When should you start thinking about hiring an executive to run your dental support organization?
Jon Fidler, President and CEO of Fidler & Associates, and Amol Nirgudkar, CEO of Patient Prism, discuss the right time for founders of DSOs to hire an executive to run their multi-location dental support organization.
“Hiring the right team at the top is very important,” says Nirgudkar. “It's not possible for you to do everything yourself. Although you want to, you have to rely on an A-class team.”
Is there a right financial time in the DSO growth? Do you get a gut feeling that you need executive leadership now? Jon Fidler suggests it is usually a mix of both. “You have to make sure you can afford the type of talent that you would like to come into the group to lead it,” says Fidler. But, when people are being overworked morale can go down, so it’s a balancing act and every group is different.
“Typically, we start seeing it around the third location,” says Fidler. All of a sudden, they feel pressure to organize and start putting processes, policies and procedures in place that they can replicate. “At about three locations, they start to look at the financials,” says Fidler. “They start to realize they can’t do it all and they need help.”
How Long Does It Take to Recruit a Dental Executive?
Nirgudkar wonders if that pressure point is too late to find the right executive or executives to help, because it takes time to do an executive search. Fidler agrees that planning is important. Fidler & Associates recommends DSO owners forecast six months ahead of needing to hire. During that six months, clarify your vision and start putting out feelers and networking, maybe employing an executive search firm. Six months ahead of the point when you can afford the executive and you will have real need is usually enough time to prepare.
Nirgudkar wonders if sometimes you have to take a slight pay cut as the founder in order to bring somebody else in that's going to help you make more money. Fidler has observed when counseling DSO owners that the breaks can come on when the financials are analyzed. They want to make sure the return on investment is going to be there. That’s when Fidler & Associates walks them through different examples of compensation and the benefits of someone sharing the workload so the owner can regain life balance. At the end of the day, they want the production the new executive can grow to outweigh the expense of hiring the executive.
“It's not going to be in an immediate turnaround, but when you hire the right person, you'll know, and then the finances will follow,” says Fidler.