Business Acumen: Learn, Grow, and Evolve
Owning and managing a successful dental laboratory demands more than simply being the best dental technician; it requires a robust and acute business acumen that is constantly evolving with the ever-changing business landscape. Speaking from my personal experience, I owned and operated a laboratory that grew steadily over a decade due to choices I made in and for my business. Quite candidly, however, most of those were decisions based on crudely trusting my gut and intuition. Later on in my career, I had the opportunity to return to graduate school and earned my Master's degree in Business Management and Organizational Leadership, with the central motivation of understanding why certain things I did in my business worked or did not work. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience, and I learned the science of how to cultivate a strong business vision, manage, and strategize business processes to achieve greater business success.
While I am not suggesting that everyone needs to earn a formal business degree to run and operate a successful dental laboratory, it is very helpful. We live in a time where there is ample business information that is so readily available at our fingertips and in the convenience of our homes. There are university programs and courses, including free ones, as well as multiple sources of business information and case studies available online. One such resource that I consult regularly is the Harvard Business Review. There you can read and learn how other businesses, large and small, dealt with situations that occurred and what kind of business outcomes were derived as a result. From each such case study, there is always something that can be learned and applied to our industry, as well as provide you with the foresight to recognize things happening in your business that you may not have recognized on your own. Therefore, it would be prudent for a dental laboratory professional to commit to building these learning habits and continue to hone their business management competencies.
While a dental laboratory is indeed a very unique business due to our patient-specific products, the basics of business management and development certainly apply to our industry and should be learned. They include tried and proven business practices, product and business development strategies, price structures, soft and hard asset management, marketing, and so much more. Having well-informed business leaders in our field helps nurture individual laboratory development as well as advances the viability of our chosen profession.
It is my honor and pleasure to elevate and inspire with knowledge.
Executive Editor Daniel Alter, MSc, MDT, CDT