Episode 208 – Navigating Uncertainty

“There’s no such thing as a bad month in your business. If it’s a bad month, do things differently.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

Uncertainty is all around us, and it gets worse when we take in all of the outside noise about market fluctuations, looming elections, possible economic downturns, and so much more that can make you feel like things are spiraling out of control. In this special episode of The Productive Dentist Podcast, your host Dr. Bruce B. Baird reminds us that we don’t need to let external noise affect our daily lives or our dental practices. 

Dr. Baird takes a positive approach, drawing on more than four decades of experience, to emphasize the importance of what truly matters: building trust with patients, providing exceptional care, and setting and achieving goals.

This episode offers practical advice to help dentists and their practices thrive despite external chatter and pressure. Dr. Baird shares stories about his own dental practice as he navigated challenging times like the 2008 financial crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights the power of internal focus and intentional action. It’s time to stop dwelling on negativity, embrace the positives, and start taking control of your own destiny.

As you listen to this episode, ask yourself the following:

  • How am I currently navigating external uncertainties in my dental practice?
  • What areas of my practice could benefit from more attention?
  • What goals am I setting for myself and my team, and are we actively working towards them?
  • How can I cultivate a more positive environment within my practice?


Regan Robertson 0:00
Hi, doctor, are you living the dream or just dreaming of living? It is my honor to announce the PDA 20th Anniversary Special conference this September 12 to the 14th. in Frisco, Texas, the nation’s leading course on dental practice growth. If you feel isolated as a leader who is frustrated that your schedule is unproductive, maybe your team is disjointed, or your systems are inefficient. This is the conference for you. The PDA 20th anniversary conference has all new features including keynote speaker Emmitt Smith, who is a pro football hall of fame running back and entrepreneur. You can choose your own educational track to customize your learning experience and when you register before July 1, you will receive a 90-minute free meeting session that can help you boost and increase your productivity before you even attend the conference. Go to www.productivedentist.com and click the pop-up or select Productive Dentist Academy conference under the dental CEE and Events tab. That’s www.productivedentist.com seating is limited registered today and we look forward to helping you make your dreams become reality

Dr. Bruce Baird 1:05
It comes down to communication with your patients, building trust, caring about your patients and therefore ultimately building a relationship. Hello everyone this is Dr. Bruce B. Baird and you’re listening to the Productive Dentist Podcast. In this podcast, I will give you everything that I’ve learned over the last 40 years in dentistry working with 1000s of dentists. I’ll tell you it’s not that my ways the only way, it’s just one that has worked extremely well for me and I’d love to share that with you so you too can enjoy the choices and lifestyle the productivity allows, more time for things you love increased pay better team relationships, and lowered stress. Let’s get into it with this week’s episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast.

Dr. Bruce Baird 2:01
This is Dr. Bruce Baird with the Productive Dentist Podcast and in today’s episode, I want to talk a little bit about all the trouble ahead. You know, every time you pick up the newspaper, if people still do that, or go online or go to look at any of the the magazines, everybody’s talking about, oh, the market correction and how things are, you know, the future is looking bleak and you know, it can drag you down. I mean, it literally can cause you to be depressed and what I want you to remember is what other people think and what other people predict. Yeah, you want to be on top of it. You want to be thinking ahead and saying, “Okay, are we having a commercial real estate bubble yet?” Probably and people aren’t going to work anymore. They’re staying at home and doing it from home so is there going to be changes? Are there going to be things happening? Yes. Credit card balances are at the highest ever, credit card defaults are at the highest ever. The market keeps growing so everybody now the, the fear factor is actually starting to rise as people are expecting to see a large you know, a large change in the economy. We’ve got the presidential election coming up. There’s just so many things happening right now and, and the reason I want to bring it up is don’t let it affect your business. All of that is peripheral BS. All of that is chatter in the marketplace. Now, if all of your patients are coming from commercial real estate, well then okay, you might think differently but what I’m saying is, and I’ve had dockside it doesn’t matter when it is oh, July is a bad month. December is a bad month. There’s no such thing as a bad month, you know, not in your business. If it’s a bad month then do things different. Usually what I found is it’s a loss of focus. It’s you know, we’re not focusing anymore. A bad time for for many practices is July, because you’re going on vacation, and the kids are out of school and you want to go to things with them and so you lose focus on your business. Same thing happens in December. It’s the holidays, December, July, we’re always some of the busiest months for us ever and January and what I’m saying is, don’t listen to the chatter. Don’t listen to the noise. When it comes down to your business, think of it this way and this really doesn’t matter if you’re an associate or an owner, doctor or anything else.

Dr. Bruce Baird 4:48
It comes down to communication with your patients, building trust, caring about your patients, and therefore ultimately building a relationship. I’ve told you that as 100 times that my only two goals in my practice, were to take great care of the patient. And number two was to reach whatever goals I set. So when the chatter starts getting loud from outside, and you know, local economies can have issues, you know, all of these things that happen, don’t focus on that you can’t do anything about it anyway. You just can’t. So what do I do, then it was one of the most interesting things during COVID Is it was the first time in history, in my opinion, of dentistry, that you literally couldn’t go to work and everybody had to focus on their business and they started realizing, “Oh, man, I need to do this, that, the other, I’ve got to, you know, my, my HIPAA compliance stuff, isn’t there, my training, you know,” all the things that they had to worry about, that they hadn’t been doing on a regular basis, because now they had time to actually work on their own business. So as the chatter gets louder, around you, that’s when my focus becomes internal, it becomes how are we taking care of the patients? Are we truly getting in relationship with these patients? Do they do I know who my new patients were? I’ve said that a bunch of times, do I know who my new patients were this week? I mean, do I really know who they were? Did I actually spend time getting to know them? Did I actually match and mirror with them and link and come up with at least three links to a chain that can’t be broken? And when I do that, when I focus on things that I have control over, guess what happens? First of all, my stress goes down, because I feel more prepared but what also happens is productivity goes up, you’re gonna, you’re gonna find that, in many ways, the harder the economy is, the worse it gets, the more focused you’re going to become and your practice is going to continue to grow. I know, productive dentists get and we had a bunch of our clients that actually grew during COVID, even with six weeks, eight weeks, 10 weeks out of the office, we just helped them redirect what their goals were. We refocused the team and those are the things that we actually have something to do with. If that makes sense. It’s, I don’t want you to listen to all of this stuff that’s going on and have this feeling that it’s negative.

Dr. Bruce Baird 7:39
It’s neither here nor there it is what it is, you know, the dollar is, you know, the value of the dollar, all of those things is macroeconomics that, again, you don’t have, you don’t have any control over. Now, if I go back to 2008 and I think about what I did in the practice during that kind of financial meltdown. Well, I refocused. I said, “Yeah, I noticed some patients aren’t accepting big treatment plans. Why?” Because cash was king, they wanted to save their money and save their cash and really, that’s when I came up with the concept of Compassionate Finance of which we’ve done now, just under a billion dollars in notes for patients, all across, I say notes for patients and for doctors and, and it’s growing, still growing, because people needed help. They didn’t want to part with their cash, they might want to do a down payment but they didn’t mind making monthly payments and so all of a sudden, we saw a jump in our productivity. The other times when you know, we lose focus, we lose direction is because we’re not really truly setting goals. We may be dreaming about setting goals. We may dream about what we want to do next year. But truthfully, are you’re really setting the goals? Are you doing it day to day, week to week, month to month? Does your team know? You know, again, when we have our team meetings, I want my team to know about overhead. I want them to know that we don’t take home every penny that’s collected. That money goes to payroll building equipment. I mean, there’s a lot of things but the team may very well think it’s those all to you know, you just write yourself a check for that 100,000 A month or whatever it happens to be and I don’t mind my team being informed when people are informed. Guess what? They can make really good decisions. It’s also really wonderful when you have a team that understands the business and understand why you’re setting the goals. It’s not like you’re waving a carrot and kind of pushing a carrot down the road and keep raising, raising the goal so that they’ll never reach it. No I want to reach it and I want them to understand why we’re reaching that goal.

Dr. Bruc Baird 10:05
So when things seem tough, you know, the old saying, the tough get going, you know, it’s it’s what I’ve seen in practice over 14, Gosh, 44 years, I’ve seen the offices that I can promise you, there will be offices this year and next year, and the year after, that will have their best year ever. Better than they ever dreamed. Do you know, in 2008, there were practices to have their best year ever. There were practices in 2009, they had their best year ever 2000, you know, the.com bubble, there were people who had their best year. So why not have your best year, you know, this year, and plan it for next year and plan it for the year after don’t let an outside influence determine what your business is going to do. You know what it’s going to be? What’s it going to be? I’m I’m I’m the young we’re the master of our fate, we really are and if you’re an associate into practice, you know, you’re working with patients individually, one on one, you’re the master of your fate. If you learn more techniques, better dentistry, and you learn to communicate better, you’re going to do better, because people all still have to go to the dentist. So all of the negativity that surrounds you, every year, in January, I look around myself and I have said this before I’m looking, who have I surrounded myself with? Are they negative energy suckers or are they positive, great people who I mean, I love their values. I love what they believe in and it helps me because we’re only as good as the people we surround ourselves with and so it’s beginning every year I, I, I separate myself from certain people, if everything is energy-sucking, and I want to be around more if I find people that I meet at the club or whatever, and they just seem to be the kind of people I want to be around. I forcibly go out and say, “Hey, let’s go to dinner. Let’s, you know your wife, let’s, let’s go.” Why do I do that? Because I want to be around positive people and there’s just way too much negativity with this election coming up, and all the trials and all this stuff going on. I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, I really don’t but what I do care, is that you don’t let that depress you. You don’t let that take your eye. You don’t let that take your eye off the ball and you know, Jeff, and I, Buske, when we’re running our yearly numbers, you know, we run up all production by procedure reports, we run everything we plan, what are we going to do next year, what days we taken off, everything is a planned activity and then guess what? And he was amazed for 15 years in a row. Not only did we reach those goals, no matter what the economy was doing, we didn’t just reach them, we crushed them. and we’ve done it every single year. So why because it’s an intentional activity, just like you’re scheduling. Scheduling is an intentional activity. It’s not a dart on a on a board somewhere saying, “Oh, three o’clock is open.” Nope, it’s intentional.

Dr. Bruce Baird 13:23
And so those are the things that hey, if you have questions, send them to me, bruce@productivedentist.com I’d love to answer those questions for you on, on the air and talk about what some of your challenges are and some of the things that that you’re faced with that maybe you need some help with. I’m always calling and talking to people that are phenomenal in the business world and so why do I do that? Because I want to pick their brain. I want to know what they’re doing in the face of negativity. So anyway, this is not a negative podcast. This is positive. It’s positively positive. So anyway, thank you guys for listening. Thank you again for voting us number one podcast in dentistry last year, and I look forward to our next time together. Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast. If you found this episode helpful, make sure you subscribe, pass it along to a friend. Give us a like on iTunes and Spotify or drop me an email at podcast@productivedentist.com don’t forget to check out other podcasts from the Productive Dentist Academy of productivedentistpodcast.com. Join me again next week for another episode of the Productive Dentist Podcast

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