Client health and business health have gone hand-in-hand for Ida Vitelli and her partner Antoinette Sabatino of Gentle Touch Dental Hygiene located in Streetsville, Ontario. They help clients be proactive about preventive oral care. In business since 2008, Ida and Antoinette have had time to reflect on the keys to their success.
Shortly after the Ontario government enacted legislation in 2007 to allow dental hygienists to work without the supervision of a dentist, Ida and Antoinette struck out on their own. They started with realistic expectations for their business. Ida describes their commitment to a long, slow build as their first key to success.
"The cost for a dental hygiene office is huge," says Ida. "It’s pretty much like opening a dental office. We have been very careful with money and we didn’t expect a profit in the first couple of years. For a very long while, all the money we made went back into the business."
The second key to their success is the partnership itself. "People warned us about the dangers of a partnership," says Ida. "But for us it has worked perfectly."
With the practice up and running smoothly, Ida and Antoinette recently decided to restructure the financial arrangement of their partnership—Moneris provided the solution. "Using the Moneris' Merchant Direct reporting tool, we can easily see what each of us has billed," explains Ida. "We now take out whatever we bill and we put our expenses back into the system, divided by two." Using Moneris for transactions also made payments easier for their customers and cash flow better for the partners as payments are deposited into their account daily.
The third key to success for Gentle Touch Dental Hygiene is their location. After trying marketing tactics such as postcards and advertising, they have found that their location on the main street of Streetsville is their best marketing tool. They recently rebranded the business with a new logo, website and external signage, and now find that 80% of new clients discover them either by viewing their external sign or through a referral from someone in the community.
Having learned what works and what doesn’t, Gentle Touch Dental Hygiene’s growth is consistent and positive. "We have plans for the future", says Ida. "But, for now, we want to solidify the business based on our three keys to success."
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