Dental Growth Model: How to take your dental group organization from fragile to unshakeable.

By Jake Puhl, partner and CEO of The Dentist Entrepreneur Organization

We’ve worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of dentists and dentist entrepreneurs who are looking to scale and grow. Whether it was adding a second, fifth and even tenth location, or solidifying the first location to build on, what we saw across these organizations as they started to grow and leaders put pressure on their organizations to push forward were some inevitable issues. For dentist entrepreneurs they can feel like a dark tunnel.

First, you’re going to run into your own leadership ceiling, or as John Maxwell says, a lack of executive capabilities. You will run into issues with hiring and training your team. There will be issues with associates as an inevitable byproduct of scaling. You’re going to find issues with creating leaders inside your organization. Other issues include systems, infrastructure, centralization, finances, and keeping track of where the money is going. What kind of accounting do you want to set up? Do you want to use accrual accounting, standard accounting, or cash basis?

These are all inevitable issues that you will run into. At the DEO, we’ve taken these issues and developed a framework to help you figure out where to spend your time. We help identify where your biggest issues are, where you need to level up inside your organization, or how to make it to that next level. This is what we do inside the DEO – provide you with the training, education, and peer-to-peer networking that you need to get through that dark tunnel.

The following is what we call the dental organization growth model. It’s a trademarked framework that we’ve developed after talking to many scaling dentist entrepreneurs and looking at what’s working and what’s not working in the industry.

We discovered that the best groups start with one thing – vision. Now, this is not just your vision of your business, although that is usually what most people talk about. This is the potential future vision for yourself, as well as your business. Where do you want to go personally? What is this business doing for you? Where do you see the business going? What is the vision of the actual business? That’s what you’ve got to figure out first. Start with your vision.


Once your vision is set, there are three kinds of levers you can pull when you’re looking to fulfill that future vision and scale your dental organization.

No. 1: Yourself

You can up-level and grow yourself in some kind of way. Typically, dentist entrepreneurs embarking on this journey are experiencing a lot of anxiety. With the proper training, the proper environment, and the proper education, you can go from anxiety to confidence.

No. 2: Team

The next lever you can pull when it comes to achieving your future vision for yourself is your team. This is a huge one. It may involve getting out of the chair and becoming more of a CEO. You’re trying to take your team from chaos to momentum. This is going to happen over and over again. You’re going to oscillate between these states – chaos to momentum. The more you can keep yourself in momentum, the more your organization is going to thrive. Sometimes you’re going to wake up in the morning and it’s going to feel chaotic, but your job is to get it down and build that momentum.

No. 3: Business

Finally, there’s the business side of the lever that you can pull. That’s the nuts and bolts of your business. You’re trying to create a business that goes from feeling fragile to unshakeable.

A lot of people have discovered in this turbulent time that their business was fragile. Dentistry as a whole is usually a solid industry. But we’ve discovered vulnerabilities in some people’s businesses. With the DEOs, we’ve led a lot of people to analyze their business model and figure out ways to make things more unshakeable.

The following are the things that you will need in order to successfully pull those levers:


  • Consistent Clarity. Regardless of the circumstances, do you have the clarity to go from anxious to confident?
  • Executive Capabilities. There are certain capabilities that no one is born with, but must be developed. You must learn to become an executive. As you grow and scale, you will start to have higher level people around you, but you’ve got to have a certain level for yourself.
  • Peer Connection. It can be a lonely road as an entrepreneur who is growing and has big aspirations and dreams. And that peer connection is absolutely crucial.


  • Talent Management. This is the hiring, training, letting go of and constantly managing the talent in the organization.
  • Alignment Systems. How are you building alignment inside your organization so everyone knows where you’re going, why you’re going there, what their expectations are, what the outcomes are, and what you’re looking for?
  • Leader Growth. This is a big one. You need to develop leaders. As your organization grows, eventually it stops becoming about you and it starts becoming more about the people around you.


  • Top Line Growth. There’s a saying that top line revenue covers all sins.
  • Operational Systems. Systems will set you free. Systems are huge inside a growing and
    scaling business.
  • Cash Management. Where is your money going? When is it going out? When is it coming in? Keeping track of those everyday dollars in this turbulent time has become even more important.

What happens if you do these things? If you’re able to up-level yourself and your team, you’re going to find that you have more time on your hands. If you’re able to up-level yourself and your business, you’re going to find the business is probably more profitable. Now, your team might be going crazy, and everyone might be running around like their hair is on fire, but the business will likely see more profit.

Then, if you’re able to build an amazing team and momentum, and you have a business that’s unshakeable, you’re going to be able to impact a lot of people. You might feel anxious all the time and not very competent, but you will be impacting people.

The middle is where we are leading entrepreneurs. The middle is the sweet spot.

If you’re interested in figuring out ways to go from anxious to confident and feel more momentum in your business, schedule a call with our team. We’ll help you figure out where your biggest weak points are to improve upon, and where the biggest opportunities are as well. We want to get you on the path to grow like you want to.

For more information on how the DEO can help you, go to: