to their children. “He's been carrying the weight of that, but now a lot of the weightiness of that has improved,” Lisa said. “He now sees a model for moving forward as CEO and not having to be breaking his back in the chair in his 60s. Instead, he sees that he can help mentor younger dentists who have the physical ability but lack experience and resources. We are celebrating together the fact that we don't have to rely on the funds that are in our retirement account. We understand that success for us is going to be about mentoring and still helping people in our community, just in a different way.”
Describing her husband as extremely independent and a detailed thinker, Lisa says it is not easy for him to let go of things. “Before The Team Training Institute, my husband worked through the analysis of ideas and tried to implement them on his own, Lisa said. “Now, he no longer must do it all alone. The Team Training Institute is a phenomenal name because the emphasis is on “team,” and it truly takes a team to run everything. Where I see the greatest success with TTI is that Scott is letting go. By joining the CEO group he can bounce ideas off a dozen other doctors. I’m seeing an excitement in him that I haven’t seen in a very long time because he doesn’t feel stuck.”
Knowing his vision is being implemented and that his plan will continue to be executed, Dr. Brody is excited about the future of his practice and being able to provide opportunities to the dental community.
“Five years ago, I had the mindset that I was going to just do the best dentistry I could to build up my practice,” Dr. Brody said. “I thought I’d get to a point where I could sell it for as much as I possible and sail off into the sunset. It became obvious to me that was not going to be the best way. We’re living longer and I didn’t know if I had enough put away for retirement. It's also harder for new grads to afford to pay me what I feel the practice is worth, so I was going to end up having to sell it for less to a DSO that had the money to buy it. Now my excitement is rejuvenated. I really enjoy dentistry, I'm just a little tired of being in the chair. Being able to mentor new dentists, give them the opportunity to have autonomy, and buy into a practice where they have a say and not be part of a DSO is exciting. Plus, I continue to have cash flow and income without having to work in the chair all the time.”
“For docs like myself who’ve been doing this for many years, the environment and the system we started with have changed. The model that we started with and what we envisioned the end of our career looking like has changed. However, you don't have to walk away from your practice. There are other ways to keep your hand in dentistry and have it benefit not only your family but others in our profession, as well as your community. I see The Team Training Institute as an opportunity to give our community the kind of care I'd want for my family instead of letting the DSO model take over our industry. We need to stand up for dentistry, and this is one way that we can keep the integrity of what we do at a high level."