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April 10th, 2023

Episode 153: Fiscal Responsibility from a Serial Entrepreneur

“I want you to get to a place where you can devote more time to doing the things you want to do with the people you love.” ~Dr. Bruce B. Baird

In the last 42 years, I’ve started no less than 20 businesses. Some were successful (like Productive Dentist Academy), and others – while they didn’t end up as viable companies – certainly taught me a lot.

Starting up and running a company, whether it’s a dental practice or a company that sells golf-glove dryers, takes a great idea, but it also requires the right people. Join me on this episode of The Productive Dentists Podcast, in which I talk about the fiscal responsibilities of being a serial entrepreneur, what it’s taken to grow some of my best ideas, and how I responded to failures. 

While you listen to this episode, I really want you to:

  • Understand where your strengths lie, as well as those who work with you
  • Find the right people who can execute, and give them the latitude they need to succeed
  • Commit to learning from your successes as well as your mistakes

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Regan 0:00
Hi, Dr. Regan, Robertson, CCO of Productive Dentist Academy here and I have a question for you. Are you finding it hard to get your team aligned to your vision, but you know, you deserve growth just like everybody else. That’s why we’ve created the PDA productivity workshop. For nearly 20 years PDA workshops have helped dentists just like you align their teams, get control of scheduling, and create productive practices that they love walking into every day. Just imagine how you will feel when you know your schedule is productive. Your systems are humming, and your team is aligned to your vision. It’s simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. We can help visit that’s to secure your seats now.

Dr. Bruce Baird 0:47
The more successful you get these things. Sometimes you think, “Oh, well, I’m just successful. I don’t really have to follow this or that because they have great people.” That’s not true, you have to constantly be the visionary of that business. You have to constantly be the person behind looking at the books, asking questions, and getting answers.

Dr. Bruce Baird 1:10
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 way is 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 1:53
My name is Dr. Bruce Baird with The Productive Dentist Podcast. Welcome to another show, and today I’m going to share information about, its thoughts from a serial entrepreneur, and that would be me. I’m gonna call it fiscal responsibility from a serial entrepreneur, and I have, you know when you start talking about fiscal health, I thought, I’m doing a presentation on this weekend. So I thought they said physical health, well, I said, “Well, wait a minute, guys. I don’t run the five-minute miles and I don’t do marathons. I do work out with weights, but I’m probably not the emblem of physical health.” They went, “No, fiscal health.” I was like, “Oh, money,” and let me share a little bit and some of you know me pretty well, and some don’t, they just know me through the podcast. But my philosophy and it’s not what I’m going to recommend for most, is yeah, a budget is really important. I mean, Dave Ramsey is one of my top, he’s one, I’m one of the top fans of Dave Ramsey. My kids follow Dave Ramsey. We’re the number one marketer and advertiser in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, with Dave Ramsey. He does commercials for Granberry Dental Center, and with paying off debt and doing all those things. Well, let me tell you a little bit about being a serial entrepreneur. It’s, it’s a curse. I mean, it’s a blessing and a curse. I’ve started no less than 20 businesses in the last 42 years, of which, probably 12 or 13, were really good, but didn’t really end up where I wanted them to end up. It wasn’t a big, a big plus, as far as my financial future, if you know what I mean. The ones that failed, were, were not failures, they were lesson teachers. They taught me what to do and what not to do, and as the last podcast, I talked about being better next year than you are this year. You have to come when and when you’re talking about investing or as an entrepreneur, maybe growing businesses, there are a lot of entrepreneurs that also invest in real estate, that invest in all kinds of things. I mean, there is you know, there’s rare coins, there’s dance, there’s rugs, there’s you know, Persian. There are people that invest in Beanie Babies therapy, I you know, I have always tried to be an entrepreneur in something that I know something about, and, and that would be dentistry. You know, we started companies that have been very successful, that have sold to private equity and that have brought great returns financially. But what did I learn through that and how can I help you learn some lessons as a serial entrepreneur? And you may not be, have that entrepreneurial spirit, but I’ll do the same thing as a dentist, how can you be successful? But as an entrepreneur doing things that you know, I’ve got friends that are really good at music, they’re also going to be a dentist, but they got that entrepreneurial spirit. So they’ve done things in the music arena that have brought them joy and brought them revenue. From my perspective, again, I’ve kind of stuck in, stuck it with the dentists, you know, I’ve stayed here. Back in the early 90s, I wrote a book on implant dentistry. It was called, “Implant Dentistry, Simplified, Predictable and Profitable”, it was 1991, and why did I want to write that book? Well, I wanted to write that book because if you find something that you do well at, and then you can teach that, that is, to me a potential for a company, or potential for a product or potential for something in the future that you want to pursue, and I wrote the book, “Implant Dentistry, Simplified, Predictable and Profitable”. I, we sold, our price for that book was $365. We sold about 1300 copies. So that’s over half a million dollars back in 1991. That was a lot of money, and I laugh and joke, in that it probably cost me 600,000 to market it, and to get out, go to the meetings, and to go be in the exhibit halls with my book. I also built flip charts, I also had, we didn’t have software back then, but I was doing everything that I could to make it easy for a patient to say yes, and easy for a doctor to present, and those were just things I looked at, and so you would say, “Well, if you spent 600 and you only brought in 500, that’s a massive, abject failure, now you were total failures, and no, I learned a lot. I learned an awful lot and what I did is, I took that lesson and as a serial entrepreneur, entrepreneurs are those folks who just continually are coming up with new ideas, new thoughts, new things that they can do and I, you know, I was involved with, with expert and education centers. I thought that was going to be a blast. Why? Because I love teaching, I love being in front of the room, that didn’t work out, that company ended up, it wasn’t my start, but it was one that just kind of imploded back in the early 2000s, at a time when everybody thought all you had to do was be a part of a company and it would grow and you would sell because that’s what all the internet companies were doing for billions of dollars and all of that. I never looked at any of that. Again, somebody told me when I was young, be the best that you can be at somebody and then at something and then find out how to share that with others. That’s when we started Productive Dentist Academy, and PDA started, like many of you know, small group, now it’s, you know, we’ll have two, 300 people come into these meetings and it’s a blast. It’s, it’s a success story, no question about it. We’ve been very successful. I’ve had great partners. If you’re going to be involved as an entrepreneur, the one thing that you have to understand is more than likely you are a great thinker, you’re a great idea person, you may not be the best doer, you may not be the best at putting together, you know, how things are going to go, you know exactly how everything works in whatever business it is, and, and it’s important for you to understand that there are differences, different skills, all of us have different, have different skills. I’ve been blessed to be able to find people who are extremely good at execution. You know, I come up with an idea, they go, “Oh my gosh, that would be awesome. This is what we have to do.” Bam, bam, bam, and I’m doing exactly what you just said, I love that. You know, I am extremely good at delegating as an entrepreneur and I’m extremely good at holding people accountable, which you have to have if you’re going to go on an entrepreneurial journey, but finding the right people and giving those people the latitude to make decisions as you go through and all the time reporting to you, having KPIs, you know, key practice indicators or key business indicators, that are things that you want to see how the business is going, I will tell you, I had another great business, and we were one of the largest. It was CDs, “In The Mouth” videos, we have the largest called National Dental Network, and it was a phenomenal company. I made a significant mistake in who I picked as a CEO, and that person eventually, and I did not hold them accountable. I did not. I did not study the books that were being presented to me the way I should have, I didn’t question things because I thought this person because they are a CEO, they’ve got to be better at doing this than myself, and what we found was that person ended up stealing money from the company, basically bankrupting the company, that really hurt.

Dr. Bruce Baird 11:00
It really hurt several of us who were, who were involved in that company, but what I learned was, hey, if you can’t hold them accountable, if you’re not looking at the books, you can’t blame anybody but yourself. If you don’t have the right people in the right places, and you’re not holding them accountable by those KPIs, then forget it, you’re gonna find yourself, you know, and what else happens, the more successful you get these things. Sometimes you think, “Oh, well, I’m just successful, I don’t really have to follow this or that because I have great people.” That’s not true, you have to constantly be the visionary of that business, you have to constantly be the person behind looking at the books, asking questions, and getting answers. You don’t have to do the work, you have to come up with the ideas, find people who are executors, and then and then follow, and then make sure that, make sure they’re following your recommendations, and make sure that they’re reporting to you with the numbers that you want to see. So that company, then we, we came up with Compassionate Finance. Compassionate Finance was a knee that dentistry had in 2008, after the great recession, and that company took off. To this day, we’ve done I think, over 600 million in notes for dentists across the country, and that company, two years ago, almost two years ago, was sold to private equity, and I’m still a member and a part of that. But I was so fortunate because I found a CEO, that was a CEO that ran with the company for the first five years, and then it became apparent that I needed to have another CEO at that point in time, because, so a startup company, oftentimes you’ll go through two or three CEOs over the growth of that business. You have some that are really good at the startup, you have some that are really good in the middle, and then when it’s time to take it to potential private equity or to somebody out there than presale, there are people who are great at that. So it’s super important to surround yourself with great people, and I’ve been very fortunate because the people that I’ve worked with on my past endeavors, we’re still friends, we still, when I come up with ideas, I call them and guess what? They want to work with us. You know, they want to work with me. They want to find my, let’s do it, and so this is all building on your own need to be creative, your own needs to be that entrepreneur. I’m such a serial entrepreneur, I’ve got, I’m working right now on a golf glove dryer. Now that sounds crazy. Why on earth would you build a golf glove dryer? Well, because my hands sweat, and I live in Texas and in the summertime, I’ve got three or four gloves attached to the top of my bag, and I’m always constantly changing gloves and they you know, they’ll rot because they were wet and thrown them at Trump. Well, we’ve developed a little golf glove dryer that hooks onto your bag, and all you do is you put the golf club around the bag, I mean around this little golf club trying to push a button and fans dry out the fingers and dry out the glove, in about 90 seconds your glove is dry. Is that going to be good? Hey, we’re in the process of doing it, you know. So we’ll see if you see it on PGA golf, you’ll know that Bruce Baird came up with that concept. So now I’m gonna go back just for a second because we’re at the end of this one, but I want to tell you, I very rarely had a budget because I’ve always out produced my expenditures. Now how do I do that? That’s been highly productive as a dentist, and that’s where productive dentistry came in. No matter what I want you to have and what PDA teaches, I want to teach you how to work three days a week and make more money than you were doing five days, I can do that with my eyes closed because that extra two days or, you know, because you had to work two days, we have some of our Doc’s now that are down to two days a week, and they have offices that are doing five and $6 million a year. Yes, I can do that I, again, I can do it with my eyes closed, but by freeing up your time, it frees it up for all the things that are important, just like I talked about a couple of talks ago, is Memento Mori, we know we’re going to die, let’s do it. Having fun with things that we love to do with the people that we love, and isn’t that fun? I mean it is and if you’re not there, come to PDA, let us help you let us drive you in the in the right direction. Let us give you let us challenge you because if you’re not being challenged, then truthfully, you’re probably not growing and probably you’re not going to be better next year than you are this year. So that’s my wish for you. That’s my prayer for you is that, you know, if we can’t help you, there are people out there that can but I want you to think differently when you think I really can’t do this, you know, or I really, you know, I’m an entrepreneur, I’ve got all these ideas, and I just really can’t make them happen. You know, we’re all the ideas in the world are there in the cemetery, that’s where they all are, and I don’t want you to have those ideas and not know what to do with them. So I’m always here, bruce@productivedentist, I hope you have a great week and look forward to next week.

Dr. Bruce Baird 16:28
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 don’t forget to check out other podcasts from The Productive Dentist Academy at Join me again next week for another episode of The Productive Dentist Podcast

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