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VIDEO - DUwHF #719 - Moki and Ragina
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AUDIO - DUwHF #719 - Moki and Ragina
Ragini Singla graduated from Temple Dental School in 2009 and completed a general practice residency at Sacred Heart Hospital in 2010. She owns FlossNYC, a boutique dental practice on Central Park South in Manhattan. She always knew she wanted to own her own dental practice, but found that the road to ownership wasn’t easy. She and her husband, Moki Goyal, started FlossNYC Practice Blueprint to break down the convoluted process for other aspiring owners.
Moki Goyal has over 20 years of experience in the tech space. He started his career in consulting, helping Fortune 500 companies implement enterprise software. He has extensive entrepreneurial experience building businesses utilizing web and video production in online education. Currently he is VP of Product Development at Edulence, hosting the online training for companies such as Lincoln Financial, AARP, and Merrill Lynch. He is also Chief of Operations of FlossNYC and Practice Blueprint.
Howard Farran: It's just a huge honor for me to be podcast interviewing Ragina Singla and her husband, Moki Goyal all the way from Brooklyn, New York. I think it's so funny. When you grow up in Kansas, you hear of New York City and then you find out that nobody lives in New York City. They say do you live in New York City? No, I live in Brooklyn. I live in Manhattan. I live in Queens. I'm like well, where's this New York City thing at and it doesn't really exist, does it?
Moki Goyal: [inaudible 00:00:34]
Howard Farran: I live in Ahwatukee but if you're a lawyer, you say I live in Phoenix. The lawyers say this is Phoenix, Arizona but if you even say to some person in Ahwatukee , "Well, do you live in Phoenix?" They say no, I live Ahwatukee . It's like okay, well that is strange.
Moki Goyal: Chicago is very similar that way.
Howard Farran: Is that right?
Moki Goyal: Yeah.
Howard Farran: Ragina graduated from Temple Dental School in 2009 and completed a general practice residence at Sacred Heart Hospital. That had to be Catholic. Was it?
Ragina Singla: It was Catholic.
Howard Farran: Oh, my two older sisters are nuns so anything with Sacred Heart, Bleeding Heart, it's always a Catholic deal. She owns Floss NYC, a boutique dental practice on Central Park South in Manhattan. She always knew she wanted to own her own dental practice but found that the road to ownership wasn't easy. She and her husband, Moki Goyal, started Floss NYC Practice Blueprint, and that's the website, FlossNYCPracticeBlueprint.com, to break down the convoluted process for other aspiring owners.
Moki has over 20 years experience in the tech space. He started his career in consulting, helping Fortune 500 companies implement enterprise software. He has extensive entrepreneurial experience building businesses, utilizing web and video production and online education. Currently, he is vice president of product development of Edulence, hosting the online training for companies such as Lincoln Financial, AARP and Merrill Lynch. He's also chief operations of Floss NYC and Practice Blueprint.
Ragina, I want to start with you. I'm always leery of information coming from really old dentist guys. They're always saying that all the girls in dental school never want to own their own practice because they want to be soccer moms and they want to be able to leave at 5:00, forget about the whole business and go pick up their kids and take them to volleyball and soccer and all this. Is that true or is that not true or is it 50 shades of gray?
Ragina Singla: I think the great thing about being a practice owner is you can be a soccer mom and a practice owner. Why do you have to pick? I don't like soccer but if you want to be a soccer mom, you can, if you want to leave at 5 o'clock, you can. You can do all of it.
Howard Farran: When you were in class ... You graduated in 2009 and since I took Algebra, I can figure out that that was about eight years ago. Eight years ago, in your class, what percent of the girls in your class wanted to own their own office some day and what was it for the boys? Was it the same? Different?
Ragina Singla: I would say that we had a pretty ambitious group of girls so a lot of them wanted their own practices. A lot of the boys had fathers who were in dentistry so they were going to join their dad or join the family practice. I didn't have anybody in my family that was a dentist so I always knew I had to pave the way for myself but I think we had a pretty entrepreneurial group in school.
Howard Farran: Yeah, but I think it's that way in all the school. I mean, who gets to the level of doctorate in dentistry, law or medicine and just wants to go be an employee? I'd not seen that in dentistry.
Ragina Singla: Yeah, I think that we see both sides of the coin. In school, I think we had a lot of ambitious people around us and when you're in school, you are like I'm going to get out and conquer the world. Then you get out and you're like whoa and you realize this is the world. I got out and worked in Philadelphia for awhile and then I moved to New York. I think it's true that they say something like if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It wasn't easy to make it here.
Howard Farran: Okay, now when you say New York, you mean Manhattan, right?
Ragina Singla: Manhattan, yes.
Howard Farran: Where was your dental school?
Ragina Singla: My dental school was in Temple. Northeast Philadelphia.
Howard Farran: You went to dental school in Philly and now you practice in Manhattan. Which one is the cooler town?
Ragina Singla: Oh, I don't want to alienate anybody. I'd have to say that Philadelphia has amazing restaurants and New York City has some really amazing-
Moki Goyal: I think it has amazing everything.
Ragina Singla: Amazing everything.
Moki Goyal: The culture is really great and all that stuff but Philly has the best, in terms of per capita, the number of restaurants that are just out of this world and we were big food people.
Ragina Singla: Philadelphia. If you want cheese steak, it's the place to go.
Howard Farran: I remember the first time, I'll never forget in my entire life, I think I was 27. Me and my dental school buddy, Craig [Stiken 00:05:28], went to New York City. I was from Kansas where the tallest thing is a barn or a wheat silo and I will never forget flying down and I'm looking out the window and all of a sudden, it dawned on me that that thing over there was Manhattan. I can still remember like it was an hour ago, thinking holy shit, what is that? I think Manhattan has got to be the coolest town in the world. I also think the coolest statistic in the world is that if all earthlings lived at the same density of Manhattan, we could all live on New Zealand.
Ragina Singla: Wow.
Moki Goyal: That was impressive.
Howard Farran: Isn't that impressive? Let me cut to the chase. I called you to be on my show, you didn't call me. Whether you're an associate in private practice working for one guy in one office or working for corporate, where they might own a thousand locations, associate turnover is a plague. I'm 54. Whenever you have dinner with a 54 year old dentist and say "Have you ever had an associate?" By the time you're 54, they go yeah, I've had half a dozen.
I call it a success and a victory when they stayed with me for seven years but if I've owned my dental office 30 years, seven years is like a marathon. Most of them want to do a 5K or a 10K or a half marathon so I see no evidence ... Some of the biggest corporate chains out there, they're average dentist doesn't even stay with them for one year. It doesn't even make 12 months. When you talk to those associates, they're scared. They're scared.
If they go to FlossNYCPracticeBlueprint.com, can you help them alleviate their fears to go into practice ownership?
Ragina Singla: We definitely try to. I think that part of the reason that we started it was because we were terrified. When we started the process, we had no idea what we were doing and like all of the associates that come to Practice Blueprint, we were really at a loss of what to do and we were really scared of making a mistake. Dentists as a whole are very meticulous people and we don't like making mistakes. We like to be right all the time so it's hard to jump into a journey that has a lot of unknown.
Howard Farran: I can say I've been a dentist for 30 years and I have never once in my life been wr- I can't even say the word because I've never [inaudible 00:08:09].
Starting, what is Practice Blueprint?
Moki Goyal: If you want to just sum it up very quickly, it's basically an online course that teaches people, dental associates, how to get from where they are today to being a practice owner. There are so many unknowns. It starts with what are the differences between being an associate and being an owner and then how to build your team, how to start your company and then really how to get started right away. That's what Practice Blueprint is all about.
Ragina Singla: It's basically what I wish we had had when we started this journey. It would have been so amazing to have a map of where we were going and what to do because I think when you start the process, like I said, we really didn't know anything. You start talking to brokers. That's probably the first step of something you do and I remember my first experience with a broker. We were really excited about finding a listing and I thought it was just the best sounding practice because they make every practice sound like the best sounding practice.
I called the broker and she hit me with a million questions and it was like she as speaking another language. She was like are you pre-qualified? How much do you produce per year? How much do you want to spend? I had zero clue what I was talking about. I felt like I went to a boxing match with a heavyweight champion and I had never boxed in my life. She totally knocked me out. It was a really humbling experience, to say the least. I had to pick myself back up and get back out there.
I seriously searched Dental Town for every answer to all of those questions and then-
Howard Farran: Nice.
Ragina Singla: I was like okay, I'm ready.
Howard Farran: Nice.
Moki Goyal: You feel so stupid, you know? You walk in there and you're like ready to do this. You're like yeah, we're going to do this and then you go in there and they don't even want to talk to you because you don't know what you're talking about. Then we actually did use Dental Town quite a bit where we asked a lot of questions. We did lots of searches to try and figure out what's going on. As you know, there's tons of information on there and you can really learn a lot.
We started putting our notes together and we realized maybe this could be a product.
Howard Farran: The difference between Dental Town and Facebook is Dental Town, you can go search these conversations that are focused. There's 50 categories. If I broke a mesial endodontic file and the mesial buckle root of a number three and I went to the top ten most famous endodontists on Facebook, what would I do? Scroll back for 40 years and 40 nights trying to find it? I'll still always like the website approach the most because it's organized so that when we have these long conversations, they're organized and they're still there so two years later some kid in dental school comes along and wants to read that. A lot of that stuff is just timeless information.
It's funny. I had the same problem when I bought my first house. I saw this house, I called a broker and he met me on the driveway and he showed me the house and he was saying it'll be 200 base points over prime and blah, blah, blah. I didn't know a flipping thing he said and I remember going home thinking man, I'm really dumb. I signed up for the Scottsdale School of Real Estate and it was Monday, Wednesday and Friday from six to ten for six weeks and literally got my real estate degree and diploma. I was so glad I did because I didn't know any of that stuff.
You designed Flossy NYC Practice Blueprint so they can learn their whole real estate license or all the knowledge about what it's going to be like to go from being an employee to being rich.
Ragina Singla: Basically, because after taking so many notes, we felt like we don't want anybody to be as dumb as we were. We felt like we made so many mistakes and honestly, I think we got really lucky. Looking back, there were so many moments where things could have really taken a turn and could have really messed up but we somehow got lucky and ended up on the other side.
Now, we know what those things were but at the time ignorance really was bliss and we had no clue what we were getting into. As we started to take these notes, we realized it was such a great recourse and we were helping people around us and started to realize we had something that was productive and helpful.
Moki Goyal: The scary part, I feel, is that when you don't know what you're doing and you're walking into a dark room, if you're uncertain, it leads to inaction and I think that's what's the hardest part. I think that's what a lot of associates have because we've talked to a lot of them and many of them are like well, I make enough money. I think I even watched a video with you ... I forgot who you were interviewing but you were talking about the differences between associateship and being a practice owner. It's huge.
The gears are higher. You have a multiplier effect of having other people working underneath you. Everything changes. Not only from a financial perspective but autonomy, scheduling, all sorts of things. It really changes the way you live your life. It sounds a like hokey when you say it like that but I think the reality is how do you want to live your life? Do you want to me in control of it or do you want to work for someone else and have someone else dictate how you work and when you work?
Howard Farran: I really like that video you had on your website. In fact, I'm emailing that to Zach. I think we should put it on the end of the podcast. We tape on that YouTube, that way if they're watching us on YouTube, they can see it. Do you want to do that?
Moki Goyal: Sure, that'd be great.
Ragina Singla: Sure.
Howard Farran: Does that sound good? She's driving to work right now. She's 25. She's working for some old guy, some 65 year old guy, as an associate. The guy's driving her insane. When she got a job there, he said that he wants to get to know her and work with her because he's thinking about retiring next year he's 65. Heads up, kids. There's about 100 dentists who says yeah, I'm going to retire in a year or two and then when a year or two comes, it never happens. I'll put that in perspective. Going back through your entire life, when have you ever said to yourself "You know, I never need a paycheck again? I don't want a new car, new house. I don't want to go on vacation. I'm good. I'm good. Got enough in my bank account, never want to practice again."
I mean, when someone tells you come work for them and they're going to sell the practice in a year, number one, it won't happen, and if it does happen, you're going to get screwed because the office was doing $500,000. You come in all hot, with all this energy and you're only 25 and you spend three years building this practice up to a million, now guess how much the practice costs?
Moki Goyal: Yeah, you've just increased the price of the practice.
Howard Farran: All that work you did, now you got to go buy it on interest over 15 years. This happens with the big boys, too, where they start doing M&A activity but they never hammered out the details and then a year later, this deals going through and they think that you guys are going to agree on these valuation numbers or the multiple or EBITA. Even the big boys make this mistake but if this guy's really going to sell it to you, then you need to get a gosh darn practice valuation or you got to get a purchasing price nailed down now. Don't work there and double it and triple it and then have to pay for it.
Where do your modules help them out? Do you think they don't know the economic language? Do you think they don't have their emotional satisfaction equals perception minus expectation? Do you think it's because some kids ... I can always separate the dental school class into two kids. If your mom and dad own a restaurant, a farm, a business, you are a totally different mindset than if your mom and dad were employees. If your mom worked at the post office and your dad worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles, you have totally different expectations and realities than if your dad owned a wheat farm or a dairy farm.
Then, the biggest variable I still always believe is geographic. You started off the podcast saying that if you could make it in Manhattan, you could make it anywhere. What areas is FlossNYCPracticeBlueprint.com education modules? What areas are they focusing on?
Moki Goyal: The first thing we do is we introduce you to what are the differences between ownership and being an associate and then we walk you through the process. The main thing is how do you get the expertise that you need because like you said about the economics, I think that's definitely one aspect of it. As you probably agree, I think you'd probably agree with this, is that nobody does it alone. You always have a team of people that help you. Whether it's running the practice itself or when you purchase the practice. One of the things that we found, and we say this in the course over and over and over again is get a solid team.
That's an accountant, a broker, a lawyer and people who are going to stand behind you and help you make the decisions that you won't necessarily know what the right answer to is. I think that-
Howard Farran: You're saying an accountant, a broker. Who else?
Moki Goyal: A business attorney to help you set up the company but then also negotiate the lease. Also, just the practice. They help with the valuation, as well, and they can help you negotiate. They can be the strong arm if you're not necessarily that personality.
Ragina Singla: I think the important thing is that these experts need to have dental specific knowledge. When we first started, we though we could just call up our family attorney, a friend down the street, and have him take a look at the contract. He was the first one to say listen, you need somebody who does dentistry. Let me send you somewhere. Not every attorney would say that. We realized there are a lot of things that are specific in a dental transaction that you need to have experts who understand those little specifics.
For example, if you're taking on a practice and this guy's saying he's going to retire and then you've got to work for 10 years, you want somebody to say okay, when are you retiring? When are you going to leave? How long is that time period? Commit it to paper or while you're working, if you do a crown and then I seat it, how are we going to negotiate the pay for that? These are things that your family attorney is not going to know.
Howard Farran: If you're selling the practice, and I sell my practice to you, and then you go back in there and say every crown I did in the last five years had an open margin and you had to replace it and then bill the dentist. These things, the specifics, it's everything. These dentists, I don't know what they're thinking on Dental Town. They'll send them a 40 page PPO contract. They just sign it. They don't read it and then on Dental Town, you see all these threads where if you sign this PPO, they can automatically enroll you into the state's Medicaid program, and then if you're enrolled in the state's Medicaid program, they need a 12 month certified letter for you to opt out of it but they can still send you patients for a year.
They're always the victim on Dental Town. They're always the victim. I'm like okay, so you're a doctor. You signed a legal contract. Signed it and dated it and how are you the victim now? You agreed to a contract. You didn't sell your kidney on Ebay. This is a legal contract, which is enforceable in the court of law. Why do they sign leases? They'll go rent a space for 10 years and they'll just sign the lease.
Moki Goyal: To be fair, that's not their expertise but they're definitely not victims. I think the biggest lesson is know where your knowledge limits are. I remember when you were working at a group practice in Manhattan ... Keep in mind, in Manhattan. The density in Manhattan ... There was almost a two square mile radius of a non-compete agreement. Two square miles in Manhattan is almost the entire width of the island.
Ragina Singla: They had everybody, all of a sudden after eight months of working, they have everybody sign a contract. Everybody else signs it and hands it over and I am the crazy one who's like I can not sign this. This is half of the island. From Fifth Avenue to the Hudson and 28th Street to 59th Street, which would have ended up excluding the practice that I ultimately bought. Like you said, it's so important to read every contract that's in front of you but a lot of times it can be muddled in legalese and you need somebody who's going to translate that to you and say what it really means.
Howard Farran: I also want to say something about those non-compete clauses. Whenever you talk to attorneys, when it goes to court, a judge can't change the contract. She can only enforce it or throw it out so a lot of times, a dentist will say when you leave, you can't take any of my patients and then it turns out that they come in with evidence that you sent patients these letters saying that you moved and then they go to the judge and the judge says okay, well the contract says she can't do it and she did it. I'm reading the contract. Now what? It doesn't say do I spank her, beat her, take her car away? Is it $1.00.
If you said if she does it, if I prove she's doing this at all, she'll write me a check for $50,000, then the judge would say yeah, okay, that's all legal. Y'all signed it so write him a check for $50,000. Same thing on those covenant not to competes. If that covenant compete was half the island, I'm not a lawyer but I mean I've been around the block 54 times, I bet you most of those judges would throw it out.
Moki Goyal: It would just be one more thing that you would have to deal with.
Howard Farran: A lot of people in dentistry are unemployed because they worked for one dental company and they signed a restrictive covenant where they can't work in that industry for one year, two years or three years but every time that goes to court and you just prove hardship, you say that's all I know. I've only done this for 20 years. I've got a family. I got a house payment. Then, they look at this big ole million dollar, billion dollar company and poor Henry, who can't find a job, and they always throw it out.
I want to ask you a more specific question. Do you think these young kids should buy a practice or do it de novo start up from scratch?
Ragina Singla: We really believe in buying a practice. I think the reason is because you have income on day one. You're buying an income generating asset, which is rare, to be able to be in an industry where you can instantly buy yourself something that's going to create money for the rest of your career. You're going to pay a little bit more for it but I see every day ... Not to say that starting from scratch is bad. We think it's great, also, if that's the route you want to take but I see a lot of dentists in Manhattan who start out by renting a chair, for example.
They slowly build their patient pool. They're open one day and it can take years to get to a place where you have a full schedule. There's an opportunity cost, I think, in starting that way.
Moki Goyal: It also depends on your situation, I think. Manhattan is a very unique situation. If you're in other parts of the country where it's more rural or just less dense, it may be more cost effective to start from scratch but you are going to start from zero so you're not going to be busy at first. If you can afford it, maybe that's the way to do it if you want to brand it and really have your own thing. It's an awesome way to do it. The one downside is that when I think of buying something ... Our accountant, I remember he always said that you're buying cash flow and if you're buying cash flow, don't overpay. When you're looking to start from scratch, often times you might buy property or whatever it might be and you have zero cash flow.
I also know that from a financing perspective, a lot of banks will give very, very generous loans in terms of low interest or 100% financing, especially if it's a good practice that's generating income.
Ragina Singla: My dad is a doctor and he started off by talking to some colleagues about where to work and he found out there's this tiny little town in Pennsylvania and they're like we don't have an oncologist for literally miles and miles and miles. They're begging people to come here. He started from scratch and he was great. Day one, everybody would come see him. If you're in that type situation, I think it's an amazing way to start. In dental school, I thought you know, I'm going to go back to hometown and I'll start a practice and it'll be great. I'm going to do exactly what my dad did.
Life takes different turns. I moved to New York for this guy and it hasn't-
Howard Farran: I was going to say your dad did everything right.
Ragina Singla: I know.
Howard Farran: I moved a thousand miles away from home because Wichita, Kansas, where I was born and raised had the same population of 300,000 for 20 years because every time a girl gets pregnant, a guy leaves town. Then there's the University of Missouri, Kansas City and Creighton where every year, they're throwing 30 more dentists on this town of 300,000 with no growth. I was looking for the growth center so I went to Phoenix, a thousand miles away for a high growth area.
Your dad did the genius thing. The genius thing. Go rural. You started this conversation with if you can make it in Manhattan, you can make it anywhere. How brutal was it started in the most crowded ... How many dental schools are in New York City?
Ragina Singla: Oh my gosh. Double digits. I think when we first started, when we initially went looked at this practice, we loved it but we walked into this building and literally, it's right down the street from the Plaza Hotel. You're across from Central Park, you're around the corner from the Plaza. You walk into this building and there's no signage, so no one knows that you're in there practicing and the entire building is 14 floors and each floor has four dentists. We just looked around like how are we going to survive in this building. There's so much saturation here.
It turns out that for every dentist that there was in that building, there's a million other people in this little city so it works out somehow but I agree, I think it's a tough road.
Moki Goyal: New York City is unique that way, where they have these medical office buildings that are just loaded up with all sorts of medical professionals and dental professionals. It works because they don't need retail space on the street level or anything like that. They find them through the internet. That's the only way this works because there's the internet and there's lots of way to find people for insurance look up.
Ragina Singla: You know, I've never seen a person walk into the building and knock on every door and figure out what dentist they want to go to. Everybody walks in and they know what floor they're going to and what office they're going to.
Howard Farran: In real estate, it's location, location, location. You're saying even though you're in a 14 story building with four dentists on every floor, your location, location, location has gone from the physical building to the internet of things, right? The internet. Would you say a lot of your success has been because you've been very good internet marketers?
Moki Goyal: I think we've been decent. We're definitely not the best. We've seen some sites that are really great and we try to emulate that but I think what we have done well is we started with a pretty good Facebook presence and we spent a lot of time and effort to really put a lot of posts out there, get a lot of followers. We also spent some money on our website to really make it look really nice. We play video. I'm in tech so I have access to a lot of that stuff. I shoot video.
What we wanted to do was establish a presence and then I think it slowly started to build. I think we spent a lot of time on that at the beginning.
Ragina Singla: I think also what helps a lot was having the patients take you on as their own doctor. It's that handoff between the doctor who's leaving and the doctor who's taking over. Then, as those patients started to accept me ... I took over from an older doctor, male doctor, and then this small, petite, little Indian girl's coming in and they're like when did you graduate? How old are you? After they started to accept me, they would tell their friends and say you should try her, she's good. It'll be okay. Word of mouth helped a lot.
Howard Farran: The women dentists have the biggest advantage because one of the one data that I'm just obsessed with, and I read so many articles on, the United States has more economists that have won the Nobel Prize in economics than any other country. Most of them come from the University of Chicago. In fact, if you ever go to the University of Chicago and you go to the Department of Economics, you walk down those big hallways, between every window is this big portrait of somebody that graduated from there that had got a Nobel Prize in economics. The hallway is forever. Have you ever walked down it?
Moki Goyal: No.
Howard Farran: Just some of the biggest legends in economic history. They keep saying the same thing that when I sell you a bottled water and a big pen, you know what it is. You know this is a bottle of water so if I said it was $1.00 or $.089, you'd decide. If I said it was $49.00, you'd say well, I'm not paying $49.00 for a bottle of water. In dentistry, when someone walks in and says you need a new transmission, well, you don't know if that's true. When you get your oil changed, if you say well, we really need to change your transmission fluid, I don't know if that's true. When someone says I can't fix your air conditioner ... Now, some doctor walks in and says you have four cavities and they're $250.00 each for a filling and you need to give me $1,000, you're just like man, I just came in to get my teeth cleaned.
When you're in a no trust situation, they're believing women three to one. When a man's telling them with a tie, you think you're selling me something. When a little Indian petite girl with a big ole beautiful smile says it, they're like damn, I know I should have flossed. They're so much more believable. If I was a woman dentist and I was on the internet ... What are the two things they're afraid of? Fear. Well, who are you afraid of the most? That old man that you worked for or a little petite Indian girl? I imagine you would hurt me or my child less than a man.
Then, they're afraid of cost and the biggest fear of the cost is I don't want to pay something if I don't need it. I tell every woman dentist I know they're whole website should be ... If I was a woman dentist, all my associates would be women. The whole branding would be women. We won't hurt you. A place you can trust. I'd just go on fear and trust. That'd be my whole branding. Fear and trust. I'll tell you what. I had one of the saddest conversations in the world. I was talking to an MD in Phoenix. I said come on, I'm a 54 year old fat guy. I said don't you think maybe I should go to a cardiologist and get worked up? What if I got some blockage or something that needs a stint or something. He's sitting there thinking I don't know even where I could send you where they just wouldn't automatically want the hundred grand and go in there and do a bypass or shoving in stints. I mentality start thinking men.
You know what I like the most about women dentists? When there's no money in the profession, like in the United States with teaching, it's all women. When I travel around the world, when I go to countries where there's no money, all the dentists are women. Then, when I go to rich countries, all the dentists are men. Men always show up where there's money. Women show up when they have a profession and there's a job to be done. I'll never forget the one woman dentist who made me cry in Nepal. I'll never forget it. I was in Katmandu, Nepal and I was talking to her. I seen her office and I said in US dollars, how much money do you make a month. She goes I'm so lucky, my husband has a really good job in the government and my dental office has lost $50.00 US every month for 10 years. $50.00 in Katmandu, that's a shit load of money and I'm like well, why do you work six days a week to lose a grand? A $50.00 bill every month? She goes well, who else is going to do it?
That's a women mindset. I just love women. I just really do. They seem to always do things for the right reason.
Ragina Singla: I think it's a calling and I think, also, oddly enough, in New York City, being ethical and being honest, it's kind of a niche market. We have so many patients-
Howard Farran: Say it. Yeah.
Ragina Singla: If you do the right thing in New York City, people flock to you. We'll see patients where they'll go to another dentist around the corner and it's probably just this one same guy, I don't know, but they'll say he told me I had 17 cavities so I just wanted a second opinion. I feel like maybe I have 13 but not 17. I'll take a look and say maybe you have two, if I look really closely. It's like an alley op. It's like they're passing me the ball and you just tell the truth and then the patient automatically believes you and they trust you and you feel great because you're doing the right thing. There's so much work to go around, you don't have to be worried about it. There's plenty for everyone.
Howard Farran: You have a mindset of hope and growth and abundance so you don't live in fear and scarcity. It's coming through on every comment that you make that you don't think in fear and scarcity. Believe it or not, that New York City, you say with ethics it's a new thing. I don't care what city you go to. When grandma's air conditioner doesn't come on and she calls the air conditioner guy on TV and he comes out, she knows her cousin, Eddie, would fix it with duct tape and WD-40. That man is standing there with a tie saying it's really old. You need a whole new unit. It's going to be $8,000 installed. There's no trust in any country around the world.
I've lectured in 50 countries. Everybody thinks they're getting sold unless it's transparent and visible. Whenever you go to the invisible, cars, autos, trans- Things you don't understand, then they're summing you up for trust. If you can convey trust, once you can fake trust and ethics, you got it made.
Moki Goyal: That's actually why in the course, we-
Howard Farran: That was a joke. I said once you could fake trust and ethics.
Ragina Singla: I know. I was thinking is Howard faking?
Howard Farran: I'll give you some more research on that. One of the reasons I won't wear a tie, and I call it dentistry uncensored, is because the research is clear. They never believe the politicians. They never believe the CEO's and then Willie Nelson, they'll always say why do they listen to a movie star? They listen to a movie star because they believe him. When you're Willie Nelson, and you admit you're stoned and you haven't had a bath in a week and you haven't paid your taxes, why would that guy be lying.
Moki Goyal: Yeah, right. Exactly.
Howard Farran: When they cuss, the same thing with cussing. It's very established in research that if you're politically correct then you're trying to say all these right things and now I don't trust you but if you're cussing and you're transparent with your flaws, you're just more believable because those people clearly don't care what you think enough to have to lie to you.
Ragina Singla: I think it's being authentic, whatever that means for you. If that's cursing or telling somebody that you were late in the morning because you missed your train or-
Moki Goyal: Or saying that you made a lot of mistakes in your life and here's what we learned and we want to share it with you, I think that's the part that people really value.
Howard Farran: Don't bring up my mistakes because Ryan's sitting right next to me. I don't want to talk about ... I was only suppose to have two kids and then we had four but anyway. No, Ryan, you weren't a mistake. You were an accident.
Ragina Singla: [inaudible 00:37:38]
Howard Farran: It's slightly different. How are you marketing yourself? How are you getting this information out and who is your target market? Are they still in dental school or have they been working as an associate for a year or two?
Moki Goyal: I think generally we look for associates who are already working. One of the things we find is that dental students aren't even worried about five years out. They just want to get working and they're scared. They're nervous about having control of their own patients. I think the target market is definitely the dental associates but then also, the way we target them is a lot of it's from Facebook ads and just online ads. That's where the majority of the people of that age range are. 25-60. Anyone who's interested in looking for a practice.
Ragina Singla: We've also been going to a lot of residency programs because I think that's the sweet spot for new dentists. You've graduated school so maybe you've done three crowns and then you're in residency so you're thinking about a job so thinking about owning your own practice is a little bit more organic for them. I remember being in school and having practice management courses and I would just take the folder home and just throw it somewhere like I'll deal with that in 10 years. It's really early, I think.
Moki Goyal: Her cousin, actually. She just graduated so she's doing a residency now and we always talk to her about practice management and how do I get into it. It is overwhelming for her and I think that's why you have to do it in small chunks.
Howard Farran: What kind of doctor is she?
Ragina Singla: She's a dentist.
Moki Goyal: She's a dentist.
Howard Farran: You know, that's another thing you see all around the world. If you're born in Ghana and your grandfather was a goat farmer, well then your dad went into that and you go into that. It's so cultural. Names come from that. When you go to any dental school in India, Asia, Africa, anywhere, a third of the class has a dentist in the family and some of those ... I had dinner in a dentist's home in New Delhi who had 35 dentists in the family and half of them were living in that house. The other one was Christian Coachman's family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 35 dentists in that family.
Ragina Singla: That's wild.
Howard Farran: Everybody talks about the Fortune 500. Everybody wants to talk about Honda and Nissan and Toyota but still, the planet runs on the backs of these small family businesses, which do 80% of all the heavy lifting.
I think a great way to market this is to write an article on Dental Town.
Moki Goyal: That's actually what we need to do. I agree with you. [crosstalk 00:40:24]
Howard Farran: I called you. You didn't call me. I thought this podcast would be great marketing for you. The other thing that's neat on Dental Town, in fact, you should say it in your article. When you write an article, you should finish with ... When you look at these articles online, on Dental Town, everybody your age reads it on the iPhones. Only old farts like me read it on a PC. You probably think I'm so old I'm reading it on a mainframe, right? From IBM.
If you go to the magazine, when you open up an article, it's got the social media share button. It shows Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest. You guys probably would add SnapChat or I don't know what all you're on. The bottom line, if you say hey, do me a favor, go up to that article and share that on your social media because one dental student is a friend of another dental student and they're all running in the same circle. In that article, if you asked them, after they read it, to go up and share it to their social media groups, all it is one click, one button. You write an article on Dental Town and you asked them to share it on their social media, you'd crush them all.
The other thing we have is once a year, we have a special edition magazine. Dental Town magazine goes out every month and Ortho Town magazine to the orthodontists but once a year we have that new grad issue. We just try to do articles for the new graduate and they love it. It's one of the most read issues we do each year and the editor is Sam@FarranMedia.com. You should do an article in the new grad issue and you should do an article for Dental Town magazine. For that, it's Tom@FarranMedia.com. It's Dr. Tom Giacobbi. He's been the editor for 17 years. Tom@FarranMedia.com.
I just know this. The turnover's high, and this is not dig on corporate because all the people are saying oh, the turnover's so high in corporate. Dude, the turnover is just as high in private practice. It's the same. It's like when they say Putin use to work for the KGB. Well, George Bush 41 was the director of the CIA. What's the difference between the CIA and the KGB? Probably the CIA is more efficient at breaking all the laws. The bottom line is ... Where was I going with that? I got sidetracked and on a-
Ragina Singla: Corporate.
Moki Goyal: Corporate dentistry.
Ragina Singla: You were talking about corporate.
Howard Farran: Yeah, corporate. Nobody's keeping their associate and I got to tell you something. 30 years ago, they were telling all the girls in our class that they wouldn't be lasting long and they'd all meet some guy like Moki and he'd have a good job and they'd stay home and make babies and they'd just be cooking and not doing dentistry. Turned out 30 years later, that was all bologna. Every one of them girls practiced to the end and they were figuring demographically that those girls were only going to have 40% of the length of the career and since they were girls, they'd only do 70% of the production. When you accept three women into dental school, it's the equivalent of one guy.
Those girls, from UMKC class of 87, they're average dental office was bigger and collected more money than the average boys. Plus, I don't know of any of the girls who lost their practice and went to the Betty Ford Center but I could name a few of my homies. They won out and I see you. They're living in fear and that's why I had you to come on the show. Anything to help them. It looks like they're walking around the swimming pool, just dipping their toe in the water. Then, they go work another six months. They keep dipping their toe. Whereas, I graduated May 11, had my office open September 21st.
I just walked out of school and dove in the deep end. Figured I'm going to learn how to swim. I doubt I'll drown. There's only .4% failure rate when the big banks finance you to buy a new practice. Only 1 in 200 goes under and that's always because they had their license taken away and they always get their license taken away for drugs and alcohol. That's why when I opened up my practice, true story, Ryan. I told my drug dealer not to call me for year. I said I'm going to get clean and sober just for one year. No. Call me in one year.
Moki Goyal: Look at you now.
Howard Farran: If you don't have a problem with substance abuse, you just need to go do it. Why do you think they're living in fear and what is Floss NYC Practice Blueprint going to do to help eliminate their fear? That knowledge is power?
Moki Goyal: Well, I think knowledge is power but I think when you're doing something that you've never done before, there's obviously going to be fear and uncertainty. Like we were saying, Dental Town has all of the information on there. All we've done is consolidated it into an easy to digest formula and said okay, follow these steps and these will take you most of the way. Of course, you're going to encounter your own challenges. You're going to encounter problems that we can't possibly predict but those are your challenges. All we're going to do is say here are the big steps, here are the big goal posts, you need to get by and then you'll be able to take it the rest of the way.
Ragina Singla: I think what happens is that there are very specific things that you need to do to buy a practice. Regardless of your perspective or your city or what's going on in your particular situation, which we also address doing consulting one on one as well when clients need that. We do offer it. There are very specific things that you can do to make sure that you have done your due diligence, that you're not getting caught in a red flag and you're getting a great practice that's going to generate income for you for the entirety of your career.
We write those action items out for you and give you the steps to do those things one step at a time so it's not overwhelming.
Howard Farran: I like two of the features on your website at FlossNYCPracticeBlueprint.com. One is estimate my income and then the other one was see if you're ready and take the assessment and get my free ownership guide.
Moki Goyal: Yeah, the ownership guide we've been putting together for the past probably two years. We've been putting it together and we kept on adding to it. Concepts like lifetime income and things like that to really explain that if you're not even thinking about practice ownership, you haven't thought about the ideas of building wealth, lifetime income, the differences between an owner and being an associate. The assessment rates you in a number of [inaudible 00:47:06].
Howard Farran: I just wish you would add one thing to your website about the lifetime income. I beat this into the heads every time I lecture at dental school. The women dentists in the class, they always marry a man with a career and a good job. The male dentists in the class always marry something that looked hot in a pair of blue jeans and worked at Taco Bell and then as soon as they get married, she's like I married a rich dentist so I don't have to work at the Waffle House anymore. I'm married to a rich dentist and she destroys $10,000 a month for 40 years. How much does it cost when you marry a stay home mom that spends $10,000 a month until you're 65.
You made a good decision to be a dentist and then the women dentists always say well, if I'm going to put up with a man's bullshit, he better have a job. A man says well, if she looks hot, I don't care what she does. I'm going to marry something that looks hot, and she is hot for about a year. Then, you realize you made a seriously wrong mistake. You do need to actually [edumacate 00:48:14] then that here's the difference in lifetime income between marrying a woman with a job versus without a job. Agree or disagree?
Moki Goyal: I think everyone has a different philosophy on that but I think it's all about what you want to do. People have lots of different passions in their life and I think you have to go and follow that but it's all about what you want out of your life, how much control-
Howard Farran: Well, I want to go back to your class. I want to go back to your class. 2009. How many of the women in your class married a man with a career? What percent of them?
Ragina Singla: I would say 70%.
Howard Farran: Just 70?
Ragina Singla: Yeah.
Howard Farran: What the other 30% marry?
Ragina Singla: Everyone had a job so none of their husbands are staying home.
Howard Farran: Okay, but 70% had a good career and 30% just had an average job?
Ragina Singla: A lot of them were in school. I would say a lot of the other percentage were in school.
Howard Farran: What percent of the men married a financial disaster?
Ragina Singla: Well, I don't know if they were financial disasters but there were a lot of stay at home mom's, which I think is great, but I don't know what they spending, if they were spending ten grand a month. I'm not sure. We weren't that close.
Howard Farran: There's an opportunity cost. When you say kids cost money, you got to edumacate them that a stay at home mom ... You've got identical twin brothers. One marries a stay at home mom and has two kids. One marries a professional woman and has two kids. The difference of that, from age 25 to 65, it's an enormous amount of money.
Moki Goyal: It is. It's also a decision that they have to make but there is opportunity cost no matter how you look at it.
Howard Farran: Then I want to ask you another question. This is dentistry uncensored. What if a woman in the class graduated, say, a third of a million in debt and she married a man in the class, he was a third of a million in debt. They're like $700,000 in debt. At what point would you just leave the country and say screw it, we're going to Sydney, London, Paris and just say okay, we can never come back to the United States. I mean, this would be good advice, wouldn't it? There's got to be some limit where you say okay, I'm leaving this country and I'm going to go move to Auckland , New Zealand.
Moki Goyal: I think it's about 30 days before the creditors start hitting you so I think you have-
Howard Farran: [crosstalk 00:50:47] Could they find you in Auckland , New Zealand?
Ragina Singla: No.
Moki Goyal: No, no. I'm saying you have to leave the country within 30 days.
Ragina Singla: I also think it's funny because when you're talking about the stay at home mom, my mom was a stay at home mom.
Howard Farran: So was mine.
Ragina Singla: My dad was a doctor. She always says that his job was to make the money and her job was to save it. You might be-
Howard Farran: Nice. Nice.
Ragina Singla: She was not the stay at home mom spending ten grand a month. In fact, if my dad was saying let's spend on a vacation, she would say no, we're not going anywhere. Go back to work and then come back the next day and go back again. We grew up that way that you don't keep spending what you're earning. I think that's part of our philosophy now. It's like we have an income generating asset. We don't want to negate it by spending all the income.
Howard Farran: Whenever I'm at a restaurant eating with a bunch of 50, 60, 70 year old dentists and we start talking about the next generation of millennials, we're blown away at their lifestyles. They take cruises. They talk about their student loan debt but that included a Honda Accord and a cruise and trips. They flew in airplanes on vacations. This is all shit that none of us did until we had children. My car, I got more money than any dental student obviously and my car is a 2004 with a 140,000 miles on it. I take it in for an oil change. They're like why change the oil? Just leave it here and I'll give you a brand new one. I'm like why? I'm three miles from work. Worst case scenario, it breaks down exactly half way and I have to walk a mile and a half, either front or back. I'd probably call Uber.
The bottom line is I love it. I've never heard that. He makes it and she saves it. What I see, and also I'm in practice management, I'm in consulting, Dental Town, so I'm sure I get the outlier people bitching, moaning, and complaining. I'm sure the happy ones are not reaching out but it's just the spending is crazy. $5,000 Gucci purses. Do you know how many fillings you have to do and pay your overhead and pay taxes to buy a $5,000 Gucci purse?
Moki Goyal: I think that practice ownership actually educates you on these kinds of principles. When you're just an employee and just get ... You know, I actually read this book that ... I forgot the author's name. It's called Black Swan, but it's basically about how the monthly paycheck is one of the worst things that's every happened and the reason is because you rely on it, you think your standard of income, or your standard of living, should be at the level that your monthly paycheck is. In fact, it's far lower and because you don't think in those terms because you're not running a business and doing the finances on a constant basis, you actually don't actually know where you stand from a financial perspective.
I think financial [inaudible 00:53:57].
Howard Farran: Other little things that blow my mind like when we were little, coffee was free at a gas station and you just poured it in a little white styrofoam cup and it was some blackish tar mixture of hot or cold. Now, they go to Starbucks and buy a $5.00 coffee. A $5.00 coffee every single day is almost $2,000 a year. The running joke is if you want to hide something from a millennial, you put it in their home over because they eat out every meal.
When you pay $5.00 for every cup of coffee and you eat out every meal, and then the other thing that they seem to do, their cars. When you go to the two dental schools in my backyard, it's just a sea of these fancy new cars and then I'm pulling up in something that's 13 years old and you're like what is wrong with this picture.
Moki Goyal: What happened?
Ragina Singla: I think, Howard, the irony is that when you're an associate, you think it's no big deal, like you're saying, to go buy a Gucci purse or spend $2,000 on vacation or buy a brand new car with X payment per month. The second you start talking about buying a practice, they're like what are you crazy? I'm going to spend a million dollars on a practice? I'm going to spend $500,000 on a practice. You're out of your mind.
The reality is that the bank is going to finance you at 100%. You're paying it off over the next 10-15 years. Eventually, it's going to be all paid off and every cent of that is yours.
Moki Goyal: The Gucci purse doesn't generate any money.
Ragina Singla: It is nice.
Moki Goyal: It is pretty but at the end of the day, you have an income generating asset and you have a material asset that doesn't do anything or worse, a car that's a depreciating asset.
Howard Farran: Going back to the soccer mom. I raised four boys. Eric, Greg, Ryan and Zach and it was the single best decision I ever made. Now that I'm 54. I have two grandchildren now, Taylor and Gunner. Grandchildren are simply your reward for not killing all four of your boys. Now, I'm glad I never killed them all. It is great.
Oh, back to the soccer mom.
Moki Goyal: Oh, soccer mom.
Ragina Singla: Oh yeah, soccer mom.
Howard Farran: I call bullshit on I want to take a job at corporate to be a soccer mom because having raised four boys, you know what a real soccer dad is? A soccer dad isn't "Oh, I get off at five and I don't have to worry about my business." A real soccer dad is your kid just fell down on the playground and he's bleeding and they're taking him to Chandler Regional Hospital, and I own the place. I just walk out. Tell my office manager cancel the patients, have an associate. A real soccer mom is well, I don't know if I'm going to stay home six weeks or eight weeks or come back full time or part-time, so I'm going to hire an associate and I'm going to guarantee her six weeks but then in six weeks, I'm home thinking I don't think I'm going to come back five days a week. I think I'm going to come back three days. I think I'm going to do Monday, Tuesday, take off Wednesday, then do Thursday and then have a three day week-
A real soccer mom owns her own place so the kids can truly come first because when you work at corporate, they ain't thinking about your kids first. They're thinking about you're in there, you're doing ... Asking for time off and then they say well, you can't have that week time off, but it's your boys. They're going to wrestling camp in Flagstaff and you want to go up there. I think to be the ultimate soccer mom, you got to be self-employed.
Ragina Singla: Totally. Or being penalized by your work culture because you have to leave early or you want to go to your kid's recital or whatever is going on in your family and you're prioritizing that. I think that in corporate, it's very tough because the structure seems to be nine to five, put in your hours, go home, come back the next day, put in your hours again. People are productive at all different times. Having that rigidity, I think, is a disservice and especially difficult for creating a family and having a full life.
That's part of the thing that really is attractive about ownership. If we decide that we want to take a week off and go on vacation, I'll really book the three weeks prior to that make sure that I'm super busy and then I don't even worry about the week we're off. I don't have to answer anything. I have colleagues that will fill in for me. You decide exactly how you want to structure your life.
Moki Goyal: I'm glad you brought that up, actually, because in our blog, we talk about that all the time. We constantly ask people how much control do you want to have in your life? I think it's like a switch you make from an employee to an owner or to a business owner because you really start thinking totally differently. When you can start calling the shots, even in small things like going to see a soccer game or something like that, it really changes the way you live your life. That's kind of why we did all this.
Howard Farran: One of the favorite pieces of research I ever read, the largest employer of economists in the world is the Federal Reserve. They have some of the most amazing research. I think they have like 3,500 PhD economists that work for the Fed. They have 12 different locations around. Someone said to them do companies that offer bonuses system make better results. They really exhaustively looked into that and they found out that it actually is a horrible thing because you have this very well rounded holistic business but when you just start giving a bonus for this one thing, everybody loses their peripheral vision and they chase after this one thing and it usually harms the business.
They said well, who is growing the most? Who is the most profitable and what is management doing with those employees. It was overwhelmingly the employees how had the longest leash. If you said you got to work eight to five and she's thinking damn it, if you just would have said 8:15, I could have taken my daughter and dropped her off at school every day and every day, she's coming in pissed that she couldn't drop off her daughter at school because this asshole boss says she has to be there at eight, and he's not even there. You look at companies who say ... Like in the Dental Town magazine, I tell them just do your work. Some come at six in the morning and leave at three. Some come at nine and leave at seven. At least everyone works from home at least one day a week. Some full time. I think I've got five employees who never even come in but they do their work.
When you give them a long leash, and they have more control over ... It's same thing in the dental office. Let them have more control. A lot of dentists will sit there and say their employees can't take personal phone calls during the day. Well, dude, she's got two kids and one of them had a fever and you're back there talking to Muffy four times a day, who's probably drinking a martini and drunk and she can't talk to her kid's teacher. If you're going to talk to your kids at work, let your employees. The longer the leash, the happier they are and I think corporate dentistry, again, I keep saying over and over that the final model for an associate has not been discovered yet and the only people that are keeping employees a really long time that are professionals like lawyers or consultants, they make them partner.
I think one of the biggest problems in corporate is when they realize I will be an employee my whole life and I will always be having to ask permission from an office manager or some regional manager and they see no pathway to partnership, to owner. A law firm, you'll sweat blood 70 hours a week for three years because you think I'll do that and I'll make partner. Then, what do you feel when you're a partner? Well, I can relax. I'm an owner here. I'm a partner so if I want to leave at 3 o'clock and go pick up my kid, I can because I'm a partner.
Hey, thank you so much for all you do. I just want to try and provide great information to my homies so that they can live a faster, easier, stay happy and healthy and they're scared. They stay in there too long. I don't know why they get a job for a year to pick up speed. Again, I graduated May 11th, 30 years ago this month. This is May 19th. May 11th, 30 years ago, I graduated from UMKC Dental School and I had mine open September 21st. I know that the only reason I could do that is because I watched my dad open up nine different Sonic drive in restaurants so I went through it nine times. The demographics, the location, the hiring staff. That's another reason why it's so much better to buy a practice because you eliminate all those variables. Will it be successful? Will I be able to hire the right team? You already got a business. You already got the team and a 25 year old punk can't teach a team that's already been in there doing it for 10 years.
I remembered when I opened up my own practice, I did reverse discrimination. I figured I was 24 so in every category, I hired the oldest person. I wasn't going to hire a 22 year old hygienist. Hell, I was 24. That'd be dumb and dumber. Neither of us would know what we're doing. I had nine hygienists apply and one was like 54. I just told her I'll hire you if you just tell me what to do. Same thing at the front. I hired a bunch of old ladies and they showed me what to do. When you buy a practice, you've already got the management. You've already got the team. You've eliminated so much risk and then if you're a girl, and your husband's got a job and you only need about 150 a year, then you can buy a practice for 650. If you're LDS, and you already had two kids in dental school and you need 300,000, then you're not going to buy a $650,000 practice. You're going to buy a two million dollar practice because you need three times the income so you can buy that right out of the gate.
I need to know. What do you need? If you got a stay at home wife with two kids walking, one in the oven and three probably coming out some day, you want to buy a big beast, but if your expectations are I only want to work three or four days a week, my husband's got a good job, we're not going to have any kids. We're only going to have cats. That way if we get hungry, we can always eat them. Then you can buy a small practice.
I just love what you're doing and I just want to let you know I'll do anything to help you because the kids need to hear from you and thank you for all that you're doing for dentistry.
Ragina Singla: Well, thank you. We're so excited and honored to be on the podcast. We wanted to make an offer to everybody who listens because Dental Town provided so much for us so we wanted to give back to the listeners. We have a coupon for a discount.
Moki Goyal: 15% off and if you just put in Farran15 in the coupon code thing when you purchase the course, any of the bundle, you'll get 15% off.
Howard Farran: Farran15?
Moki Goyal: Yep.
Howard Farran: Why did you go Farran? Why not Fabio? I think I look more like Farran. What do you think, Ryan? The discount, that's on the website?
Moki Goyal: Once you signup and you come to the sales page, which takes about a week or two, when you get to the sales page, if you're interested in buying the course, you'll get 15% off.
Howard Farran: All right. Have you started a thread about this on Dental Town?
Moki Goyal: No, but we will.
Ragina Singla: We'll do that.
Howard Farran: I do think you should write an article in the new patient grad edition and you should write one in Dental Town. I think that'd be great stuff.
Again, thank you for all that you do for dentistry.