Asia Richardson, DMD
Whether personal or professional, we’ve all been at a point in our lives where a once singular road splits into two.
A crossroads is about change, not just when things are not working out as we had planned, but also during positive moments when we must choose to continue the course or veer off into something new.
In my own career, that time came in early 2016. After practicing dentistry with a national dental organization for 12 years, I arrived at a point in my life where I knew I needed a change. But what were my next steps? I could either take out a half-of-million-dollar loan to start my own practice from scratch, or I could search for opportunities at a new dental organization. Some decisions at a crossroads are difficult and others seem to fall seamlessly into place; in this case, mine was the latter.
While weighing my options, a mentor of mine informed me of an opportunity to become an owner of several DentalWorks practices as a professional associate supported by DentalOne Partners, a dental support organization (DSO) that delivers integrated services to support and empower dentists from an administrative standpoint. Affiliating with a DSO provides unique possibilities—it would allow me to have the benefits of running my own practice, without the financial and operational burden of starting and maintaining a business.
So, after researching DentalOne Partners and finding their reputation and work aligned with my own professional goals, I packed my bags and made the move from Atlanta to Charlotte, North Carolina.
I currently own five DentalWorks practices in the Charlotte area and could not be happier with my decision to be affiliated with this DSO. Had I opened a private practice, I would be responsible for the operational tasks of running a business while still balancing the load of treating patients. Working with a DSO, all of the administrative hassles, from taxes to payroll, come off my plate, and I can dedicate my time to my true passion—patient care.
The most significant element of this benefit is that I don’t lose my autonomy because I have a larger organization as my affiliate. I can be as involved or uninvolved with the administrative duties as I’d like. I can form my own clinical team, set the hours for my practices, decide what type of products and services to provide, and determine the marketing I’d like to use to promote the practices. If I decide to be completely hands off with operational functions, I still receive an itemized report of everything that is done, and am ultimately the overarching decision maker on anything relating to my practices.
Plus, remember that half million dollars I mentioned in my above crossroads? I avoided that, too. Whether outfitting the practice with necessary equipment or marketing to new customers, with the support of a DSO, the upfront costs of opening a practice are funded, so I’m able to start out ahead from a steady financial standpoint. Very rarely can you find everything you need in one place, but with DentalOne Partners, I am given everything I need to be successful. If a resource isn’t on the ground in Charlotte, the support team at the headquarters in Plano, Texas are always there to assist me as necessary.
My initial career-questioning conjuncture may have once filled me with unease, but now I’m certainly happy with my decision to progress my career with a DSO affiliate like DentalOne Partners, and I feel confident with the integral stability they continually provide to me and my practices.
So, when you come to a crossroads of your own, don’t be afraid to embrace the opportunity to try something new—it just might lead to a place that is better than you could have ever imagined.