So everyone’s “blogging” these days. Almost felt like I was doing something wrong by not having an active blog going. Well, I thought I’d give it a try. We are going to set this up and try to be as informal as possible. I want to have a way for the team be able to communicate with our current and prospective patient base. One of the biggest problems with business growth is the loss of intimacy. I’ve decided I’m going to do everything in my power to regain some of that real connection. It’s hard for me to draw a line in the sand and say “That’s it, we are done growing, and we are not going to be taking any more new patients into our office” We are so blessed to see new faces every day. I get so excited being able to help someone that has been bounced around from dental office to dental office looking for the right fit. Daily we see a new patient that hasn’t been to a dentist in many years due to an unbelievable fear or serious anxiety due to a previous bad experience. How could I ever turn these people away? We never will!!! When we started the practice, I envisioned two core principles: first, I wanted to change the way people felt about going to the dentist. Secondly, I would do everything possible to help all those who wanted us to be their dentist. Those two principles have guided us pretty darn well over the last 12 years.
So the goal of our practice moving forward is to continue providing the same high level of clinical care and customer service to all those who seek it. What I’m going to really pour my heart and soul into is trying to regain the intimacy that we had when I first opened the doors of the office. Those early years were such a scary yet fun time for us. For those of you that don’t know the story of how we got here, this may be a good way to officially roll out this blog.
I was born and raised in upstate NY about two hours east of here. After going to school for my undergrad degree at the University of Dayton, I was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania where I attained my dental degree. Most people don’t know this but one of the main reasons I choose UPenn is their reputation for getting their students in specialty programs. I thought I wanted to be an oral surgeon. Boy was I wrong. At UPenn I somehow convinced the girl of my dreams to marry me. Kara and I lived in Philly for two years, going to school all day and bartending and waiting tables all night. Looking back at those times now I can’t help but laugh…no kids, no money, and a tiny 600 sq. ft. apartment in Philly. We loved every minute of it. After graduating from UPenn I did some advanced training in Philadelphia and then at Eastman Dental Center in Rochester. It was at Eastman that a teacher of mine offered me a full time job to come work with him in Penn Yan, and I jumped on it!
Like most first time gigs, the Penn Yan job hadn’t worked out like I had hoped. I really wanted to open up my own dental office, but the risks were enormous. Where was I going to get the money to build an office? Could I afford to start an office from nothing, with no patients? At the time Kara and I were blessed to have or first child Anna. Could I provide for Kara and Anna while trying to start something special? Then, when Anna was around 12 months old, I thought seriously about taking on this crazy endeavor. The risk was huge, but so was the upside. I knew that if I started a dental practice 100% focused on the patient the business would have a chance to succeed. So, with Kara backing me, we decided to give it a go.
After being turned down by nearly ten banks, an old banker nearing retirement from Canandaigua National Bank saw something in me and decided to roll the dice by giving me a 25,000 loan to start Finger Lakes Dental. Thank you Mr. Talbot!
Even though we were honored to get a handful of patient’s right from the get go, many times early on Kara and I would stare at the phone praying for it to ring. Kara worked the phones and I did all the dental stuff. We had no assistants…no hygienists…no one but me and her. I spent a lot of time cleaning people’s teeth…mainly because I didn’t have anything else to do!
Sticking to our guns, with the two core principles guiding us, we started to get busier and busier. Our patients appeared happy with our office and they started to refer their friends and family. I saw a growing need to expand the services we offered at the practice so I spent almost every weekend traveling across the country learning new dental skills from the best teachers out there. It was so hard leaving Kara and Anna all the time but we were trying to think long term.
As we got busier and busier we started hiring really good people to help us. You guys know most of them, Shelly, Cindy, Diane, Megan, Edith, Pam, Jen… We then were thrilled to hire Dr. Wendy, along with a handful more key team members. Looking for a better space to house this growing team, we decided to relocate to a new office on Main St. It’s been a whirlwind from there. Then, last year, we added Dr. Lindsey to our team who’s been a great fit for our office.
We have been blessed in so many ways, which has led us to where we are today, and to the point I was trying to make when I started writing this blog entry. We are going to continue to provide the highest levels of clinical dentistry and customer service to all those who want them. We are going to regain the intimacy we had back in the days of me and Kara staring at the phone praying for it to ring.
Hope you enjoyed our first blog entry guys. Looking forward to sharing more with you soon!