Jackson Dental hit over $500,000 in one month and Dr. Jackson was able to reduce his hours from 4 to 3 clinical days.
profitability, management, leadership, systems, hygiene production, teamwork
Dr. Geoff Jackson was at his wit’s end. Feeling out of control and completely drained, he said, “At the end of each day, I just wanted to say, ‘Please, please leave me alone.’”
The 38-year-old dentist had steadily grown his practice, Jackson Dental, from scratch to $2.1 million on his own with no outside help. Located in downtown Tampa, his idea to provide working adults with convenient dentistry by being near their offices was successful, growing approximately 15% year over year. He’d started in August 2013 with zero patients, an assistant hygienist, and a front desk person, promising them each 24 hours a week. “I got some great people to work with me,” Dr. Jackson said. “If we didn't have a patient, we were downtown during our lunch hour handing out packs of gum with our logo on them and trying to get people to come through the door.”
But by 2020, with only 1700 square feet, he was struggling with capacity issues. He knew that to continue growing, he needed to be as efficient and effective as possible. “I’d built my whole practice around same-day dentistry and convenience, so I already had that pretty much down,” Dr. Jackson said. “But hygiene was a loss leader, so I knew I had to revamp my hygiene department.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, his office was furloughed except for one front desk person, so he paid his staff to do CE credits. The one person they watched a lot was Wendy Briggs, so he brought in The Team Training Institute for Hygiene Explosion training with his team. “We saw Wendy quite a few times and already liked her,” Dr. Jackson said. “I’ve always been wary of consultants. I’d always felt like I was doing well and could do it without them, but then the AACA (American Academy of Clear Aligners), which I’m a big-time member of, recommended The Team Training Institute and I also had a good friend of mine from AACA, Dr. Rob Herron, who is killing it, recommend them. He’s been using The Team Training Institute for over a decade, I believe, and he just swears by them, so I decided to give them a shot to see what would happen.”
He saw immediate results. “I thought it was crazy how quickly the hygiene could be implemented,” Dr. Jackson said. “It was overnight. We met on a Friday and then on Monday we were doing it, and the entire team was on board.” This caused enormous growth, growing 47.62% in one year. But now a previously unaddressed problem became worse.
“There are a lot of hats that must be worn in a practice, and I’ve always worn every one of them,” Dr. Jackson admitted. “I did everything myself, which included answering everyone’s questions. At one point I felt so crazy that I got a counter like they have at theme parks. Every time someone asked me a question, I would click so I could keep track of how many questions I was being asked in a day. All day long, I was being asked questions. It was 140 questions in one day. I thought, ‘No wonder I am feeling mentally exhausted at the end of each day!’”
This prompted Dr. Jackson to sign up for The Team Training Institute’s Blue Diamonds Program. At seven months into the program, he’s hitting record month after record month and is on track to double his practice by the end of the year. “Last month, we hit our best and craziest month ever,” Dr. Jackson said. “We hit over $500,000 in one month, which is absolutely insane, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our progress.”
Even better, he no longer feels mentally exhausted and loves his practice again. He’s reduced his clinical days from four down to three days without reducing his own production. Here are Dr. Jackson’s top takeaways:
Strive to continually improve.
TTI’s training helped Dr. Jackson bust out of routines that weren’t working and improve patient care.
“I care about all my patients, and I want to give them the best,” he said. “I always want to give them all their options, so they can decide. This allows me to sleep at night because THEY made the decision. With the Perio department, I felt like we weren't giving our patients everything we could. Habits had formed, and I didn't know how to break them. I was just trudging along doing things the way they’ve always been done. I needed someone who was in a leadership role, but an outsider coming in and saying, ‘Hey I see you guys are doing great, but you know you could do XYZ better. My team easily bought into, ‘Let's give our patients the best, let's give them more options.’ I felt that’s something we never educated our patients or our team on before. We weren’t doing any Perio, and we needed to step up our game in that way. TTI gave my team the tools to be able to have those conversations a little easier and improve our patient care.”
He was impressed by how quickly each training was implemented, from Hygiene Explosion to Perio Explosion to World Class Patient Experience training. “It was really surprising and great how fast these were implemented,” Dr. Jackson said. “We came up with all these great ideas and we were ready to rock and roll immediately. It wasn’t me asking, ‘What are we going to implement today? It just happened. There wasn't anything that I had to bring back from CE training, which was great because there's no way you can bring back the enthusiasm and the energy that you just witnessed from a CE. I could be the most magnetic person ever and I’m not going to do a good enough job and I’m not going to have enough time to do it either.”
Bring In An Outside Leader Who Is An Experienced Hygienist To Optimize Production
There was instant respect for The Team Training Institute (TTI) from Dr. Jackson’s team which has been instrumental in getting every team member on board. This not only has elevated their patient care, but also increased production. For example, before they did zero sealants for adult patients and now they consistently do them. Both Dr. Jackson and his associate, Dr. Sarah Sheffield, have been able to reduce their clinical days from four down to three days without affecting their production.
“I've been extremely careful with what I bring into my practice and how quickly I roll things out so I was nervous about bringing in an outside company,” Dr. Jackson said. “However, I loved that TTI has trained hygienists as coaches. Bert was my first TTI coach, and as a trained hygienist, she had an instant connection. Not only between my hygienists and Bert, but my entire team trusted her as an outsider. When we first started, I met with Bert for about ten minutes before she met the team. It only takes ten minutes and you’re good. I felt like she had our back and our best interest in mind. After I met with Bert, she met with the hygienists to get to know them and give them some backstory. Then she met with the whole team. By the time I was done meeting with her, I was like, ‘Yes!’ She just puts you at ease. Plus, everything she says is a home run. It's like you just want one gem, but you keep getting gem after gem from her. I think it's natural to be wary of an outsider because your team is like family. Bert became one of us and part of the family very quickly and it’s been an awesome thing. Plus, I've always been patient-centered and I feel that's something that TTI prides itself on being too.”
Involve your whole team.
After doing The Team Training Institute’s Hygiene Explosion training with his entire team and seeing how effortlessly he was able to implement that into his practice, he realized how important it is to have as many team members as possible involved in every training. “I’ve realized that when something is important to me, I try to bring the whole team,” Dr. Jackson said. “If I can’t bring everyone, I bring as many people as I possibly can, because that's how you get full team engagement and involvement. Involving the team is a crazy concept. If they're not there, they don't care.”
Involving his team has also reduced his stress level and helped him feel relaxed about situations that previously would have upset him. Recently, a hygienist had to be let go. Prior to hiring her, Dr. Jackson and his team defined the core values of the practice during TTI training. After the hygienist worked for him for two months, based on their core values, it was mutually decided that they should part ways. “Core values have helped us to realize when someone doesn’t fit,” Dr. Jackson said. “Which is a good thing because it’s better to have them walk away than to have them continue with us and show bad behaviors. TTI has freed me up in the mental space to be okay with that. I was on vacation when I got the text about this hygienist situation. Before TTI, that would have crushed me, but now I have systems in place, so I didn’t have to worry about it. Now, my office manager Brittni does the interviewing and hiring, not me. We also have assisted hygiene in our back pocket, and if we need to run a month of assisted hygiene while we find a replacement, it's not a big deal. Our hygienists and our assistants are now equipped and knowledgeable enough to still make it a five-star experience.”
Create systems for everything.
The most impactful TTI system he’s put in place is an organizational hierarchy. This has created accountability and helps the team achieve important goals, especially as the team grows. “The system that explains our organizational structure and defines the roles the leadership team plays is the best system that we possibly could have done for the practice that's going to lead to success,” Dr. Jackson said. “Before TTI, I said everybody's going to be on the same page and on the same team. Everybody's going to have each other's back and everybody's going to do everything. But as we get more and more people and multiple people in the same role, such as three people working up front, if everybody has the same job, then no one does it.”
Build a leadership team.
Before TTI, Dr. Jackson had no office manager and no leaders. It was 100% him making all the decisions and running the show. Since joining the Blue Diamond program, he’s promoted three people from within to leadership roles. He now has an office manager, a hygiene lead, and a front desk lead, which helps him answer people’s questions and run the practice.
“I’ve always worn every single hat and felt very involved,” Dr. Jackson said. “As we started to hire more and more people and went from 11 team members to 16, I felt extremely overwhelmed. It doesn't sound like a ton more people, but I felt like I didn't have time anymore to control everything. I felt out of control and feeling out of control is a horrible feeling. You just want to literally leave. While I wasn't going to leave, it was one of those things where I knew I needed to change. I wanted to come up with systems for everything in the practice from the front desk to clinical. I wanted a leadership team so that they could help me. I didn’t want to be the first person who people came to for answers anymore. Before everyone would come to see me as their first point of contact. My goal is to be the last point of contact. Promoting Brittni to office manager and putting her in that accountability role has changed my entire stress level. Our morning huddles and weekly meetings have changed, too. Before TTI, our morning huddles weren't as focused. Now they're laser-focused on what we do and how we do it. We have a checklist that we run through every morning. It's not a rant or a venting session like it was before. Now it’s a well-oiled machine. Having an office manager, the two clinical leads and those weekly meetings is everything. Because now I don't need to talk to each person to have a feel for what's going on. I can just talk with them in the weekly meetings and have a good pulse of the practice.”
Provide your leadership team with tools & training.
Dr. Jackson credits his TTI business coach, Kellie, for giving him and his leadership team the nudge they needed to get systems in place, something they hadn’t been successful at doing before. Kellie not only helps Dr. Jackson, but she also helps his leadership team step more into their leadership roles. While they meet with Kellie once a month, she’s accessible whenever they need her through text, Zoom, and email should something urgent come up between meetings. “I definitely couldn't have done it without TTI because they hold you accountable and sometimes you need to be held accountable,” he said. “When we meet with Kellie she asks if we are doing things… like, ‘Hey did you have your weekly meetings?’ And if we didn’t do it, she asks, ‘Why not?’ which is something I need in my life. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to come up with systems and these types of things and they just never stuck. We’d meet for a week or two, and then it just fizzled away. This is the first time where my team wants to meet. They’ll even come get me and say, ‘Hey this is our time to meet.’ It’s just different this time and I couldn’t be happier that it finally stuck. Plus, Kellie is really accessible for those real-time questions that come up where I can’t wait a month to get an answer. She just steps on a Zoom call with us right away, which has been amazing and helps to train my leadership team, too.”
Currently, Dr. Jackson and his leadership team are focusing on the systems. More importantly, Kellie is helping to bring his office manager, Brittni, into her role of leading the practice versus Dr. Jackson being the go-to for everything. “We’re trying to figure out how that works with the practice versus me being the lead, which is a weird thing, but I was at my wit's end,” Dr. Jackson said. “I was extremely frustrated. I was exceedingly overwhelmed. And I felt exhausted all day. I’ve always loved going to my office and I love my team, but when you have enough days where you feel like that, you start doubting how long you can do it. When you fix this, then you're like, ‘Oh hell yeah, we're back!’ This is everything to me. I'm back to my old self and feel good again. I'm back to being happy. We're doing dance breaks in the hallway and having fun again. That’s the kind of day I want.”
An unexpected bonus is how Dr. Jackson feels now that he’s promoted team members. “I always enjoy watching my team, learn and grow, but watching them grow as leaders has been something else,” he said. “It’s been really, really special.”
Tiger-Proofing your practice does more than protect you.
Before TTI, Dr. Jackson had one associate and a team of 11 people. Now Dr. Jackson has two associates, Dr. Sarah Sheffield and Dr. Kim Phelps, and has grown his team to 16 people. “I feel that tiger-proofing is happening,” Dr. Jackson said. “Because we hit our numbers, and then some, when I’m away. Recently, I was on vacation with my wife in St. Lucia. I received a text from my office manager saying they were killing it. They had $8,000 on the schedule and finished the day with $31,000. I feel like anytime I’m away from the practice, my associates have more room to do more dentistry. They are hungry. They like doing same-day dentistry. They like doing what is best for our patients and making it convenient for them. I feel the practice is well taken care of in my absence. The practice is my baby and with Brittni as the manager, she treats the practice just as I treat it. The clinical leads have my back with keeping all the back team in line. We don’t have a lot of space, and only seven operatories, so we must play musical chairs and they make that happen.”
In response to the day they had while Dr. Jackson was on vacation, a new member expressed her gratitude using a forum Dr. Jackson learned from TTI. “She posted about how the teamwork was amazing when everything was crazy and how they were all running around getting things done,” Dr. Jackson said. “She even teared up and was emotional. She was grateful to be a part of the team and she thanked us for it. We feel like family. To me that’s success, and it feels good.”
Replace Salary with Profits
Profits have skyrocketed since working with TTI. Over the last year, Dr. Jackson has paid himself like an associate and pays himself the rest through his profits. Increased profits have also allowed him to invest more in technology, which has expanded his toolbelt. For example, he’s adding the ability to do implants to his offerings.
Profitability has also given him confidence to grow his practice even more. He’s currently looking for land to open a second office, while perfecting his systems so that when the opportunity presents itself, he’ll be ready. “Once you have your fixed costs taken care of that's when you finally get to see the profitability,” Dr. Jackson said. “The more we do inside our teeny tiny little office, the more profitable we become, and the more confident I am in opening a second spot, so we can help more patients. I'd love to open another practice and feel that’s my next step. My team is 100% behind us opening a second location, which is a cool thing. I look forward to opening practice number two with Dr. John, Wendy, Kellie, Bert, and the whole team. I can’t picture growing to the next step without them.”
Dr. Jackson credits The Team Training Institute for his accelerated growth over the past two years and says without their help, he fears he would have burned out and ended up selling his practice. Today, he’s excited about his practice again and “thrilled with the return on investment (ROI)” he is receiving through the Blue Diamond program.
“Before The Team Training InstituteI thought, ‘I've got this’ and I did have it,” Dr. Jackson said. “I was doing just fine if not better than average, but now I feel like we are crushing it, so I’m extremely happy to have TTI as partners. Being able to go from four days clinical to three days clinical has changed my life and I'm never going to look back. Now I don't feel overwhelmed because I have an extra day to work on the practice. I do very well when I can be more of a visionary and have time to implement. Now I have a team surrounding me that will actually implement my ideas versus before when I had ideas, and they would just sit on a Word document or a legal pad for years. I feel happier and no longer feel overwhelmed. I don't feel overworked. And I don't feel over-stressed. It wasn’t that I was unhappy before, it was that I felt like there was a 1000-pound elephant on my back, and all the stress of making this thing work. Before, there was no one else to share it with, and now I have a team where we share it all together. It’s not just the leadership team that shares and wants to win, it's the whole team that shares in everything, and that's why it doesn't feel heavy anymore. I’m on track to hit $4 million this year. Without The Team Training Institute, I definitely wouldn’t have experienced this kind of fast growth. Sometimes you must spend a little money to see this type of growth. It was always overwhelming to me, especially in the beginning wondering, ‘Am I going to get my money's worth out of this?’ But then I’d do what TTI said, and I’d see ROI. Plus, now that these systems are set in place, they are generating a constant revenue stream. Each year I learn something new and that brings me an additional constant revenue stream. TTI helps you to just keep building on every year, which means you’re always going to get a good return on investment with them. So, if you are thinking about joining The Team Training Institute, just do it. The coaches are fantastic and have become part of our family. I would encourage any dentist to take the leap of faith and can tell you that you will definitely get a return on your investment.”