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How To Make a Dental Practice Your Own with Dr. Ken Randall
Episode 3314th December 2020 • The Prosperous Doc • Spaugh Dameron Tenny
00:00:00 00:35:33

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Dr. Ken Randall’s decision to go to dental school rather than medical school was largely inspired by a lazy vacation in North Carolina many years ago. Sick of seeing his grandson wake up at noon or later, one day Dr. Randall’s grandfather told the teen to be ready by 6:30 the next morning — so that he could help out at his grandfather’s practice. Almost instantly, Dr. Randall was hooked.

“Basically from that day forward, any break that I had from school all throughout undergrad, I was in the office working as an assistant, scrubbing dirty instruments, scrubbing floors, — whatever was needed — just to try to soak up as much of that as I could,” Dr. Randall says. “It was love at first sight, I guess.”

In this episode of the Prosperous Doc, our host Shane Tenny, CFP® welcomes Dr. Randall to discuss his path into healthcare — which he almost didn’t take because of his other passion, aviation. Dr. Randall shares how, upon moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee, he put out feelers to find a practice he could take over, and how he then got to know its employees and helped them grow while growing alongside them.

Dr. Randall also discusses his journey from never reading a single textbook with a dollar sign in it to running his own successful business. He says it was possible by researching topics such as savings, salary and debt management, along with the compounding of money.

“I think when you look at the value of compounding over time, it certainly made sense to find somebody that could help make those decisions and put us in a better place at the end of our careers, when it was finally time to retire,” he says.

💡 Featured Expert 💡

Name: Dr. Ken Randall

What he does: As the head of Tennessee River Dental, Dr. Randall works to provide his patients with the best possible care, which includes both administering that care himself and advising the dental hygienists and assistants in his practice.

Company: Tennessee River Dental

Words of wisdom: “If you're afraid of failure, if you're afraid to not get there, those opportunities may not ever become available. So don't be afraid to fail. Try it, and if it doesn't work out, learn from it and move on. And do even better next time.”

Connect: Website

💰 On the Money 💰

Top takeaways from this episode

★    Choose the path that’s best for you and stick to it. It only took four hours helping out in his grandfather’s dental practice for Dr. Randall to decide dental school — rather than medical school — was right for him. And he believes he was successful in his ultimate goal to own his own practice because he didn’t give up once his mind was made up. Dr. Randall didn’t let the fear of failure get in his way, which he says is key.

★    Don’t be afraid to switch things up. Dr. Randall didn’t avoid performing certain procedures just because his predecessor didn’t do them. Instead, he listened to his gut and used his training to expand the practice’s offerings, warming up to his new coworkers along the way by taking an interest in what they excelled at and what skills they wanted to improve.

★    Make the most of the hand you’re dealt. Like the rest of the world, Dr. Randall didn’t expect a global pandemic to temporarily shut his business down. But when he was forced to close, he chose to use that time for extensive training and office organization rather than moping.

★    Understand the value of time and money. Dr. Randall was able to thrive during a global pandemic because he focuses on compounding his earnings. Do your research and learn the benefits of reinvesting.

⚡ Prosperous Insights ⚡

[04:57] A long, long trail a-winding: Dr. Randall knew he was going to study chemistry in undergrad, but his path to dental school rather than medical school started with a relaxing vacation-turned pseudo internship.

[09:51] Less hand-holding, more self-reliance: According to Dr. Randall, there is a wide range of dental programs and optional residencies that will lead you on different paths. He chose a GPR hospital residency that led to a two-year stint in Alabama while his wife, who is also a dentist, finished her residency before moving on to private practice.

[18:53] Do your homework: If you’re considering taking over someone else’s practice, know what you’re getting into. Research everything, especially if you’re working with another company that is brokering the deal.

[21:56] Transitions can be rough, so be graceful: The dentist whose practice Dr. Randall took over didn’t let her employees know until a couple weeks before she left. In spite of their initial surprise, Dr. Randall gained the employees’ trust by taking all of them out for coffee individually to get to know them.

[24:53] Wing it, but be intentional: Dr. Randall didn’t know the first thing about business when he took over the aforementioned practice, but even without formal training, he was able to use his resources — both within his family and outside — to make it work.

[25:56] Read for knowledge: Dr. Randall cites “The Millionaire Next Door” as a book that was instrumental in helping him better understand personal finance.

[29:27] Don’t worry about precedents — change can be good: Dr. Randall took over for a dentist who was doing very few procedures in house. However, thanks to his training, he knew how to do a great deal, so he expanded the office’s offerings and found success.

[30:54] Weathering the storm: Dr. Randall and his employees have endured the craziness of 2020 by focusing on opportunities in the middle of a bad situation.

[33:06] Don’t fear failure: How can failing make you better? Dr. Randall says he learned a lot about dealing with failure from the book, “Failing Forward.”

💵 Financial Wellness Tip 💵

There are three important I's when it comes to retirement planning: how you’ll replace your income, where you’ll find your identity, and where you’ll find your influence. As you plan for retirement, make sure to identify ways to replace all of the components that have been meaningful in your work. Together, these ingredients will help ensure the prosperous retirement that you've longed for.

★    Take our free retirement readiness quiz to learn more.

Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP at or on Twitter.

Compliance code: CRN202211-275080