**Startups – to retain associateship at your current job, or not? – PART 1**
On the topic of associates maintaining a clinical presence at another practice while their startup builds.
Firstly, no matter what you decide to do clinically, you must ensure that your new surgery is staffed between at least 8:30-5pm every day with a receptionist and have it’s doors open for patients to walk in and make appointments. You may or may not decide to have a clinician in everyday but it is essential that the surgery doors are open.
Over many years and many startups, we have observed that patients, especially in general family suburban practices, like to walk in to a new surgery and make appointments. Also phone calls occur during the day and patients who get an answering service may find it quite odd that your surgery is unstaffed in the middle of the day.
Some people decide they want to maintain a clinical presence at their busy associateship job for a few days a week. Make no mistake, this will affect the growth of your own surgery in the long term. How much is anybody’s guess. But it will affect it. The more days you aren’t at your own surgery, the greater the effect on your surgery in the long term.
The effect is there because of the fact that fundamentally, every new patient in a new business has a greater impact on revenue than in an established business. Because they make up a greater proportion of the revenue. Also, think about a tree with big branches, branching into smaller and smaller branches. Every new patient is like a branch and may refer more patients who in turn will refer you even more patients in a large compounding cycle. Miss out on that initial patient and down the line, you may miss out on a $50,000 rehab case from one of their referrals.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work another job. I stated the above because some people have a sole priority to succeed in their startup. They don’t have an emphasis, nor do they have to weigh up, short term personal cashflow. For those people, you really should be at your startup 6 days a week.
For the others, depending on your cashflow requirements, my recommendation is to be present at your own startup as much as possible and work the minimum amount you have to, at your associateship job.
In part two, I will discuss the topic of having another dentist on at your startup while it builds.