065: On maternity leave, aged 32 quit her corporate dental job, opened 1st site with a $5k loan from her husband. From 2 FTE, now 17 and $3.2m annual sales across 4 sites (Dr. Sonia Sonia)

Presented by Troy Trewin

Troy has worked intimately with 26 businesses in 20 years. He knows their numbers, understands their growing pains and people issues and has helped with most financial aspects, as well as having coached on leadership and management.

December 24, 2020

In this episode, I interview Dr. Sonia Sonia, the Founder, and CEO of Kallangur Dental Surgery, a successful dental practice. In late 2013, aged 32 and while on maternity leave, Sonia decided to go on her own after everyone told her not to. She promptly quit a corporate job in a dental chain and with a $5,000 loan from her husband, opened her first clinic. She now has up to four locations. She also got further funding from a small bank loan and the business grew from 2 full-time employees to now 17 with sales burgeoning from $0 to $3.2 Million per annum. 

Dr. Sonia felt she had succeeded when she won a customer service award and a business of the year award. She says the hardest thing about growing a small business is letting go and shares that the one thing she would tell herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Learn more about management and HR” Ladies and gentlemen, please help me in welcoming Dr. Sonia to the show. Enjoy her incredible small business ownership story.

This Cast Covers:

  • Running the place that most people usually don’t like to go and killing it.
  • Meeting people who actually like going to the dentist.
  • How believing in delivering world-class service inspired her to start her business.
  • Quitting her job, buying a failed dental practice, and going all in to grow it to the current 4 locations.
  • From a goal of making $400 a week to actually turning over $3.2 Million a year.
  • Taking 6.5 hours to apply for a customer service award and winning among 300 businesses.
  • The marketing strategies that have led to her immense success.
  • Reaping from the relationship that healthcare businesses have with financial institutions.
  • The HR conundrum that almost made her give up and how she overcame it.
  • Learning the art of delegation to deal with the lack of enough time to run everything herself.
  • Loving the personal touch of engaging with patients/clients every day.
  • Giving proper attention to each of her team members’ health and wellbeing.
  • The importance of being clear with your team about where the business started, where it’s going, and what is expected of them.
  • Embracing the struggle that is trying to achieve work/life balance.
  • The value of learning more about management and HR.

Additional Resources:

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Quotes:

“Success is a lifestyle” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“Customer service is a culture and it should run in the blood of the team” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“Sometimes when you’re going through a hard time your judgment can be clouded” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“If you’re going to have a team, have a team of smart people” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“Don’t teach your team, show them” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“It’s very important to be solution-oriented as a small business owner” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“You can train people skills-wise and modify their behavior but you can’t change their attitude” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“Be very clear with your team” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

“As your business grows, you need to learn to let go” – Dr. Sonia Sonia

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Music from https://filmmusic.io “Cold Funk” by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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