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1994: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

On today’s episode, we have a captivating interview with Alison Farber on Method Procurement Technologies’ podcast. Mark shares his inspiring and unconventional journey into dentistry. Early in life, a sports injury thrust him into the dental world as a patient, leaving him in awe of the dental professionals who meticulously repaired his teeth. This experience ignited his passion for dentistry, despite the challenges posed by dyslexia and academic struggles. Undeterred, he worked diligently to overcome 20 dental school rejections before finally gaining acceptance to Marquette University.

Drawing on his family’s entrepreneurial spirit, Mark pursued an MBA while launching his first business—a catering truck. After graduation, he embraced a rigorous associate position at a Medicaid clinic, refining his clinical skills through intense practice. During that time, he diligently learned the intricacies of practice management by shadowing the office manager, which laid the groundwork for his entrepreneurial success.

Mark’s journey culminated in the creation of Dental Success Institute (DSI), a consultancy founded in 2012 after a well-received live event. Over the years, DSI grew from an initial 11 members to over 230, boasting a team of 20 coaches who are successful dentists themselves. Utilizing a unique belt system akin to martial arts, the organization encourages practitioners to hone their skills and build efficient, profitable practices.

In 2015, the Dentalpreneur podcast further expanded DSI’s reach. As the fourth-ever dental podcast, it now boasts over 2,000 episodes, reaching a global audience in 151 countries. Mark emphasizes that business education remains a crucial yet overlooked component in dental school, highlighting DSI’s role in filling this gap. By sharing his vast knowledge and mistakes made along the way, Mark fosters a supportive community where dentists of all levels collaborate and share best practices.

This engaging conversation captures Mark’s unwavering dedication to helping dental practitioners navigate the complexities of practice management and business growth. Through DSI’s masterminds and live events, Mark’s vision remains clear: to empower dentists to scale their practices, whether from a modest startup to a multi-location enterprise or a mega practice.


1993: Key Performance Indicators

On today’s episode, from the Dental Success Summit 2024, a panel of esteemed dentists, Dr. Addison Killeen, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, Dr. Kelly Dove, Dr. Deren Flesher, and Dr. Chris Green, delved deep into the critical role of key performance indicators (KPIs) in dental practice management. Hosted by Ashley, the discussion kicked off with Dr. Deren Flesher highlighting the often overlooked cost creep in dental supplies, emphasizing the importance of vigilant monitoring and resource utilization to maintain budget control.

Dr. Chris Green shared insights on the effectiveness of using daily, weekly, and monthly KPIs to enhance operational efficiency and strategic planning. He stressed the significance of maintaining a proactive approach to managing cancellations and no-shows, which are vital for sustaining practice productivity.

The conversation then transitioned to Dr. Kelly Dove, who operates multiple clinics with her husband. She underscored the necessity of leadership within practice management and the integration of KPI tracking with team development and leadership training to ensure consistent quality and service across all locations.

Throughout the session, the panelists shared personal anecdotes and professional tips on harnessing the power of KPIs to navigate various stages of practice growth—from handling start-ups to managing mature, multi-location practices. The overarching theme was clear: understanding and actively managing KPIs is essential for driving success and sustainability in dental practices.


1992: Core Drivers of a World-Class Organization 2 Pt. 2

On today’s episode, we have the part 2 of Mark Costes’ presentation at the Dental Success Summit 2024 titled “Core Drivers of a World-Class Organization,” where he continues to provide actionable strategies for dental practice success. He introduces a set of frameworks, honed from years of experience and interaction with a multitude of dental professionals, that aim to address common challenges in dental practice ownership. These frameworks revolve around six main pillars which are foundational principles, operational systemization, lifetime patient experience, new patient acquisition, human resources, overhead, and cash flow control.

Mark emphasizes the importance of “The Four Futures” — mind, meaning, muscle, and money — which are essential for holistic success encompassing personal well-being, meaningful relationships, and financial health. He advocates for the integration of personal integrity, self-awareness, discipline, grit, passion, and empathy into one’s professional ethos.

A highlight of his talk is the introduction of the DSI’s black belt coaches, who exemplify the success one can achieve through rigorous application of the DSI principles, with each having impressive profit margins and operational efficiencies.

Mark also tackles the ‘success tax’, explaining that with growth comes more complex and challenging problems, a natural progression as businesses expand. He outlines the DSI belt classification, which helps in measuring the operational maturity of practices from white belt to black belt levels.

To cap off his presentation, Mark gives a detailed case study of a DSI member, Dr. R., whose practice transformed from a struggling setup to a highly profitable model through strategic changes in systemization, patient experience, and leadership, among other areas. This transformation underscores the significant impact of structured mentorship and operational discipline in achieving business success in dentistry.


1991: Core Drivers of a World-Class Organization 2 Pt. 1

On today’s episode, Mark Costes delivers his presentation titled “Core Drivers of a World-Class Organization.” Dr. Costes starts by introducing the prestigious Golden Rhino Award, a highlight since its inception in 2019. He then engages the audience in a box breathing exercise, demonstrating how to manage stress in high-pressure situations—a common scenario in dental practices.

Mark sets the stage for a detailed case study on one of the summit’s most successful members, Dr. R., which promises to provide practical insights into the application of the principles discussed. He offers an honest look at the high-stress environment of dentistry, discussing the financial and personal risks involved, and compares the average earnings in the sector to those of the general workforce.

The talk then shifts to the issues of isolation post-dental school and the lack of preparedness among dentists for managing the business aspects of their practices. Mark touches on the prevalence of mental health issues within the profession and emphasizes the support available through DSN, which includes therapy and psychiatric care.

He concludes with a poignant discussion on the dangers of working in isolation, the ignorance about financial health many dentists endure, and the personal toll it takes, leading to higher rates of substance abuse, depression, and even suicide among professionals. Mark advocates for continuous education and community involvement, as seen in DSN’s support network, which helps members share struggles and successes, significantly impacting their professional satisfaction and mental health. This episode provides a blend of practical advice, professional insights, and supportive strategies essential for running a world-class dental organization. Stay tuned for Part 2, where Mark will delve deeper into operational strategies that elevate dental practices.


1990: Navigating Tax Credits & Liabilities

On today’s episode, we have guest, Stephen Nance, partner and vice president at Drilldown Solution. Stephen has a wealth of experience in taxation, beginning his career as an auditor with the Utah State Tax Commission before transitioning to DrillDown Solution, where he now helps clients mitigate tax penalties and assessments. He discusses how changes in presidential administrations can influence tax obligations and shares strategies for managing tax liabilities to maximize savings.

Stephen and Mark delve into the nuances of tax credits, starting with Employee Retention Credits (ERCs). Stephen explains how these credits are legitimate and have provided significant refunds to some clients, but also how the IRS has halted processing due to overwhelming claims and potential abuse. He urges listeners to ensure their CPA carefully calculates qualifications to avoid future issues.

They also explore the Research and Development (R&D) tax credits, which Stephen affirms are valid but can raise red flags if aggressively claimed without proper justification. He highlights that this credit has a long-standing history and is available to dental professionals who conduct innovative research within their practices. The discussion emphasizes the importance of working with trusted tax professionals who understand the complexities of these calculations to avoid drawing undue attention from the IRS.

Tune in to this informative conversation for insights into navigating these credits and learning strategies to legally minimize your tax liability.


1989: The Indestructible Practice

On today’s episode, we have the captivating finale of the 11th Annual Dental Success Summit, Alastair MacDonald presented “The Indestructible Practice,” a profound exploration of resilience and strategic foresight in dental practice management. Drawing from his diverse experiences, from the wilds of Africa to high-stakes entrepreneurship, MacDonald emphasized the necessity of preparing for unpredictable challenges that can impact a dental practice. He shared personal anecdotes about his encounters with wildlife and the lessons these experiences taught him about crisis management and preparation. MacDonald urged dental professionals to adopt a ‘red teaming’ approach—systematically challenging plans to uncover hidden threats—to ensure their practices are robust against all adversities. His speech was not only a reflection on personal courage but also a call to action for leaders to fortify their practices through proactive and strategic thinking.


1988: Leading with Vision

On today’s episode, we have Sydney Robinson, the executive director of DSN, discussing the most recent DSN posts that have garnered significant engagement.

Sydney reflected on the recent event she organized in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was a major success. She described how practice leaders came together to share insights and learn from the FOA coaching team, creating a deeply supportive environment. The primary focus was on defining the differences between leadership and management in dental practices. Sydney noted that many office managers lack a clear understanding of their roles, which the workshop aimed to address. They utilized DSN resources, such as the operations manual, and engaged participants in breakout groups for hands-on learning and collaboration.

Mark emphasized the value of live interaction, sharing his experiences from a recent ThriveLive event. He expressed how meeting people face-to-face provides an irreplaceable energy and connection. They both agreed that, while virtual communication is important, live workshops offer unique opportunities to exchange best practices and build meaningful relationships.

Together, they delved into a question about hiring office managers. Sydney highlighted the importance of hiring individuals who fit the practice’s culture and values, stressing that alignment is crucial for successful leadership. Mark shared his perspective as a practice owner, encouraging listeners to find candidates who share their vision while balancing strong leadership skills. Their insights provided practical advice for anyone looking to strengthen their team.


1987: Empowering Practices & Elevating Teams

On today’s episode, we welcome back Dr. Summer Kassmel. Dr. Kassmel shares her experiences from a recent summit, reflecting on its success and her interactions with attendees, including students and professionals. They discuss the challenges and new ventures in dental education and management, focusing on Dr. Kassmel’s work in creating educational programs for dental assistants and front office staff. The conversation also covers leadership qualities, personal growth, and the importance of integrating new members into the dental community effectively.


1986: Level 10 Leadership & Cultural Excellence

On today’s episode, we dive into the themes of Leadership and Cultural Excellence, spotlighting the profound insights shared at this year’s Dental Success Summit. The session opens with reflections on the growth from a small team to a robust panel of seasoned Dental Success Black Belt Coaches, emphasizing the rigorous path of learning through both challenging and straightforward experiences. Dr. Mark Costes leads the discussion, introducing a diverse panel including Dr. Matt Slivka, Dr. Monica Urda, Dr. Beau Sparkman, Dr. Alan Gotora, and Dr. Steve Dove, all of whom have unique stories of integrating strong leadership into their practices.

The conversation explores the indispensable role of leadership in creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture that directly contributes to a practice’s success. Panelists share personal anecdotes and professional strategies, highlighting the necessity of consistent leadership and the impact of mentorship within the dental community. Each speaker brings a unique perspective on how to foster a team environment that not only thrives on the clinical side but also excels in personal and professional development, thereby enhancing overall practice performance.

Listeners will gain insights into the importance of aligning team goals with practice values, the challenges and rewards of expanding practice operations, and the critical role of effective communication and systematization in scaling business. The podcast not only provides actionable strategies for dental practitioners but also inspires with stories of overcoming obstacles through resilience and strong leadership. This is an essential listen for anyone aiming to elevate their practice through principled and impactful leadership.


1985: Blending Business Acumen with Dental Expertise

On today’s episode, Mark chats with Dr. Bill Keith, a key figure in DSI and COO of the innovative DSO, Dental Success Partners. Dr. Keith shares his journey from finance and real estate to taking over his father’s dental practice and its expansion, highlighting the integration of advanced dental technologies. They discuss the evolution of dental practice management, focusing on the balance between clinical skills and business acumen, the impact of good leadership on practice success, and the importance of creating a robust business environment to thrive in the modern dental industry.