Podcast Episode 33 | How To Make a Dental Practice Your Own

With Dr. Ken Randall

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The Prosperous Doc™ podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentist to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice.

Shane Tenny, CFP® is our podcast host and Partner at SDT. He has lectured numerous times for hospitals and physician groups and, most importantly, helped hundreds of clients develop strategies to navigate through turbulent times toward their financial goals.

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Ken Randall: 00:00 It was love at first sight, I guess.

Intro: 00:04 From Spaugh Dameron Tenny, it's the Prosperous Doc podcast. Real stories, real inspiration, real growth, a show for doctors who are ready to improve their overall wellness in every aspect of life. Now here's your host, Shane Tenny.

Shane Tenny: 00:23 Dentistry, or is it going to be medicine? That's a question that you may have wrestled with early in your education. It's a question I know many clinicians encourage their children to consider if they have an interest in the sciences. Then in the training process, you face the next question, which is, what's the right career path? Is it better to work for a healthcare system or an established group? As an associate? Is private practice ownership in the future at a good fit for you and your temperament? Today, I'm joined by a good friend, Dr. Ken Randall. Dr. Randall grew up in a family of healthcare providers, with a father and a brother in medicine, a grandfather, uncle, aunt in dentistry. He was getting pulled in all directions and came to this proverbial decision as part of his educational development. I'll let Ken tell you all about his story and choices, and ultimately the path he chose to turbo charging an existing practice. Ken, thanks so much for joining us today.

Ken Randall: 01:25 Thanks for having me, Shane. I'm excited to be here.

Shane Tenny: 01:28 So let's just start with the crazy family you grew up with. I can't think of another person, client or friend I know, who had so many people in white coats sitting around the Thanksgiving table. What was it like growing up in a family with so many healthcare providers?

Ken Randall: 01:42 It was interesting. Because sure, there was some discussion about medicine, dentistry-related stuff. But maybe, I guess as a child, it wasn't as much as I feel like I discuss things now. It was fun, too. Because even when we were out and about, go to my dad's office in the hospital, or go to my grandfather or uncle, aunt's office, as dentists in relatively rural North Carolina, you go in, it'd be very much of a different feel than when you walk in as a patient. So that was kind of neat, to be able to see kind of on the other side of the curtain, what life was like in those settings, not even necessarily patient care forward.

Shane Tenny: 02:27 And it certainly gave you a comfort in those environments. At some point, you started thinking, "Maybe I'll want to do this instead of being an architect or a lawyer."

Ken Randall: 02:36 Yeah, I was actually, I was fairly torn between something in healthcare and aviation, actually. Back in high school, long story short, ended up taking flying lessons, getting my private pilot's license, my instrument rating. Even when I was applying to colleges, applied to some specific aviation programs. So I was torn, honestly, throughout high school. What direction do I go? Is it more of a flying planes, whether that's with kind of what we're more familiar with, with the commercial carriers or more of a business jet world or whatever it may be, versus doing something in medicine? It really wasn't until the summer between high school and college that I figured out what it was that I wanted to do.

Shane Tenny: 03:26 So you did undergrad at Chapel Hill and studied chemistry, I think.

Ken Randall: 03:32 You got it.

Shane Tenny: 03:32 Had you accepted the offer from Chapel Hill even before you had decided that... on what your major would be? How did that unfold?

Ken Randall: 03:42 I guess when it came time to make that college decision, I kind of, to some extent, had to take a general direction in terms of aviation versus healthcare. I guess my thought process was, even if I go to a university that doesn't have an aviation program, getting a degree there would still not totally exclude me from aviation. But an aviation-only degree would exclude me from getting into healthcare as easily. You wouldn't have the pre-reqs and all that kind of stuff. So it was more of a keeping my options open type of decision.

Ken Randall: 04:19 Then in terms of the school itself, Chapel Hill felt like a good fit. I enjoyed the feel of campus and that kind of thing, as well. That was why I decided to go there. In terms of the degree, long and short, again thinking something healthcare related, the chemistry degree I did was the most direct route to get all the pre-reqs done. Then that would leave me a little bit of freedom to take courses that I enjoyed more and still have everything in place to apply, whether it was medicine or dentistry, whichever direction I wanted to go.

Shane Tenny: 04:51 Where in the, in your undergraduate years, did you decide, "When I get out, I'm going to dental school, not medical school"?

Ken Randall: 04:57 Yeah, so it was the summer between high school and college, actually. I had already sent my money into Carolina, knew I was going there, I guess. Long and short, my mom's side of the family, the ones that are dentists, are fairly close to the beach, have a little place on the coast of North Carolina there. So we were there just spending the summer. I didn't really have a whole lot of summer projects I had to do. So I was enjoying my freedom before you gear up again for college. So one night, my grandfather comes to me and says, "Ken?" I said, "Yes, sir." He said, "You're being pretty lazy this summer." I said, "Well, I'm enjoying my summer off." He said, "Well, tomorrow you need to go in the office with me. We're going to be leaving at 6:30. You need to be dressed and ready to go."

Ken Randall: 05:46 So I'm sitting there going, "[inaudible 00:05:50]." That's maybe less than what I was hoping to do this summer, but what came out of my mouth was, "Yes, sir." You wake up the next morning, drag myself out of bed, get dressed and ready to go. We drove in and I'm half asleep, because I've been getting up at noon, 1:00, typical teenager time. So we get to the office and I'm just hanging out and observing, nothing too terribly crazy. By lunch, I said, "This is what I want to do," and just absolutely fell in love with it.

Ken Randall: 06:21 So came back after lunch, hung out the rest of the day and next morning, totally unsolicited, got up and I was ready to go at 6:30 the next morning again, to go hang out at the office again. Basically from that day forward, any break that I had from school all throughout undergrad, I was in the office working as an assistant, scrubbing dirty instruments, scrubbing floors, whatever needed to do, just to try to soak up as much of that as I could.

Shane Tenny: 06:48 That is fascinating. Four hours looking down into the mouth, and you knew it was a calling.

Ken Randall: 06:52 It was love at first sight, I guess.

Shane Tenny: 06:54 Now you chose, after undergrad of course, went to dental school and then decided to go on and do a GPR hospital residency, which isn't required in dentistry. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts there. Why did you decide to do the extra training?

Ken Randall: 07:10 Yeah. Initially, it was because I was particularly interested in dental implant surgery and thought that that would be a good way to get more experience with the surgical end of dental implants, placing implants, treatment planning, those kind of scenarios, that type of thing. It was actually interesting though. Looking back, I wouldn't say that that's what I learned the most from the program or that's been the most applicable to me. So that's been kind of interesting, looking in the rear view mirror at that. I actually got a lot more non-implant related education out of it that I use more frequently than what I went into it expecting to achieve.

Shane Tenny: 07:50 Like what? Can you be a little more specific?

Ken Randall: 07:52 Yeah.

Shane Tenny: 07:52 What'd you get most from that experience?

Ken Randall: 07:55 A lot of it, honestly, was working in a medical world. In dentistry, you're kind of in your silo. They teach you the basic science that you need to know in terms of medicine, that kind of thing. You get tested on different diseases and some of the general pathology stuff and all, but it's not something that you use so much on a day-to-day basis. They're more, in that four years, training you to be a clinician. So you've got to learn all the hand skills and procedures and that kind of thing, that in medicine, you're fortunate to have that extra time to be able to develop those skills as a resident. You learn about it and you move on.

Ken Randall: 08:34 But in this hospital program, some of those things that you learned the didactic part of actually came to real life. We're looking at lab values, and we even had situations where we had to have patients have blood transfusions before we could work on them. We had different trauma situations, where you're figuring a little bit more, how do you manage them from a keeping them stable as a whole standpoint, in order to be able to fix what you need to from a dental oral facial standpoint in there?

Ken Randall: 09:08 A lot of the medical background was really neat and fascinating, not necessarily what I expected so much out of it. But stuff comes across all the time now that, without doing a GPR, it might have made me a little bit more nervous or made me want to delay things for some reason. With that background information, I feel more comfortable talking to my medical colleagues about somebody. I also feel more comfortable making clinical decisions about when it's appropriate to take care of somebody, and when you might need to say, "Hey, I don't want to hurt you trying to help you. Let's take a break here for a minute."

Shane Tenny: 09:45 Is it safe to say that you're a fan of residency program for dentists?

Ken Randall: 09:51 I am, I am. It's been interesting, too, talking to classmates. I think there's a spectrum of programs in what areas they focus on and what areas you get trained on, that kind of thing. They're not all created equal. Some of them are maybe more what I call a fifth year of dental school. So they'll hold your hand a little bit more, help you build some confidence, that kind of thing. Some of them are more, you have a dental degree, you're a doctor now, you need to start making these decisions, and we're going to throw more complex stuff at you and make you learn and figure it out. Some of them were focused on different areas within dentistry. So the range is pretty wide, which is something that's interesting with GPRs and AGDs is, the spectrum of what's out there and what these programs offer isn't even necessarily as consistent from year to year, as it is more based on the faculty, has been my observation.

Ken Randall: 10:50 So it was challenging, honestly, to weed through the different programs. There's not as robust a centralized system for looking at that stuff as I wish there could be. So a lot of it's word-of-mouth, figuring out what is it that y'all are doing here? What is it that y'all doing there? How do we find the right fit?

Shane Tenny: 11:08 Ken, now I've seen statistics that vary between medicine and dentistry. I think it's something like 65, 70% of physicians work for a hospital system or a group and the balance are in private practice. I think the ratio is roughly reversed for dentists, 65, 70% are in private practice and 30, 35% are in either a DSO or some sort of organized group. Since you didn't have a family practice to take over from, your dad being in medicine, what were the options you were considering as you were getting ready to leave your residency training?

Ken Randall: 11:46 Initially, since my wife, who's also a dentist, had a couple more years in her residency program, I knew that I wanted to do something that wouldn't necessarily be an ownership kind of thing. Because I basically had two years that we were going to be around Alabama, where we did our training, before we would be moving somewhere else. So the initial thought process there was, find somewhere where I can learn for two years. Is it going to be the forever home? No. But just try to figure out a way to pick up as much information as I can in two years, until it's time to put down roots somewhere.

Ken Randall: 12:23 Long and short, I was fortunate, through a number of different channels, dental association relationships, relationships with other folks that I'd met, to get connected with somebody in private practice in Alabama that was looking for somebody to come join the practice for a while. He actually, conveniently enough, had a son that was two years away from finishing dental school, and I guess he wanted to do a one-year hospital residency, as well. So timing-wise, we kind of knew that it would work out for his son to come in as I was leaving. Upfront, he knew that I had two years and that I'd probably be moving on after that. It seemed to be a good fit for all of us involved.

Shane Tenny: 13:08 Mm-hmm (affirmative). But you knew that it was going to be temporary, and I guess long term, you wanted to be in private practice. So talk a little bit about that decision of, "Am I going to start something from scratch? Am I going to try to do a internal transition, where the practice is on fire? Or am I going to try to find someplace that I can transition into and create a new vision?"

Ken Randall: 13:28 Yeah, it was interesting. My wife and I, we were trying to decide, do we go to Chattanooga so that she can work with her dad in his practice, or do we move back to North Carolina, where I could work with my family in that practice, and she might have to figure out something more on her own in there. The discussion was, "I'm going back to Chattanooga so that I can work with my dad." And I said, "Yes, ma'am." That's how that decision got made.

Shane Tenny: 13:59 Good, good.

Ken Randall: 14:00 So I knew that I'd have to figure out something on my own. My wife's a periodontist and her dad's periodontist. So it wasn't necessarily a good fit for me, as a general dentist, to be in the same practice as them, for a number of different reasons. So basically I just kind of put out feelers everywhere I could in Chattanooga. Talked to supply reps, talked to some of the transition companies that are out there and just said, "Hey, I'm looking for something, anything. Throw whatever at me you can."

Ken Randall: 14:28 So long and short, it was actually a different practice that I looked at before the one that I took over here. It ended up not quite being the right fit. A few different reasons for it. I couldn't see the vision for developing it as well as I could for the one that I ended up taking over in there. So this was actually the, probably the second or the third one I seriously looked. Yeah, long and short, I think philosophically the dentist that was here before me and I were very similar, and that was important to me, was to have a patient base that generally follows the dentist's lead in terms of what they value and that kind of thing. Walking into a situation like that, I felt, would be a little bit more comfortable for me then maybe walking into a different situation where folks' values as a whole may not necessarily line up with what I felt was important in terms of taking care of people's health.

Shane Tenny: 15:26 Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Ken Randall: 15:27 First thing is philosophy. And then other than that, yeah, I wanted a location that was going to be reasonable for us, that could help us grow. Wanted a space that we could develop over time, that kind of thing. So some of those other pieces ended up falling into place. But the big thing for me was making sure that I could practice the way that I wanted to. I felt like the transition, when the philosophies matched up, was going to be a little bit easier.

Shane Tenny: 15:59 Yeah, I want to talk a little bit about that match and some of what you saw, but we're going to take a quick break and then I'll ask you a little bit more about that.

Ken Randall: 16:05 Great. Sounds good.

Shane Tenny: 16:11 When it comes to retirement planning, we've been told by magazines, websites and podcasts that the most important ingredient to solve is knowing our number. That is, the total amount of savings and investments that will be required to maintain your standard of living once you stop working full-time. In reality, though, there are actually three important I's when it comes to retirement planning. The first is certainly knowing how to replace your income once you retire. But the other two I's are just as important. Where will you find your identity, and where will you find your influence? These are the two aspects that make a working career so fulfilling, identity and influence, the intellectual stimulation, the relational connections, the sense of being needed and making a difference every day, the opportunity to talk about projects and progress when you're with friends or neighbors or at a party. Identity and influence are the things that make life fulfilling.

Shane Tenny: 17:21 So as you plan for retirement, make sure to identify ways to replace all of the components that have been meaningful in your work: income, identity and influence. These ingredients together will help ensure that you have the prosperous retirement that you've longed for.

Shane Tenny: 17:41 This financial wellness tip is brought to you by the great financial advisors at Spaugh Dameron Tenny, helping doctors and dentists, for over 60 years, make smart financial decisions. You can learn more at sdtplanning.com. To learn more about retirement planning, you can access the free Retirement Readiness quiz, brought to you by Spaugh Dameron Tenny. The link is in the show notes below.

Shane Tenny: 18:12 All right. So Dr. Ken Randall, you've been telling us a little bit about your journey through training, and I think all the way up to finding the practice in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that you ended up buying. You were talking right before the break about just the alignment of your philosophy with the dentist that you bought out and the location, and just the, I think, the opportunity that you sensed there would be a good fit for you. I imagine there's somebody listening today is thinking, "I'm in the process of looking for a practice, either I want to move out of my associateship, or getting ready to finish training." What are your suggestions? What do you look for? Can you talk a little bit more about either specific clinical opportunities to grow a practice, or how do you sniff out a philosophy that aligns?

Ken Randall: 18:53 Yeah, great question. To some extent, was a matter of just talking with the dentist that I bought the practice from. We just talked shop for a while, among other things, as well, but just philosophies of care, philosophies of referral patterns. Do you, from a material standpoint, try to find the cheapest thing you can find? Do you try to find the highest end of the spectrum, whatever it is? Just a bunch of different questions like that, that I would ask, to try to glean a little bit about what their day-to-day looked like. Also, looking at different reports from the practice management system, in terms of what procedures were they doing? What procedures were they not doing? What did their billing and collections look like? What were their insurance write-offs? All of that helped give me a sense of, what does this patient base look like? What does this dentist tend to do day-to-day? Then I even went as far as just picking a couple of charts here and there and flipping through treatment records and x-rays, and that kind of thing, to see, what's the general condition of the patient base there.

Shane Tenny: 20:06 Mm-hmm (affirmative). They gave you pretty open access to their files and practice?

Ken Randall: 20:10 Yes. I think the dentist, I took over the practice from wanted to be very discreet about it at all. So I couldn't necessarily just walk in, in the middle of the day one day, and say, "Hey, I'm here." It was more of a after-hours kind of thing. But yeah, they were very gracious in letting me look through it all.

Shane Tenny: 20:32 Now, this brings up, I think, an important question. Because you decided on the entire career path after just four hours with your grandpa in his practice, how long, or how many visits did you spend talking with him, having dinner, getting to know the practice, that sort of thing? What should people expect?

Ken Randall: 20:50 Sure. It was maybe a couple of in-depth conversations, as far as that goes. Certainly spent a little bit more time going through records and all that kind of stuff more on my own. Yeah, probably two different bigger conversations with her in there. Yeah. Then a little bit of just back and forth email kind of stuff from time to time?

Shane Tenny: 21:12 Did you or he use a transition or a practice broker to help with the overall transaction?

Ken Randall: 21:19 Yeah, they had a company that was brokering the deal in there, in order to get matched up with it in there. This was a company, in particular, that markets themselves as representing both the buyer and the seller. Long and short, in order to get access to and potentially buy a practice, I had to sign a contract, as a buyer, to work with this company.

Shane Tenny: 21:44 What was the actual transition like with the patients and with the staff and how did you keep them from declaring mutiny, when the new Ken Randall came in and took over for our beloved dentist?

Ken Randall: 21:56 It was interesting, the way that the whole process happened in there. I guess, long and short, the selling dentist had tried to keep it quiet and not let staff or anybody know, anything like that. Then I guess one evening in February, I guess it was, of 2015, I came up and just brought some drinks and snacks and that kind of thing. So she told her staff there was going to be a staff meeting at the end of the day. So then I walk in and she introduces me and said, "Oh yeah, by the way, here in about two weeks, he's going to be taking over." So it was interesting.

Ken Randall: 22:31 And small world, I guess on the backside of that, the dentist I took over for lives in the same neighborhood as my wife grew up in. My wife actually shadowed in the office when she was deciding whether to go to dental school or not. The office manager had worked for my wife's grandfather 45 years prior, as her first job in dentistry. And so there were a lot of connections as far as that goes, that I was able to make during that introductory meeting. So tried to ease some concerns as far as that goes.

Ken Randall: 23:09 Also, I think one thing that people generally get scared about is uncertainty. And so tried to just calm nerves in terms of, "No, this isn't going to be radical change. I'm not going to come in and... Everybody still has their job. It's going to be a lot of what you're used to." Didn't go in with the philosophy of, "I know everything and I'm going to come in and teach y'all how to do this right." So more soliciting opinions from them.

Ken Randall: 23:37 I went out to have a cup of coffee or dinner or lunch or whatever with each employee individually, just to talk to them and get their sense of where they were with things, answer any questions they may have, try to alleviate any concerns. But then also, ask them, what is it that they've been doing that they felt worked well, but what have they been doing that they felt could be improved? So that was fun, too, to talk to everybody about making them start think a little bit more about, what could the future look like? And then get them a little bit excited about things from that perspective.

Shane Tenny: 24:16 Yeah. It sounds like a great, great way to just begin to get their buy-in and show your interest in their input and their experience and background with the practice.

Ken Randall: 24:25 Yeah, absolutely. It was really helpful.

Shane Tenny: 24:28 Yeah. Now buying and running, certainly running a dental practice, is a lot of business and also some teeth work. You've got a pretty good head for a lot of business things. I think I'm curious, is that just a natural giftedness and acumen you picked up growing up, or have you learned some or been able to go to pick stuff up from conferences? Is this intentional learning that you've developed?

Ken Randall: 24:53 I've never had an econ class. I've never had a finance class. I've never had any kind of formal education at any point that had a dollar sign in the textbook at all. So how have I picked it up? I don't know. I have read a few different books over time that have been beneficial in there. I will say that there's one thing, the dentist that I worked with my two years as an associate in Alabama, took me to a conference where they did discuss some personal finance kind of things and all that. That really opened my eyes more than probably anything else to what personal finance looks like. Even just some of the terminology that I'd never heard before in terms of personal finance, and not even so much the business end, but just dollars and cents. That really, I think, got me going on figuring out, how do you make all this work and how do you provide for your family over time?

Ken Randall: 25:56 Between that and different books, one of them that was certainly influential was The Millionaire Next Door. So different things like that. We had a group of residents that would read a few different books on corporate culture and more of the HR business end things that year that I was a resident. That was a lot of fun, too. But that's really been about it. Other than that, just winging it.

Shane Tenny: 26:23 Well, I think it's a little more than winging it, because I think the one thing that just you mentioned is that, you don't get the money classes in your training, but you're going to have a culture. It can either be accidental or it can be intentional. So even, am I reading the best books? I don't know, but I'm trying. I'm reading something. I'm putting in some of these ideas that I can then bring to our team and our staff and brainstorm and hopefully create the experience for your patients that you want to have.

Shane Tenny: 26:48 But the other point is, knowing you, you're not entirely winging it, because you've also made the decision, since buying the practice, to surround yourself with advisors and professionals that can help keep you between the guardrails and give you some good ideas. Tell me a little bit about that decision. When did you think like, "All right, let me just hire some people," and how's that gone?

Ken Randall: 27:07 Yeah. Great question. Like I say, I had no real formal training in how this stuff works. I will say, between my father-in-law and some of my family members that have been in dentistry, there have been some things I've been able to pick their brain on. Ultimately, just like my clinical philosophy with dentistry, if there's a specialist that's going to be able to do something better, I want that patient to have the best possible care, and so I'm going to send them to that specialist. Similar for us from a financial standpoint is, I want to have the people with the most knowledge that can help direct us the best, as far as that goes. The accounting firm that I've been working with that helped me, even looking at the practices when we were first figuring all that out, and has stayed with me to help guide some of the businessy stuff, they were certainly very influential.

Ken Randall: 28:02 But then also, that course that I was in as an associate really taught me the value of time, particularly when it comes to compounding of money in there. It's one thing, you can make whatever dollar amount, but if you're able to start investing it wisely earlier on, the outcome at the end is going to be exponentially better. So I wanted early on to figure out, "How do we manage the debt end of things? How do we manage the salary end of things? Where do you put savings or do you pay down debt or how do you do all that stuff?" Sure, I could guess. But I think when you look at the value of compounding over time, it certainly made sense to find somebody that could help make those decisions and put us in a better place at the end of our careers, when it was finally time to retire.

Shane Tenny: 28:55 That's a good rationale, I think. Between that advice and your own acumen and nose for things in the last five years I think, your collections have doubled. I'm curious, has that come about because you've you added services based on your training? Did you tighten up collections? Did you change some overhead? What was the low-hanging fruit that you discovered when you came in that gave you the opportunity to grow so exponentially?

Ken Randall: 29:27 Great question. The dentist that I took over for really wasn't doing a ton in terms of procedures at all. She was referring out just about everything other than some more straightforward fillings and crown and bridge kind of stuff in there. Yeah, basically any other procedure was extremely rare. So from my training, I was comfortable doing a number of other procedures in there. Particularly initially, when you expect there to be some drop-off in your patient numbers with any transition, I knew that that would help me stabilize things a little bit. Then as the practice has continued to grow, it's actually been interesting, I've found myself cutting back the number of procedures that I'm doing, which I was not expecting at all. But we've, long and short, become more and more efficient at the ones that we're doing, to where from a business standpoint, it makes less sense for us to have a wider spectrum of procedures that we're doing in-house. It particularly helped initially to be able to have a number of different things available. But I've surprised myself in that I've narrowed that spectrum over time.

Shane Tenny: 30:36 Mm-hmm (affirmative). So we're recording this at the tail end of, I believe, the year that has been ubiquitously labeled unprecedented, 2020. You have survived, and I think in many ways thrived in the midst of COVID and just all the uncertainty. What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Ken Randall: 30:54 Oh man, I'm looking forward to continue to grow and learn and have our team continue to grow and learn. And I guess as a by-product of that, have the practice continue to grow. It'll be nice not to have quite as many fires to put out, hopefully, on a day-to-day basis. Hopefully sleep a little bit more. But yeah, it's been interesting this year. The perspective that we've taken on it, being shut down for two months and having to deal with all of these PPP programs and this and that, and everything's coming at you 16 different directions. I had two hygienists that left back in August, because their husbands got jobs and moved to other parts of the country. So within about a week and a half period, we had to bring two new hygienists onboard. All kinds of stuff that comes up, nature of running the business.

Ken Randall: 31:48 But one thing that I think we've, personally I feel we've done a good job of, is focusing on looking for the opportunities in all of these situations, instead of maybe reflecting on it and feeling bad for ourselves. When we were shut down, we used it as an opportunity to do more training. We did a bunch of training with staff in there. We have some photo and video equipment, and started working on some of that. We tried to formalize some of our office procedures and put them in a procedure manual. So a bunch of different things that had been on the back burner, we've tried to use it as an opportunity. Same with any of these other things that have come up is, what's the opportunity that we can get from this situation, being where we are? Hopefully in 2021, we can continue to look for those opportunities to get better and to try to thrive.

Shane Tenny: 32:45 Yeah, well, I think that'll definitely keep the momentum going. As we wrap up, I guess I'll throw you one more question here. For someone listening, who again is maybe coming out of training or thinking of, getting itchy to leave their associateship, look for a practice, what's maybe the top one or two suggestions that come to your mind for someone at that stage, looking to jump in and start on their own?

Ken Randall: 33:06 One thing that I think people are always afraid of is failure. That's something I get a little bit nerdy about it, and I'm actually super-interested in failure. There's a book called Failing Forward. A good philosophy, I think, is not dwell on the failure, but what can you learn from it, and how do you get better? I've talked to dental students in the past, this is just kind of a example, of how much more I've failed than I've succeeded in my life. And I don't consider it a bad thing. I think that if you can grow from it and learn from it, that it'll put you in a much better place in the end in there.

Ken Randall: 33:42 I guess I'll try to make this short and sweet as I can, but long and short, in dental school, ran for a number of different positions in the Student Dental Association locally, lost every single election that you can possibly think of. One thing led to another, and next thing you know, I was being asked to run for one of the National Executive Board positions in there. So reluctantly, I was like, "Yeah, whatever, I'll fail again. It's all good," somehow got elected to be one of the national vice presidents of the Student Dental Association. That experience totally changed my life in so many ways for the good. But if you're afraid of failure, if you're afraid to not get there, those opportunities may not ever become available. So don't be afraid to fail. Try it, and if it doesn't work out, learn from it and move on and do even better next time.

Shane Tenny: 34:34 That's great advice and a great punchline to, I think, a great conversation. Ken, thanks so much for your time and your good cheer and your sage advice.

Ken Randall: 34:43 Thanks for having me, Shane.

Shane Tenny: 34:44 Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast. Appreciate you listening. You can subscribe through iTunes and Google Play. New episodes come out every other Monday, and would love your feedback, your reviews, your comments. You can email me directly, shane@whitecoatwell.com. We'll see you back here next time.

Outro: 35:08 This episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast is over, but you're not alone on your journey. Spaugh Dameron Tenny has been helping physicians and dentists prosper through financial planning for over 60 years. To connect with us, visit sdtplanning.com today, and take your financial wellness to new levels. Join us on the next episode of the Prosperous Doc podcast.