In her Middle school, my 8th grade grand-niece was assigned to do an interview and report on the most successful business operator she could find. I’m proud to say she chose Comfort Dental and me. Here are her 10 questions with my answers. As you can see, her questions are as insightful as those any dentist has ever asked of me. I’m so proud of her, (she got an A and she’s a champion volleyball player, as well) and I thought this might be insightful for you. – RK
1. How big of a risk was it for you to start Comfort Dental?
We started so small (generally one office at a time) that the risk wasn’t great. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never let risk or fear be a guiding factor.
2. How much time and effort have you put into the company?
I feel that, although my time actually in my office or visiting offices is probably about a normal workweek, I commit much more time and effort than just those hours. Generally, if I’m awake, I’m thinking about a Comfort Dental issue to solve. Also, much of my travel time is for Comfort business as well.
3. Did you ever have have failures along the way, if so what were they?
Failures? All the time and too numerous to mention. I always try to look at failures as opportunities to get it right. The failures have most often involved poor decisions on people.
4. How old were you when you developed the company?
I was a practicing dentist at age 25 and began to form concepts that became Comfort Dental right away. I learned that dental care was too expensive for too many people and too many dentists were working too hard and not being compensated enough. That’s why Comfort Dental exists.
5. Could you describe your emotional journey?
The emotional journey is mostly one of satisfying accomplishment. Of course there are the usual aggravations that come with most any business.
6. How did you make Comfort Dental a huge franchise from one single dental office?
There has always been a great demand from the public for access to affordable dental care. The only factor preventing us from many more offices more quickly is the requirement that all of our dentists must invest in their own Comfort Dental office.
7. How did you decide on who your partners would be?
Our dental partners must be willing to work very hard, care for lots of patients, and have a desire to provide well for their own families. These factors and the investment requirement pretty much weeds all the other dentists out. Most dentists want to work less and charge higher fees than us, so Comfort Dental does not interest them.
8. Do you have plans for your company in the future?
We still believe we can cover the entire United States with Comfort Dental offices over the next 10 years or so.
9. Why did you decide to be a dentist?
Like most dentists, I wanted to help people and earn a good living as well. All of our partners and I have pretty well accomplished this.
10. Why did you start Care Day and what other charities do you provide to?
Care Day was designed to give back to our communities who have supported us so well over the years. It has also become one of our best marketing avenues. I am also very proud of our support for Special Olympics, our “Every Kid plays” support of youth athletics and our various scholarship programs. Recently, we have tried to focus our charity efforts more on dental education, which has gotten to be extremely expensive, and care for substance abuse patients as they are dear to my heart.