Secrets to Success


Taking a practice
to a self-sustaining

A friend of mine thought I could provide insight through an outside perspective to a successful businessman, Dr. Thomas Fox. Dr. Tom was already extremely successful in his cosmetic dentistry practice. Yet he was frustrated with the inability to breakthrough and create a business that would generate cash flow whether he was at the office, or skiing in Aspen for a month.

The doctor's pain

As we worked on the foundational systems in his business, Dr. Tom began to make the successful transition from a "practice" to a self-sustaining business, until a serious challenge crept up for him.

Dr. Tom was becoming increasingly distracted with how he was going to bring in enough business to support the growing administrative staff and new doctors he was hiring.

Seeing that he was finally ready to eradicate all forms of non-productive marketing for his business, I attempted to help set his mind at ease by starting with an easy example.

Dr. Tom had been running a newspaper ad for the last three months. It was a simple ad that offered prospects a $260 dental wellness screening for $75. He was running this small display ad every Thursday at the cost of $290 for each ad run.

After three months, the ad had pulled five prospects into the clinic.

As successful as Dr. Tom had been in running his practice, he recognized that he was entering an entirely new world.

Dr. Tom recognized that he needed to make the successful shift from working in his business to working on his business; and he wanted to make that shift as quickly as possible. (One of the first books we recommend to all our clients is "The E-Myth Revisited," by Michael Gerber. This accelerated Dr. Tom's understanding of this concept.)

The solution

Since the original ad was pretty small there was no room for pictures, logos or even the business name (which devoured one-third of the ad space.)

I wanted to keep the ad the same size so Dr. Tom could readily grasp the concept of low cost and eliminate all doubt in his mind as to what really made the difference in high impact marketing. Being a graduate of our Small Business, BIG Profits Course, Dr. Tom wrote the rough drafts himself. After a little coaching and a number of revisions, we had a new ad to run.

The new ad

"$260 Dental Wellness Screening. Same One Used By Top Cosmetic Dentistry Experts Nationwide. FREE To The First 50 Callers As Part Of A Daring Community Outreach."

We scheduled a phone meeting with the sales representative from the newspaper to review the changes.

After a 45-minute "heated discussion" with this man, who was beginning to sway an already nervous Dr. Tom, I finally laid down the gauntlet.

His ad wasn't working, but with no justification that he could annunciate he didn't think our new ad would work either.

So I simply said that I was guaranteeing that the new add would out-pull the old ad by at least 3-to-1 or I would pay for the ad out of my own pocket. Would he be willing to guarantee the same?

The conversation ended. The new ad ran.

The results

Dr. Tom called me Friday after the new ad ran. His clinic had opened at 9 that morning. By noon, the clinic had received 63 phone calls. Everyone who worked in the clinic -- an office manager, receptionist, three dental assistants and three dentists, including Dr. Tom -- spent the entire morning answering the telephone. They could barely work with patients because they were so busy answering the phone.

Dr. Tom ran the ad for four consecutive weeks, as we had originally planned. In that one month, the office received more than 450 responses.

He felt the business needed an additional 25 clients per week to put his mind at ease. In just four weeks they were doing exactly that, and they had a waiting list of new prospect appointments going out six weeks.

That's low cost, high-impact marketing at work.

John-Paul Micek is a small business strategist
and chief operating officer at RPM Success Group.
Reach him at
or toll-free at (888) 334-8151.

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