Above All Else

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, a.k.a. TBone, is a practicing dentist with a successful practice in Raleigh, NC, and he represents a new generation of leadership professionals in the dental field as an active speaker, podcast host, and educator at his 3D Dentists training center.  Despite his overwhelming schedule of extracurriculars in the industry, Agarwal always puts practicing dentistry first on the list because his practice is the money that seeds everything else, and it is his only guarantee in life. 

Agarwal comes from a long lineage of dental professionals and was inspired by the nature of the profession, and the ability to do healthcare with more control over the business aspect. This career allowed Agarwal to satisfy both his passion for the industry and the desire to become an entrepreneur by opening his own business. Right out of high school he went into an accelerated, six-year program in Kansas City where he did two years of undergrad and four years of dental school, then followed it with two more associateships over the course of nine months.

From Dentist to Entrepreneur

That rigorous process prepared Agarwal to open his own practice back home in North Carolina, but it was not a cakewalk as he soon realized. Initially, Agarwal was doing strictly cosmetic dentistry on a cash basis, but after a year his savings dwindled and he had to change the game plan. He started taking insurance which allowed him to have consistent, baseline revenue, but the real turning point was Agarwal’s new goal to add a procedure each year and expand his opportunities for growth. After twenty years, it is difficult to add a new procedure each year, but the entrepreneurial spirit lives on as he now focuses on going deeper into every discipline that his practice offers.

In 2003, Dr. Agarwal and his friend began speaking, where they each honed in on specific procedures and disciplines. This process developed Agarwal’s fundamental skills for his training center, which can hold twenty-four students who are looking to focus on the business of clinical excellence. Agarwal accomplishes this by teaching them how to do great clinical dentistry using digital technology supplemented with common-sense business knowledge so it can be applied in traditional practice environments.

Learning to Adapt in a Changing Market

Agarwal says that if you’re not growing 3-5% every year you’re moving backward in one way or another, and this business-focused methodology is projected in his seminars and classes. Dentists are facing significant market changes right now that are forcing fast-paced adaptation, but Agarwal teaches strategies to overcome these challenges in the dental industry.

The only problem is, having the ability to adapt doesn’t mean dental professionals are avoiding all of the financial pitfalls of entrepreneurship in dentistry. One of the bigger factors that Agarwal experienced personally was lack of a disciplined savings plan. He doesn’t believe that it was smart to accelerate payment plans in the first ten to fifteen years of his career because it is extremely stressful when you don’t have a lot of money saved. A systematic approach to saving is crucial as an entrepreneur, and putting your money in the right places will allow you more freedom even with accelerated payments.

Back to the Basics

When you are starting a practice from scratch, Agarwal advises that you simply stick to the basics. You will go through stages in your practice, but every time you move forward with your business you will likely be going back to the fundamentals. A lot of this process is about assessing where you are and what success looks like, then putting processes and team members in place to streamline the efforts needed to reach your objectives.

In this episode of the Progressive Dentist, Dr. Agarwal joins host Craig Cody to share his experience with entrepreneurship as a dental professional and talk about the strategies that helped his practice excel. Click here to listen to the episode.

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