This article originally appeared in May/2022 on Entrepreneur.com.
Choosing Quality Over Quantity Helped Our Company Grow During the Pandemic
By: Jackie Ulasewich Cullen
My career started the way it does for so many entrepreneurs — in corporate America. I spent a lot of years climbing the ladder rung by rung, playing politics and enduring all the bureaucracy you have to deal with when you work at a $100 million corporation. So, when the company decided to restructure its executive team, it was just the impetus I needed to strike out on my own. I met Shawn Berg, who would eventually become my business partner and co-founder of My Dental Agency, and it was like we were meant to be — the perfect melding of technical skill and strategic thinking.
Shawn and I knew from the start that we wanted to grow the agency methodically. We did our best to plan for controlled growth, having learned from watching other new businesses struggle with growing too quickly and not being able to meet their clients’ demands. Not that we haven’t had some growing pains of our own, but I like to think our strategic planning helped us weather any storms gracefully, without damaging the company’s reputation or our friendship. Putting the MDA team and our clients’ needs before profits has been a core value for us since day one. In fact, neither Shawn nor I took a salary for well over a year so that we could build the proper team and invest in the right technology for our clients.
It has always been and will always be our mission to seek out the right type of clients: reputable dental practices that value quality over quantity and appreciate a custom, comprehensive approach to marketing. Thanks to our unwavering commitment to our clients and a profound belief in the competence of our team, putting them all before our own profits, MDA was able to grow by 40% in 2020, a year when too many small businesses were sadly forced to scale back or shut their doors.
I credit our extraordinary team with this achievement. Even during a global pandemic, the team never hesitated to put in the hours. While a lot of people were binge-watching Netflix shows and baking bread, the MDA team was putting in overtime. Their drive allowed us to quickly and seamlessly pivot our strategic approach to marketing our clients’ practices. We created new content and a new virtual platform for our dental practices to help them market “differently” during an uncertain and scary time.
MDA’s success in 2020 is also in large part due to our loyal clients. They stuck with us, because our priority has always been to build a solid foundation of quality dental practices that understand the importance of marketing and value our expertise. We had very few clients actually decide to stop marketing during the pandemic. On the contrary, there were a number of them that wanted to increase their marketing efforts — a testament to the caliber of client we typically attract.
Not only did we succeed in retaining most of our clients during the height of the pandemic, but we added several new ones as well. What’s our secret? We nurture prospective dental practices through education so that when they had extra time on their hands, they instinctively reached out to us to get started. That’s what happens when your business cares about quality above all: The numbers just come naturally.
With more than a decade of experience in corporate dental laboratory marketing and brand development, Jackie Ulasewich Cullen decided to take her passion for the dental business and marketing to the next level by founding My Dental Agency with co-founder Shawn Berg. Since starting her company, she and her team have helped a wide variety of practices all over the nation focus their message, reach their target audience, and increase their sales through effective marketing campaigns.