September is Women’s Small Business Month. Female entrepreneurship is on the rise across the country and across our community. Did you know that between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent, a rate 2.5 times higher than the national average? This week’s featured woman business leader is Dr. Robyn Vicek, who owns Vicek Orthodontics.
Describe your business and how did you get started?
1. I am an orthodontist. That means I went to college and then to dental school for 4 years, just like all the general dentists do. I continued on in an orthodontic residency for 30 more months to specialize in orthodontics. As an orthodontist, I straighten teeth and build smiles by using braces, orthodontic appliances, and Invisalign. I work along with the general dentists and other dental specialists to help create the best possible smile for each person.
I bought my practice from Dr. Drake in 2001. I then bought Dr. Ellinger’s practice in 2011. I still utilize most of Dr. Drake’s advisors, such as the accountant and practice management consultant, to help me to continue to run a successful business. Dentists don’t learn much about running a business while in school. It is just not part of the curriculum. I did take some business courses in undergrad and dental school so I wasn’t oblivious on how to run a business when the time came.
What is the hardest thing you’ve encountered?
2. The hardest thing I encountered in business is managing a small staff of all women. I have become much better at this over the years, but I’m not sure I was very good at this in the beginning. Women are very loving people and are moody at times!! In my office, we all have strong personalities and are all leaders. We are a family, and we care about each other. It’s hard to discipline “family” if needed. If one person is having a bad day, we all feel for her. I believe all employees are equal in my office. Every person’s job is as important as the next person. There isn’t one position that is above another. The employees I have I need!! The business can’t run without them!! Sometimes it is hard for employees to understand this.
3. There are several pieces of advice I would offer to other women wanting to start a business. Make sure you have great advisors, like an accountant, consultant, and attorney. Make sure you understand and have a budget, and follow it. Put everything in writing such as goals, a budget, and an office manual. Educate, educate, educate!! Make sure you are educated properly in your field and make sure your staff is educated and trained in your field. Never stop learning, always take more courses to improve your education. Hire staff based on attitude. Attitude is everything! Know that not everyone will like you, and that is OK!! Always do your best, no matter what. Treat others, including staff and customers, the way you would like to be treated. Customer Service is very important… don’t slack in this area. Always be honest, NEVER lie. Stay positive while at work and leave your personal problems at the door. Smile! Never be afraid of failure.