Smile & Co.: Redefining the dental practice experience
Dr. Ashley Joves, owner of Smile & Co., explains how she has differentiated her dental practice.
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I knew what this office was going to look and feel like years before it actually opened. I wanted patients to feel like they were at home.
I wanted to define everything about this practice for myself. The first place that I wanted to start was getting a business plan together. I wrote down all the things that I would do differently — from the way we greeted patients to the design of the office.
I want patients to forget that they're at the dentist when they're here. And that is how I decorated this office. We have patients who come an hour before their appointment and stay a couple hours after they're done.
Community involvement has been one of the single most important factors in our success. I think it's important, especially as a dentist, to be really rooted in your community. When you are an active member and people are seeing you at restaurants or at events, it allows them to know who you are as a person and whether they can know, like and trust you.
Wells Fargo was a huge partner in helping me to understand the financial aspects of what it takes to open a business. They walked me through construction projects and allocation of funds and a disbursement schedule, and I couldn't have asked for a better partner in holding my hand through this process.
The biggest challenge that I've faced has been finding my voice as a leader. I always want everyone to like me. And when you are the boss, that's just not possible.
I have experienced turnover and I used to beat myself up. It took me about a year and a half to finally say, "I need to show up and be the leader that this office needs me to be." Because if I'm not clear with my expectations for my team, then how can I expect them to achieve those expectations?
It's about knowing what I can do, what I can't do and letting someone else help me. And I've learned so much about myself throughout this process. I know that challenging conversations are a must and that is how we have grown into the amazing team that I have now.