Insider contributor, Dr. Scott Leune, shares his thoughts on how to achieve freedom in the dental industry. In this video he joins David Phelps to take a deep dive on this topic.
Subscribe to Dental Insider to stay informed.
Insider contributor, Dr. Scott Leune, shares his thoughts on how to achieve freedom in the dental industry. In this video he joins David Phelps to take a deep dive on this topic.
Subscribe to Dental Insider to stay informed.
everyone develops out from founders in the Dennis Farina blueprint Podcast stuff Got with me good friend and longtime industry leader Dr Scott Luna. For those of you who may not know Scott, most of you should. He's now the dental well education leader. He graduate from UT Health Sciences in her School of Dentistry in 2005. His career began with three start of practices in San Antonio, which grew to 80 staff. Uh, excuse me, I just lost my line there. Hey, staff 10 Dennis and a call center in a very short time. These practices continue to average a combined total of over 700 new patients per month, and we're all managed by Dr Luna working a mere four days per month in 2011 Dr Linda started seven practices in the Dallas Fort Worth area, opening them within a two month time span. We're last four years to the Breakaway affiliate program. Doctor Luna has helped build approximately 90 startup practices nationwide last eight years. Dr Lin has lectured to thousands of dental professionals and executives sharing his proven systems marketing practices designed leading to consistently sold out seminars. He's been featured in numerous publications and listed as the most subscribed to person on dental town from Premier Online Down Community. Dr Lewin has also created the ingrown Breakaway Support Service is an affiliate program to include over 400 practices nationwide and in several more each day is continued to redefine practice management as the leader and expert improbable dental practice systems to maximize success. Scott. You certainly have a wealth of expertise, knowledge, background experience. Well, all this sounds really good. And I mean in a complimentary way, you know, you share. We both know they're going from ground up, which you certainly did back in the day. 2005 was not a straight shot. There's been dips and turns and coming back out from situations that I not identical to, what practice over we're looking at right now. But you certainly have seen your days of tough times kind of feel like you're down the hole looking up. Figure out what Hector I do. So let's let's let's let's just go back to 2005 and you're eager getting out out of school and going to practice. You ready to hit the road like like every other dentist and then you had something that pretty much well took your legs out from from underneath you. So once you just remind those who don't know this story, just give us a lead. That background,
Suri. And and thanks for having me here. Yeah, I've seen a lot of ups and downs. I So what you're referring to is right when I got a school, But when I opened my practice, I broke my back, and for the following 12 years or so I was in a wheelchair, had surgery, and that forced me out of the metal chair almost immediately. I've I've gone through ups and downs with expanding too quickly, go into multiple locations only to see the profitability shrink or disappear. I built locations too many want. Sometimes I built them where I was managing them properly from afar. I built locations and manage them through the great recession. And I have made millions in lost millions. And it's funny how, when you make the millions, you kind of forget about it. And when you lose the millions, you never forget what that tastes like. Fuel Slip it. And today, you know, we've got 19,000 dentists as customers of our companies. We also I have an ownership stake in practices or have a partnership kind of relationship with lettuce. And there's probably about 100 practices in that division of our company, and we are Tana Data. And so we're also consultants. We have seen a whole lot of ups and downs, and the current down there were experiencing is unprecedented temporary, and that's a beautiful thing. Unprecedented meaning means that there are gonna be some amazing opportunities coming out of this temporary means that life will return to normalcy at some point. And if we if we strategize properly, this won't take us out. So while the rest of the world is paralyzed and fearful and maybe acting in extreme ways, there's a small group here on on our world that are looking at this with a level head, and they're making sometimes difficult decisions. But they're making decisions that look at the long term opportunity of what's in front of us, which could be significant for some of those people.
Yeah, no, no doubt the opportunity to innovate and invent right now, I think, is also unprecedented because who's gonna call anybody out if they quote. Try something new right now and we'll talk about some of strangers. Who is going to say, Well, why would you try that? It's a great time to test some new models. Look to look to the future when practices do reopen again as to changing the environment. And patience will be getting used to it right now, as they are ours, all consumers are to a different way of life. Some of those things that we're doing right now it's reading. Well, I should be good things. I think some of the fact that we actually Scott, you got you got a great young family, actually have some time to stay home with your family. Let's not Let's not lose the opportunity, right? Yeah. We have to focus on preserving, protecting and look in the future. But getting on this panic mode. So let me go there first, because you definitely You know, I've talked a lot. I know. Just like you know, me. Life has not been a perfect shot by any means. And when you go through ups and downs, you lose. You know of estimated your net worth in a short time, you have to revamp. How do you talk to your other practice owners? The doctors who are talking to you right now on a consulting basis. I think it starts with your head space, your mindset, how you look at what you're facing. So what do you tell people right now? Where should they be focusing in the midst of all this hysteria and panic when social media is blowing up and it's just it's just crazy world out there.
Yeah, I think you focus on what you know and what you can control and you re assess were frequently as the world starts changing quicker, um, we should never lose sight of the long term out too. So, for example, what do we know? We know that other countries have had this virus before us and have all followed a similar pattern of what the government is set to do. Thio and eventually shut down cos and have social distancing measures and so forth. So what does that mean? That means it's prime gonna happen at some point to our local community, and that means that we're going to see a huge drop off in patient volume. Okay, so what can we control. We can control how we respond to huge drop off patient volume and whether it's a virus is causing that or a recession with Collins. And who knows what could cause that right? We can react with property and what's interesting. But before I kind of talked about what to do, I think it's what's interesting is I've heard CEOs of mental processes, which is usually fast. I've heard them for years and years and years say they don't have time to do what they know they need to do with her business and suddenly when we're given time, they don't know what to do. But they've always known what they do. They had time when you're busy. Now a moment where we are forced in some ways to have time. So we're gonna My opinion is, when it comes to the company, we need to minimize our cash lost. When it comes to your patient care, we need Thio do as much care as we can, right, because we're caring for people that need help and we don't offer service is at some point this patient population is gonna overrun the hospitals for dental care. We should do as much care as we can. And so those two things, I think, or with Dennis or focus on writing how I minimize cash losses. How what do I do about me contest? Right. And once we decide what to do there, then it leads us into knowing what we do with our staff, what we do, their schedule. But then there's this whole other thing that says we're gonna have more. It's fine. So So the third thing is, what do we do with our time, right? What do with Cash? Mo. What do we do with care? And now we do our time. And this time thing is a great opportunity to do some spring cleaning when it comes to facility when it comes to the business systems educating our team, educating ourselves, creating a different career plan, Life plan, retirement plan, trust, who knows what staying home with the family, getting healthy. There's so many wonderful things we could do it extra time. Those three things great cash flow, patient care in time are today's decisions. Then we've got the last thing I'm thinking about is what are the opportunity is gonna be as we start coming out of this, and that's really exciting. So we gotta prepare mentally and financially for those opportunities. They're gonna be happening as we come out of this,
so we'll get to the opportunities and 2nd 100% with you. Scott In dealing the short run locale of a practice that state county jurisdiction State board guidelines, there's ah, pretty wide range of what's considered acceptable. I agree with you and anybody else's says. You know, we're still frontline professionals. There are patients, need care, you decide based on the guidelines, mandates whatever is being given to you. That's what that means to you. But but no doubt that if this pay start taking care of Wei, have a mess. Ah, bigger mess. So working with staff practices of different sizes. So Ladakh, with a smaller staff, docks with medical practices guidelines for for for how to work that when you're not necessary. Everybody's going to the practice at 8 a.m. On Thursday morning, like today, we were in this interview. You're taking calls. You're triaging patients over the phone. You're using some tele dentistry. What if some of the systems are tactics that that you're advising right now? that doctors and Dennis and their particular practice modalities are using to maximize what they can pour care.
And, you know, my opinion is not Redding's, because obviously this hasn't happened 100 times where there's experts. Now that I've learned the weapons to do so, all I could do is answer this type of question the best, based on the information I have, and I could see what we're doing. Our taxes is we are buying all of the proper protective gear and sanitation efforts we're putting in place so that we can treat patients that are positive with the bars S. So that means buying the right face masks if the face masks are available and wearing mobile face mask a shields. That means no additional sanitation steps that were taking. And we are treating these patients now that that's that's the first. Okay, so But that doesn't just because we do that doesn't mean we have doctors that want to treat patients. So obviously we're here to support a doctor. And if the doctor would settle saying No, I don't want to treat patients, then we can't have a practice open. So So there's the first decision in this decision tree. Are we going to treat patients being protected or are we not? If we are gonna treat musicians, what we're going to see is low patient boy. So how do we respond to low patient boy? We respond by doing as much dentistry. We can. All those patients that come in, we decide what that means, and we have to reduce our schedule so that we could reduce our costs and his business. This is meant you Samar Business financial. So it will mean that the company may not make any craft. We're just trying to do good for our creations while trying not to lose money. And so we will lose our prophet probably. And our team members will see reduce hours. They may need unemployment benefits. Because of those reduced hours, we need to cut certain expenses. That may not make sense for some practices that might need lowering the marketing spend, for example. So we need to go very quickly and cut those types of expenses. I could tell you that there's a whole lot of practice is right now. Joining are violent, uh, little savings network. Stupid. They can get all of their supplies at a lower price, which they should have done a long time ago. But now that prompted to do it. So we have to control those expenses. We have to cut our schedule down as our volume, those down and therefore are staff. We're gonna see less and less hours. Some employees may not even come in, and that's okay. They don't have a job. If they don't come in, we can't we can't afford most. Praxis cannot afford to lose money in the practice and be paying people that are coming. So we have to do the best we can with the people that will come in. And, you know, I've heard one group called their doctors and their employees are coming in fully protected to help patients. Those are the heroes. They're coming, right? So So it is doing good for the patient is doing good, for the company is doing good to provide an income for those team members. Even though it's reduced hours, it's doing good in a lot of ways. If we're responsible about how we do, all right, so that's the decision that says we're gonna stay up. The decision said no we're not gonna steal right that the doctor is not coming in. The most we can do is immediately stop all expenses. If we have no revenue coming, we must immediately stop all expenses. So that means cutting everyone. Probably that means stopping all types of things you pay for. And heaven forbid it may even involved talking to the landlord's about abated rent. Um, looking at different local programs that are now available for disaster relief for small businesses just to minimize bleeding. Having said that, where practices still me is insurance claims processing in recent missions because that is bringing in the money. And I could tell you it's another example of what we're seeing in our company's Our friend. STDs is one of our companies. They are doing claims processing, re submission, fighting old a conference evil old claims of being paid to dry toe put trying, push Maur income more collections into a practice that may or may not even be open right now. So so that's that first decision. Do we sail it or not? That talks about patient care and that talks about cash flow right cash flow comes from minimizing our expenses? What we do much as much collections as possible. So we minimize our expenses by reducing our schedule down appropriately, as our patient volume dictates. And, of course, get smart about things you're spending money on and not waste money on something that doesn't make sense, right?
Yeah. Great. Great decision Tree Scott. So depending upon what a doctor and team decide to do, stay open. See some patients. It's close completely. Talk a little bit about how you feel being proactive in terms of how you aren't communicating to your patient. It's whether you're seeing them. You're seeing some of them on a emergency basis, not seeing them at all. What do you want to be doing right now? As a practice that wants to survive this coming on the other side. Still be strong. Having opportunity ran back up. What should a proactive office to be doing with whatever resources they have to maintain some some line of communication. Let patients No, no, no. You just didn't put a close eye on the front door and put your answer machine on a goat. We'll see after the virus is over.
Yeah, well, I don't know what anyone should do So let me just take that word out of the question. Here's what we think is well, we think about what we're doing. Once we decided to stay over in that decision tree, then we have a few more decisions. Um, what patients will we see? That's one decision, and we heard the 88 come out with their opinion. We've heard the text bill association actually counter that opinion that times lots of people have. Lots of people have opinions. Those aren't necessarily models. Those air people's opinions. At the end of the day, I believe we need to do what's best for our local communities and our local providers within the law. So we're gonna do the most ethical thing we know to do, balancing all of these things in our And so some of those practices that needs spot along the 88 recommendations that says Onley Emergency care. Well, what is emerging care? I say anything that is disease, you know, in fashion pain Oh, or anything that really disrupts the life of a patient. We probably emerging care, and if we don't treat them, they're gonna find somewhere to go find some hospital, do something that might be a definition of emergency care might be. Any ender that might be any sort of infections might be any kind of decay, right? That that might even be a broken front tooth that is disrupted the patient's life. I mean, who knows what that is? But we have to find once we have the patient of the office for emerging care, really, we should probably do as much as we can on them. Even if it's non emergent. They're already in the practice. We're already geared up there already here to get something done, and they may not be able to see it in this for a while. And we don't want other things, too. Create new emergent care. We might as well do as much as we can. Uh, that would be kind of my philosophy. If I were the providing this, I would do that type of middle rent that says emergency care patients and then anything else they need that specific patient will do. They think that the more extreme isn't that what he's doing? You know, we're not going to see some urgent care will do any care as long as we take proper precautions. Or then you got the opposite. That saying We're only doing emergent care procedures even if the same patient needs something that's not emerging world into the emerging stuff. So I think that's the decision now that we have to make. Is which one Army and I Personally, I feel very good about being in the middle in this situation, like I'm gonna treat patients in your care. And while they're in the office, let's get other things done to. It's in their best interest. It's in our best interest already taken on the risk of seeing that we've already mitigated that risk with our with our process of seeing patients, right. That's why
thank you. All right, let's go to opportunities. So whether it's four weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, whenever, whenever we're giving the green light to go back to quote business as usual, what? What what do you see? It looking like business as usual. How's the economic engine, the supply chain consumer behavior from your standpoint, inner into what we look like on the other end?
Well, there's there's the free time we have now, like what we do with that, and there's like when we come out of this, what might you see? So you're probably asking about the 2nd 1 Let me address the 1st 1 very quickly that we'll go to second the free time we have now. Um, that's the time to clean up the profit and loss state. That's the time to analyze all the excuses. That's the time to paint the walls that we've needed to paint in our practice, the time to get all of the education we need. And that's actually a big one. Get our team training on front office rocks. All right. You know, it's obviously has to be all on education, I could tell you, and we haven't officially released this, but we're basically taking the entire breakaway seminar curriculum, thousands and thousands of thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of lectures. And we're putting it all on well, because we've got a whole lot of dentists signed up for seminars, and no one knows that those seminars are gonna be allowed. And so we are just going to give all of those dentists online axles to all of our constant. I'm working my rear end off right now. Do it to build it and they get to go to the line of in the future if they want to without added plums, and we're gonna make that available to anyone in the future. That's how we're kind of responding, because this every time while we're still treating some patients, maybe this free time is the perfect time to invest in ourselves from the education standpoint. And I believe business education. We'll make a whole lot of sense. Right? Um, now, coming out of this, the opportunities and they're kind of soft to talk about in a way, because what's gonna happen is gonna be sat. We're gonna see small businesses, restaurants, bars, big businesses like airline said. And we're gonna see dental practices and Doctor's Office veteran clean, although lately companies cannot sustain fixed costs over a period of time without revenue coming in, people are gonna be fired all over the country. Laid off, I should say, all over the country already ill because that's the only way the company can buy. It's kind to try toe out live this kind of mandatory quarantine period. So we're going to see companies shut their doors that is going to create a triple effect. The economy is already tanking your way. You look at the S and P 500. We've lost 30% in one month crazy, and that means we've got people without a job. We've got stock market going way down, and that may well create another big recession for us. But it's interesting because we've got the interest rates at 0%. The banks are polar capital. This is not a cash problem. This is not a lending problem. Financial markets problem. People are running to the banks to pull out all their money and stick it under their match rules. So we're actually gonna have an environment where we will see probably huge real estate opportunities, whether in multiple fashion, not just owning, but even just being a renter. We will probably have landlords. The huge concessions to bring in new tenants were going to see dental offices that, for whatever reason, decided to never real right. And that means those officers have facilities that could be had practically no cost. We're going to see displaced patients, and we see patients that it had a maybe a buildup of dental need, and that gives us an opportunity for starting. This is, well, there's there's gonna be a lot of companies outside of industry. They're going to close and never come back. And that also brings Officer, whether you want to get into a different industry or whether you want to be a landlord of a different industry, there's just gonna be a lot of opportunity rounding. And from a marketing standpoint, what we're going to see come out of this is most don't practice is probably stop. Market hasn't come out of this and ask. Patients are meeting Dennis. They don't know who is open and who's not. And no one's marketing. And suddenly our marketing dollars will be a lot more powerful in our local community because we may be the only one telling a patient rope on. So they were not kind of competing against other practices for this new patient. It's just a lot of opportunity and you know what's happening is sample. It is we're all affected myself as well. We're all affected by this, but you know, we could become a victim of it and be upset and sad and blamed the administration for this without playing bad luck on this. So that we could do that. That's so easy to do. We could find thousands of people to join us online and cry together, right? We could do that or we can keep a level head and say, This is the situation. This is day one. How do we live starting today, the best way we can? And that means let's really prepare to come out of this when the rest of the world is gonna be slow to get on their two feet. If we're ready, we can start running. So it's a huge opportunity, but I don't want I don't gotta make sure that I'm clear here. I'm not for being opportunistic at someone else's pain, that that's not what I mean. What I mean is that outside of our control, things are gonna happen. Practices are gonna close, patients are gonna be displaced, real estate will have opportunities, and we can choose to pick up those pieces and do something with it or not. So what? I don't mean I'm not wishing anyone you will so that I have an extra opportunity. There's only so many opportunities out there, you know, we just need to have our eyes open and find an appropriate opportunity to take. That is good. That is good for people. Good for patients, Good for us. Someone else, unfortunately, could not take that opportunity. And now it's sitting there and we could do the right thing with it.
Well, Scott, you're exactly right. I mean, this is This is the country that we are. We're a country of grassroots. Small business entrepreneurs were the ones I pick up the pieces. Right now, everybody's looking to the government to do bail out everybody, right? Um, I'm I'm not a big fan. I think I think we have recessions. We have these cycles for a lot of reasons, but part of it is, is it cleansing? There have been a lot of exuberance in the markets in last year's businesses. Frankly, again, I'm I'm 100 it with you. I don't want anybody to suffer pain, but there's a lot of people I should say. People there's people are businesses, but there are a lot of businesses that frankly shouldn't be in business. I'm just to say that they shouldn't be, and they're gonna get it cleaned out. Those who are proactive and step up and take the steps you talked about in terms of preserving cash, cash flow right now, being proactive with the care that they decide is right or their practice for their community. And I've been focusing on the time opportunity. This is like coming out of this is is like a start up, right? I mean, this is like a start up mode. You're gonna start a practice. It's like it's an opportunity to reset whatever you had in the past, whatever your model's been. Whatever, however it's worked or not work from in functional dysfunctional, this is your chance to reset completely. As much as you want to take this time, build a plan, educate your staff, decide what your model wants to be. Come out the gate ready to roll. Don't wait until someone says, Okay, now you go back to business in winter. What'll I do? That's not the time to do it. It's not going to do is step up now leadership. And you know this better than anybody requires making tough decisions. You cannot wait for somebody else, some guiding body forced other than law, which we have to follow. But you can't wait and have everybody else say, Well, it's okay. It's okay if you wait, you miss the opportunities of you. Wait. You become part of the majority and the majority are going to suffer greatly. It doesn't have to be that way.
Yeah, and you know what? I Maybe this only applies to a few people listening, but I know that there's a lot of dentists don't want to become entrepreneurs. And there's a lot of associate dentists that are waiting for the right time to become an owner. And I know, for example, there's been hundreds of dentists laid off by the ESOS this week, hundreds of associate s. So if I'm wanting to become an owner, what we're going to see is like action. Today is the right time to start the process. The building started practice by the time this thing hold it, it would have taken advantage of a lot of opportunities. And it'll open after, probably after this whole thing subsides. It's a perfect time. There's a perfect or I want to buy a practice. Me Air is gonna be so many opportunities and buying practices because there's gonna be plenty of dentists. There were all the fence about selling their practice and distress and strained financial aspects of this environment has caused them to say, You know what? I'm reading something right. And there's not gonna be a lot of buyers in beginning because everyone is still gonna be kind of phased in days. What happened? So for the associate dentists Oh, my Lord, this is a sign like this is the time to do it for an entrepreneur who wants so multiple practices for the same reasons. This is a big opportunity to now start that path as well.
Yeah, you just You just thought you had trouble finding good staff in and doctors. It's gonna be wide open out there. You're gonna have the pick of the litter. If you if you're the place to be in the show leadership, you're gonna have the pick. Really? Really, really good. So So I'm gonna I'm gonna do a little pitch for you because I get to do that because it's authentic. Scott, you invited me down to one of your breakaway practice seminars two or three years ago as a non clinical non practicing Dennis. I went because because I I love the business side of anything I love the business side of dentistry. You you have through your experiences. You put together a great seminars. I mean, I'll just say great similares. And so would you let me let Lindsay know when you have your virtual online program available because anybody who's thinking about going forward and thinking proactively one of the first things I do is get ahold of your materials that they haven't been to your seminar. Then I get all your materials because I guarantee that's Ah, that's a guide path with the frameworks, the pathway to whatever you want to be. It's what I'd open now. Take advantage of it.
You know, we have specialized seminars and how started practicing buyer practice. The first seminar that we're releasing online so people can watch it during this downtime is our business Masters course, which is our flagship events 4 500 pages of constant that teaches Dennis how to excel in row practice even in a down economy. So it's something I'm actually my entire career is. One of things I'm most proud of is how that one course has changed so many people because it's just such a great course. It's the highest quality thing I've ever built my career on. And that's the one we're releasing. Breakaway seminar dot com is our website to see it break with seminar. It's gonna be released within the next month, and I am working with an entire team to build it as quickly as we possibly can right now. That's why I don't know if people can see me today. But if you look in my eyes, few circles ray under my eyes because I am working like crazy right now to try to help in a sooner with this digital product, because right now is when when they need it.
All right, well, I'm taking some of the little time. I thank you for what you gave me today. Attorney Lucy can go back to doing good for a lot of people. Scott Luna, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate your insight, your expertise and giving people that wanted a pathway going forward. This this too will pass. It will.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. And gosh, thank you for doing this for when your topics here are so refreshing to listen to and, gosh, it now is actually the most perfect time to listen to stuff that you're teaching. So thank you.
Pleasure. Scott, talk to you soon.