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Create value in your practice with a great team of professionals

June 26, 2017
Dentists have the capacity to do many things in their practices. But should they? Good dental practice management depends on proper delegation, and you have have never considered the Macro Model described in this article.  
Andy Upchurch, RHU, REBC, President, Continuum Financial Solutions
Dentists, you have the capacity to do many things in your practices. But should you? Good dental practice management depends on proper delegation, and you may have never considered the Macro Model described here.

Over 20 years ago, I was standing at the reception counter at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, waiting to page my lunch meeting for the day. The receptionist received an outside call from a gentleman asking to be connected to a doctor. When pressed for the purpose of his call, he admitted that he had been suffering from a toothache for several weeks, and wanted to speak with a doctor that could tell him how to pull his own tooth!

My first thoughts were of some classic Looney Toons episodes involving a string and a doorknob, but as time went on, my thoughts became a little more impactful. This was a case study for the value of a professional. Regardless of the reasons—whether within the control of the caller or not—few could argue that a dental professional wouldn’t bring great value at this point in time.

This lesson crosses nearly all professional boundaries. With the power of the internet in the palm of our hand, numerous self-help books, magazines, and podcasts in circulation, and even a DIY TV channel, nothing takes the place of professional advice. I spend a lot of time in my practice helping clients assemble their “team.” If my two-plus decades of experience working with dentists has taught me anything, it’s taught me that the most successful practitioners I have dealt with are the ones with the best team of professionals guiding them. I attribute much of this success to the focusing of the practicing dentist on activities they are uniquely skilled to perform. In other words, a focus on tasks they cannot delegate, which is arguably the true value they create for their practice.

Let’s be clear. Dentists have the capacity to do many things. In order to complete the rigors of dental school, residencies, etc., a high level of intelligence and capacity is integral. This doesn’t mean, however, that a dentist shoulddo all of the tasks they are capable of doing, nor does it mean it’s an effective use of their time. A good rule of thumb? If you can delegate a task to someone that can perform it as well or better than you, delegate it. Focus your energy and efforts on the items in your practice and financial life that you are uniquely skilled to perform.

The Micro Model and the Macro Model

Who makes up the roster of professionals on a successful dentist’s team? There are a number of professionals that can be on your bench, including but not limited to dental-specific accountants, attorneys, bankers, consultants and practice brokers. Choosing between what I call a Micro Model or a Macro Model, however, could make all the difference.

The first illustration is the Micro Model. This is the model you traditionally see with many practices: a team of various professionals surrounding the client (dentist). While this model is much more desirable than a Do-It-Yourself Model that is void of other professionals, there are caveats to consider. There is a commitment of time from the practicing dentist to coordinate the efforts of this team, and communication between the professionals can be difficult.

The second illustration is the Macro Model. In my opinion, this model operates at a level of efficiency and effectiveness that is superior to the Micro Model. As you can see, there is an intermediary: an advisor that acts as a “financial quarterback” of sorts. This dental-specific advisor coordinates the efforts of the team, facilitates communication amongst the team, and in many cases, helps that practicing dentist assemble the team. It is this layer of separation, that allows the practicing dentist to focus on his or her unique skillset, and rely on a team of other professionals to do the same.

In closing, identifying the value you create for your practice is paramount to your ultimate success. Surrounding yourself with the right professionals that empower you to focus your efforts on delivering that value, is what separates the great from the good. Despite the commodity-driven mindset in many corners of our society, there is still great value in the expertise of a consummate professional. Don’t apply “string and doorknob” thinking to your business or personal financial affairs!

Andy Upchurch, RHU, REBC, is the president of Continuum Financial Solutions. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Andy travels throughout the United States as a dental- and medical-specific financial advisor. Andy can be reached at 317-701-2226 or at [email protected]. You can read more about Andy and the type of work he provides for his clients at


Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS), 4201 Congress Street, Suite 295, Charlotte, NC 28209. Securities products/services and financial advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor, (704) 552-8507. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Continuum Financial Solutions is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. PAS is a member of FINRA, SIPC.

Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. This material contains the current opinions of the author but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice. (2017-42142 Exp 6/19)

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