The Alimond Show

Uzma Ansari Owner & Dentist of Lowes Island Dentistry

March 19, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Uzma Ansari Owner & Dentist of Lowes Island Dentistry
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you had the chance to peek into the life of a dental entrepreneur, navigating both professional and personal spheres with grit and grace? Join us as we converse with a resilient businesswoman who took the dental industry by storm when she founded her own practice back in 2012. Despite the demanding aspects of HR and employee management, she triumphed, thanks to a strong alliance with Guardian Dentistry Partners. Listen as she unveils her journey, illustrating the potent influence of support and partnerships in both personal and professional pursuits.

As we venture further, we'll shed light on the emerging generation in dentistry, featuring our guest's daughter, soon to join dental school. Offering a fresh take on the industry, we discuss her aspirations to walk in her mother's footsteps. But it's not all about the business; it's also about maintaining positivity when facing adversities. Discover how our guest's psychiatrist husband helped mold her outlook, instilling an infectious positivity that carried her through challenging times. So, gear up for an enlightening exploration into the vibrant experiences of a dental entrepreneur, underscored by faith, positivity, and a dash of color.

Speaker 1:

Work is doing, good Work is fun. I enjoyed the industry.

Speaker 2:

What are you doing outside of work, though? From like Projects, I mean like right now you get your lipstick on. I mean you're just in a lot of fun stuff.

Speaker 1:

I'm meeting up with the lady who did my lipstick, raquel Thomas Hopefully Thanksgiving, and we're going to look at another project, working with the real ladies of Loudoun County. I'm sure you're familiar with the Facebook group on that. So, getting back into some of this fun stuff that I've enjoyed doing over the years, which all relates to cosmetics somehow, what are you doing with that Facebook group?

Speaker 1:

They're having a 10 year anniversary, so I definitely want to participate in it with a Big Bang, because I remember when we started it when they started it, I was starting my business, so they've been instrumental in my growing my business.

Speaker 2:

My best friend actually founded that group. Who's your best friend, kimmy?

Speaker 1:

Kimmy, yes, yes, yes, I'm super excited about it. I remember like it was 2012 when I started my business and that had just come about. I became very involved with it at that time and then I took a break for a little while, got busy with the partners and all that, but now that they're having their 10 years, I was like you got to celebrate 10 years. It's a huge milestone.

Speaker 2:

She actually got kicked out of the group. She was one of the founders that got kicked out, really, yeah. So there was three of them that actually founded it Roxy, kimmy and Rachel and Rachel. So Rachel and Kimmy both got kicked out.

Speaker 1:

I saw Roxy. I haven't seen Kimmy's lately. She's the one that kicked him out. Was she happy about it? Oh no, she wasn't happy about being kicked out, but was she happy about not being in the group anymore? No Too much trouble.

Speaker 2:

It was her baby. No, that was her baby, your baby. She grew that baby. Has she done anything like on? She has her own, that she started. But she put so much love, effort, energy.

Speaker 1:

She did. I remember the beginning years, yeah, so. So I've been missing for the last. How long has it been since I joined Heisham and Sana? Since when 2020?

Speaker 2:

I feel like time is like so hard for me now.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I'll see somebody and they're like it's been like three years. I'm like, I feel like it's been like three months. Yeah, I know what time Time is so fast, right, it's such a weird like yeah, even when people ask me how long I've been in business and I'm like, and I have to start doing the math, I'm like, oh my gosh, it's been like 15 years, really.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, I remember hearing about you and you telling me a little bit about your business and how companies have done something similar to this, and at that time I was just a really small one dentist practice and couldn't even imagine you know this. But I'm so glad that we're here. Yeah, yeah and.

Speaker 2:

I want to say fun, yeah, in terms of business, wise. So you said that you were one person. Yeah, now you're part of something much bigger. Yes, can you please let listeners know? Number one how did you get from here to here and why you made that decision? As a business woman, oh wow, how did I get from here. And as a mother, because, as a mother, You're a multifaceted person.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you know so when I started my business in 2012 at Lowes Island Dentistry. I think that the hardest thing in a business like dentistry is HR or employees. It is still a technical profession that you have to train team members because then your license is writing on, like anything that happens wrong with the patient becomes.

Speaker 2:

You know the dentist responsibility.

Speaker 1:

So the dentist has a lot of responsibility in training team members.

Speaker 1:

And team members come with a lot of emotional stuff that's going on in their lives and sometimes don't understand the importance of customer service and this, that and the other. It was a lot being a business owner from that perspective. Hr, I wouldn't say was my strength, so I did struggle with, you know, employees coming and going and coming and going and training and all of that. But I think one of the things that I've always enjoyed is the connection with patients, the relationships that I build over the years. One such relationship was the relationship I had with my friends who are also dentists. I mean we knew each other growing up. We grew up in dentistry together In Virginia Beach. We were young associates that worked for another doctor and we put our all in together and building that practice. We were together for 10 years before you know, the natural thing starts happening. You know you work with someone for 10 years and you're like, well, maybe I want a little bit of partnership or what's my next part of my journey? How can I grow? And that's what slowly brought us to Northern Virginia my friend, you've met him. He moved to Northern Virginia before I did and then I moved a year after, bought my own practice and then my third friend, dr Barata. She also joined and bought a practice in Tyson's. We grew up together, our kids grew up together. We know each other so well and we know the business too and we were always friends that helped each other whenever one of us called.

Speaker 1:

But I think the most like the point where it became real for me is like when my husband became sick. Having to deal with the kids, the hospital, he was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. Taking him to the hospital, the chemo, the radiation, and then still trying to manage your business is like there's a lot of challenges and there's no forgiveness and sometimes it's hard, like, after all, you're human being. That's when my friends really supported me and I always knew that we had this thing, that something happened to one of us. We would take care of each other and our practices, because our practices are kind of like our baby, our whole life. We live and breathe and think about dentistry and the employees that we have and what we can do and our patients. So it's a lot to not have that support. So I've always had that support with my friends.

Speaker 1:

I think there came a time where we all three have gone through the business, know the business really well, I think, as a single dentist. It's hard to negotiate better insurance fees because you don't have the power of numbers. It's harder to negotiate supplies but then at the same time employees expect a raise so that creates a super intense crunch on a private practitioner by themselves because you have to manage it all and I remember times that were tough being a business owner. So when we partner together we can leverage each other's strengths and that's what I've really enjoyed about this. Dr Barracat has his strengths, dr Perotta has her strengths. I have my strengths. I like marketing. This is what I enjoy and we get to do the things that we really enjoy and take some of the stuff that we never enjoyed off of our plate.

Speaker 2:

So in terms of like, okay, so navigating all of this was a challenge, but you ended up to where now.

Speaker 1:

So you talked a little bit about how we so we joined in creating our creating a DPN, which is a dental partner network called Guardian Dentistry Partners. We have like-minded dentists that have joined us over the years and our company has grown, specifically in this region, to 34 practices that are in Virginia, richmond, maryland, dc and then all over the United States. I think the last time I heard it was 175. So we're now in Florida. So I mean like-minded partners wanting to do the type of dentistry or be. We're all entrepreneurs but there's reasons why we want to be together. So the company has grown tremendously and super proud of that.

Speaker 2:

So is your company that you helped found, or it's a company in which you are now under? How does that work? So we helped found it, okay?

Speaker 1:

So I thought that I wanted to clarify that we helped found it. We were already in the conversation of partnership the three of us. At the same time we met Danny and Dan and they helped with the financial aspect of it, and there were some other dentists in Michigan that were also talking with them, and that's how Guardian Dentistry Partners got founded.

Speaker 2:

So what is it now that you guys have Guardian? How does that change your individual practice as well as the practice?

Speaker 1:

I think I can focus on being a practice owner. I can be more focused on patient care and providing the best for my patient, as opposed to, oh my gosh, if I say something, the certain way that this person's going to quit today and then, oh my gosh, I can't handle what tomorrow brings because it's hard to hire someone.

Speaker 2:

Because is that what Guardian focuses on? Is everything beside.

Speaker 1:

Well, they helped with management, taking some of the stress off of my plate.

Speaker 1:

For example, when I lose an employee working on Indeed or putting an ad out on Indeed, you have to go through all the resumes I've never done that Exactly and then you have to call everyone and set the interview and then half the people show up and half the people don't show up.

Speaker 1:

And then you're doing that as after you've taken care of patients, after you've done dinner and you've put the kids to bed, and you're still in bed trying to go through these resumes and trying to figure this out, and then, when you don't have the people come in. That's how it's kind of helped. There's an HR person now that works for the company and being together, we can have someone who has an, or have someone that's in head of HR who understands the rules and regulations much better than we do. It was like being a single business owner you had to be the expert on everything, whereas now and now there are people I can rely on, who can do the research, provide me professional opinion on how to take care of a situation and then do the things support me in the manner that I need to be supported, so that I can focus on what's the most important thing, which is my patients.

Speaker 2:

Now, what were some of the biggest challenges that you ran into as you were building, as you guys were founding this Guardian company?

Speaker 1:

Some of the biggest challenges Um, there's always challenges, I think, trying to get the word out of. You know that as business owners, we all want a certain level of control and it's hard to give up that control. Trying to get the word out, and you know that you still have control. You can have as much control as you want, want to still be involved with everything you can, but know that there's somebody there to support you. It was just like it allowed us to breathe, I think, because it's so hard to manage everything together being a mom, having the kids dealing with the school notes, hr employees, patients so it was a lot. Now it feels a little bit easier. Good, because I feel supported. Let's put it that way.

Speaker 2:

I love it. I'm just thinking about how you can take the same concepts and apply it to different industries.

Speaker 1:

I think it can be applied to different industries. I think that you know, there is definitely something to be said when people collaborate together and work together for a common good, One always feels supported there. So I think it could be applied to many industries. But I think the trick is finding like-minded people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you've said that quite a few times, like-minded yes, and that's important.

Speaker 1:

Like-minded. I think it is important because I think once you've gone through the struggles of owning a business I think it's the same challenges in most businesses you do have that like-mindedness. I think someone who hasn't owned a business may not understand this, but someone who's gone through the struggles, has owned their practice for 10, 15, 20 years but still enjoys doing dentistry and doesn't want to give it up because they still like the patient care, I would say it becomes very like-minded.

Speaker 2:

I agree, you haven't been on that roller coaster yet, and until you've been on that roller coaster, you don't understand. Yes.

Speaker 1:

When you get out of dental school it's always the golden dream to have your own practice. You know I'm going to leave dental school, I'm going to have my own practice and I think the first two years it's like you don't know what has hit you, because it's not just patient care. I think when you get out of dental school you know my daughter has gotten accepted into the VCU dental school program. So when I think about it from her perspective, I I definitely want you to be supported by an organization that allows you to focus on the dentistry and get better at that before you go into trying to manage other things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, smart, good advice for mama, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Well, let's see if she takes it. Well, she takes it Because you don't know what the younger kids are thinking these days.

Speaker 2:

Well, sometimes they are a lot smarter than yes. They take things differently, right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, she's grown up in dentistry. She's seen me struggle with the practice at times. She's at times when I didn't have an employee to hold the suction, she's had to hold the suction for me. She had to be my dental assistant and at times she's had to answer phone calls and learn customer service by answering the phone calls.

Speaker 2:

So she's already trained.

Speaker 1:

She knows a lot about the business. I think the business aspect of it that's funny. She needs to learn about the dentistry aspect of it, which is, you know, like I'm really proud of her because she after, like since she was 13 years old, has been in the practice. She knows every aspect of it. So it's not like she's going into this blind. She knows that she wants to do this. She doesn't know anything. It's like you still know Exactly. You saw me do that many, many years ago. Now it's your turn, that's right. I mean, show me what you can do differently, that's right.

Speaker 2:

So I'm going to enjoy that. That is such an amazing thing for you to witness as a mom and as a business owner, to see her kind of follow a similar path.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean, sometimes I think maybe I did do something right that she thinks it's good. Sometimes I think, well, maybe I didn't show her enough. We'll stick to the first one Exactly, we'll stick with the first one. Maybe I did something right.

Speaker 2:

Maybe we see everything headed in the next 10, 20 years specifically for you, your practice and guardian.

Speaker 1:

I see great things in the future. I see a lot of collaboration, I see the business growing. I see that I can focus on the things that I really, really enjoy and really be me. So I think that I'm super excited about the future. Before coming here, we were just talking about the Christmas party, trying to do a big Christmas party for all of the team members. It definitely is part of our culture. So seeing everyone together I might not know everyone's names amongst all the practices, but getting everyone together, connecting at a Christmas party, being able to enjoy a meal together, it just feels humbling, yeah, to see how you went from here to building a big community.

Speaker 1:

Yes, a community. We all support each other. Very humbled, very, very, very blessed. That's amazing.

Speaker 2:

Now, what do you do outside of work?

Speaker 1:

Aside from the kids.

Speaker 2:

Well, the kids are a little older. Yes, so you could include the kids with that.

Speaker 1:

Well, these days, I think, trying to guide the kids. My son has just graduated from college looking into psychiatry or psychology programs, so going through personal statements, how to be a young worker in today's community. He shares things from his perspective of like well, this happened at work. Today I try to share things from a business owner's perspective and try to look at it from the other angle. So it's nice having him home and then my daughter's off to college and then the high schoolers is also going through SAT preps. So these days I'm just being mommy shuffling the children to SAT prep. Sometimes it's C2, sometimes it's mathnasium, that kind of stuff. But, enjoyment aside from that, I'm very crafty. I like craft. Anything to do with creating something is what I enjoy doing.

Speaker 2:

That's why you like marketing so much.

Speaker 1:

That's why I like marketing so much, absolutely so. I work on projects around the house, creating, like, whether it be paintings. I enjoy painting, I enjoy sewing. So those are the kind of hobbies that I have at home. What are you sewing?

Speaker 2:

Like what are some things that you sew?

Speaker 1:

Actually I am working on Christmas gifts for the kids. I'm not knitting, not knitting sewing sewing machine proper sewing machine. My daughter loves fluffy like what are those pajamas? And every pajama that I've seen doesn't have pockets. Like how can you not have pockets? I mean, you're lounging around in the house Me pockets you have. The kids are not going to let the phone go. Exactly so this year I got it into my head that I was going to make her those fluffy pants with pockets and put some nice trim and stuff like that. So I'm working on that for her for Christmas. That's actually the project that is in my sewing sewing machine these days.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's so fun. In terms of just wrapping this up, what's one message that you would give to the world right now?

Speaker 1:

Be positive and be yourself. God works in mysterious ways. Behind every struggle there is something good that will come out of it. So just be positive. Where does that come from? I mean, sometimes when you are going through a struggle, one feels like, oh my gosh, I'm never going to get through this. I've been there.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes, being a business owner, you feel the weight of what you see is happening, whether it be that you don't have someone in the practice, that a key person has decided to move into a different direction and you don't know how you're going to manage it. And sometimes it's hard to find the right person. So at those times I felt like I don't know if I can do this anymore, this stuff. But staying positive has been huge. My husband's a psychiatrist. You've met him. He's always talked about staying positive and God doesn't give you anymore. Then you can't handle. So if you're going through something probably is something that God believes you can handle. So I mean those are the things that I've colored my past and will continue to color my future. I love the positivity. Maybe I get it from my husband, I don't know. He's always putting those kind of stuff in my brain.

Speaker 2:

I like the colors you picked too. They're pretty.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you and sharing stories of wisdom and pieces of your journey so far.

Speaker 1:

Thank you.

Guardian Dentistry Partners Growth and Evolution
Guardian's Impact on Practice Owners
Finding Strength in Positivity