If you really want to bring an idea to life it is a matter of just being organized about it.
Dr. Sally Gerges of Gerges Dental in Middletown, New Jersey has spent the last 10 years of her career paving her own path where her patients are always at the forefront of her mind. This dedicated and ambitious entrepreneur began her career in her own office only two years after completing dental school, much to the rousing cheers of a supportive family. Her goal was to bring superior care to her local community.
Sally was raised in Middletown and has always lived around family. She left for college but always knew that she would return to build her life. Sally attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for her undergraduate degree. Initially, she believed she would take the path toward becoming a doctor. However, her self-awareness and strength of character gave her the where-with-all to know that becoming a doctor was not her ideal course of action. It was important for her to take the time to know she would move forward with the best possible impact on the lives around her. But she knew it would require dedication.
After graduation, Sally took a job as a chemist on a temporary basis for a large corporation. She wanted to allow herself the time and space to contemplate her future. With the loving guidance of a very supportive family, Sally took an internship with a dental office. This internship paved the way to Temple University where she obtained her necessary certifications and degrees. After a brief time working in the office of another dentist, her personal determination to help her patients in a way she believed would be best, she opened Gerges Dental.
Gerges Dental has continued to thrive for the last 8 years, caring for Middleton, NJ patients with all of their dental needs.
Where did the idea for Gerges Dental come from?
I worked for someone else initially. But we didn’t have the same mindset regarding goals for patient care. I knew that I wanted my own practice so that I could care for patients the way I wanted to care for them. At the time, I just thought that it was now or never. I took the risk with the support of family and friends and so far, so good.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am up early to make sure everything is taken care of at home. When I get to my office, my morning schedule is seeing patients typically in a four-hour block before lunch. We schedule a second four-hour block of patients for the afternoons. The thing that makes us most productive is the way we schedule our patients. If there is a patient that can only be seen on a particular time or day, we make sure to be as courteous as possible. We make it happen. I will be there for my patients when I’m needed.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The most important thing that an entrepreneur goes through and perhaps sidetracks people professionally is fear. When people face change, they get scared. Making changes or bringing new ideas to life is simply focus. Focus on what you want. I try to do one thing at a time, and I give myself a timeframe. Within the timeframe, I give myself a checklist. If you really want to bring an idea to life it is a matter of just being organized about it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One thing that excites me in dentistry is what we can do with digital radiography and scanning. That is one of the technologies that I am planning to have in my office within the next five years. It uses technology to help patients. It produces enhanced computer images of teeth, gums, and oral structures as well as conditions. It would be very beneficial. However, costs are upwards of 50-100k for a complete system. It will take time to incorporate into practice.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have a sparkling type A personality! I believe that every entrepreneur must be dedicated. You have to be extremely organized, and be able to have good time management as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
My best advice to myself and anyone else is “don’t sweat the small stuff”!
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
The biggest thing that people disagree with me on is that Yard work is FUN! But, in the dental industry, I would say that money isn’t the main goal, especially when it comes to patient care. You have to pay attention to the patient and what is best for them. It is a touchy subject. It tends to argue with “focus on bottom line” issues.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
One thing that I would tell every entrepreneur to do is to be brave. Give yourself a pep talk every now and then. Be confident in what you are good at. In moments of stress, it can be very useful.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
It is all about respecting people. It is about taking the time to make sure they are comfortable. I had a lot of dental work done when I was a child. I didn’t think that would have any benefit to me when I opened my practice. But it has helped me so much. It has helped me with the strategy to understand and empathize with my patients. I have gotten so many referrals and new patients. Fifty percent of my patients come through referrals. It is very productive.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I wanted to run my practice as close to debt free as possible. The only thing that I would consider a failure is having to borrow money. But that comes with being in business and in a solo practice. All expenses are mine. You just have to continue to do your best to pay people back.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My sister and husband and I love Crepes we talked about opening a business making crepes. I think it would be a good business, and we have a great name for it!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best hundred dollars that we’ve spent was on a dog crate that we spent for our puppy. Crate training is Great.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I rely on Softdent. We use it for business management practices. It is used for scheduling. It is fantastic. It does charts and x-ray management, and bills insurance companies. It is great.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz.
This book is a great motivator for entrepreneurs when they are facing challenges. It’s motivating and offers advice to those starting a new business.
What is your favorite quote?
When you’ve reached the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on! by Roosevelt
• If you really want to bring an idea to life it is a matter of just being organized about it.
• It is all about respecting people.
• Every entrepreneur has to be dedicated, extremely organized, and be able to have good time management skills.
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.