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707: Why the Road Ahead for Dentists is Amazing – Dr. Barrett Straub

If you want a great life as a dentist, you need a great dental practice. To help you take your first steps toward a better life, Kirk Behrendt brings back Dr. Barrett Straub, ACT’s CEO, to showcase their new membership program, the Best Practices Association. Join today and transform your practice! To earn more, stress less, and start enjoying your days at work, listen to Episode 707 of The Best Practices Show!

Learn More About Dr. Straub:

Learn More About ACT Dental:

More Helpful Links for a Better Practice & a Better Life:

Main Takeaways:

  • Learn the key principles of a better practice, better life.
  • Understand the importance of creating margin.
  • Your team — not your patients — come first.
  • Time is the new rich. Stop being so busy.
  • Join ACT’s BPA today!


“[Dentistry is] such a unique profession because it can be noble. So, you can do great things — help people, really impact lives — and own your own practice, direct your future, have freedom. That doesn't exist too much in our world, and I love that part of our profession.” (8:06—8:21) -Dr. Straub

“A dentist has two lives. You have your practice life, and you have your real life. We see way too many dentists chase this practice life at the expense of their real life. And when your real life and your practice life are misaligned, they both aren't great. But when they are aligned, they both can be amazing.” (13:20—13:40) -Dr. Straub

“Have a great dental practice so you can live a good life, so you can be a good dad, a good brother, a good husband, a good wife, a good person, a good leader. That's the reason, ultimately, to have a great practice — not to just make a bunch of money.” (13:46—14:01) -Dr. Straub

“This thing can be lonely. The worst thing you can ever do in dentistry or own a business is talk to yourself. Eighty percent of self-talk is negative. Try it tonight. Talk to yourself for a little while. If you talk to yourself enough, it gets louder, it bubbles up, and it comes in other forms, like anger. We don't want you to do that. We want you to come here and talk to us, talk to the others. If anything, people leave here and feel a little bit better about who they are, who they can be, what their practice can be, and it's awesome to watch the impact they have on the lives that they serve.” (17:42—18:13) -Kirk

“Dentistry is lonely. Leadership is lonely. And comparison is the thief of joy. So, when you're in your private moments and you're thinking, ‘I might not be a great dentist. I should be doing it like that person I read about in the magazine. I should be doing it like that one podcast I listened to,’ come to this room. Come to the BPA online and talk to our people because you're surrounded with people that walk in your shoes, and there's so much comfort in talking to someone that knows exactly the stresses and the anxieties you have day in and day out. That's what this room is filled with — awesome, awesome people.” (18:24—18:58) -Dr. Straub

“The dentists that are really, really succeeding, at least in our opinion, are those that are managing their profit margin, that are understanding how their write-offs, their overhead, and all their business decisions affect that profit margin and finding that sweet spot that says, ‘Hey, I love my practice the way it is. I have a great income that allows me to live a better practice, better life. I love going to work every day, and I don't have to run crazy hours just to make a dollar.’” (23:27—23:58) -Dr. Straub

“You don't need 3,300 patients. You just need 1,200 that believe in you. There are 331 million people in the United States. Do you want to see them all in hygiene?” (27:41—27:51) -Kirk

“I heard someone the other day say, ‘Those private practice dentists own a job. As soon as that job goes away, the practice isn't worth anything,’ almost as if that were a negative. And I thought, man. I own my own practice, and I practiced for 20 years. I loved owning my job. That is one of the best things about dentistry. I became a dentist to own my job, speaking to the freedom. I became a dentist to employ people and add value to their lives. I became a dentist so I could control the quality of care that I wanted. I became a dentist so that my dentistry could symbolize my values. I wanted to own my job. And so, when I hear others in the industry say, ‘You shouldn't own your job,’ I say, ‘No, this is exactly why we're here, and this is exactly what this better practice, better life movement [is].’” (29:40—30:31) -Dr. Straub

“Margin is not the space around teeth. Margin is the difference between your load and your limit . . . It's when you have time. It's when you have money left before the month runs out. It's when you have time, when a good friend comes to town and says, ‘Hey, let's have a beer,’ you go, ‘Hell yes. We're going to have a great beer. We might even have two beers.’ Having margin is being early enough to your son's baseball game to watch the whole thing.” (33:34—34:02) -Kirk

“People that have the ability to do what they want with their time are the richest people in the world. Dentists will say, ‘Oh, I'm crazy busy. It's busy. It's busy.’ I think that's terrible. That sounds horrible.” (34:34—34:45) -Kirk

“A lot of people in dentistry are working to an end, working to sell this thing. So, they work, work, work, work, work, work, work. And at 58, they sell it for a fraction of what they thought they were going to get for it, and they're tied to the deal — and they gave away so much time. I'm here to say you don't have to feel bad about that, but you can change the story. You can change the narrative. So, when you talk about time is the new rich, that's one of my favorite things. I'll beat that drum forever. And I myself am still trying to analyze, how do I better use time?” (36:50—37:22) -Kirk

“If your practice provides some profit and a lot of joy and margin in life, you're going to be much happier, and you're going to be a much better dad, wife, husband, and spouse with time, margin, and joy.” (37:35—37:51) -Dr. Straub

“When you have no margin, you're miserable. You have no attention. You have no energy. You have no money. You have no hope. You have no belief. So, ‘As much as I would love to go down to Marquette, I don't have time for this.’ Do you know what I mean? A kid wants to come to your office. ‘Dr. Straub, can I ask you about dentistry?’ ‘No, I don't have time for this.’ When you have margin, you have space. It makes you a better person. And so, I think when you're thin, margin wise, sleep, money, time — you're half the dad, half the husband, half the person you want to be.” (38:23—38:59) -Kirk

“People say patients come first. That's a bunch of crap. They do not. Patients do not come first. That's a nice sentiment. It's a nice thing to say. I get what they're trying to say. But patients never come first because you can't put the needs of 2,200 or 3,300 people first. You have to take care of your people first. Your team members should come first, because when you put your team members first, they will make your patients feel first.” (39:32—39:55) -Kirk


0:00 Introduction.

1:51 About ACT’s Best Practices Association.

5:29 Why dentistry is a noble profession.

9:47 The Better Practice, Better Life movement, explained.

15:31 Foster great community with BPA.

18:58 Why dentists are working more and making less.

24:14 Important statistics to know.

26:29 You don't need to be everyone’s dentist.

28:15 Set up the right systems with help from BPA.

29:40 Why you should “own your job”.

33:14 Margin, explained.

35:28 Time is the new rich.

37:52 Improve your life first to impact others’ lives.

42:41 What to expect being a BPA member.

Dr. Barrett Straub Bio:

Dr. Barrett Straub practices general and sedation dentistry in Port Washington, Wisconsin. He has worked hard to develop his practice into a top-performing, fee-for-service practice that focuses on improving the lives of patients through dentistry.

A graduate of Marquette Dental School, Dr. Straub’s advanced training and CE includes work at the Spear Institute, LVI, DOCS, and as a member of the Milwaukee Study Club. He is a past member of the Wisconsin Dental Association Board of Trustees and was awarded the Marquette Dental School 2017 Young Alumnus of the Year. As a former ACT coaching client that experienced first-hand the transformation that coaching can provide, he is passionate about helping other dentists create the practice they’ve always wanted.

Dr. Straub loves to hunt, golf, and spend winter on the ice, curling. He is married to Katie, with two daughters, Abby and Elizabeth.