Transcript of Jonathan Vanhorn on The Dental Marketing Guy Show:
Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show, I’m Justin, the dental marketing guy, and today I am joined by a guest who is very well known in the dental field as a CPA, today we have Jonathan Vanhorn CPA specializing in dentist. So your practice, he knows the numbers, he knows if you introduce yourself to him, he’s already going to know things about the dental industry, that no other CPA that you’ve ever worked with in the past, is going to know. Jonathan, how’re you?
Jonathan: I’m doing fantastic, how’re you Justin?
Justin: I’m doing great, I’m happy to have you on, it’s a huge honor. You actually have your own podcast too, Dentist Metrics, is that it?
Jonathan: yeah, the podcast is called ‘start your dental practice’; the name of our company is Dentist Metrics.
Justin: Got you, cool. Well, and our listeners can check that out too, I know you’ve done some interviews with some pretty big names out there, so glad to have you.
You know I was hoping to go over what your company does for dentists, and how you can help out our listeners.
Jonathan: sure, absolutely. So, dentist metrics core focus is helping dental practice owners understand their numbers. We find that, if you don’t understand your numbers, you don’t understand your business. So, we spent a lot and time and energy trying to train our Doc’s to understand their numbers, how that relates to business – so that they can make better business decisions, which ultimately leads them to making more money.
Justin: pretty straight forward.
Jonathan: yeah, and we also do the tax stuff because I have a CPA, I’ve had a lot of experiences as a tax professional, so we do the accounting functions for our general practices, so basically, if you think about business as a big system of functions, then we also try to make sure that our clients don’t have to worry about the accounting function, so we help with all of that. And then, we also help with taxes and making sure people pay the minimal amount possible.
Justin: excellent, and that’s, you know, taxes, nobody likes to pay them, but you actually, you have kind of an interesting philosophy on paying taxes; could you tell our listeners about that?
Jonathan: yeah, absolutely. Well, I said it in the kind of pre-interview is that, there’s an old saying that ‘if anybody ever wants to have me pay their taxes for them, if you just give me all of your income’ so if you want to make that trade, I’ll make that trade all day long. So, I personally, don’t like paying taxes as much as the next guy, however, paying taxes is a good thing, because it means you made a bunch of money – yes you can use some little tips and tricks to try and minimize that, but you got to look at it as a whole of, you know ‘is right now the time I need to be sending taxes, or do I need to defer these right off into the future years where I don’t have to pay as many taxes in that year?’ and then there’s retirement plan that comes into it, and things like that, it’s a whole strategy that we try and make sure our Doc’s understand. And at Dentist Metrics, we focus mainly on new practice owners, it’s the reason for ‘start your own dental practice’ – the podcast, we’ve got something like 30-35 episodes out there now of different interviews with people that are doctors who have bought a practice in the past, we talk about what challenges they face, how they get past it, how they run their practice, what’s working for them. And then we also have consultants and things like that on there as well, to help them educate our listeners on what’s going on in the industry right now.
Justin: nice, yeah, I mean, maybe you can – we just got done with taxes at the time of this episode airing, so you know, maybe this is a really good timing for the episode, if you think about it, because next year, believe it or not, you’re going to have to pay taxes then to, so maybe do you have like 1 or 2 quick tips on like, how dentists can alleviate themselves from paying unnecessary taxes, or maybe how some dentists tend to pay too much?
Jonathan: sure, so the best prepare for not paying taxes is being prepared, it’s being ready; it’s having a strategy and having a game plan for what we’re going to do, is our strategy this year tax minimization? Is our strategy tax deferral? Is it retirement? Is it preserving our cash, so that whenever we pay that inevitable tax bill, we have tax available? is it too, you know, make sure that our cash is – do we want to go ahead and pay in the minimal amount to make sure we’re penalty proof? It’s really just being prepared and having maybe a strategy with your tax professional, and your tax professional needs to have an understanding of what is going on in your business, so that they can have that whole holistic approach, where they know the entire picture, not just one segment of the picture, which is tax.
Justin: that’s excellent. You know, I always find it really interesting, a lot of dental practices will tell me that there accountant gives them advice on what kind of money to spend on marketing, or whether or not their marketing is working; do you ever touch on that topic?
Jonathan: so we definitely teach our clients to look at the marketing, to say ‘is this campaign being fruitful, are we spending our money, are we putting our dollars to work, and then bring our dollars back with them a bunch of their friends? Is that working are we getting an ROI, return on investment?’ so, we teach our guys to look at that. I don’t look at, some mindset out there that advertising is something that, you know, it can only be equal to, or less then, 3 and a half percent of total gross revenue, and if you go over that, then you’ve broken your budget, and you’re going to crash and burn and fail miserably. I don’t look at it that way, I look at advertising as a true investment, it’s something that, while it goes into our total profit and loss, we actually have that in its own separate line item to say ‘look, this is advertising, it’s separate’ and whenever I’m discussing those numbers with clients, I always tell people, if that number’s high, I say ‘good for you, let’s just make sure that its working’. If you want to spend 20% of total revenue on advertising, as long as that’s bring, your spending those dollars to get you more dollars, then you can do that all day long, it’s an investment. So, from the internal revenue standards, advertising is a normal, necessary, ordinary business expense where you get a deduction for it, and it’s an expense, but in my mind it’s more of an investment, its more about using that money smartly, then using that money just to fill in a hole on a profit and loss.
Justin: right, excellent. Well I tell you what, I might separate myself from a lot of people in this industry, because I do SEO for dentists, you know, I might separate myself because, a lot of times I will say ‘look, we got to track the results, you got to hold me accountable, I have to get you a good ROI, the numbers have to line up’ and a lot of people who do SEO, or do online marketing for dentist, their attitude is ‘look, this is something you have to do, you just have to do it’ and I’m always asking dentists to think about ‘well let’s talk about ROI, let’s talk about maybe this isn’t the right fit for you, maybe direct mail, or maybe nothing, maybe word of mouth, maybe internal marketing is what’s right for your practice’ So, I might be a little bit different in that way. Do you ever kind of butt heads with maybe not directly, but with the marketing at all, they say ‘you have to do this, you have to invest in marketing’, do you ever look at the numbers and you’re like ‘look doctor, it’s been 5 years you’ve been doing SEO, it’s not bringing you an ROI, maybe it’s time to try something else’ Do you ever give that kind of advice? How does that work?
Jonathan: well most of the time it’s really looking at the strategy of the practice saying ‘if we are doing SEO, number 1 – is it working?’ but I guess that’s actually number 2, number 1 is; why are we doing SEO? Is it because there are certain types of patients were trying to find – were using the internet resource – you know, the google search engine result position; is it strategy? And are we using that for the right reasons? Are we doing it to get new patients in? Or are we doing it just so that people can find us if they type in our name into google? It’s really more looking at the reason we’re doing that, and then looking at the results. But no, I don’t, I haven’t butted heads with many marketers because I try to educate my clients enough to where they know what they need and they can, as long as the person is getting results, then we’re fine.
Justin: excellent, well hey, any parting words? I know this is a shorter interview; we both have valuable time, as do our listeners. But yeah, what I’m trying to do on this show is just give more value per minute than any other dental marketing show out there, if you have any parting words of wisdom, I’m sure our listeners would love to hear from you on that.
Jonathan: sure. So, you asked for a couple of tax tips, number 1 is definitely being prepared, its definitely understanding what your strategy is for taxes for the year, and having a good relationship with your CPA or your accounting firm, or whomever, to have an understanding of what we’re doing and why. Understand your strategy. In business, `strategy is imperative to be used to guide you alone with were you’re going in your practice.
Another tip is to make sure that your keeping your books in order, make sure that your keeping things in line, your keeping your accounting records in a good shape, because if you don’t keep them in good shape, and you’re having to go back in time to remember where it is that you spent money on, then there’s a good chance that you’re not going to remember, or there’s a good chance that you’re not going to be able to find them for next year, there’s a good chance that your CPA is not going to know where it is, and that’s when mistakes happen, mistakes happen when time gets away from us and we haven’t been keeping up with things. You wouldn’t believe the amount of tax returns I’ve reviewed in the past that we’re just not created correctly because of a miscommunication with the client. So, all of our clients are – from Dentist Metrics – are monthly clients, we don’t have any clients that we only do once a year, everybody is a -you know, where a part of the team, we try to make sure that they understand their numbers and that they can use them and pull hints out of the their business to be able to do better and make more money. So that’s the second tip is; keeping your records in good order, because there is nothing that’s going to make you spend more in taxes, then a mistake, in your accounting just making a mistake in how you’ve classified something, whether that be, you put money in personally inject to the bank account, and that got axed, there’s only recorded it as income, which you really don’t want to pay taxes on money you put into the company, because that’s just out 1 pocket and paying uncle Sam for no reason.
And then really the next tips are just having that conversation with your accountant. Now, do you have to have a dental CPA in order to do your taxes? No, absolutely not. I personally believe that a great tax prepare will have you paying the same amount in taxes as any dental CPA out there, and I feel like, the way that the CPA is going to earn the money that you’re paying them, because you typically pay dental CPA’s a little bit more than an average CPA, is that they’ll understand your business, they’ll understand the cash flows of your business, and they’ll understand where you are, and where you’re coming from, because they’ve had that experience across multiple other clients. So, I would definitely say that you can use a CPA for those purposes, but don’t go into it just thinking ‘hey, I’m going to go to this guy because I want to save all this money in taxes’, the difference between a fantastic CPA that’s a dental CPA, and a pretty good normal everyday CPA, is not that far of a difference from a dollars out stand point, the difference is that you’re paying then dental CPA more, so that they should be giving you more value, which is understanding your business, and then also, potentially giving you more of his time because he can communicate with you more efficiently. So he knows how to ask specific questions to your industry, because most average CPA’s, what you’re paying for is there time, they spend time on your work and you give them money in return for that time, so they do that with a thousand other industries, so they have to go through very quickly, down the list to get through people, so they learn to ask the same questions over and over and over again – to multiple industries, so they don’t get confused, and so that some of those little nuances might of got missed, if they are an average CPA, if they’re a really good CPA, that’s a general CPA, they might be able to ask you ‘hey, I know that you just purchased this practice just 3 years ago, we penalty proofed you last year, you have better income last year, but you bought a CAD/CAM this year, so we know that we can use some 179 depreciation, but your cash flow is going to be lower, let’s look at your game plan ETC ETC ETC’.
So those are really the 3 tips: number 1 – be prepared, number 2 – make sure your accounting records are in order, and number 3 – is really understand why your aligning with the CPA, and if it is a dental CPA, make sure they’ve got the whole game plan set up for you, because that’s really what you’re paying for.
Justin: yeah, you know, one of the things that kind of annoys me, I got to admit, one of the things that annoys me about CPA’s is, a lot of times they act like, if you’re not spending money on marketing – that’s no big deal, but if you are – it’s like a cost, they view it that way. But it sounds like you understand the dental industry well enough to know, based on your experience, what that CAD/CAM will mean to their practice in terms of ROI and stuff like that. And that’s a really good point, that’s actually what I was thinking is, you know, the efficiency, you’re paying per hour, typically for a CPA, you’re paying for their time in one way or another, and yeah, so you actually, you’ve really cut to the core of why it’s good to hire a specialist. You know I have an episode about the difference between a dental SEO specialist, and a general Specialist, and how the way you earn back links and the efficiency of how SEO is done, based on the relationships that you have in dental, can completely change the results, and how fast you get results in SEO. So, I definitely relate to that, I think that’s huge, is, you know, a lot of people would say, because I – my background is in SEO for any business, and then I became the dental marketing guy because I recognized how important it is to specialize, that efficiency that you’re talking about, it’s huge.
So, yeah, really quickly, where can the viewers find you, yeah, so you got your website, you got your podcast; maybe we just plug those real quick?
Jonathan: sure, so the website is; DentistMetrics.com, it’s one of those whenever you could come up with a name, your like ‘eh that makes perfect sense’, because I help dentists understand their numbers, but then as I’ve gone through, I’ve realized that people have different spellings for the word ‘metrics’, so it’s dentist; DENTIST – metrics; METRICS .com. that’s my normal website, the podcast is; StartYourDentalPractice.com so start your – YOUR dental practise.com, it helps a lot of people understand more about getting into the entrepreneurial world of being a dentist, we have a lot a people that come on that help people understand how to purchase a practice, or maybe start a practice, or partnership, or however it is, we try and make sure people are well educated in that regard. And then, you know, also I have the email; Jonathan@DentistMetrics.com, and I am obsessively glued to that, I’m learning a little bit better to turn the phone off after 5, you know, where I am, but if you have clients in about 15 states, I’m in Little Rock, Arkansas, so I’m usually in this office, we meet with all of our clients virtually to be able to better serve, so that we’re not spending time travelling, we’re spending time helping people. So we don’t have to worry about actually going back and forth, we use skype and things like that to be able to have face to face interviews, or face to face discussions, very consistently, and you don’t have any out of pocket travel costs and you don’t have to pay hourly for me traveling across the country to come in and say ‘Hi’, and then talk to you about exactly the same thing we would have talked about over skype.
Justin: there you go, well cool. Hey, so thanks for coming on man, this is really huge value, and we’ll link, don’t worry about the spelling, to our viewers, we’ll link to the website, as you know, that’s good for SEO, and we’ll do that for you.
Yeah, if you have any questions for Jonathan, for myself, feel free to reach out, if you see this on dental town, YouTube, social media, where ever you find it, the dental marketing guy blog, just feel free to reach out with questions and I’ll make sure they get to Jonathan, or if they’re for me, I’ll answer those gladly.
Thanks again Jonathan.
Jonathan: just real quick also, I’ve got a, if your listeners are interests, if not I guess you can edit this out, I do have a guide called the 15 numbers that will make or break your dental practice, and it’s a guide its about 10 or 15 pages, it’s got 15 of the most important metrics for dental practices, what you should be looking for, what you should do if you aren’t meeting those metrics as well, some helpful tips of how to do better in your dental practice with those. So, its guide I have that normally we charge for, but if you’d like for your listeners to be able to have that, I’d be happy to give them a copy.
Justin: excellent, well let’s do that, you know, if you guys want a free copy of this valuable report, feel free to reach out, and Jonathan, or myself I’ll refer you to him, we’ll get you set up, just say you heard about it on the dental marketing guy show.
So, thanks very much to our listeners, and to you Jonathan. Thanks for listening to the dental marketing guy show.