Friday, January 18, 2013

I Wish Somebody Had Told Me

When I graduated from dental school five years ago, I bought a practice right away. I kind of consider the last five years as my own personal MBA program. I have to admit, it has been pretty awesome. Awesomely challenging. Awesomely hair raising. Awesomely similar to a roller coaster.

I have learned so many things. Through mistakes and blunders, lucky breaks and charisma, I am still in practice, still making a profit, and still happily married. You could say I have done okay. The following are a few things I wish someone would have told me when I first bought my practice and went into business on my own.

I wish somebody told me that I didn't have to hire someone just because they have years of experience and tons of skills.

I wish somebody told me that I didn't have to hire someone if I didn't like them as a person, even if they had more years of experience than I did and probably knew more about private practice than me.

I wish somebody told me that employees don't always do what you want when you want them to and sometimes they don't know what to do until you teach them.

I wish someone would have told me that taxes are not your friend. Get an accountant you trust, preferably someone local, in your community. They don't have to be a (cover your ears) "dental accountant." Don't hire them just because they are the biggest name around.

I wish someone would have told me that the most important time you take with an employee is when you are hiring them. Make it last. Take your time. No need to rush into something. The worst thing that can happen is that you hire someone quickly and they don't work out and then you have to hire someone else quickly, and then the cycle goes on forever. Spend time learning who is in your hiring pool and get to know them. Meet their spouse, even. As Dave Ramsey says, "Make sure they aren't married to crazy."

I wish somebody told me that owning a practice is hard. You take it home with you every night, no matter what.

I wish somebody would have told me to be a leader, to step up and lead my team. Be their leader, but be their friend. Get to know your team. Helping them reach their goals helps you reach yours.

I wish somebody would have told me to read more business and leadership books. Learn how others have done it in the past. Constantly grow and learn and improve.

You know what? These would have been great pieces of advice. It would have saved my wife some heartache, and saved me some sleepless nights. I still would have stumbled, but now, five years later, I have fallen and picked myself up repeatedly. I am happy, I am growing, and heck, I'm still riding this coaster, with my arms in the air.

I guess that's what it's all about.

What advice do you wish you had received five years ago?

Mike Lemme, DDS


Diana Nguyen, DDS said...

Great post and great insight!

gatordmd said...

Where have you been for the last four years. I have been trying to tell you.

Great post. Looking forward to reading more.


Jon said...

Thanks for writing.
Jon Hardinger DDS
Communications Council

b said...

Nice post Mike. I remember wishing I had some of that same advice to questions that I had when I first got out of school. Now, 24 years later, I still have questions...and challenges. I sometimes wish that I had all the answers, but that would lead to a boring career. Good luck on your ride. advice to you and others...your practice is like a classic car. Sometimes it runs well, other times not so well. It has some idiosyncrasies and I am always tinkering with it. Trying to make it better than the day before.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments, I look forward to "tuning up" my practice in the years ahead.


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