Darren Buddemeyer is the CEO of DynaFlex, an orthodontic and dental sleep medicine manufacturing company bringing bright smiles and a good nights’ sleep to thousands of people worldwide. Darren took the reins of DynaFlex 30 years ago and grew it from a very small lab to a major manufacturer of orthodontic products, orthodontic appliances and dental sleep medicine devices.
Darren learned the value of hard work from a young age. He started working at DynaFlex at the young age of 14, doing odd jobs at the lab. Every week, Darren gave his next-door neighbor – who worked not too far from the company’s lab – $10 in gas money so he could get a ride to work.
Those early lessons in the value of a hard day’s work would eventually pay dividends. Today, during Mr. Buddemeyer’ s tenure, DynaFlex has become one of the leading companies in the dental industry. Its reach is worldwide.
Outside of work, Darren supports and contributes to many charities in the dental industry as well as several charitable organizations supporting the armed forces and service members’ families. Darren can also be found spending time with his three sons outdoors hunting, fishing, and golfing.
Where did the idea for DynaFlex come from?
The original founder was a lab tech for a local doctor and then started the company in his basement in 1965 he retired in 1995. I have been growing the company since 1990.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
typical day is waking up at 5am, going to the gym, exercising for 45 minutes, having breakfast and beginning work around 6am, driving to the office and starting around 8am.
Once I arrive at the office I try to get around and say good morning to the teams working inside the building. Productivity is top of mind, during my entire day – understanding the information or issues within each dept. and creating action to solve them. Leadership is being supportive to the teams and helping them continuously improve.
How do you bring ideas to life?
There are multiple ways to bring ideas to life. Being keenly aware and informed in the industry we compete in gives me the foresight to understand what our customers need today and far into the future
What’s one trend that excites you?
The entire industry is moving to digital platforms and workflow. We have been leading the industry with our proprietary software and major technology investments.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My daily routine of working out to start my day.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be well prepared for all the challenges you will face growing from a small company to a major company in our industry. Life will bring so many business and personal challenges along the journey and you must see beyond those and continue to stay true to your vision and execute your goals.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Staying in a positive mind set no matter what happens throughout the day.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Have a vision for the future. Business and technology moves fast and to continue to be relevant you have to see the future and invest in it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Setting goals and communicating the goals on a very regular basis. Hiring the right people and giving them a pathway to achieve their goals.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Failure is part of learning and I never get disappointed with that. I would say hiring people that I felt could make a major difference for the company and they don’t work out.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I utilize a variety of off the shelf-type software that make a huge difference in both my and my team’s productivity. However, we developed our own proprietary digital Rx submission platform — it took 5 years — called DynaFusion and it is a tremendous game changer for DynaFlex and more importantly our customers. We also love Spiro, Excel, Slack and Trello.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My favorite business book is “Good to Great.” A lot of businesses are good but very few become great and lead their industry. I also enjoy reading fiction novels by CJ Box. As an outdoorsman I always enjoy his books.
What is your favorite quote?
“Time and Tide Waits for no Man” time is constantly passing by us and we can’t buy more. We have to use what we get to our best ability. I also enjoy a famous quote from our state. You know Missouri is known as the “Show-Me” State. A lot of people can talk a good game but very few can actually show me. I am an action person more than a telling person.
- Staying informed on your industry can help grant you the foresight to get ahead of your competition
- Time is constantly moving forward; make the most of it!
- Set goals and communicate those goals to your team on a regular basis to achieve maximum success
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.