Talking Shop: Dr. Mark Chua, Winter Park Dental
Dr. Mark Chua, DDS, Winter Park Dental/Pine Tree Plaza, Winter Park
How long have you been in business? Practicing dentistry since 1995. Moved to Winter Park in 1997 and joined Winter Park Dental. Became sole owner in 2012.
How did you get started in this business? After graduating from the University of Minnesota, School of Dentistry, I worked as an associate in Colorado Springs. Wanting to be in the mountains, I was very fortunate to find this opportunity in Winter Park.
Business mission statement: From a patient centered approach our goal is to provide high quality, gentle dental care while improving your dental health through prevention, restoration, and education.
How do you cope with Grand County’s seasonal surges? Save for the lean times and enjoy the quiet times out on the trails.
What do you think is the biggest business barrier in Grand County? While there is a core group of locals that have been here a long time, we are still a very transient community. This continually affects our patient base.
How does your business give back to the community? We support many local nonprofits, are providers for the Grand County supported ACHES program, and attend various school functions and health screenings.
Give examples of how you are environmentally responsible. We recycle everything that is recyclable. We use digital X-ray which reduces exposure and waste materials. We also do computer charting which reduces paper waste.
How do you support other local businesses? We employ 10 people here in our office, with the exception of one employee who commutes from Denver. We live and buy locally. As a business, we utilize local services that include accounting, office cleaning, printing, and plumbing, to name a few.
How do you feel about direct competition? Competition is healthy and I appreciate having colleagues in the county.
What business products or services do you get outside of Grand County? Dental supplies and products from dental laboratories.
How do you market yourself (and track results)? We mainly rely on word of mouth (patient referrals) and we also use Facebook, our website, yellow pages, and event sponsorships.
What’s the main thing you have learned in your years in business? Treat people (employees and patients) the way you want to be treated.
Where do you go for help when you need it? My wife, Kristen, Dr. Jessica Klabak, my staff, and Dr. David Lurye are always great places to start.
Who is your biggest business influence/mentor? Dr. David Lury — we were business partners for 15 years.
What do you think is the most significant economic driver in Grand County? Tourism and the weather.
What’s the best compliment you received from a client? Dental care involves a lot of trust between the dentist, staff and patient. When a patient walks in our door, it is a great compliment in itself. Also, when a patient recommends our office to others, its a sign that they value our services and are trusting us to provide excellent dental care.
What organization(s) is (are) most useful to business owners? For our dental office, the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce, Grand County Rural Health Network, Grand County Public Health, Grand Beginnings.
How much of a role does technology play in your business? Technology plays a significant role in dentistry from digital X-rays, paperless charting, communicating with specialists, to having a website…it’s in everything.
What are the technology challenges in your business? The dental industry is always coming up with the latest and greatest, so the challenge becomes deciding on which new dental technologies will actually improve patient outcomes. On the business end, having reliable and fast internet that supports our practice management software.
What’s the general key to making a client happy? Listening to the patient and centering their dental treatment to their individual needs. Treating people how I would want to be treated.
Is their any certain trend you’ve noticed in consumer habits lately? Our community is very health conscious and they are making the connection that a healthy body includes a healthy mouth.
What are some tricks such as signs or window displays that you’ve noticed work in attracting customers to your front door? New signage and an updated reception area.
What are some ways to keep up staff morale? Various staff outings… lunches, and dinners. Making sure your staff is properly trained and supported. Offering benefits that support their lives, like health insurance benefits and a retirement plan.
What are some ways you train your staff on an ongoing basis? We have daily meetings and monthly trainings. I support continuing education opportunities for individual staff members and/or by going to dental conferences together as a group.
If you could give advice to a novice entrepreneur, what would it be? Know that the only constant in life is change. Educate yourself, work though the challenges and utilize your support system.
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