Navigating Economic Downturns


From financial planning through the housing market crash of 2008, to now leading as the CEO for Community Dental Partners through this upcoming economic downturn, Emmett Scott brings practical insights into navigating practice ownership through a turbulent market.

“What crises do mentally is they make us very inward… You want to contract and protect assets- get innovative.”

The natural mode for many business owners during a crisis is to get lost in their own head and start calculating losses. This can become paralyzing. Emmett compares two different ways of seeing a crisis.

Crisis as a Dam

The stopping up of cash flow becomes a major setback for many businesses owners. We must do all that we can to scrape together our resources and protect what we have left until the dam opens back up.

Crisis as a Wormhole

A crisis becomes a window into where the world is heading. We have an opportunity to become entrepreneurial and give back. How do you want to have positioned yourself on the other side?

“Capitalism is built both on the Bull and the Bear market... if the past doesn’t serve us anymore, now is the time to eliminate it.”

Other systems “hold up” old ways of thinking, while the darwinism of capitalism removes those things that are holding us back. Regulations, archaic practices, and inefficiencies all find themselves on the chopping block. In general one of the largest forms of innovation we see developing through COVID-19 is better patient communication.


With practices limiting patient visits, alternatives need to be utilized. The rise of teledentistry is doing just that. Many services traditionally only offered in the physical practice can now be handled virtually. This has implications extending beyond the Coronavirus, including accessibility to rural communities and better uses of in-office time.

You can learn more about Teledentistry at the American TeleDentistry Association website.

Online Scheduling

With so many patients having to reschedule appointments, and find availability after you reopen, trying to manage all those over the phone can be a challenge. This outbreak may have become the straw that broke the camel's back for making the switch to an online scheduling platform.

Social Media Presence

Perhaps you’ve never made the jump to Facebook & Instagram, or perhaps you’ve done so with little intentionality. This time physically offline is the perfect opportunity to assess your digital presence online. Social media provides a huge chance to engage with your patients on a regular basis and establish yourself as a trusted guide through COVID-19 and beyond.

If you’re looking for a tool to audit your Social Media accounts, our social media strategist provided a free Spring Cleaning Checklist for your digital accounts.

“Having been through downturns in other businesses and this one before, the most expensive part is ramping back up.”

Business owners are doing all they can to preserve cashflow during this downtime, but don’t underestimate the cost even after your doors open back up. This is for two reasons.

Large Staff

Your staff will all be eager to get back to work from the moment your doors open. While a start-up begins with a small staff and grows steadily to match their patient numbers, you may be launching with a disproportionate amount of staff for the patients on “reopening day.”

PRO TIP: Ensure your first week or so of production is fully booked out with new patients ready for treatment.

Delayed Collections

From the moment you start doing production, there begins a waiting period before you will start seeing collections. This means you will be working a normal operation schedule without the typical cash flow to match.

PRO TIP: Set aside reserves for AFTER you reopen, until your collections can catch up.

“Be thinking beyond today, as painful as today is, your team needs you to be ready to get going as soon as this lifts.”

You don’t need to navigate this alone, there are groups and resources available to offer the assistance and support you need. Emmett organized the DEO community for DSO’s and Dental Leaders looking to link arms and collaborate, or you can join his DSO Secrets Facebook group.


The dental practice landscape is changing at an ever faster rate. Protect your investment by putting together a strategic marketing plan customized to you. Schedule your consultation with me.

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