Friday, February 26, 2010

Thinking of the Future

Hey guys.
The week....its over.
Most of you by the time you read this will be done with work.
And the week will be over. Take a deep breath, relax, and read.
Speaking of reading, my birthday was last week and my wife bought me (or as the bread winner in the family says, "I bought me") an Amazon Kindle.
This is basically an ipod for books. Now instead of buying a book and then reading it, the new thing now is to download the book (I think it costs about $6 a book) and you download it.
The technology on this thing is INK. They try to make what you are reading exactly like reading a book.
I think this is the way things are going. I mean think of what this means. If you could download could also download magazines, text books, newspapers.
It is about the size of a medium sized paper back book and about half the width.
My sister bought me a gift certificate to Amazon for my birthday. So when I am done with my present printed book (how old fashion) I will buy my first virtual book.
I will let you know how it goes.
Oh and the thing hold up to like 300 books. I am sure next year it will hold 30,000.

Okay Noah had his first T-ball game and he was awarded the game ball. I told you.
The kid has got some skills.
Luke turned in his science project yesterday. I think I got (I mean Luke got) an "A".
I think all the parents are going drinking tonight.

Madison is in the regional spelling bee today.
She is the kind of girl that is tough on herself. You know the one that always says, "I am going to lose." I use to think that she knew she was smart and was just looking for attention. But how many times can you tell her that she is smart. It is not that I am worried, this is just something that I am keeping an eye on.

Okay enough about me....
How is the practice going? I don't know about mine. We have had a good (not great) couple of months. I don't want to get all excited because we just had a meeting with our financial adviser and we went over last years numbers. Not so good.
I will tell you later about how the numbers added up (can you say subtracted up).
I wanted to tell you about the my future.
If you didn't read Wednesday's blog, here the Reader's Digest version.
Two dentist practice. One dentist is going to retire in about 3 years.
I have been in kahoots with a dental student about coming in and being my associate/partner.
Now I am thinking about how this is going to go. I want to start planning.
I know that some of my father's patients will leave after he retires. But I don't think this number will be huge, say like if a new guy came in and bought another guys office.
Let me give a bit of background on our practice. My father has been working two and half to three days a week for about three years now. I have been really trying to move in on his patients. More so than I ever had. On the days that he isn't working, it could be vacation, it could be sick days or just a day that he isn't here and I am. When his patients are getting their teeth cleaned and they need an exam, this is my chance to get them comfortable with me.
I come in and joke around. I come in and really turn on the charm.
Because I might only get a couple more chances to be face to face with them before my dad might not be here anymore.
I am not saying I want him out of here because I really don't. First, I love working with him.
But two, if he stays then those patients that like him and him only will not leave our practice.
But more and more his patients are being put in front of me. If it because they can only come in on a day that he is not here or if they need something say on an emergency and I am the only one here. They get to think see that they are still in good hands even after the old guy leaves.

Now just brainstorming one day I let my mind wander. There is a dentist about a mile and a half away from our office. Now this is not a short mile and a half. He might as well be in another state because I never see him. I never hear about him, I never see any of his patients that are disgruntled. I have been in Apopka for almost 15 years and I have seen him twice.
Once to welcome me here and at a study club meeting one time.

He is a guy that kind of flies under the radar. He has been in the same location for 30 years.
I didn't know much about his office or what he has got going on over there. I don't know much about him but I do know he is a family guy and a very nice guy.
So one day I called him up and asked if he would talk to me.
Remember I don't know anything, but I wanted to find out.

So I went to his office. It is a weird experience. I know him, he knows me but....
I was greeted at the front desk and he came out immediately and took me to his office.
And we just talked. He is a big Gator fan and we talked about sports for a bit.
Then I we talked about the economy and the state of dentistry for a bit.
We talked about our mutual respect for each other.
We talked about our families. This was all about me finding out information about where he was at.
This is what I found out. He is 56 years old.
He has been in this one location for 30 years.
He has two daughters and one is married and one is engaged.
And he has been married to the same wife for about 33 years.
Oh and his wife is his receptionist.

I asked him to show me around the office.
If he had 900 I would be surprised. He has 2 dental operatories and one hygiene room.
And a small sterilization room. That was it.

I just told him about my situation. I told him about my father. I told him about Drew.
I told him that at my office I am looking at 4 open operatories 3 days a week.
I told him that those rooms could be his.
I told him then everything would be cheaper.
I said we could maybe have a lab tech in our office. Things would be consolidated.
My thought process was that we would work together and after a couple of years, maybe 5, I would buy him out. Or I would let him work at my office rent free and then I would assume his patients (and a little cash).
I didn't tell him that because I didn't want it to sound like a hostile take over.

At the end of the day it didn't sound like he wanted to make any moves and I didn't think he was going to jump and say, "What an awesome idea, lets do it."
I did however want to plant a seed and I think I did that.
He said, "That is something to think about."
See progress.

Man the future looks good, but right now I am such a hard time seeing into my crystal ball.
I am writing this blog under duress. I have to be at my, I mean, Luke's award ceremony in about 5 minutes.

So I have to go.
Have a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

I have thought about the merger Idea alot. But I never had the right option pop up. Plus on paper it works but I don't know about in reality. Don't get me wrong, it is a good idea. Do you relly want such big expense at this stage of your career and in this economy though?

Cesar said...

planning for the future is just plain smart--and a crystal ball would be a great help. i've been at this dentistry thing as long as you have, and i USED to worry about planning beyond the 5 year mark DAILY...until a colleague down the street, not much older than you and i, didn't wake up one morning. he was the guy always freaking out about the market and his IRAs and retirement and this and that.

anymore, i worry about next 6 months, and enjoying the time i have with my baby and my wife. :)

have a great weekend!


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