Three Career Potholes You Want to Avoid

In Business by Dental Entrepreneur

In the face of rising competition, dentists are making decisions that at one time would have spurred growth but today can often lead to failure. Avoid these three potholes on your path to practice success:

Pothole #1: Over-building the New Office

When a dentist decides to move offices, they often take on more space as they start to consider adding associates or even buying a building that doubles as rental property. While these options can be successful, they can also lead to failure. When a new office is built or purchased, a large capital contribution is made. If the dentist finds that the new office isn’t growing as quickly as anticipated, or the practice experiences a decline, the dentist will not see a return on all the associated expenses that come with owning a larger, higher-tech facility. Whether it’s a good idea to build a bigger office should be grounded in strategic planning. However, just as in everything else in life, there are no guarantees.

Pothole #2: Relying on the Anti-Change Office Manager

There are many dedicated and motivated office managers. However. there are also many office managers who are resistant to change and want to hold onto their positions, keeping the rest of the staff at a certain level so that they won’t be challenged. When this happens growth will be reduced, and status quo will set in. According to the Levin Group Data Center, approximately 96% of dental office managers have no management background. It is imperative that office managers have access to training and education and are motivated to continually improve their own performance. The key is to use training to help develop the office manager skillset, continually add to that skill set and measure performance using quantitative statistics to objectively determine performance.

Pothole #3: Indecisive Partners

When partners focus more on their individual self-interests, many decisions never get made. One common example of this is a senior partner who is hesitant to invest in improving the practice because of their impending retirement, while a younger partner is ready to go all in.

Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions for this scenario, and there is often no compromise; thus no decision is made. Younger partners will often wait for senior partners to retire so that they can make the necessary changes to move forward. Unfortunately, sometimes this comes after the practice has been hurt by the indecisiveness. All partners must be taught and reminded to think of the practice first before they think of themselves.


If you are in or have experience with, one of these potholes, bouncing back is not difficult as long as there is an awareness of what is happening. Watch for these potential problems in your practice, and don’t wait to act.

ROGER P. LEVIN, DDS is a third-generation general dentist and the Founder and CEO of Levin Group, Inc., a dental management consulting firm that has worked with over 26,000 dentists. Dr. Levin, an internationally-known dental practice management speaker has written 65 books and over 4,300 articles. He is also the Executive Founder of Dental Business Study Clubs – Dentistry’s only All-Business Study Clubs, the next generation of dental business education.