Consultants: Yea or Nay?

By Reese Harper, CFP® , Founder of Dentist Advisors    |   Advisors

As a dentist, you do it all (or attempt to)—your own books, financial analysis, marketing strategies, investment management, HR, and more. That’s a lot to be in charge of, especially if you try to go it alone.

Compared to most other people, you have to deal with a lot more complexity. You’re an expert clinical practitioner and a small business owner, which means you manage more revenue—and more debt. You’re faced with a ton of decisions which can often result in uncommon complications. 

The Power of Collaboration 

I’m not a huge fan of reality TV, but I have to give the show Survivor props. When it started in 2000, Bill Clinton was president and you probably did most of your phone calls on a landline. Here’s what I find most interesting: hardcore fans know how to “play” the game of Survivor. They’ve watched it so closely over the years they understand there’s a system to winning. 

And winning at Survivor (and dentistry) begins by building alliances with others who are part of your team. What was the last big problem you faced at your practice? Who did you turn to? A partner? A friend? Or maybe a trusted advisor who acts as your sounding board? Who are the people who’ve been your allies and helped you survive?

Adding a different viewpoint results in seeing a challenge through a unique perspective. And a fresh point-of-view can trigger your own creativity, allowing you to see a problem more objectively from another angle. 

Make Your Life Easier

No matter who you are, it’s always helpful to bounce ideas off other people who have a lot of experience in a given area. Surrounding yourself with the right people can help ease the burden of wearing so many hats as you try to run a successful practice. That’s why I think that any practice should have several good consultants on hand. People you’re ready to call at a moment’s notice when the issue is the right one for a consultant’s advice.

By bringing in advisors, you’re putting yourself in a position to be the gatekeeper of good advice. You just need to be careful to pinpoint and prioritize your target need. Are you struggling with an equipment purchasing decision? An overhead management issue? A new patient challenge? Are you trying to schedule more effectively? Or do you have an HR or staffing problem? Ask the right person the right question. That requires you do enough research to know who can really help provide the right solutions. 

Seeking help from other people doesn’t mean you’re asking them to make the final call.  The buck always stops with you, but those who seek advice from their network often avoid major pitfalls and end up further ahead.   

Do What You Do Best 

You’ve already invested a great deal of money and energy into building a highly specialized skill set. Those skills have a high price and the reward is you earn a very high rate per hour for the work you do—$500, $700, $1,000+ an hour. If you want to have a successful practice and life, I recommend you outsource everything that is not your core competency.

Outsourcing non-core issues allows you to free your energies, get more people into your chairs, build your brand, and add to your skills through additional CE. As a dentist, it’s essential that you continue to maximize your hourly production, which generates significantly more income than what the majority of these consultations will cost you. 

By taking those jobs off your plate you’re left with more time to do the things you’re uniquely qualified to do. When you delegate anything that’s not your core competency, you maximize your profits and create more time to enjoy important personal moments.

Conclusion—Don’t Go It Alone

You’re a dentist. You’re smart. When the rest of us sit in your chair it’s nice to know your supercharged brain got you through all those science classes, entrance exams, and the rigors of dental school. But that doesn’t mean you should tackle every business and financial decision on your own. The most successful dentists build a team of experts to advise them regularly on matters of business and finance. 

Bringing together the energy and talents of other people can help you reach goals that would not have been possible for you as an individual. If you need to make a strategic decision, having good advisors who can chime in and help you through the process can be indispensable. It will take a lot of the burden off of your shoulders so you can focus on good dentistry—and when work is done, you can relax and have some fun.

Reese Harper, CFP®  is host of the Dentist Money™ Show, a weekly podcast dedicated to helping dentists make smart financial decisions. He is also the founder of Dentist Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm which focuses exclusively on dentists and specialists. His trademarked planning methodology called Elements® is used by dentists all over the country to plan, invest, and retire better.

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