NLC Topic Recap: How to Not Fail Miserably in Private Practice

Written by: Kanika Manchanda

Kanika is a current D2 and MU ASDA member. Continue reading below to find out what she learned during this past NLC trip!

Who is your targeted audience? For Dr. Chris Salerno it was New York City's working class. Giving servers and bartenders at a local restaurant a 20% discount at his dental office was his way of introducing more people into his practice, and also spreading the word. Dr. Salerno's lecture at ASDA's National Leadership Conference, "How to Not Fail Miserably in Private Practice", was one of the most thought provoking ones of the day.

NLC is filled with inspiration, livelihood, encouragement and more knowledge than you can hang on to. Although all of the speakers were incredibly informed and helpful, one speaker stood out to me because of his confidence and poise. Sharp on the hour Dr. Chris Salerno's vivacious energy captured his audience. As he grabbed the mic all chatter stopped and heads turned toward him in unison and I thought to myself "who is this guy?" Throughout Dr. Salerno's lecture I found out that he has been a speaker at NLC many times in the past and has an insightful view on dentistry in private practice. From his perspective, he disagrees with U.S. News that dentistry is the #2 best job in America right now. He reminded us that this ranking considers limited factors and that owning your own practice brings greater challenges and that competition keeps rising; so how do we not fail miserably in private practice?

Be unique – customize your business model to your patients Dr. Salerno's office design is simple, sleek, and private. He is interested in treating the working class and geriatric patients in his community in NYC and he wants to make that clear when you walk in the door. He doesn't have toys for children laying around because he is not treating kids. Be efficient – he does not take a traditional lunch hour from 12-1PM because this is a great time to accommodate working patients nearby, since that is when many others have time. Be connected – as I briefly mentioned before, Dr. Salerno gives 20% off to servers and bartenders who work at a restaurant nearby. This is a great marketing strategy; he does this because these individuals speak to new groups of people all day long. They get discounted dentistry and Dr. Salerno gets more referrals to individuals all over New York City.

It is refreshing to hear that you are not alone in the challenging career ahead of you; being successful in private practice seems like it brings many demands, however, meeting people like Dr. Salerno and other speakers at NLC has given me new perspectives and even more optimism. We must think about how to face new challenges with positivity and how to enhance the lives of our patients. What unique ideas you can bring to your future office?