Dental Practice

Miles of Smiles: How This Dentist Expanded His Practice, Fast

“I enjoy giving patients their smiles back,” said Dr. Kumar Patel, DMD, MS, FACD. In dental school, he’d realized how much he loves reconstructing teeth, giving people their function and joy. And after many years of working at others’ dental practices, he went out on his own, opening Marietta Dental Care.

He built one practice, and then another. Of the second practice, he says, “I bought it from friends who were business partners initially; when I bought them out, I needed financing for it.” That’s where Biz2Credit came in.

Dr. Patel approached Biz2Credit, and found that Biz2Credit’s customer assessment process was different than the bank’s. “Banks want a lot of information,” he commented. “They ask a lot of questions . . . My needs were a little high for the bank,” he continued, “I found banks only give you money if they can restore every bit of it in one shot.”

He was glad to have been able to expand his business as quickly as he did. “I managed to own 2 practices in 3 years, which would have been difficult if I had [gone through] the traditional process. Losing time is losing money, so if I had had to wait another 2 years to acquire another practice with the traditional financing route, it would have taken me longer, and [ended in me] losing an opportunity,” he said.

Dr. Patel wasn’t just glad about the opportunity to expand quickly. He was also pleased with his funding specialist's dedication and commitment; the funding specialist even went so far as to follow up 6 months post-funding. At that time, they discussed what Dr. Patel’s lending needs would be about 6 to 8 months later. And when that time came, “they honored what they said they were going to honor.”

From there, he opened a third practice, with the intent to cover the Atlanta area.

“My goal is to get to 5 locations in the next few years, but do it in a way where I can manage the debt,” Dr. Patel comments. He elaborates, “Let’s say I owe [Biz2Credit] half a million dollars right now, and the way I pay you back is 2 years. In 2 years I can borrow more. With half a million dollars I can do a lot, knowing I can pay that back. You allow me to expand and stay on track. Because to achieve this through traditional means would have taken me 5 years.”

The expansion comes with many benefits: Having multiple businesses allows him to take advantage of economy of scale – consolidating buying, purchasing larger quantities of supplies, negotiating better contracts with labs. He’s able to share staff across locations, and manage his time with patients so that their time together is most productive.

This year, Dr. Patel’s plan is “basically to smooth out my operations, which will happen because the cash flow will come from the financing.” Toward the end of next year, after he’s paid down his loan, he plans to buy another building – and then wait another year and repeat the process.

He hopes to continue funding with Biz2Credit. “Your company did make my plan a reality, and I believe it will help me achieve what I want to achieve in my timeframe . . . I couldn’t have done it in the way I did it in such a short frame of time. It would have taken me longer,” he said.

Dr. Patel counsels small business owners looking to expand their own companies to proceed at pace. “Words of advice: They need to make sure the business does well before they borrow. They need to understand their business and their core competencies first, and they need to have a clear plan – how are they going to do it? And borrow [only] what they can realistically pay back. That would be my advice.”

Dr. Patel is driven to build his business as fast as possible, citing his age: “I’m 47 years old; I have 4 years where I can really push it. Then I’ll slow down a little bit. So in that 4 years, I have to make as much [happen] as I can without stressing myself . . . Weekdays I have no time for myself. but that’s ok. That’s ok; that’s ok. With every expansion comes a squeeze period, and that’s what I have right now. It’s good.”

Your company did make my plan a reality, and I believe it will help me achieve what I want to achieve in my timeframe . . .