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EPISODE #024

#24 Building Success with Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is the founder of Denco Dental Construction Inc. and author of Dental Ease. Craig and Steve discuss marketing your business as well important factors you need to consider in your office space. 
Access the FREE first chapter of Dental Ease: https://www.dreamdentalpractice.net/

 

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Transcription:

Speaker 1:

From his first job flipping burgers at McDonald’s and delivering The Washington Post, Craig Willett counts only one and a half years of his adult life working for someone else. Welcome to The Biz Sherpa podcast with your host, Craig Willett. Founder of several multimillion-dollar businesses and trusted advisor to other business owners, he’s giving back to help business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs achieve fulfillment, enhance their lives, and create enduring wealth. The Biz Sherpa.

Craig Willett:

This is Craig Willett, The Biz Sherpa. Welcome to today’s episode. I’m grateful that you joined me. Today, we’re going to get a wealth of information from one of my good friends and neighbor, Steve Anderson. Steve has written a book, DentalEase, and this is really helpful for almost any business owner—but in particular, dentists. He walks through how to build out your office space and how to save money in the process of doing that. It’s not always the lowest cost bidder that brings the savings. Also, I think he has a lot of insights in where to locate your business and why it’s important. But more importantly, he’s also observed successful dental practices, and what makes a successful dentist also makes a successful entrepreneur. So, I’m glad to welcome today, Steve Anderson.

Steve Anderson:

I appreciate it. Thank you.

Craig Willett:

Grateful to have you here and I think this book just came out recently, right?

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, it’s a labor of love for a lot of years and I didn’t realize how much effort it would be to get it published but it’s self-published and it’s been about a month, and now it’s on eBook and audiobook also.

Craig Willett:

That’s great. I’ve read your book and it’s really interesting and it appeals to me because you’re a contractor and part of my—a good part of my career was spent in real estate, so I can relate. I’m really curious as to how you figure out how to guide and find dentists, how you market your construction company, and how you find your clients.

Steve Anderson:

They find me. It’s interesting. Over the years, I’ve worked hard to be a backdoor marketer. To me what that means is first being consistent, working hard to have integrity and be consistent in my pricing, be consistent in everything I do, but at the same time, work hard at being able to market and sell myself. But more importantly, build relationships with symbionic businesses such as—since I’m in construction, a good fit is real estate brokerage and commercial and having and finding those key people that really understand the marketplace and it’s not about just finding the one or two, but finding all the symbionic businesses that can help my business and vice versa. It’s a two-way street. It’s really about giving them value and helping them sell better and be a better professional, and then by doing that, I reap the rewards of referrals and work.

 

Simple things like an equipment person needs an extra operatory and he doesn’t know where to begin for a dentist. So what I do is, I’ll go out and help them figure out how to make it happen and yeah, it might be a simple little job but the one thing that we know is in the dental market alone, every three to seven years a dentist does something and I didn’t realize that—

Craig Willett:

When you say that does something, means they move, they renovate?

Steve Anderson:

They maybe paint  the carpet. They renovate and move, but what’s interesting is they’re also very solid tenants. Usually once they find the place, they usually stay in that place for an average of 20 to 25 years or more.

Craig Willett:

So when you say backdoor marketing, you mean you don’t advertise per se.

Steve Anderson:

No.

Craig Willett:

You actually make yourself known among the professional community that can be a source of referrals, not just the dentist themselves, you’re marketing to real estate professionals, maybe even certain architects who can then recommend you to know what you’re—You know what you’re doing as far as finish, quality and cost which is information they need in making decisions.

Steve Anderson:

Well and also, there’s a very important key to that. One, that cost me dearly early in business. The important key is being a referral source to our clients, but making sure that whoever I’m referring has the same standards, someone that you can count on, someone that will return their phone call, someone that will follow up with them, someone that will do what they say and promise, because if you have the reciprocal, it can be as detrimental as—it can actually be worse than doing nothing.

Craig Willett:

Right, so that’s where you say symbionic is important, that they have similar standards—

Steve Anderson:

Correct.

Craig Willett:

—and that they act professionally the way you act. So, that’s what makes it cohesive.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and I want to make sure that you’re on the same page, as far as values. You can recommend anybody but you’re only as good as your word.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

Then, it just builds from there, and then also supporting whatever area that you’re in. So for me, it’s dentists, so I work hard to support whatever the association is doing. Whether it’s a special event or a vendor fair or something like that, I’m always there to help support it and encourage them in the process, and then get outside my box. I’m really an introvert.

Craig Willett:

That sounds interesting. So you write a book, and you go speaking at conventions, but you’re an introvert.

Steve Anderson:

I am an introvert.

Craig Willett:

How do you overcome that?

Steve Anderson:

I do my passion. If you’re passionate about whatever it is, you become an extrovert.

Craig Willett:

That’s interesting.

Steve Anderson:

My wife is actually the extrovert in our relationship, but when you start talking about dental, you start talking about the business side of things, I started lighting up and—

Craig Willett:

And you come alive.

Steve Anderson:

I come alive and it’s interesting, it just becomes a natural affair for me, and it’s something that I love to do, and it’s more important to me than being paid because I just thoroughly enjoy what I do.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s important and that comes across. I think it’s part of marketing when you’re enthusiastic and passionate about something the people you work with will recognize that and they’ll sense that energy, and also your knowledge.

 

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and you talk about—and I mentioned about stepping outside of my box, at the dental convention. I walked around all the booths and everyone is behind the table, and I’m going, “What are you guys doing?” “What? We’re selling,” and then going, “No, you’re not.” So I always make an effort. The first thing I do when I go to a convention is I take my table, and I put it all the way to the back and have open floor space. So, A, I’m inviting and B is then when there’s a lull, go out and talk to the people in the convention, all the other vendors and stuff. It’s amazing how many people don’t do that but it’s amazing, every time I’ve done that something resulted very powerfully from that. It might not be a direct lead, but it might be leaving a good thought or learning something about their business—

Craig Willett:

Do you have an example you want to share with us?

Steve Anderson:

We had one that had nothing to do with construction at all and it was a vendor that was selling just apparatuses, and things for the teeth and as I was talking to him, I can see the little light goes off and he says, “You’d be a really good source for my doctor,” and I walked away with a project.

Craig Willett:

Really.

Steve Anderson:

It was all because I engaged him. Then, I had another one that comes to mind is I had a video playing over on our booth and the guy across the way was watching it. So, soon as the break is over, he’s coming over and talking to me and asking me all these questions. All of a sudden he became like an ambassador. He’d have people come by his booth, and said, “Well, you should go over and talk to him,” and so you never know.

Craig Willett:

So they started introducing you to the next lead or making introductions. Great.

Steve Anderson:

So you really never know who your sales force is.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great. I remember a time in my career as a CPA, when I would go to different meetings or conventions, I would always come away with some kind of project. I didn’t go there with that intention, but you’re right. When you meet people, and you carry yourself as one who cares and has a passion for what you do, people sense that.

Steve Anderson:

People know whether you care or whether you’re about their wallet.

 

Craig Willett:

I love that because I’ve always said if you start the business to make money, you’re doing it for the wrong reason. If you’re doing it to make a difference in people’s lives, then the money takes care of itself.

Steve Anderson:

Actually, when I was teaching over A.T. Still a few years back with another dentist, he was teaching —I had a little segment on how to solve dentistry and man, all the students are sitting up and they’re watching intently. As it unfolded they go, that’s too easy and it just—he had a simple little process of just introducing himself, touching him appropriately on the shoulder, and what he would do is just engage them, and just find a little tidbit about them. Then, he always did a good job of just providing the options but it was about connecting with them.

Craig Willett:

I think in your book, you talk about him and he listens too.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah, that’s—

Craig Willett:

He gets real quiet, lays out the options and lets them select.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and that’s the key in selling is providing options, but listening and not talking until they respond.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great. That’s really very insightful. You said something else that intrigued me early on, and you said offer value. Value is an elusive term, right?

Steve Anderson:

Yes.

Craig Willett:

How do you view offering value? What does that mean to you?

Steve Anderson:

I give of myself and not expect anything in return.

Craig Willett:

That’s a great definition. So what are some examples that you can think of that really have brought clients back over and over again, you said a dentist does something every three to seven years. So how have you gotten repeat customers from doing—

 

Steve Anderson:

First of all, if an issue arises, just take care of it. I’ve paid a lot of money to be right and lost.

Craig Willett:

Really.

Steve Anderson:

Big time.

Craig Willett:

What do you mean by that?

Steve Anderson:

I had a flooring issue one time and I offered to replace the floor, three, four times and he’d say yes and then he changed his mind and yes, and we went back and forth and I got worn out. That was my key, is I got worn out. So, the battle of attorneys went and at the end, I ended up paying a lot of money for something that I could have resolved so easily.

Craig Willett:

By just replacing, listening one more time.

Steve Anderson:

One more time and the issue is things happen. And really, in the big scheme of thing you hear that thing is the customer’s always right and you don’t want to believe in that, but there’s so much truth to that, is when you push the envelope and you really work hard to be right and prove the client wrong and then, you stop listening also. When you stop listening, everything breaks down, and you lose, and attorneys are the only ones that win.

Craig Willett:

So your recommendation is just to listen and keep the communication line open.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, keep it open and when you have those challenges, it’s really—most people just want to be heard.

Craig Willett:

Right, when it came time to renovate that dental office, did they come back?

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

They did. That’s interesting. So what are the things have you done to add value where your dentists want to come back? Because I think a lot of people who do tenant improvements or build out office space think, “Okay, this is a one time thing. I got to make my profit on this,” but you said something interesting to me, that leads me to believe you have a different philosophy. If you know dentists are coming back every three to seven years, this is a recurring client.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

This is not a one-time build out.

Steve Anderson:

I had an expensive lesson. And I did a 5000 square foot office a number of years ago, and did a great job and helped him through a lot of issues and the project went extremely well. He had two or three other partners and about five years later, they did another office. They chose someone else because—not because of my reputation, but because of out of sight, out of mind and it clicked. What clicked for me is how can I get in front of people and do something different? So talk about added value, so I came up with tidbits for success. I’ve written probably 120 of them now.

Craig Willett:

Yeah.

Steve Anderson:

In the process—

Craig Willett:

I think they’re in here too.

Steve Anderson:

Well, yeah, it kind of mimics what I do but what I found is by—I started building an email blast list and every once a month, I’d send out tidbits for success. It was a short read and it had usually nothing to do with me or sometimes not even construction. It was just a success thing of things to think differently in business and how could you help yourself? I have a really good opening rate on it and it really amazes me. Then, on top of that, then a few years later I’m going, “Okay, it’d be really be fun to showcase some of the offices that we finished and what things the client said.” So I came up with Dreams Come True. So the alternating two weeks—so they alternate once a month—but they stagger by two weeks, as we send out Dreams Come True. Dreams Come True shows another office that’s just been finished and then it shows just what they say. But more importantly, people love to look at them because they see just the wide variety of offices that can be built and the new styles and things.

Craig Willett:

Well, I imagine that, the ideas they’re gathering for the three or five years from now when they’re going to renovate.

 

Steve Anderson:

And then being of value. On our website, we have 70, 80 offices on our website and people go, “Why do you show so many, you give everything away, Steve,” and I go, “Nobody—I learned an important lesson early on in business, when I tried to mimic someone else’s process,” and I found that nobody else can do it exactly the way they do it. Even if you have the script and what I found—

Craig Willett:

Like having the secret formula, they can’t mix it quite right.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, it’s like, what I share with students when I teach is, it’s like baking cookies and you take all the ingredients, and you just dump them in and stir them up and bake them, it doesn’t work. So the thing I found is being able to—they can firsthand see all this information on our website about offices we finished and lots of ideas and all our tidbits are on there, but the thing I’ve found is it’s really about being an open book and being a resource. People enjoy that, it’s refreshing.

Craig Willett:

So how do you find yourself helping dentists? Let’s say you get referred to the dentist, whether it’s from speaking at a convention or whether it’s from someone else that has referred you to them, how have you helped save them money and time and made the process easy, because I mean, I think the name of the book is DentalEase, so there’s a way to—you’re taking it and making it simple and this is along the lines of what I did in real estate development, a lot of people wanted to own their own office building, and they should when they spend that much time educating themselves, but they don’t have time to go out and find the right size piece of land in the right location—

Steve Anderson:

And develop it all.

Craig Willett:

And develop it all and then get the structure, but what we did is build the shell building and allowed the interior space to be however they wanted it because everyone is unique.

Steve Anderson:

You did such a great job at that too.

Craig Willett:

Thank you.

Steve Anderson:

Just sharing with you the name of the business earlier, I’m shocked and amazed, that was my building standard. When we would have clients go look for a new space, we love those buildings because of all the criteria that were met.

 

Craig Willett:

Right, but that was part of our marketing too is that we have your needs in mind and we know what you’re going to need down the road. So we’re going to anticipate that and put it in. So, that all you have to do as a professional is hire an architect for the interior and a contractor to get it done and then, instead of a two or three year process, you take it down to a two or three to five month process.

Steve Anderson:

Right, yeah.

Craig Willett:

So anyway, with that in mind, how do you help save them because they really don’t have two to three years to go find a location?

Steve Anderson:

No. No.

Craig Willett:

And start from scratch, so they need to start somewhere and then, there’s a lot of decisions that you help them with.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, it’s so varied and so wide. So today, I talked with—a dentist called me up and said, “Steve, what do I do?” He was trying to decide, “Do I do a ground-up? Do I do a tenant improvement? Do I buy this whole building? Do I do a stand-up? What is it?” So, we just started talking through the processes and just quick budget numbers. Early on, when I was in business, I would want to get it down to the penny and when people are trying to make the decision, you round it up to the nearest $10,000, $50,000 level because really in the scheme of things, if something is $800,000 and this one is a million dollars, that’s really what you’re wanting to know, or this one is $1.8 million and that’s really what it’s—so just helping them through that and then talking about the visibility and talk about advertising and what are they going to spend more monthly to maintain and gain from.

Then, I have the client that comes and one that really comes to mind is a doctor in Mesa that had an office and he already had his permit. He had his plans done. He said, “Steve, I want to build this out. I’ve got a doctor coming on board here in six months and I got to have this done and we’re going to expand.” I said, “Fine. Can I have permission just to set this aside and let’s talk a minute.” He says, “Why? I got all decision—”

Craig Willett:

I’m ready to go, just bill.

Steve Anderson:

That was an important lesson I learned a long time ago, is nobody—not nobody—but most of the people, even architects and other contractors don’t ask that extra question. So, at the end of the meeting, he goes, “These plans don’t work,” and then he goes, “So what’s that cost me?” He says, “Well, we’re going to—probably another $3,000 to modify the plans, you lose a month at the city, and go at it and do it right.” He goes “That’s worth it,” because all of a sudden—he shared with me in the meeting, he says, “For 10 years, 10 years ago I hired a professional to help me design my operatories and they’re too tight at the head wall and I hate them for 10 years.” He was going to get a guy, another 50 pounds bigger and six inches taller than him coming on board.

Craig Willett:

And he’s not going to be able to move around and function on that.

Steve Anderson:

He couldn’t even function in those spaces and also, you’re going to mimic it over on the other space.

Craig Willett:

Right, let alone if the doctor is cramped, imagine the patient.

Steve Anderson:

And what was so sad is the operatories were struggling for space and here, the hallway was six feet wide and you could easily take a foot out of it. It depends on where the dentist is, when we have a dentist that is early on, they’re just in the process and they’re trying to decide where to go. We typically sit down with him and find out—we call it a program meeting and it sounds more terrifying than it is. Basically, it’s just finding out what’s important to them, what are they about, how many operatories are they thinking what kind of practices are there going to be, what kind of demographic? At the end of the meeting, we’re able to go to the broker and say, “Well, he needs 2400 square feet and he wants to be in this general area,” and help him through that, but that’s where we talk about assembling your team and you them together and more than one set of ears are listening to what the dentist wants, and you can help them in that process.

Craig Willett:

Yeah, I think that’s great. In fact, I think one of the things that your book really brings out that I think is a key, and that is your practice will speak 1000 words when they walk in.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

It’s going to say who you are as a dentist. For any business owner, your office is going to say who you are and you need to be consistent with that. So it’s really important to make that impression. Not necessarily overwhelming and spending a lot of money, but it has to be comfortable and feel right.

Steve Anderson:

And the key to that is making sure it’s who you are.

Craig Willett:

So you spend a lot of time with them trying to help figure out who they are?

 

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and the reason being is you can build any level of design but you have to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to be comfortable in your surroundings. I’ve always believed that, that if you build at the height of who you are, you’ll succeed. Now, it’s important not to go over it, over design or under design because if it’s under design, you hate going and if it’s over design, then you have an issue where you struggle because people are second guessing and you’re going to think well they’re paying for it—

Craig Willett:

He’s recommending this so he can pay—yeah, he’s recommending a bridge today, so he can pay for this.

Steve Anderson:

So what I found is—I think of a gentleman over in East Phoenix, in the Hispanic area. It was the lowest cost per square foot, most basic dental office I’ve ever built in my life, and he knocked it dead.

Craig Willett:

Really.

Steve Anderson:

Because that’s who he was. He understood his market and he understood what he was about. I mean it had no soffits, it was just very VCT floor tile, just very, very basic—

Craig Willett:

Yeah, just vinyl, no tile.

Steve Anderson:

He started out with Three Ops and then, I saw him at the Expo the next year. He said, “I just added my next operatory and see you at the next show,” and he says, “I’m all built out for all my ops and I’m just killing it.” Then, I’ve gone to a dental office that is just knock-dead gorgeous, very, very pretentious even—rather than one or two soffits, it had like eight layered soffits and it had just all kinds of—especially theirs wasn’t a flat or radius, every ceiling was radius and all kinds of specialties in it, and it was way beyond the doctor. The doctor moved into the space and I went to go see him because he had a little construction issue and he had been in there six to eight months and his production had dived. What happened was, he was very insecure. He had a hard time going to work and just that, he felt that patients when they came were paying for this—

Craig Willett:

So, you have to have confidence in what you’re doing, and your surroundings have to reflect who you are so that you’re comfortable, and they’re comfortable.

Steve Anderson:

The key is, so it’s designed for who you are and that’s where  found when I started specializing in ’97, that everyone sold Kool Aid. There’s lots of Kool Aids to drink, you can go to this architect, and they’ll sell you their type and I won’t get into the names, but everyone had their package in the way of doing things.

Craig Willett:

Right, and their signature style.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and I could literally walk in. I could tell you which architect or which firm it was. So what was interesting is, as I started working with them, I’m realizing that it’s not about the client, it’s about them. This is the way you will always do it.

Craig Willett:

Right, and I don’t want to be detrimental, but I always express it this way. I always say, “Are they building it for someone or are they building a monument to themselves?”

Steve Anderson:

Right, yeah.

Craig Willett:

Right, as the design expert, rather than for—and I’ve been through that process with —Carol and I have been through that process in trying to design a home, it kept being designed the way the architect wanted and hence we never built it. Because we never got what we wanted and we spent quite a bit of money and never built it because it didn’t reflect us.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s one thing that you can probably help dentists make sure it reflects them.

Steve Anderson:

That’s really— there’s no greater reward than having a dentist walk in and you see that big smile.

Craig Willett:

Yeah.

Steve Anderson:

I go, “Yeah, nailed it,” and just—

Craig Willett:

Now, you touched on something that I think is important. I don’t want that to go unnoticed, what you just said, the reward you get and the feeling of emotional—I call it emotional currency, that goes beyond the dollars and cents of the transaction, that you can see someone be more successful. That’s how it was and how it is for me in anything that I do. When I did office buildings, when the doctors would say, “Hey, my—” They would write to me and say, “I have more walk-in traffic, and I get more referrals from my location because my office is—” Right? There was nothing that brought greater satisfaction and I’ve talked about that before on my podcast. So, that is key. So many people think business is dollars and cents, but it’s about meeting expectations and then exceeding those. I want to hear more about how you add value.

Steve Anderson:

It’s about putting the right team together. So, when you have a dentist that’s coming in to look for—or any professional looking for a practice—it’s asking those extra questions and then also trying to match—I work hard to match personalities. The last thing you want is a really good architect, but if they have a conflicting personality with the client, it doesn’t go real well. When you have a meeting, you want to make sure things click, and there’s excitement and it’s fun. That really makes it an enjoyable process, and so they enjoy coming to the meetings, and the key is we also work hard to maximize their time. So we ask for the privilege to deal with a lot of the stuff upfront, because the thing—when I first started in construction, I would notice that most of the contractors is, “Hand me a set of plans and I’ll go build it” and you’re kind of going, “There’s a lot missing here.”

Craig Willett:

In what way?

Steve Anderson:

Well, besides just asking extra questions about, “Is the plan right?” but also walking them through that and then helping them envision if—whether it’s a 3D rendering or our drawing or pictures. On my tablet, I usually have anywhere from probably 250, 200,000 pictures of just different offices. But we just share with them just—they’re trying to comprehend what it looks like. So I’ll pull up—I have a category just for waiting rooms and hallways and operatories. So, we can share those with them, but help them with the color process and colorization. We do all that, probably, I would say 90% of the offices that we do, we do all the colorization.

Craig Willett:

You even have a section in your book on colors and what they mean.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

Yeah.

Steve Anderson:

Everything has a psychology to it.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

And it’s about success.

Craig Willett:

I also noticed, as I read your book, that you keep people from making mistakes. You told me about one just before we went on air today, but one of them that you mentioned in your book is you had lunch with one dentist and she was explaining to you she had an 1800 square foot office and she had found a 6000 square foot building and wanted to get the brokers at the next meeting. You said after the end of the lunch, cancel the meeting with the broker. What happened?

Steve Anderson:

She first was in shock and then, I explained. I said, “Basically, let’s go back to your office and see what we need to do,” and for what the requests and the needs were, it required $40,000 remodel, and it’s interesting that doctor just shot me an email this week and said, “Okay, now I’m ready for the office,” and it’s going to be about a 3000 square foot office.

Craig Willett:

So rather than overshoot the mark and overwhelm—

Steve Anderson:

And they would have been out of business. Within a year, they would have been out of business.

Craig Willett:

So it’s not just a matter of life is difficult, life could be—business life could be fatal, if you make the wrong decision on location or size.

Steve Anderson:

It’s huge. I teach a word to dental students and it’s ‘no,’ and they laugh. Then I explain why. I said, “Most of you—” and I said, “In a class of 100, it’s usually one or maybe two that like confrontation.” I said, “The rest of you don’t like confrontation, so all of a sudden, you get sold things that you don’t need, don’t want, but you’re too embarrassed to do otherwise. I share some of my experiences and dumb moves that I’ve made over the years.

Craig Willett:

That even goes to investing. It can go—

Steve Anderson:

Oh, everything. I mean, one time I won an award of a spa, and the day finally arrived, and it showed up, and it was in a box, this big.

Craig Willett:

You were expecting a full size hot tub?

Steve Anderson:

I had to get over myself, for two years, it sat up in the shelf, and my guys wrote Steve Spa, but I had to get over it and I share that with the doctors, it would have solved so much headache, heartache, frustration, if I just faced up to it and said ‘no’ to begin with. So I tell them, if you don’t have the guts, make sure that you —whether it’s a spouse or a loved one—someone that can help you in your process, that’s always with you to be the bad person, be the person that say, no, this doesn’t—

Craig Willett:

Right, good cop, bad cop. “Hey, we can’t do this.” All right.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, this doesn’t work for me. They go, “Ah,” you see a sigh of relief, “Oh, I don’t have to do this.”

Craig Willett:

That’s interesting. You also told me a little bit about somebody who you were helping, even recently that was looking at an older building. And I kind of want to talk about location because in real estate, they’ll say location, location, location is important and I think so from a point of visibility, but you’re working with someone now who’s trying to decide between a new building and an old building. Talk about that.

Steve Anderson:

We got two issues there. So first is—one thing I teach is the importance of understanding what’s important. So I give an example of, is it location, is it your skills as a dentist and most dentists will say, “This is real important.” Is it your staff and how they relate? Is it relationships? Is it the location? We list those five or six items up on the board and everyone goes to location. And I said, “Actually, that’s probably down two or three and number one is relationships.”

Craig Willett:

You make my dad turn over in his grave saying that, but I like the relationships, but location—yes, relationships.

Steve Anderson:

In perspective and that’s where—they’re all important.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

If you don’t have that relationship, and I’ve proven this as I’ve seen two practices, opposite corners, same great location and one flourished and one didn’t.

Craig Willett:

And the reason?

Steve Anderson:

Relationships.

Craig Willett:

So, one dentist—how do you build good relationship?

Steve Anderson:

And it’s about connecting with your patients and they’re not just a dollar sign. When they walk in, you provide options for them, you help them through the process, you help them understand what’s important and it’s not just dentists, it’s any business. It’s really providing them options and letting them make the choice of what’s best for them at that time, because it’s different for everybody. You go into these really hard-sale, gimmicks sometimes. I remember early on going to some of these seminars, and I’d be overwhelmed with all the information when I come back from it. The important thing was to just grab one or two tidbits. So, it really comes down to relationships, and then part of that—so talking about the businesses, so location came up in that conversation we had just a little bit ago was there’s two businesses, a quarter mile apart. One is sitting on a corner, it’s an old building. It’s going to need some improvements, but the landlord was going to do some refurbishing of the outside of the building. The square footage was going to max him out. He’s not going to quite—he was wanting to do a couple extra operatories, but the location will just kill her, and parking was tremendous. He was going to have to demo the entire inside and start over. A quarter mile down the road, great condo complex, but it was the last one in the very back of the building.

Craig Willett:

Brand new. New, not built out. Yeah.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, never built out, it hadn’t recovered from ’08 and it was done just right at that timeframe, and what was interesting is, there’s very few of those left but it was one of those buildings in which—brand new building never been built out, but it was going to cost them $20 to $25 a square foot more to do that location than over here. What was interesting is I told the doctor and said, “You think about it, you’re sitting on a corner, and three directions, you see it instantly and you’re a standalone—free standing building.” I said, “You’re not going to have to pay for advertising. Though over here, you’re going to spend $3,000 to $5,000 a month.”

Craig Willett:

It was going to cost him more at the end of the day anyway plus that.

Steve Anderson:

Yes.

Craig Willett:

That’s interesting, and that’s why I always say it’s important to have that visibility. You don’t need to have a neon sign, but if you’re in a path of where most of your patient’s potential clients or customers are going to go and they’re passing by, on the way to school, church, home, from work, they’re going to see that name and it’s going to reinforce whatever referral they get.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and it’s so important, but it’s not always location. I’ve seen just the opposite happen and I’ve seen certain situations where it’s not quite as a good location, but because of the demographic and what was in the center. So I’ve had people in a center that have done extremely well, and they ended up renting rather than buying the other building because the foot traffic—because it was a grocery store.

Craig Willett:

Okay.

Steve Anderson:

They knocked it dead. So there’s all these things that you have to put into the hopper. It’s not just location or it’s not just the cost per square foot or whether I can buy or sell. It’s always better to buy for long-term investment. I’ve done one off, one client I had, we did six offices for over the years and he never owned any of them.

Craig Willett:

Really.

Steve Anderson:

They’re all in someone else’s space, but they made a very good living and I said, “So how can you justify this?” I have students that ask me this and said, “How do you feel comfortable putting in 200, 300, $400,000 in someone else’s building and not own it?” He said, “Well, number one,” he said, “I don’t have to think about the maintenance and the care of the building and I don’t want to have extra tenants because then I don’t have to be a project manager and I don’t have to do all that kind of stuff, and I said, “Basically, it simplifies my life and I do what I do extremely well.” He said, “Yeah, it costs me some money, but in the long term, it’s in a center, in an area where there wasn’t a building available or a site available.”

Craig Willett:

Right, he couldn’t buy it, probably couldn’t even buy it at that location.

Steve Anderson:

There’s a lot of situations like that around town and around the country, that land isn’t always available. And really, it’s about your business and making a good business decision, and putting all that together.

Craig Willett:

I think you said something there too, that I think that—a point that I know you make in your book, and that is that, there’s some advice about getting it stress-free too and being able to eliminate some complications. What advice do you have for business owners and what advice do you give to dentists to kind of help—he said to—this one guy, he didn’t have to worry about the building. So, that doctor went ahead and was very successful, he didn’t have to worry about some of the worries of ownership.

Steve Anderson:

Well, and what we do, the advice and helping him through the whole process, it’s more like a project manager than it is being a contractor. It’s a design-build and we take them through that entire process and the value to that is tremendous. What they receive, but also having that—being surrounded by so many good accountable professionals, and I can’t stress the accountable portion enough. When you have a good accountable team, they’re taking care of all those details and working—

Craig Willett:

And working together to make sure it happens timely.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and you can concentrate on your business and they’re accountable to you, you know they’re accountable, because then what they’re doing is they’re providing you with a timeline, “Here’s our timeline, here’s our agenda. Here’s our target dates and here’s how we’re doing on those target dates.”

Craig Willett:

Here’s our updates.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great. Accountability is really important and I think that goes to all businesses when you hire outside professionals. They should be accountable and they should have similar values, like you said and if they have those similar values, it’s more of a pleasure to do business, right?

Steve Anderson:

It is, it is and it’s always tough to work with someone that’s not in sync, someone that doesn’t have quite those same values, but by some reason, those cases happen and you have to make the best of them.

Craig Willett:

That’s interesting. I look through and you would think at the end of the day, that saving money is usually most people’s motivation, and I know you kind of say something in your book that I thought— I think it’s an important thing to talk about and that is, you mentioned that you don’t like to see them competitively bid and someone might say, “Well, yeah, Steve says that because Steve doesn’t want them going out and bidding against other contractors if he’s invested all this time upfront.” More so, what are the hazards to just doing competitive bid?

Steve Anderson:

Well, just—

Craig Willett:

For building out improvements.

Steve Anderson:

It doesn’t matter whether it’s improvements or equipment or whatever it might be. For myself, what happens is, I take a lot of pride in what I do and I always want to give my best. When people start going into the competitive bid mode, all of a sudden, it’s kind of like it’s not as important to them anymore, so it’s kind of, not as important to me anymore, either.

Craig Willett:

I see.

Steve Anderson:

I hate to say it, but I have a little bit of an ego there.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

What’s interesting is when we go—

Craig Willett:

So, you’re sacrificing good execution for lowest price.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and it happens so often, and you can always take all the hard work of someone that’s gone before you and if they’ve done a great job, and you can always undermine it and undercut it. Are you going to get the same thing? No, because the attention, the detail and the value that happens, and what I find and when I have a client that has chosen someone else in the process is usually the next time I get them, because they come back to me and say, “Okay, I understand what you’re talking about now, and I paid dearly for that.”

Craig Willett:

Right and it usually comes from, well, just allowances being too skinny, and they’re going to pay more.

Steve Anderson:

Actually, that’s what’s so frustrating.

Craig Willett:

Then, the changes cost more—

Steve Anderson:

You can make a number look like anything, and I share this with students. I said, these are actually all identical quotes and they go, “Well, they vary by $150,000. How can that be? Well, you see that little NIC or you see that little mission where it doesn’t say anything about it or you see that PBO or provided by others, you can make any proposal look like anything you want just by pulling it out.”

Craig Willett:

Just by leaving a few things out.

Steve Anderson:

Or, you see an allowance here, that’s $30,000 and over here, it’s $5,000. Well, what does that mean? Well, that means that, all the cabinetry in the entire office will probably cost $30,000 but they’re giving you a $5,000 allowance, so they’re going to hit you with a big change order, plus additional markup on top of that. Yeah, it looks great now, but you’re going to pay dearly. In this world, right now, with lenders, what they’re doing is, it used to be standard practice. Remember, the days when they give you an extra 10% over the contract? That was standard practice. It doesn’t happen anymore. If a lender gives you a letter these days, that’s it.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

If it’s a half million dollars, and all of a sudden, you’re at $650,000, that $150,000 is coming out of your pocket.

Craig Willett:

Right, the equity in your house or friends and relatives, yeah.

Steve Anderson:

They will literally stop the project until you pay up. So, it can cause a delay, it can cause a lot of grief, it can cause a lot of problems. I was checking at the end of last year, I’m going, “So how am I doing with change orders?” Because I’m always curious and so, out of all the projects we did last year, if I pulled three clients out and those three clients are ones that, they had no budget and every time they turn around, they wanted some additional work done. So once, I just pulled those out and we were at 0.8% change orders. I said, “So why is that?” Well, if you define the scope of work really well, and you’ve done a good job listening and putting it all together, then it all comes together.

Craig Willett:

Right, then there are no surprises. There aren’t these big delays and those are what cost people money, right? A dentist is trying to open an office if they have a four or five month delay of anticipated approvals or things not ordered timely or they had an allowance, but they hadn’t gone to pick it out, now, they have to go pick it out and it’s backordered.

Steve Anderson:

That’s where I found the importance of asking all those questions up front. That’s where we talked earlier about why I ask clients the permission to have those meetings up front, they’re going, “Boy, these are intense,” and so in a matter of three hours, we finalize their floor plan and looked at the ceiling and power plan. We’ve got 80% of their material finishes done, and in the second meeting, it’s not uncommon to have the ceiling plans approved, cabinet details are reviewed and material finishes are approved.

Craig Willett:

In the end, you’re saving them a lot of time.

Steve Anderson:

Rather than the stigma, the standard for the industry is you’re making decisions throughout the process, so you’re constantly getting interrupted and all of a sudden you get a phone call and you’re in the middle of procedure, whatever it might be and say, “You know, what color of carpet do you want to go with or where do you want that accent wall?”

Craig Willett:

What stain did you want on those cabinets?

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

And asking just stupid questions at the very end. So, before we start, we have all those answers into the nth detail.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great. One of the things that I can tell that you really care about your business is—one of your attributes is you’re one of the only ones—in fact, I think you’re the only general contractor that is endorsed or approved by the Arizona Dental Association. Is that correct?

Steve Anderson:

That’s correct. Yeah.

Craig Willett:

What was that process like?

Steve Anderson:

In Arizona, we are the only general contractor that specializes in dental offices.

Craig Willett:

That’s great. So that goes back to importance of a niche. You told me in 1997, so the name of your company is Denco.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

You decided to specialize, what were you doing before 1997 that led you—or what led you to specialize in dentistry?

 

Steve Anderson:

I got tired of being everything to everyone. I was driving to work one day and I’m going, “I am so fed up in being a number,” and I had just gone through a seminar and it was an eye opener and I had this thing that said that I have a need to be needed. Also, I have a lot to give and I have a lot of value, and I’m going, well, they don’t go hand-in-hand, when you’re constantly just being—throwing a number out and you have no value. So, as I was driving to work, I’m going, “Okay, so who needs help and all the different businesses, I had done that part, and you have to understand I’ve done residential—

Craig Willett:

That’s what I want to hear, so homes.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, we’re talking homes, residential, remodeling. We’re talking commercial, we’re talking strip centers, industrial hazardous, I did work at the milk plant. We’ve done work at just every kind of commercial setting you can ask.

Craig Willett:

So if they needed a contractor you were bidding on it?

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and dentists came to mind.

Craig Willett:

Why is that? Why did they—of all things, why would they come to your mind?

Steve Anderson:

We were doing a walkthrough one day and I still picture it. We were walking through and doing the final punch on the job, and we open up the door and he goes, “God, that’s beautiful. What is that?” He said, “That’s your $750 mop sink,” and his mouth dropped and he got really read, and he was very upset. He says, “I told the architect that I wanted a $50 mop sink, the cheapest thing I could get.” I just kind of—one of many things that hung with me, but it comes back to listening and why I really encourage the team of professionals at each stage, being there and listening and being attentive. So if I don’t catch it, you do or vice versa or the architect might catch it, or whatever it might be.

Steve Anderson:

So, that stuck with me and I’m going, “Dentists. I see where they’re constantly being taken advantage of, up sold, sold things they don’t need, just all kinds of things.

Craig Willett:

So you thought, “Hey, there’s an opportunity for me to come in and help.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and make a difference.

Craig Willett:

Truly help with an eye to make a difference.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, so I wanted to make a difference in the dental field and impact them in a unique way and that same time, within a few months, I’m going okay, “I’m going to write a book, and I’m going to teach at the colleges,” and I’m going okay. You have to understand, I never went to college.

Craig Willett:

But you’re teaching at college.

Steve Anderson:

I teach at a college, miracles happen but it comes back to the passion and it comes back to what you know.

Craig Willett:

I like it though too, it’s specialization. You chose a niche and then, you just kept refining and refining. So since 1997, I mean, this book is replete with pictures, examples, floor plans and processes to go through to build out a dental practice of your dreams. I think it reflects your passion for that and in that, we’re not talking just dentistry here today. We’re talking, this applies to any business. When you can narrowly define your market and then, understand that the more you know about that market, the better off you are. You’re going to know your customers so well, your potential customers so well. You’ll know who knows them to refer them to you. You also know what their needs are before they know what they are. You will anticipate that and you can make their life a lot easier, and that’s where you add value.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and that’s the key. It’s fun going to a meeting and my sales pitch has changed over the years. In the past, I start off by talking about me. That’s the worst thing you can do, in my mind when you want to try and get across your value. Instead say, what are your needs or sometimes I’ll just walk in and say, “Well, you really have an issue with this and this right now, don’t you?” He goes, “How do you know?” Yeah, because I can just see some pain points that are in an existing office just by looking at it, and then speak to those and make sure they’re heard. I’ve had offices—another one that comes to mind was one in Yuma. I was asked to go down and they had drawn —the equipment company had drawn like eight drawings for this guy.

He was frustrated and he’s about to lose the client. He said, “Steve, would you come down. Let’s just kind of look at it and maybe you can help a little bit, maybe not? I don’t know.” So I just went down and listen to them and just ask some pointed questions about things and I didn’t even want to see the other floor plans. Let’s just see what it is that you’re about. So two days later, I shot him an email with two plans that says, “This is the one I think you’re going to like and this is the one that I would do.”

Craig Willett:

Which did he pick?

Steve Anderson:

The one he wanted to do.

Craig Willett:

Really.

Steve Anderson:

They were a minor change.

Craig Willett:

Okay.

Steve Anderson:

It was just position of the doctor’s private office.

Craig Willett:

Okay.

Steve Anderson:

I won’t get into the details.

Craig Willett:

The equipment company ended up keeping the deal.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

Because of your expertise.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah.

Craig Willett:

That’s interesting, because you possess an expertise that’s pretty deep and I think that carries credibility with reputation. People—I asked someone the other day on our podcast, how does someone go about finding a professional to help them? They said, “Ask others in the industry?”

Steve Anderson:

Yeah. Yeah.

Craig Willett:

So, I would imagine if I went into a few dental offices, I’d hear about Denco.

Steve Anderson:

Well, I hope so.

Craig Willett:

I would imagine so. So no one can escape The Sherpa’s Cave without answering—and I think you answered it once. I’m going to ask you again, though. I didn’t even ask you, but you told me about the spa and having to get over yourself, but everybody has a failure. I want to know one of your biggest failures, besides winning the award for the spa and having to look at it for two years—

Steve Anderson:

Yeah. That’s just a small little piece of my failure.

Craig Willett:

Okay.

Steve Anderson:

I’ve had so many learning experiences over the years and the book is a compilation of taking those learning experiences and help people receive success from them. My pain points. So the biggest, personally, is my marriage and my family. My wife said she had it on two occasions, one at seven years of marriage, and then we put a bandaid on it. At 15 years, it was almost irreparable. Fortunately, what I did as the result of that is I stopped and looked around and I’m going, “Things aren’t working,” by results and that’s an important thing, and sometimes we don’t stop and look around, but I stopped everything I did and realized this is very important to me. I got counseling and then, we counseled together and it scared me to death because I thought that the counseling can go on forever, like Bob Newhart.

Craig Willett:

Right, I remember watching that show.

Steve Anderson:

I’m telling my age but we’ve been married over 42 years now. So, I think we did a good job. I worked hard at it and I still work hard at it.

Craig Willett:

So what did you learn from that experience?

Steve Anderson:

Priorities. It’s really—I was a workaholic and I learned it well from my parents. My dad worked six, seven days a week and worked late. My mom was always doing something and to be still was not a good thing in their minds. So from that, I realized that, “Hey, something’s got to change,” and yes, I’m a workaholic but there is help. So setting some healthy boundaries and finding the areas that can make me a better person and help me be more balanced in life in that process.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s so important and I wonder, I just have to ask this question, maybe it’s relevant, maybe it’s not, but when you started to specialize in dentistry, did that help you with managing that time becoming less of a workaholic per se, and more available to your wife?

Steve Anderson:

It was a dangerous time because it needed more, when you’re just starting something, it’s kind of scary.

Craig Willett:

I remember those feelings.

Steve Anderson:

Especially, because, also you have to understand business-wise, my biggest failure is personal and business bankruptcy. What happened was, basically, I put everything into the one basket and I did a number of different things, and we can talk about that, but it was very, very devastating and I was fortunate that I’d fixed the marriage before that transpired, but to survive that and all the other challenges we’ve had in our lives, I feel very blessed.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great. I appreciate your honesty now. So often, we’re not willing to talk about some of the challenges we face. As with everyone, we face extreme lows to experience extreme success and when I’m talking extreme success, I’m not talking about dollars and cents, because we haven’t talked anything about what your revenues are and I don’t really care, and I don’t think it’s important. What I think is important is what you said, is when you walk in and that dentist has a smile on his face. I’m sure when you walk home from work, and your wife has a smile on her face, knowing that you’re going to spend time with her tonight, instead of helping somebody else out.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and my nature is to always be there for everyone, and so that doesn’t work, you have to have—there’s a balance and it’s going to be different for everyone and everybody’s going to have different criteria, what that looks like and—

Craig Willett:

Right, but you don’t want your business to own your life. You need to own your life and put those priorities in place.

Steve Anderson:

What I found going through business bankruptcy was just … not only I’m understanding how important that balance of life was, but also just learning some new words like blind trust versus earned trust. I can say, “Well, my controller put me in bankruptcy. No, I put me in bankruptcy. I chose to go on bankruptcy.” People say, “What?” What it really amounts to is, if you’re mentally not well … and I wasn’t, I had a low self-esteem. So part of my counseling was building on that and learning … Because if you have a low self esteem, you’re open to everyone and there’s times, I can look back and I self sabotage myself. I hate to admit that but it was some very painful lessons, but not only the lessons I put myself through, but my family,

Craig Willett:

Right, because you set the lower expectations for yourself and you don’t rise to it. Yeah.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, and then understanding the accountability portion of that. So as I … and that comes to earned trust, is that blind trust I put into a controller that not only did she … she even did Sewing Bees with a staff at my office, but the results of what we did is I had falsified reports, I had three sets of records, I had my … I found my taxes in the bottom drawer and I’m going “Oh, crap.” From there, the peels kept coming off and I kept throwing money in it personally. Not knowing how deep-

Craig Willett:

Thinking how to bail it out.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, not knowing how deep the hole was and that the hole is a lot deeper than I ever anticipated and it causes personal bankruptcy. So, I have about seven or eight attorneys at one time. It was that big of a mess.

Craig Willett:

It probably resolved not to have that many attorneys ever again and be careful who you put your trust in.

Steve Anderson:

Yes.

Craig Willett:

I think those are all important lessons. I appreciate you sharing those. Those are tough things to discuss, but great when we can learn from them. I think … and I know you because you want to share and make a difference in other people’s lives and I appreciate you sharing it here on the Biz Sherpa because this podcast is about helping other people become or able to be more successful. I’m not just talking dollars and cents because I believe the money takes care of itself, when you’re passionate, you feel your niche well and you add that value. That emotional reward is … it takes you home at night and put you on a cloud.

Steve Anderson:

Every day I feel just so overwhelmingly blessed and just to be able to thoroughly … and you have to understand as early on, my life as a young married person with children, our relationships for the kids were everything from … far from perfect but it’s really interesting as every time I hang up the phone … 90% of the time, I have my phone with my oldest son is he says, “I love you dad.” What a report.

Craig Willett:

That’s great.

Steve Anderson:

I’d like to share one other thing, is that—

Craig Willett:

Sure. No, go right ahead.

Steve Anderson:

One thing that I’ve found, and I put it in towards the end of the book was FISTS for Success. That’s one thing that business people should remember, FISTS for Success. It just hit me one day. As I talk to professionals and they’re getting ready to do their job, so often, it’s like, this little wall is there and they don’t realize it. They’re blind to it and it’s keeping them from their future. It’s keeping and it’s holding them back and they don’t realize it. So, what’s interesting is—and it’s like fists. You’re literally—if you’re the lender or the broker or whatever, you’re holding back your own future, how can that—

Craig Willett:

You’re trying to protect your territory.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah and you talk about the closed position versus the open position. What’s interesting is you take—so I came up with FISTS. The F is the FICA, the FICO score. In this day of the economy, that’s become so important.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

I tell people that, really, if you can keep it in the at least in the low 700, 720, right in there and up is really to your advantage, because lenders will look at you more—

Craig Willett:

Right, and help you through anything.

Steve Anderson:

Then, the I, intelligent spending, and people go, “What?” Well, what I saw firsthand is people doing their spending in the wrong order and “Well, what do you mean?” Well, dentists, especially, they go from school, making nothing to all of a sudden they’re making some really good figures every month and first thing I want to do is go buy the real nice house and buy the real nice car. Well, what’s interesting, when they do that, they don’t qualify now, to do the office because all of a sudden they got—

Craig Willett:

All these other obligations—

Steve Anderson:

Now, what’s interesting in the dental community, is they can literally go borrow $400,000 and not even have it show up on the credit report. Where else do you see that?

Craig Willett:

No, it gives me reason to be a dentist.

Steve Anderson:

Think about that, it will show up if you don’t make payments. What’s interesting is—so if you do it, just the opposite or you literally can go out and get that $400,000 office and the next day, go buy the big house but—

Craig Willett:

Right, so do the office first, get the house and the car later.

Steve Anderson:

It’s really the priorities. What gives you your return on your investment? Your business, set up yourself for business, get the business going. Make the sacrifices early on and it will take care of yourself.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s great.

Steve Anderson:

Then, S, so we got F-I-S. So we got the S. S is satisfy your passion and I know too many people that are doing business, not because they really are passionate about it, it’s just because it’s a job.

Craig Willett:

Right.

Steve Anderson:

Find your passion.

Craig Willett:

You might as well  just be an employee and work somewhere. You’re not—

Steve Anderson:

I can remember graduating from school and thinking, “What am I going to do now,” and just go out and find a job but I soon realized that when I chose to specialize in dental, you find where you fit in. Every one of us is uniquely mad,. God gave us certain skill sets and use them to your maximum ability. When you’re right in that niche, just man, things sing and it’s just so fun. Then we talked about—so we got the T. So, the T is time, time for relationships.

Craig Willett:

Somebody taught me a long time ago, relationships are not efficient. They take time and you can’t just—in our living in an efficient world denote, sometimes five minutes here can be worth a lot and sometimes four hours here is what it’s going to take, so you don’t know. So yeah, time.

Steve Anderson:

When we went to bankruptcy and went through all those hurts early on, and rebuilding our marriage and strengthening that, God was very clear to me in saying, “You feel someone is calling you and they need attention, drop what you’re doing and take care of it.” I had some very big deadlines at times, I remember someone had called me and they really needed five minutes or an hour of my time, and I’m going—but I made that commitment and what’s interesting is, my daughter was seeing a couple of weeks ago, just how much he appreciates that I’m always there, and it makes a difference.

Craig Willett:

That’s invaluable.

Steve Anderson:

Yeah, it’s huge. The last is S, savings. What? In this day and age, people don’t save. If you do those first four and then you take time to build your nest egg. So ideally, it’s not have debt, but if you have debt, what’s more important even then, is the regular payments on your debt and then, work towards saving some money. In this day and age, you should have 30, 40, $50,000 set aside so when you want to do your dream, the lender is going to look at you and go, “You have what? You have some money in the bank.” All of a sudden, you put all that together. So what happens is, you start peeling that away and all of a sudden, the lender looks at you differently. All of a sudden, they’re ready to put that money in your hands and you have that broker and he’s able to facilitate. All of a sudden, you’ve prequalified and you’re able to make a quick decision and you’re on the first option rather than the last option trying to find the space and constantly trying to get the check.

Craig Willett:

So, you get the right office space, you get the right deal setup.

Steve Anderson:

You just set yourself up for those things.

Craig Willett:

I think that’s important. I’ve always said that—I love how we align on your philosophies here and I think it just proves that as you focus on your niche, as you seek to add value and as you care and spend that time to show people that you care. You help others make better decisions. You have greater satisfaction and you know that they’re going to be happy when you walk in that door with that smile on the face. I think that speaks a thousand words to see a dentist smile when you walk in the door, probably that’s your biggest reward. Besides your son and daughter telling you they love you and they appreciate you.

Steve Anderson:

Yes.

Craig Willett:

Great. Well, Steve, I appreciate all the time that you spent today to share the many lessons you’ve learned through your career and continue to learn and also the way you execute your business. I think it’s a great example to our audience. Thanks for taking the time.

Steve Anderson:

Thanks for having me. I really appreciate it. This is enjoyable.

Craig Willett:

Thank you. This is Craig Willett, The Biz Sherpa. Thanks for joining us in today’s episode and I’ll always remember the FISTS but I like it with the open hand. I don’t want to be hit with a fist closed. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

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