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About Dr. Mohan

Steffany MohanI became a dentist in 1996. I was just like any new graduate, I think. I was optimistic, thought I knew a lot, sure that I could make my way in the big world as a brand-new dentist. I was blessed with a great memory and a love for people – sometimes, even people that their own families struggle to love. One of my gifts is to see the best in people, pretty much ALL people. A blessing and a curse at the same time, right?

I worked for a couple of guys for the first 2 1/2 years out of school. I learned a lot. I learned that I wanted to be more engaged with patients, listen to them, find out what they really wanted and needed. I also learned a few things about what I didn’t want to do, as well. See, I grew up with very, very conservative parents. The kind that make certain that you don’t do too many stupid things when you are young. Yep, those people, amazing wonderful people, but the truth is, everyone gets to make their own stupid mistakes, no matter how scary their Dad was when they were growing up.

So, certainly, I made the stupid mistakes! Many, many of them. Not only did I graduate in 1996, but I also got married in the same year. Great guy, great life – what could possibly go wrong? Turns out, a bunch of things, but they led to some great stuff, so no complaining from me! We had a few struggles trying to have our family, including an early miscarriage on our first attempt. Not uncommon, but really devastating to a 26 year old that has always had everything turn out perfectly. Perfection – what a funny concept! More about that later, though!

So, in 1998, when I was able to get pregnant and sustain the pregnancy, I was thrilled. I immediately (after an ultrasound of our perfect baby at 10 weeks along) went to my 2 bosses at the time and unleashed the wonderful news – we were expecting in May of 1999! They, being the fairly new owners of the practice, were not thrilled that one of their producers was going to produce something besides dentistry. I got the 3rd degree about my plans for our upcoming bundle of joy and immediately was met with 2 unhappy owner dentists that wanted to know EXACTLY what their future held. When I got an extremely chilly response to the best news of my life, I knew that a change in my employment was inevitable.

I immediately started looking for a practice to purchase, because, after all, I was pretty sure I knew everything or could figure it out rather easily. I hate to think how naive I was at 27 years of age, but I admire that I had guts. In essence, you don’t know what you don’t know! I found an excellent practice right away and although the price was high, it was a great practice, so I signed the papers and decided to make a leap of faith. It was a great decision, though, buying a high-quality practice from a great dentist. The price was actually right, given that he was a wonderful mentor and stayed to make the transition for the entire time I owned the practice.

So, I was a 27 year old idealistic, pregnant woman; again, what could possibly go wrong? I mentioned earlier that I truly love people and see past their faults and that’s a blessing and a curse, correct? Yep, when managing people that suddenly find themselves under your employment, not by choice, but by practice transition, it’s a great way to make friends, but a bad set-up to be a people manager. Lack of accountability, not knowing how to improve team member skills and generally thinking that everyone thought the same way I did made my life pretty miserable for a few years. Not only was I crazy busy at the practice, but we were blessed with a baby boy in 1999 and a baby girl 14 months later in 2000. Life was great, but extremely stressful with 2 babies and a practice that needed my attention constantly in order to run smoothly.

I was a good producer and took great care of patients, so business was good and we grew despite the fact that I really knew very little about practice management and almost nothing about marketing. We were fortunate to be part of a hospital complex and had a fairly captive audience of a several thousand workers, patients and fans of the practice. The fact that the practice doubled in the first few years was less attributed to my prowess as the owner and more that we added capacity with extra providers to handle more patient flow.

At the time that the business was doing well, everything else in my personal life was suffering. While I had healthy children and a fantastic husband, I couldn’t appreciate much of it, as I was tired, cranky and adjusting to this new life with a business, kids, bills, employees and continuing education to make myself feel worthy. My health, even as a young woman was also declining due to stress and refusing to take care of myself before every other detail of my life. At 30, I easily felt 50 or older. As a crazy idealist, I also wanted more children, even though looking back, I had difficulty enjoying the 2 I already had, so I convinced my husband that one more child would be a great addition!

Since my health was failing, I suffered another miscarriage before having our 3rd child, a sweet red-headed baby girl in 2003. Three children in 4 years, I’m pretty sure I was a raving lunatic, but didn’t know it at the time. Truly, at that point, I thought that life was simply meant to be completed day-by-day, but not really enjoyed to the fullest. It actually scares me looking back on it, because the ability to feel joy was not in my repertoire, but if you meet me, I am an extremely happy person. Denial is very powerful.

Denial is also very powerful in business, too, because, although my practice was successful by all accounts, the fact is, I was miserable. That is not really acceptable in my book, but at the time, it seemed to be irrelevant. I didn’t enjoy dentistry the way I was practicing. It was run and gun and there was very little thought as to how the business was structured, we were simply meeting demand. The funny thing is that during this time, I became extremely interested in marketing, even though we had enough patients. I wanted to be able to control what patients came in the office. Patients that wanted treatments and procedures that I wanted to be doing, such as Invisalign, oral sleep apnea appliances and implants. I learned enough that I thought it was wise to open a second office in a part of town that appealed to me, due to close proximity to our home and sphere of influence.

Shortly after opening my satellite office in my ideal location, I quickly realized that I was ill-equipped to run one practice, let alone two. I was more miserable than ever in my practice life and in my personal life. Something had to change, and it was going to have to be very soon. Luckily for me, I was clear that changing husbands or getting rid of my children was a poor option, so I opted to sell my original practice within just a few months of opening the satellite practice. I did well with the sale of the practice – it was 7 years after I purchased, and it had doubled in production and collections. It was 2006 and I started up in my brand-new practice with an associate that wanted to continue to work for me.

I still wanted another child, because I think we have safely established that I was clearly out of my mind. So, in 2007, after 2 more miscarriages, we had our 4th and final child, an adorable little red-headed boy. I was working on being happy in my personal life and truly enjoying the wonderful family that we had, but there was a lot of work to do, both in the practice and at home.

Starting a new dental practice right before a recession with 2 dentists, no patients and 4 children might seem like a really bad idea to some, but I love a challenge! With my newly acquired marketing prowess and two families to feed (mine and my associate doc’s), we quickly went to work establishing a new practice. Fortunately, I was a master by this time about what I didn’t know, which was managing people and creating systems in business. I will forever by grateful to Brooke Mott, my amazing business manager for taking the bull by the horns and shaping a business that looked, functioned and became a real business. While I was extremely busy marketing our practice, taking care of patients and producing dentistry, she created a format that was repeatable and extremely customer/patient service oriented, just as we both envisioned.

We have been extremely blessed, despite the crazy economy of the last few years. We have grown to a healthy practice of 3 dentists and nearly 3 million dollars per year in production and collections. All while I work only 1 day per week IN the practice producing dentistry. The thing that I am most proud of, however, is that my husband and my family are a daily source of extreme joy for me. I love my practice AND more importantly, I love my life! Ultimately, I believe that I was not aligned in my purpose for my practice and my life. The discrepancy in this made me absolutely miserable. Now, my vision, my passions and my purpose are aligned, and it brings me extreme joy.

The moral of the story is that enjoying life is a must-have. Loving your practice is more than possible, it is very likely with enough hard work and attention to detail and business systems. Marketing a dental practice can be simple, as well. Join me in the journey to loving YOUR practice and especially, YOUR life! It is more than possible, it is INEVITABLE if you want it badly enough and are willing to learn and put in the required work. Learn more at lovemypractice.com

  • Hi Dr. Mohan, I need help getting more new quality patients into my practice. Would you please share your marketing systems with me? Thanks, Cary

    Cary Blumberg, DDS, FICD

    November 12, 2012

  • Hi Dr. Blumberg! I am happy to help, please send me an email and we can discuss it in the next couple of days!

    Steff

    November 14, 2012

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