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Continuing our series we first began in the November issue of Dental Practice Management, I recently sat down with Dr. Brian Cox of Fort Collins, Colo. Dr. Cox operates Dr. Brian Cox Dentistry and talked with us about what has made his practice a success.
Give our readers a brief overview of you and your practice (location, etc.).
My name is Dr. Brian Cox and I have a family dental practice in Fort Collins, Colo. I have owned this practice since 2003. I owned a previous practice in Washington, Ill., for 11 years before moving to Fort Collins in 2002. Central Illinois was my hometown region and I had my first practice in Washington, Ill., following my education at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry in Chicago and a GPR residency at Emory University in Atlanta. I became interested in dentistry during my high school education. My mother's cousin was a dentist in Peoria, Ill. He was my mentor. Through visits to his practice, I became intrigued with the artistry of dentistry.
How has your practice grown, both in terms of patient size and bottom line?
My first practice in Illinois grew by leaps and bounds throughout the 1990s. I had a great patient base with 55-75 new patients a month without any external marketing at all. I simply cared for my patients with kindness and great dentistry, and the growth of the practice took care of itself. I was quite frankly so busy keeping up with demand that I never ever considered any type of structured management. Although, looking back now after the management program I went through with Levin Group, I realize that my practice would have benefitted greatly.
My practice in Fort Collins has moved steadily over the years, but not nearly with the same growth numbers as my Illinois practice throughout the 1990s. I eventually recognized that I needed a change in how I had been conducting the business of my practice over the years. The management program has helped us to incorporate systems that allow us to track and monitor our progress. We have been able to become more productive in the same amount of workdays, and we are seeing an increase in our new patient numbers.
What has been your biggest challenge as a business owner?
My biggest challenges as a business owner have been managing the practice while keeping up with the demands of patient treatment. There are only so many hours in the day, and balancing the clinic time with management time is always a challenge. I still believe that the quality of care and customer service that we provide for our patients are the keys to success. There will always be patients for the practices that clearly have the best interests of their patients at heart.
What are your near- and long-term goals and plans for your practice?
Long-term goals are to continue with our practice growth and creating an associateship position leading to my eventual retirement. I still have a long way to go, having just turned 50 earlier this year. My wife, Susan, and I love our community here in Fort Collins, and I am still very interested in practicing dentistry and providing for my patients for many years to come.
What is the one piece of advice you would share with your colleagues?
Always care for every patient as if he or she was family. Develop your business systems as soon as possible, and surround yourself with a team that believes in providing the same quality of care in which you believe. Practicing dentistry is a privilege, and we should strive to maintain its high standards for our patients, our communities, and for the future of those dentists who will follow in our footsteps.