March 11, 2021
On the first episode of Start-Up Uncensored, Michael Dinsio and John Bertagni sit down with Dr. Joanna Valentine of the Icon Dental Center. They discuss how she and her business partner basically decided to start their practice on a whim.
In this candid 49-minute interview, she discusses every step of getting her practice off the ground, from finding the right facility to working out agreements with her business partner to proving people wrong who said she would fail. You’ll find a very brief transcript of the interview below that previews a few highlights.
Mike: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about you and your story, and how you got to where you’re at today.
Joanna: Well, it’s a really long story.
Mike: How did you get into ownership? Let’s just start with that.
Joanna: You want the real story? This is uncensored.
Joanna: I feel like a lot of times people have all these plans, right? Plans to do all these things.
I was working at a community health clinic and another gal and I, who happens to be my business partner now, we were just working and literally, she was like, you know, I’ve been here for a long time. I think it’s just time for me to move on.
I’m like, Oh my God. I was literally just Googling about buying a practice. Want to do this together? Like literally that’s how it started. We had no intention. I didn’t think like, okay, I need to go find a partner. She needs to have this, this, this, literally, she was the first person that just turned around and opened the doors.
John: But you got along with her?
Joanna: Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, we got along great. It was almost like, imagine going on a few dates and then deciding we’re going to get married. I honestly, I didn’t know if it was going to be like a marriage.
I think a little bit of it was like, you know, it was by luck. And I think that was huge because , once we started getting into it and we’re like, okay, let’s figure out how we can make a partnership. We had agreements and contracts and everywhere we turned, everybody was like, but man, 50% of these are going to fail. It’s hard to be in partnerships. Why are you doing it?
John: Well, I mean, Joanna, here’s a question, who was giving you that information? Like how did you find the person that said that? You know, was it a contractor? Was it a lawyer? Was it a rep? Who was giving you the information that this thing’s going to fail right out of the gate?
Joanna: My Attorney first of all, our attorney for sure. He was writing our agreement, so I want those disclaimers always, and then our CPA brought it up as well. And it was everybody. Contractors didn’t really get involved since our first practice was acquired.
We bought that one. Yeah. So that was in Everett and we bought it from two retiring doctors. And that was also another thing that we kind of just stumbled upon. I was just looking through different listings and they’re like, hey, you guys are retiring this eight operatory clinic, it was the perfect setup for us.
So, it kind of just fell into place a little bit. But that’s kinda where it all began.
John: Okay. So here’s my question. You guys are still together as partners though. So you’re proving these people wrong, which is great. Send them holiday cards every year.
Mike: Don’t give everybody the advice that it works. Okay, because you two are special. Everybody does say don’t do it for a reason.
Joanna: Colleagues of mine who have asked about it, and I think a lot of them, they have fears and they’re like, Oh, I can’t do this alone. And I’m like, well, you know, it’s possible. However, it’s a lot of take and give, and I keep referring it back to a marriage. I feel like I spend more time with her most of the time, you know, then even my own husband and a lot of it is like, what makes it, what powers us?
What drives us is the fact that our ego is like, way down here.
John: Something that we talk about all the time is that you have to check your ego. You have to have humility. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have humility, especially when they start a business or when their business starts to thrive.
That humility is one of the biggest pieces that actually makes businesses grow quicker, and actually have more patient interaction and customer experience, in my mind.
Are You in the Same Position As Dr. Valentine?
Dr. Valentine is the first to admit that her approach was flawed and exposed her to a lot of risk despite ultimately working out for the best. Fortunately, you can avoid the stress and potential pitfalls she mentions by partnering with Next Level Consultants, where our mission is to make starting, buying, and running your dental practice as easy and streamlined as possible, just like we have for hundreds other dentists. To reserve a time with Michael to learn how he can help you hit the ground running, click here.