The Millionaire Dentist Podcast

Episode 26: When the Sh*t Hits the Fan!

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On today’s episode of The Millionaire Dentist podcast, we’ll discuss how to react to the unexpected. The COVID-19 pandemic requires we make quick decisions to secure our future. Casey Hiers and Jason Ewers of Four Quadrants Advisory discuss how to react when faced with such adversity. We want our listeners to come out of this positioned to be more effective than before.

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Podcast Transcription:

Speaker 1:

Hello everyone. Welcome to the Millionaire Dentist Podcast, brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. On this podcast we break down the world of dentistry finances and business practices to help you become the millionaire dentist you deserve to be. Please be advised that we do speak with an honest tongue and may not be safe for work.

Casey Hiers:

All right. This is Casey Hiers. I have Jason Ewers with me. We're back at it on the Millionaire Dentist Podcast. We have recently been to the belly of the beast, Jason. We have traveled to Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, Boston and California during the first quarter of 2020. We either got lucky or we beat this damn virus and didn't even know it.

Casey Hiers:

Regardless, this is going to catapult us into our topic today, which is when the shit hits the fan. Jason, when I say that, what does that topic bring to mind, when the shit hits the fan?

Jason Ewers:

Ideally what it brings to mind is the movie Airplane, when they literally had shit hitting a fan. But, no, it's when things get bad. It's unforeseen circumstances that happen out there and you're not really sure what you're going to do.

Casey Hiers:

Yeah. I think that's a very good definition of what it is. I'm a bit of a prepper, not like you'll see on TV. I try not to take it to that level, but I do try to prepare. And when I think of that title, I think of losing power, power outages, civil unrest and EMP, things like that, government geopolitical things happening, marshal law, things of that nature.

Casey Hiers:

Now oddly enough this morning we were without power for 14 hours. I'm dusting off my generator, trying to get that thing going. It felt like the shit was hitting the fan, and I can tell you from my experience this morning the stress levels, they creep up and they creep up and they creep up, and I felt it.

Casey Hiers:

As we think about dentistry and dentists, what does the shit hitting the fan mean for them when those things happen? I'll start off with before COVID-19 if two staff members left that was a bad day for a practice owner.

Jason Ewers:

Oh, yeah. I mean any time you have loss of staff and you're not prepared for it and it's a surprise, you know, it's an extra workload on the dentist and the rest of the staff, and then you have to go through the process of rehiring new staff.

Casey Hiers:

And it just takes time. I've got another one for you. I was meeting with a practice owner in the state of Illinois, and the State of Illinois owed him $600,000 for dentistry that he had provided, and the State was broke and not paying anything. I would categorize that as something hitting the fan. If you're owned $600,000 for work done and your cash flow is not great, that's a bad day.

Jason Ewers:

Oh, yeah. I mean it's... Especially when it's government, so you think you're going to get it in a timely manner and you don't get it, you're out and you're still waiting on it.

Casey Hiers:

Yeah. You'd like to think you can go to them for answers and they're the ones that owe it to you.

Jason Ewers:

Absolutely.

Casey Hiers:

I'll zoom it into actually a client of ours, somebody that we know. They had a day that was pretty bad as a practice owner. Their practice flooded, completely flooded. They couldn't practice. They were told a couple weeks, then a couple months. He practiced out of two chairs from a colleague down the street, but for him, he has experienced some of the things that practice owners are experiencing in this COVID-19 office closure season that we're in. He had to do that a few years back because his practice physically was completely flooded out.

Casey Hiers:

Thankfully for him, his financial house was in order. He had systems and processes in place. The areas that practice owners can struggle in, he had done a good job with those, so he came out better. He didn't just survive, he thrived. But your practice flooding, I'd put that up there as a bad day.

Jason Ewers:

Yeah. I always go back to thinking about one of our current clients. His partner just went out to a local hibachi bar, thought he'd get a little fried rice and some steak off the hibachi, and a piece of hot oil pops up in his eye and he can't practice dentistry anymore.

Jason Ewers:

Now that's a different type of shit hitting the fan, but it definitely does create an issue within that practice dynamic. You're going from two doctors to one doctor. That ups the load for everybody at that point in time. How do you go about managing that extra stress level you have, the anxiety that you have, and still be able to provide great dentistry to your patient?

Casey Hiers:

Well, and you mentioned it earlier, the shit hitting the fan are things that happen that are unexpected, that you may or may not be prepared for, and that cause stress and that lead to magnifying weaknesses. And you're right. For him simply going to a nice Benihana and oil splattering, eye injury, cannot practice dentistry anymore, that was hard for him and that was hard for his partner.

Casey Hiers:

But let's zoom it in. I mean if there's a global pandemic that causes a dental practice owner's office to be closed for let's say four to 12 weeks, that's what we're talking about today. When the shit hits the fan as a practice owner, like it is right now, you're closed, the government is telling you you cannot make money, weaknesses are magnified.

Casey Hiers:

If someone's overhead, income, their retirement savings, their practice account balances, their cash flow... If those areas were weak and they were just sort of running and gunning, they are magnified right now, and there's a lot of stress similar to what I had this morning trying to get my damn generator going, you're office being closed for that long, there's a lot of stress associated with that, and that's really what we're talking about today.

Jason Ewers:

No, you're right, and it goes back to planning. It's all about what you have to plan for unforeseen circumstances. We all hate to pay private pay insurance out there, but we do it. It hurts writing that check every month, but when you do have to use it you're sure glad that you have it.

Casey Hiers:

Okay, so you're saying you got to spend 500 bucks a month for insurance because maybe both spouses are private business owners?

Jason Ewers:

Sure.

Casey Hiers:

Okay. I got you.

Jason Ewers:

Yeah, you know, 1099 employees, self business.

Casey Hiers:

That's a great example. You've got to prepare for something. You don't love doing it, it's costing you money, but when it's time you're sure happy you had it. That's a great way to look at it. If the business side of your practice was strong and the systems and processes were in place, you can withstand six, eight, 10 weeks of this, and we know that first-hand.

Casey Hiers:

But if the business side of your practice was not being handled well, eight to 10 days can put a real strain on things, and beyond that there's a lot of questions, and we're hearing that consistently. But ask yourself who do you call or who helps a practice owner when the shit hits the fan, when your office is closed, when cash flow is rough? There's a million examples of things that can happen within a practice, and you've seen them yourself.

Jason Ewers:

Oh yeah, absolutely. And kind of go back a step here on what you said there, it's been... If there is a silver lining to all this, it has been very interesting to see our clients go through this and how our company has the right systems and processes in place to really... It's that insurance to protect against when the shit hits the fan, and watch everything just roll out like it rolls out, and how all of our clients, the stress levels are not there.

Jason Ewers:

They know that we have their back, that they've got a voice, they've got people there to do the heavy lifting for them. And they can, like you said, withstand six to eight weeks of this shutdown that we're having nationally right now.

Casey Hiers:

Well listen, we're talking to our clients multiple times a day. They feel good. They're having pizza delivered to our offices. But how does this help our listener?

Casey Hiers:

Here's the nut of this ultimately. You want to come out of this swinging. This is unprecedented times we're living in history, and Jason as a good quote. But listen, if you want to come out stronger here's a good quote I would like you to-

Jason Ewers:

Oh, absolutely. I saw this on LinkedIn the other day, but it kind of really did resonate during these times. "Bad practices are destroyed by crisis. Good practices survive them. Great practices are improved by them."

Casey Hiers:

That's a great quote, and here's the thing, the good, great, excellent... The criteria isn't if you're providing great dentistry. The criteria isn't do you have a good culture. The criteria ultimately on this topic of good to great is simply cash flow, income, retirement, can you pay your staff, how long can you pay your staff, overhead.

Casey Hiers:

Those are the measurements, and so we're imploring practice owners use this time to educate yourself, how can I be better, how can I be stronger, how can I come out swinging? And listen, there's some questions that are going to be asked when this is all over, but right now hopefully you have someone you're talking to that can answer is your government PPE loan used correctly, when should you start bringing staff back, what patients should be brought back, and when?

Jason Ewers:

Yeah. I mean that's exactly right. You got to think when you start booking patients when the lockdown is lifted you're going to have to have some cash flow, so when you decide on which patients that you're going to have to reschedule you're probably going to do fee for service people first hopefully, and that way you could getting some cash flow coming in.

Jason Ewers:

But then you also have to be a little bit cognizant of your patients' cashflow as well, so you got to think in your mind are you going to allow some terms? Are you going to do 50% up front and then 50% 30 days later? These are all things that you need to have planned ahead of time and just not say, oh, the lockdown is lifted, patients start flowing in.

Casey Hiers:

Well, again, when the shit hits the fan is the topic, and what we're saying is that can happen at any time, from going to a hibachi grill, to having a flood, to being involved in a pandemic and your office is closed. But how can you be better? How can you come out of this stronger?

Casey Hiers:

Our recommendation would be do an inventory of your infrastructure, your systems and processes, your overhead, your income, retirement savings, your tax management. Are you getting proactive advice on a daily basis during this, and if you're not reach out. Use this time to investigate and come out stronger, knowing that if this happened again you're not the dentist that is struggling on day 18, but instead after two and a half months you're not where you'd like to be, but you're still okay, you're still going to open your doors, you're going to bring back the majority of your staff, and you're going to be okay.

Jason Ewers:

Absolutely. Great words Casey.

Casey Hiers:

Very good. Well, I think this was a good topic. It was a timely topic for a variety of reasons, but hopefully our listeners got something out of this. And again, please reach out to us, and if you have specific questions about anything we cover or you have a specific situation with your practice we'd love to talk with you.

Speaker 1:

That's all the time we have today. Thank you to our guests for their insight and for sharing some really great information, and thank you to you, the listener, for tuning in. The Millionaire Dentist Podcast is brought to you by Four Quadrants Advisory. To see if they might be a good fit for you and your practice go on over to fourquadrantsadvisory.com and see why year after year they retain over 95% of their clients.

Speaker 1:

Thank you again for joining us, and we'll see you next time.