What is your full name, title, and business name?
Taghreed “Rudi” As-Sanie, Dentist | Business Owner, Dental Reflections Dublin
Give us a summary of your business in 200 words or less.
Dental Reflections Dublin is a comprehensive family dental practice located in Dublin, Ohio. We strive to create an honest and comfortable experience for the entire family. We don’t serve patients. We serve people. To us, reflecting your best is more than just a phrase, it is a genuine passion for personal dental care. Our goal is to make every step of your experience easy and comfortable so you can sit back and relax.
How did the idea for your business come about?
I started working as an associate at this practice since 2012. The owner of the practice was a pediatric dentist and I was the general dentist seeing the adults in the practice. When he approached me wanting to sell the practice, I was not sure I wanted to be a business owner. I couldn’t pass by the opportunity because the location was so important to me and the dental job market is very competitive. It took some creativity but I ended up turning the practice from a multi-specialty office to a family practice.
What was the turning point
for your business? Was there a moment you knew you had something special?
When I was working as an associate I knew that we had something special because so many families really appreciated being able to have a one stop place to have their children be seen in a child centered area, but then also be able to be seen in the more traditional adult side of the practice. Once I bought the practice, I still kept all the elements of my pediatric mentor but updated the technology.
What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur and business owner?
It is sustainable whether I am working on patients or not. In the book E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, he discusses the Entrepreneurial myth. What you do not realize when you go into a business is that you need to be 3 people in one-the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. This idea really spoke to me. As a dentist when I am working on patients-I am a technician. For my team—I am a manager. When I am the entrepreneur, I get to work ON my business not IN my business. To be a sustainable dental practice, I don’t have to be the technician for the business to keep running. I strive to systematize any process we can but still keep the personal touch and make every patient feel special.
What does the city of Columbus mean to your business?
I love Columbus! It is so diverse and there are lots of opportunities for growth here. It’s big, but not too big. Each suburb has its own unique feel. Also I love the food choices we have!
Are you from Columbus? If not, please explain what brought you here and ultimately what made you stay.
I was born and raised in Kent, Ohio. I moved to Columbus in 2001 to attend The Ohio State University. I attended OSU for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. Go bucks! I met my husband in college and he was from Columbus and his family is still here. So naturally we decided to stay.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to anyone wanting to start a business?
Leaders eat last. You are the one who is going to be thinking about the business at all hours of the day and going to be standing with the business through thick and thin. The book Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek provides a fundamentally different perspective on leadership. A leader is not someone who pushes people to perform but inspires them to be better for the greater good of the organization. The leader is one who looks out for the team and is willing to give up something of their own for the team and the business. It can be hard sometimes, but I really strive to embody those qualities.
What do you wish you knew about entrepreneurship before starting your business?
How rewarding it is to be able to see something grow. I was very scared to buy the practice and I never thought I wanted to own my own practice when I went to dental school. Looking back, It was one of the best decisions I have made.
What’s the most challenging part of your business (i.e, what keeps you up at night)?
Owning up that every problem you have in your business is your fault. Extreme ownership. It always difficult to hear criticism and not take it personally whether it is from the team or a patient. It’s easy to give yourself excuses in your head or get discouraged. One of hardest things for me was when a marketing project that we worked very hard on was just frankly a waste of time and money. By the time I got feedback from the team I felt so discouraged and it took me a long time to be able to start a new marketing initiative. I was annoyed with myself that I took too long to ask for feedback from the team.
Every business owner has a flaw. What’s yours?
Over thinking every detail.
Why do you think most business owners fail? What has made you different?
Keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. The practices that struggle, it seems as though they aren’t willing to change their mind set for change. They focus on the negative, the things that can’t change and dwell on that.
What was your biggest mistake and what did it cost you?
Not being true to myself and wanting to be a people-pleaser. When you are not true to yourself, you become miserable. It is difficult to sustain and live like that. Inevitably you take that energy home too. It is the path of least resistance to say yes, but at what cost? Time. Money. Sanity. I am not sure I have completely overcome this obstacle, its always a work in progress.
What tool has helped you the most for your business?
Online scheduling! Local med (dental specific). Also an Intraoral Camera, I can tell someone they have a cavity but if I can SHOW them–that was a game changer.
When did you know it was time to expand your business, make your first hire, etc.?
When you can’t get someone in over a month! That’s not good. We strive to schedule someone within a week of them calling.
What is something that you did that was a game changer for your business?
When I bought the practice, we still had paper charts, archaic dental software, and film xrays. The first thing I did was purchase a digital x-ray system, upgrade my dental software, and scan all the paper charts in. Digital dentistry.
What was an idea that you spent a lot of time on or thought would make a big difference in your business that didn’t pan out.
Custom website, facebook and google ads. Lots of advertising money—that did not result in new patients calling.
What is something that your business spends a lot of money on that’s worth it?
High quality dental materials and highly trained team. The experience the patients receive is the most important. High quality materials make a huge difference to the longevity of treatment. Continuing education–investing my myself to be able to increase the services I offer to my patients and do them well.
What form of marketing is the most valuable for you?
Google reviews and word of mouth. Dentistry is a very personal experience and can cause lots of anxiety for many people. When a patient shares a positive experience they had with us, it means so much to us and also provides social proof for others that they are making a good choice choosing us.
Who is your best Columbus resource?
Advanced Practice Management–accountant and practice consultant. They were pivotal in connecting me to all the resources I needed from the beginning. It was very overwhelming being a new practice owner, they made sure I had everything in order and built a great team of advisors around me.
Who do you vent to when you have a business problem?
My husband. I try not to bring work home but he has lots of HR and operations experience so he has a great perspective.
What is your revenue range?
$1mm – $5mm
What was the single worst decision you made regarding your business and how’d you recover?
I think everything happens for a reason and you can learn something from it.
When you’re stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to overcome this feeling?
I go on a walk and wait until the next day to think about it again. Things always seem a little better the next morning.
What’s one component of entrepreneurship that’s much different than what most people think?
It can’t be done or they couldn’t do it. Everything I have done with my practice has been because it started with a vision–then I researched it, learned about it, listened to podcasts, talked to an expert about it and then weighed all my options and decided how
to move the business forward. It makes you a life long learner-which I love! It has pushed me to never stand still and keep pushing forward to always strive to make things better and more efficient.
What’s your end goal with the business? Is this something you want to pass down to your kids or would you like to eventually sell?
Well my kids are so young, so who knows if anyone would be interested in dentistry. My end goal is to have a sustainable practice where I did not HAVE to see patients. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing patients and love meeting new people, but dentistry
is hard on the body.