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7.07.06 Issue #226

Owning Your Own Business…What a Headache!
A McKenzie Management Case Study

Nancy Caudill
Senior Consultant
McKenzie Management

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This case study is an illustration of a family dental practice maybe similar to yours. The names have been change to protect the guilty!

Dr. Kevin Carter’s Story:
I was responding to e-mails one day from clients and the phone rang.  It was Dr. Carter, a four month active client of McKenzie Management.  I want to share with you the history of this practice before I surprise you with the question that he asked…

Office Facts:
  • 10-year old specialty practice
  • Dr. Carter works 4 days a week
  • 1 hygienist working 2 days a week
  • Practice overhead at 62%

Dr. Carter sought McKenzie Management’s help because he felt that he should be more profitable and his production should be more than it was after 10 years of practicing in a “high end” area.  He found himself stressed out and had just fired his practice manager when he discovered that she wasn’t posting checks on a daily basis and missed too much work.  I guess you could say that he had “had it” with running a business and realized that what he was doing wasn’t working and needed to look for a different direction. 

Here is the truth about running a business.  Yes….your practice is a business and you are a business owner, whether you like it or not.  If you don’t want to be a business owner, then you should be an associate somewhere.  I work with dentists all the time that consider that option every day.  However, when I ask a client why he/she chose dentistry as a profession, they all share these two reasons:

  • “I want to own my own business and work when I want to”
  • “I want to help people”

These seem like reasonable and easily accomplished goals; however, we all know that owning your own business is NOT easy.
Just in case you are one of the lucky ones that have managed to conquer all your business frustrations, allow me to remind you what I see in practices every day:

  • Staff turnover
  • Salary negotiations
  • Not enough income to pay yourself a decent salary
  • Not busy enough
  • Too busy
  • No one to delegate the daily business tasks to
  • Stressed out because of all the above
  • No family time
  • Just plain tired of the daily routine

Sometimes you can imagine how simple life would be if you just had to come to work, do dentistry, get your paycheck and go home!  Gee..what fun would that be?


If you are struggling with some or all of these business frustrations, you can seek relief from a reputable dental consulting firm like McKenzie Management.  By the way, we don’t have magic wands to make all the headaches disappear.  Headaches are part of the responsibility that comes with the package but we can sure offer you many prescriptions for you to take to diminish your pain and suffering…sometimes it even goes away permanently!

Here is some good news:  We have been known to turn a “pumpkin” into a “beautiful carriage” when the staff and doctor are willing to do the work that it takes to change the course of their practice.  Funny thing about change…..if there isn’t some outside force that is applied to your daily practice routine, nothing will change and you will continue to get the same results.

Okay…..back to my story.  Dr. Carter took his medicine like a good patient and also administered it to his staff, who also took theirs.  He applied different forces that I recommended to him after we spent several days together discussing his challenges.  The practice changed!  His pumpkin DID turn into a carriage…right before his eyes!

Now to share with you his question:
“Nancy, thanks to you and our hard work as a team, we have been applying your business methods for four months now.  It is the middle of the month and I have met my monthly goal with almost two weeks to spare….can I take the rest of the month off?

What do you think I told him? :-)

Change your prescription and seek some relief.  Call McKenzie Management to discover how we can relieve your headaches.

If you would like more information on how McKenzie’s Practice Enrichment Programs can help you….. email

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  Nov. 8 San Diego, CA - San Diego Womens Dental Society Sally McKenzie  
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