THE MILLIONAIRE DENTIST PODCAST

Episode 55: Knowing When You Don't Know Enough

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EPISODE 55: Knowing When You Don't Know Enough

Casey Hiers and Jarrod Bridgeman discuss with Chief Operating Officer and Analyst Brogan Baxter why it is important for practice owners to realize when it's time to reach out for help.

 

EPISODE 55 TRANSCRIPTION

Announcer:
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, we do speak with an honest tongue and may not be safe for work.

Casey Hiers:
Hello and welcome. This is Casey Hiers back at it again in studio. I have special guest Brogan Baxter with us, again, chief operations officer, head analyst, part owner of the firm, and also our new co-host Jarrod is with us. Jarrod, thank you. Brogan, appreciate your time.

Brogan Baxter:
Hey, no, I appreciate you having me. Jarrod, good morning.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Hey, how are you?

Brogan Baxter:
I'm good.

Casey Hiers:
Here's a question to start us off: knowing enough to know what you don't know. Brogan, what are practice owners skilled in? What are dentists and specialists skilled in? And then what are they not skilled in? It's a Mr. Obvious question, but I want to hear it.

Brogan Baxter:
Dentistry. Yeah. Skilled in dentistry.

Casey Hiers:
You get a prize for that. Good.

Brogan Baxter:
Yes. Good, good. Gold star today. So yes, skilled in dentistry. Clinically brilliant.

Casey Hiers:
Pretty disciplined.

Brogan Baxter:
Disciplined. Good with their hands. They generally are overachievers. Prideful, but also very nice down to earth folks.

Casey Hiers:
Now I bet half of our listeners aren't prideful, but some can be.

Brogan Baxter:
I said some.

Casey Hiers:
Some. There you go. There you go. Well, yeah, when you achieve a lot, you are proud of it.

Brogan Baxter:
You're an overachiever.

Casey Hiers:
Yeah. I get that.

Brogan Baxter:
Who are we dealing with here guys? We're dealing with people that are serial overachievers, people that were valedictorians in high school. They were the top of their class in college, top of their class, or even top quarter of their class, in dental school. They've always overachieved. And then the overachievers of the overachievers end up in specialty school sometimes.

Casey Hiers:
No doubt about it. So what are areas that they might not be trained in or skilled in or might not be their best, but yet they're doing it and there's high stakes involved?

Brogan Baxter:
Yeah. The cupcake here is the soft skills, right? So we're talking about management, interpersonal relations, and all of this. And that's definitely one area.

Brogan Baxter:
Another big catch-all area would be a lot of things that deal with finance, money, running businesses, financial mindsets, things like that. Yes. Anything that touches either of those two pretty large areas are definitely areas that I don't want to say they're deficient in, but let's just say they're not as good as they are in some of the other areas.

Casey Hiers:
So let's circle back. When you said prideful and we'll say almost in a good way, there's pride in their work, pride in their craft.

Brogan Baxter:
Yes. Absolutely.

Casey Hiers:
So what happens is they graduate dental school, maybe an associate for a couple of years, they buy their practice- It's almost a bonus job to have the payroll, to have all those things. Then it's the bad side of pride. What happens is they've always been good, and so they just try to figure it out, try to figure out the business side, right?

Brogan Baxter:
Yeah. It's tough. And it can get in the way. You're talking to yourselves and I know there are dentists out here listening to this right now that are going, "Well, damn it, I made it through dental school and I was the top of my class and I've been the top and everything that I've ever done and blah, blah, blah, why can't I figure this out?" Or, "This is normal for me to deal with this."

Jarrod Bridgeman:
That's why we want to talk about the ideas. There's no shame in realizing and being self-aware, like, "Hey, you know what? I may not be the best at this." Or really, too, you don't have the time to even focus.

Brogan Baxter:
Something else that I feel like is, is something that dentists also can struggle with, getting back to prideful, not necessarily in a negative connotation, is sometimes they struggle with delegation.

Casey Hiers:
Because nobody does it good enough.

Brogan Baxter:
Nobody does it to their standards. How many people don't hand off any of their work to the expanded assistants because they can't fill a tooth like you can fill a tooth?

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Mm-hmm.

Brogan Baxter:
Ultimately they come to the realization over a period of time, "Wait a second. While I'm filling this tooth, I could be working on this big, huge case over here." They're looking at opportunity cost. Again, a business and economic term that they don't have a whole lot of familiarity, but ultimately they do figure that out.

Brogan Baxter:
Same thing with say payroll, overhead, accounting, some of that stuff, right? Delegation. Don't let your ego get in the way. There is a little bit of ego in dentistry. Dentists are chuckling as they're listening to this. There can be a little bit of ego involved. That's okay. You can be confident. We want you to be confident, but what you have to do is pick your battles, folks.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Well, that, I would say, the whole idea of, if you try to be great at everything, you're not going to be really good at anything.

Brogan Baxter:
Correct.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Like not saying you won't be good dentist, but if you're trying to wear all these different hats nonstop and constantly-

Casey Hiers:
Jack of all trades, master of none.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Exactly. Yeah. Things are going to fall through.

Casey Hiers:
I was at a state meeting and presenting, and always talk to many practice owners at the end. And they were saying, "These topics you've been covering," and she kind of whispered it, she goes, "I'll just Google it. Or I'll call somebody who I went to dental school with." And she's like, "I have one person I really like to talk to." And I said, "Oh, is her practice similar to yours?" And she kind of chuckled. And she goes, "No, they're a specialist and it's in a big city and I'm in a-" There was no similarities.

Casey Hiers:
And I think all too often, practice owners will Google or call someone they like and trust that's in dentistry. However, their situation is nothing like theirs and so it's very difficult to get sound advice. So they get lost sometimes and they just try to do it. And how much does it cost them, Brogan? How much does it cost a practice owner who is getting by on the business and finance side of dentistry? And they say, "Well, I'll figure it out." If they did it as good as it can be done, if they mastered it, [crosstalk 00:05:53] let's quantify it. Put a number to it. What's it cost people?

Brogan Baxter:
Sure. So let's look at this two ways. There are two costs involved. There is obviously the cost of, "If I stop doing these things and I hire somebody to do it, whether that's an employee, an outside advisor or whatever the case may be, there's obviously a cost attached to that." That's the obvious cost that people think of.

Brogan Baxter:
But then there's also the cost of not making the move. What can you produce if you give this up? If you free this up and let's say it's 10 hours a week, and I think that's probably, from what I've heard, that's five to 10 hours a week easily, part of the management aspect of the dental practice, depending on the size of your practice. So if you're looking at those hours, what can you do during that time in your practice?

Brogan Baxter:
And if you go back and you look at a lot of dental practices, again, depending on the size, most dentists are producing somewhere between $3,000 and 10,000, $12,000 a day. So you're giving up an entire day's worth of production. So you don't have to worry about it, being able to do that. Plus you have the costs involved. It's going to be a net gain on the whole, all the way. It's definitely going to be a net gain for the dentist over a period of time, but they have to take that first step.

Brogan Baxter:
You can't get hung up in all of the minutia of running a dental practice because you're focused too much on- I love this analogy. You're focused on the trees. Okay? We need you to look at the forest here. And the forest is getting to your production goal for the day, the week, the month, the year, whatever it is, and continuing to grow that year in and year out. It's continuing to make more money year in and year out. So what you do is you delegate all things that you're just simply too busy for, because there are other things you can make big money with.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Well, yeah. Just to kind of put that number there, you had mentioned roughly a 10 hour of management time is a $10,000 production day. And let's say you do that once a week. That's $500,000.

Brogan Baxter:
Yeah.

Casey Hiers:
That's well worth hiring multiple people that would get the job done.

Brogan Baxter:
That's true. But again, back to our central thesis of the day, there are things dentists are good at. There are things that they're not. Understanding some of the financials are not part of it. If it's not obligatory, directly in your face, it's going to cost me X. That's the only way they view it. They view it as an expense.

Brogan Baxter:
It's not an expense. They need to view it as an opportunity. Sure, there is a cost that comes with this, but basically you're paying somebody $10,000, $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 a year to manage all of that so you can make half a million dollars. Now I know the dentists maybe aren't the most financially astute, but folks, that's a tenfold at least return on your investment. And I think there's a lot of dentists that would sign up for that.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
I mean, I'd pay someone 10 grand to make half a million.

Brogan Baxter:
Yes.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Yeah. Right now.

Casey Hiers:
I'll give you an example about our title. Self-awareness: knowing what you don't know. So this week I had a plumbing issue in the basement, something about gravity and an ejector pumps and floats and valves and things of that nature. Well, I know nothing about it, but I Googled it. I looked at all the steps.

Brogan Baxter:
I think I know where this is going.

Casey Hiers:
And I realized there's no way in the hell I'm going to be able to tackle this project and my friends who are handy, they're not either. And so I had to pay- Like you said, there's more ways to look at it. On the front end, I had to pay a significant amount of money to get this fixed. It took a professional three and a half hours to fix it. This is a professional. Had I tried to do it myself, I would have ran into three X costs, time frustration, and it would have been a mess.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
You would have had to call somebody anyways to fix that, fix what you messed up.

Casey Hiers:
Pretty much. And we see that with practice owners, right? At 35, 38, 40, 44, sometimes; they don't get it. Well, then what happens when they're 55 and their spouse asks them when you're going to retire, and they know in their heart of hearts, that there's no way in hell they can retire. Then they call for help.

Casey Hiers:
And so this is all about knowing enough to know what you don't know and I would even say in a timely manner. Don't be that practice owner that spends decades trying to piecemeal it together. I probably would have spent weeks trying to figure that out and had issues. But thankfully my wife knows my limitations and I was humble enough to call a plumber.

Brogan Baxter:
It's okay to be vulnerable and to explore options, to find out what it would be like to rid yourself of some of these headaches. When I talk to dentists, when they come in for their annual meeting at our firm, we always talk about frustrations and things they want to improve upon and all of that. I can count on one hand the amount of clients that tell me, "Gosh, you know what? I just wish that I could do this procedure better." That doesn't happen often.

Brogan Baxter:
What our conversations generally end up revolving around is staff, leadership, dealing with all the BS that comes with running a practice. It's all the stuff that's not dentistry. We do have conversations about dentistry, but when new folks come here, the conversations can't be focused on dentistry because we got to wade through all of the trees to see the forest.

Casey Hiers:
Well, Brogan, to your forest and the trees analogy, when you're in the forest, in the trees, looking at those trees, I mean, it's tough, right? What are those trees? Tax surprises and overhead. And those are where the frustrations come.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Sequoias.

Casey Hiers:
Yeah. The redwoods. But those are the frustrations. And doing QuickBooks, and QuickBooks aren't up to date; those are the frustrations. And typically when they have the humbleness to get help, they never come back and go, "You know, I really miss it. I really miss that aspect of my practice, of doing the business side." People want to delegate, they just need to find the right people, have the right trust, to get the right results.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
And again, as you said, all in a timely manner. If you are doing your business for 10, 20, 30 years, you may, at this point, even realize, "Oh, I've been doing it wrong this whole time," but you've already sunk into this whole habitual practice.

Casey Hiers:
You're committed.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Yeah. This is how you do it now. You've acclimated to your own faults.

Brogan Baxter:
I don't have any comments on that.

Casey Hiers:
Well, speaking of knowing enough to know what you don't know, I think we know enough to wrap this up. Any parting comments, Jarrod?

Jarrod Bridgeman:
I know enough.

Casey Hiers:
Brogan, any parting messages to our listeners out there about self-awareness or the good side of pride versus maybe the bad side of pride?

Brogan Baxter:
It's a tough balance. It's a thin line between confidence and ...

Casey Hiers:
Hubris?

Brogan Baxter:
Absolutely. And so, one thing that 2020 showed a lot of dentists is, as they looked in the mirror and they were sitting at home binging on their Netflix queue or whatever else they were doing, going to ungodly amounts of CE and OSHA training and all this stuff remotely, one thing that they have learned is it gave them time to sit back and think, kind of pull back, slow down a little bit, reflect into yourself, look at yourself.

Brogan Baxter:
Some of them might be starting to get some of these inklings, like maybe if I had a better team, I could have done this differently. Maybe things aren't taking off the way I wanted to after COVID. Maybe there's some moves that I feel like I could have made in retrospect. If anybody feels like they need somebody, if nothing else to talk to and bounce some of these ideas off of, pick up the phone. Click on the link and ask to have a conversation. Everything starts there.

Casey Hiers:
Uncertainty is a terrible thing. And I always say, if you go to seek other solutions or someone to master them, one of two things is going to happen. Number one, you're either going to be confirmed that you're doing the right things and feel validated, or you're going to find out there is a better way and it's costing me hundreds of thousands of dollars potentially.

Casey Hiers:
Both results are good, but it does take some self-awareness and some humbleness.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
I was going to say, if you felt the hit of COVID, we never know when bad or troubled times may hit. So if you felt the hat hit, you may want to prepare yourself for the potential next big thing.

Casey Hiers:
Always good to be insulated.

Brogan Baxter:
Absolutely.

Casey Hiers:
Guys, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Jarrod Bridgeman:
Thank you.

Brogan Baxter:
Thank you guys for having me. I appreciate it.

Announcer:

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