Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Group Evolution Seminar in Austin, TX, hosted by my dear friend, Heidi Arndt, Founder of Enhanced Hygiene. Heidi and her team pulled together some of the brightest minds in the Dental Service Organization (DSO) and Group Practice space to share their insights on the industry.
The presenters included: legal and accounting experts in the space; leaders of dental supply companies focused on Group Practices and DSOs; representatives of practice management software companies; founders of practice analytics companies; business consultants; and owners of DSOs of all sizes. In the audience were over 50 DSO owners at various stages of development.
I admit it—I’m a little bit of a junkie for these types of meetings. I’ve always loved attending the Hinman Dental Show in Atlanta, and have recently attended more and more group practice seminars. There is so much to learn. Even when I have heard the speakers more than once, I always take away another pearl of wisdom. I always meet new people who share insights and provide unique perspectives on my challenges or share solutions based on their personal experience.
Over the course of two full days, I spent most of my time with the owner doctors in attendance. I met a wide array of Group Practice owners:
- A doctor who was working on his second group practice (he had already built and sold one group back in the 1990s).
- A group of doctors who had partnered with a business leader in the dental space and were just mapping out their business plan, preparing to take the plunge into the world of Group Practice and building their DSO.
- I even ran into my former dentist from Montgomery, AL, who had partnered with some friends and closed on his 4th location the first night of the conference..
What I loved most about each of these Groups is that they all have a different business model, acquisition criteria, capitalization structure, and driving passion, yet they are all in the same room, eager to learn how to implement a new strategy, legal structure, or marketing tool into their organization. I am amazed at just how much this sector of the dental industry has matured.
The majority of the practices at the conference were not owned by private equity groups or nameless corporatations. They were owned by dentists—dentists buying their fellow dentist’s practices, employing dentists “on the back nine” of their careers, and inviting new graduates into their groups. They love their profession and are excited about the industry’s future. They are passionate about their business and taking steps daily to ensure that they build the right culture, team, and patient care experience.
As I flew home to Charlotte on Friday night, I reviewed my notes from all of the great sessions Heidi and her team put together. I also reflected on the new friends I made during an intense three days—friends who are committed to growth and creating their own success in the near future. We all truly live in a time of great abundance for the business and practice of dentistry, and we at TUSK look forward to playing our own small role in that success. “Group Evolution” isn’t just the name of a conference—it’s a mindset for everyone…even if you weren’t there this year.