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Lab Mentor

Discussion in 'Business Ideas' started by sidesh0wb0b, May 28, 2012.

  1. sidesh0wb0b
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    sidesh0wb0b Active Member Donator

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    As i have stated in a few other threads, i am currently drawing up my business plan and gearing up for a launch later this summer/fall. i will be starting small as cash is limited, but im looking for a few people to use as sounding boards. mentors if you will, that have successfully created long lasting labs, great relationships with clients/suppliers/technicians, and that are truly interested in business. yes, i know....technically speaking we will be 'competitors' but there are plenty of fish in this sea (dentists/etc), and with the VERY outdated labs in my surrounding area i would love to capitalize on their lack of knowledge and technology.
    so......what am i looking for? well the business coach/mentor is part of it. but i need the rest of my support team as well. i have connections with most suppliers, so no issues there....but i have a setback when it comes to marketing. im not mister sales pitch. though i "can" and will be doing all the usual sales routes of online, mail, email, and face to face....i would prefer someone who knows how to get results. a true salesman.
    lets start there, this is me throwing my line out to see what is offered. i enjoy reading the posts here, and im certain many will be a bit busy to take on such a task, but it is worth a shot :)
  2. stt672

    stt672 New Member Donator

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    I have mentioned before that one of the best ways is go where the doctors are. You would think in your area there would be several places where doctors have study groups. I have always felt welcomed to these groups. The good thing about it is usually there are about 20 doctors in one setting. Rub shoulders, introduce yourself and your lab. Show interest in what interest them. Talk to the president of the group and see if in a upcoming meeting you could be the speaker about things new in the dental lab. In today's economy labs aren't selling for top dollar. Keep your ears open you may be able to score a small 1 person lab with a few doctors for pennies on the dollar and have a turn key operation. You have to be able to separate yourself from other labs, what can you offer doctors that other labs can't. Why would they switch if you offer the same thing.
  3. sidesh0wb0b
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    sidesh0wb0b Active Member Donator

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    thanks, appreciate your insight and have had many many chances to attend study groups as well as create one years ago with a surgeon and Astra (its still alive and kicking)
    where do you suggest looking for small labs for sale? i always scan the dental magazine classified but is that it?
  4. stt672

    stt672 New Member Donator

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    Word of mouth usually. The small lab hanging by a thread probably doesn't have the money to advertise. If you are currently an employee of another lab just be careful what you say. No easy answer really, it may just be by stoke of luck you hear about the right situation. But I can't imagine some tech been doing it for 30 years isn't ready to sell a small business in your area. Why don't you put an ad in a trade magazine. "Eager tech looking to buy small 1-2 man operation", that might just be the encouragement some lab owner needs to sell his lab. This is actually how I got started 30 years ago.
  5. sidesh0wb0b
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    sidesh0wb0b Active Member Donator

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    i like that idea, i think i will do just that! thanks again!
  6. TheLabGuy

    TheLabGuy Just a Member

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    I would suggest asking your reps (i.e. Ivoclar rep, my guy knows my area and what people are doing like the back of his hand). That is if you can in your current work situation. Good luck, did it almost 4 years ago and shared all my details on this website to boot. Hope you don't have kids or a wife, well I guess it doesn't matter, they'll forget who you are soon enough!!! :p
  7. sidesh0wb0b
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    sidesh0wb0b Active Member Donator

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    haha thanks, wife would prefer i work ungodly hours at my own place instead of running other folks labs. as it is she doesnt see me much anyway. im fairly new to the area im in now (a year) and besides the ancient technology used in labs here, the reps are turning over constantly. ivoclar for example.....at least 3 reps in the year ive been here. makes it difficult to get chummy with them. but ill work on it anyway

    thanks
    ssb
  8. BobCDT

    BobCDT Well-Known Member Sponsors

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    Hey Sideshow,
    You should be thinking about what your strengths are. Focus primarily on those areas. In addition, if you can combine your strengths with products docs are looking for it should be easier to get started. I think your timing is probably not the best as many small labs are currently struggling. First and most important hurdle, how are you going to get enough customers to pay the bills and yourself? Prior to making the move you should have a handle on this. Initially, to get it off the ground its all about sales and revinue!!!!!
    bob
  9. sidesh0wb0b
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    sidesh0wb0b Active Member Donator

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    you are correct Bob, ive been watching the decline nationwide. i have a unique situation where i have a group of clients already wanting me to have my own place, and a connection to a group of clients that potentially could shift some or all of their work to me. with the few clients i will start part time and keep the full time position i currently have (dont worry, im not stealing clients, not my style) so paying the bills to start will be no problem. once i have a handle on those few clients ill work on bringing in more and more until i can comfortably shift all of my attention to my lab instead of others. thats the plan anyway, it may or may not work out in that exact order lol
    working on my strengths is great, but i do need to learn a bit to improve my weaknesses (especially since sales isnt a strength, its uncomfortable for most techs). even though my timing may not be superb, i have no doubt that i can offer a superior product in the local area. most of the mid-large labs here are sooooooo far behind the times in training and tech that it shouldnt be too challenging.
    thanks for the reply! all will be taken into consideration
  10. Gru
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    Gru Active Member

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    Another thought to add to the mix: The paper monster lurks! Make sure you have a plan to handle paper and use it. The best piece of advice I got when I started with employees: "Find a good accountant to make sure you don't mess up taxes and who will properly listen to you and advise you". To me, it's worth the price.
  11. Al.

    Al. Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean about the labs being behind the times and stone age etc ?
    Because they don't have a scanner ?
    They don't do all ceramics ?

    IMO your selling crowns not how you make them. Most docs could care less how it's made.

    Right now I have a 10 unit cerec connect case a Dr sent to a highly respected tech advanced lab.

    All done digitally.
    Crowns copings and models were all milled than layered.

    Patient rejected it twice. Dr sent me the entire case, models and crowns to either remake or fix.
    The case needs some pretty major changes. Contour and layering wise.

    I'm going to fix it the old fashioned way, with a hand piece and a brush.
  12. NicelyMKV

    NicelyMKV Well-Known Member

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    ;). I think that technique is here to stay as well Al.

    My "perfect world" is guys like Al and Paul etc still hand layering ceramics. Subs and models on the other hand I think could easily be done with scanners, printers, milling machines and what ever else comes out. Al and the like should not have to concern themselves so much with subs and model work. Waste of their talent. I see technology as a way for those guys to "stay small" as far as employees, but continue to move the same amount of work or more with less time spent in other areas.

    Just more of my cent and a half;)
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  13. Al.

    Al. Well-Known Member

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    Wow !! Your giving your self a half cent raise.

    I have two full arch cement retained pfm bridges I'm working on this week.

    It would sure be nice not to have to wax and finish and weld these frames. I know a guy that is getting perfect fitting frames like this but they are non precious only. They are milled frames.
  14. NicelyMKV

    NicelyMKV Well-Known Member

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    Haaaa!! Tennessee cost of thinking increase;) heard Kentucky just had another decrease:)
  15. rkm rdt
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    rkm rdt Well-Known Member Donator

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    I was spending too much time waxing and finishing and by the time I got to the ceramics ,I was exhausted.I tried hiring but that was a waste of time and money.

    I use my scanner to design my substructures/ implants and full contour emax and zir crowns. This has allowed me to spend far more time on my ceramics and I get to leave work at a decent hour .
  16. Gru
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    Gru Active Member

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    Hey Al, we've seen your work. If machines ever even approach that, I'm out of the business! I hope you get an arm and a leg for saving the case! BTW, getting my full arch pfm bridges milled (yes, CrCo) beats waxing them-and usually welding them every time! Fast and exact.

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