Dr. Chris Villanueva – the CEO Who Created a New and Unique Dental Management Company
A trip to a dentist’s office may seem comfortable to a patient, but it is a complicated matter to a doctor. Access to the best professional service is what appeals to patients, but dentists must perform nonclinical and administrative duties as well. MB2 Dental provides practice management that allows the professionals to focus on the two things that matter the most: dentistry and professional care.
The innovative company recently completed its bi-annual Owner’s Retreat where 40 like-minded dentists and their spouses enjoyed four glorious days in Cancun, Mexico. Dentists traveled from all over the country to attend the retreat, from Alaska to Louisiana, marking over ten trips for the dental service organization which offers a progressive and autonomous perspective on how dental practice should be run.
Creating a New Culture in Dental Care
When discussing the retreat, Dr. Chris Villanueva, the CEO of MB2 Dental Solutions, acknowledged that the company is lucky to have a group of owners who support each other professionally and have become lifelong friends.
“We reject that you should have to choose between being alone in a private practice and joining a faceless corporate group. At MB2, we’ve banded together and redefined what group practice should look like,” says Dr. Chris Villanueva.
In Cancun, MB2 Dental hosted themed dinners each night, with daytime activities like swimming with dolphins, a Jungle Boat Tour, snorkeling, spa visits, golf, volleyball, shopping, as well as giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy the beach. These kinds of retreats are key to the culture of MB2 Dental. The business is set up to encourage friendships and collaborative learning, not competition.
The driving force behind MB2 Dental, a dentist-owned company that focuses on “autonomy, support, personal growth, and having fun together,” comes from its founder Dr. Chris Villanueva. As the group’s most recent trip shows, the “retreats have become very important to our culture here,” he said. The business setup promotes dentist-to-dentist friendships that help each doctor to “better each other – professionally and personally.” Remarking on the uniqueness of the organization, he stated that “you won’t find a dynamic like this anywhere else.”
Understanding the Principle
The founding principle that Dr. Chris Villanueva relies on supports his belief that “doctors can help each other accomplish more together than working independently as dentists.”
His attentive leadership encompasses more than 80 affiliates and over 1,000 employees in six states as the company helps dentists run successful practices that respect their need for a healthy work-life balance in a network of fellow practice owners. By maintaining an active practice, Dr. Villanueva gets to implement his vision of “promoting the best of the best of sole-practitioner and corporate dentistry sides of the industry.”
Among the useful services that MB2 offers its affiliates is the relief from the management of office operations. Business practices that require expertise include accounting and finance, billing and collections, recruitment and training, credentialing, marketing and business development, and the service takes care of all of them for clinics as well as sole practitioners. By taking care of the micromanagement aspects of operating a dental practice, MB2 relieves dentists of burdens that rob them of time and lets them focus on the core job of providing superior patient care.
MB2 focuses on being a provider-centric organization that prefers to think of doctors as leaders, mentors and entrepreneurs and not merely clinicians and providers. The business runs on having the right people in place helping grow community-based dental practice. This enables MB2 to combine the positives of group practices/DSO’s with the positives of the private practice dentistry, the dentist offices we all are used to visiting.
In the past, the dentist office model often meant that the individual practitioner had a solo office, sometimes even converted from an actual home. This resulted in every dentist being a middle-aged male whose wife helped run the office as an accountant. The dentists would rely on word-of-mouth and referrals to get most of their business. It was actually illegal to advertise such a business in many states up until the 80s and 90s.
However, the systems and structures of running a dentist office today are much more complicated. The office has become a “true direct-to-consumer model” that relies on advertising much more than word of mouth referrals. As a result, it is much more difficult for an individual dentist to run an entire practice. You’ve got to make investments in search engine optimization, advertising, IT systems, latest equipment, and negotiate with insurance companies, all complicated tasks which are better conducted by several people rather than a single individual.
Starting with a Novel Idea
The limited options available to new dentists when Dr. Villanueva graduated from dental school required him to choose between joining a large group practice or starting a private practice. The benefits of the group included access to the latest technology, shared best practices and economies of scale while private practice offered full clinical autonomy, ownership and less bureaucracy.
Neither choice suited him because he wanted both, and MB2 offered the perfect combination that puts “doctors, and therefore patients, first.” With the way MB2 runs, dentists could find a way to ensure their office was technologically advanced while avoiding having to give up autonomy over their own business. MB2 Dental’s members are 100% autonomous in running their practice, hence making the network more of an organized community of dentists rather than a company with a clear hierarchical structure.
“I really think a lot of CEOs make the mistake of getting down into the minutiae of the day-to-day tasks and micromanaging. If you have hired the right people, you should be setting vision, keeping them inspired and staying the heck out of their way!” says Dr. Chris Villanueva.
To make sure that the flow of creative ideas continues to occur, Dr. Villanueva surrounds himself at home and in the office with “really smart” people who help breathe life into them. Collaborating with others gives everyone a chance to “buy in” to his thoughts that are on their way to fruition. The concept reinforces his belief that “we are better together” than separately as individuals, and it supports the founding principle of his company. New ideas are often best mended and formed into its final shape with collaboration from several differing thoughts.
According to Dr. Villanueva, spending time in distracting activities such as playing video games with his children can actually help him produce new ideas rather than the opposite. Giving yourself time for self-reflection and not thinking about the day-to-day life is what entrepreneurs should remember to do.
Promoting Change to the Dental Practice Stereotype
As the founder and driving force behind MB2, Dr. Villanueva firmly believes that the principle of doctors working together allows them to accomplish far more than remaining apart in individual practices. And help doesn’t have to come with strings attached. A tightly knit group of leaders can accomplish far more when they aren’t tied down by expectations or other burdens. Dr. Villanueva started his company with direct knowledge of what it took to furnish vital support without compromising the integrity of his own profession.
Eliminating the stigma of traditional dentistry offers a fresh and youthful perspective on the management and development of practices. By helping doctors break old images of dentistry, MB2 is changing and improving the lives of patients as well as dentists. The dull, drab and uninspired traditional dental office may still reflect the practice as well, but MB2 offers a far superior alternative by bringing a fresh approach that focuses on more than profit margins. The company helps dentists make innovative improvements that please patients with enhanced operating standards.
Developing a Progressive Business Culture
Patients, as well as dentists, can benefit from the innovative concepts that Dr. Villanueva brings to the practice of dentistry. Instead of supporting a traditional path, MB2 chooses one that has a progressive approach that accepts practice trends and standards. A philosophy that empowers dentists to retain complete control over a practice enables them to reach full potential as talented professionals.
By establishing an environment that allows dentists to grow and learn from each other, MB2 sets a new approach to openness and sharing. A youthful culture that has a basis in practical and fruitful experience encourages young as well as established dentists to enjoy an invigorated practice with fresh energy. MB2 has an expert team that can assist dentists in overcoming challenges in human resources, legal matters, compliance, marketing or payroll. The company offers a technologically advanced approach to dentistry.
Taking a Look at Those Who Are Part of MB2 Dental
As part of a series, MB2 Dental has published several videos showcasing the talent that makes up the company’s network of individual dentists. The series aims to highlight the daily lives of people in the practice and humanize dental care.
In June 2017, the “We Are Dentistry” video featured Dr. Core Slightly. In the video, Dr. Slighly, who runs Your Total Dental in Austin, Texas, shares some of the values that drive him to advance his practice and care for his patients on a daily basis. Along with his wife, he describes the obstacles they conquered as they tried to conceive the daughter they’re now expecting. Through a captivating narrative, it becomes immediately appartent that family plays a central role in the prosthodontist’s life. He also speaks about how his seven-year military tour helped him learn critical lessons on the value of strong organizational structure and leadership.
“Dr. Slighly is the type of prosthodontist who loves making a positive difference in people’s daily experiences,” noted Dr. Villanueva. He was excited to include Dr. Slighly as part of the series and is thrilled that he is part of the community that makes up MB2 Dental.
In October 2017, the video series crossed state lines and focused on Dr. Justin Nylund of Taos Dental Group who has been serving the community of Taos, New Mexico, since 2010.
Dr. Nylund has made the decision to join MB2 Dental only three months prior, after realizing his practice could receive much needed help with the many tasks and services required of him on top of dental care such as credentialing, billing & collections and marketing. Dr. Nylund says he was surprised with the amount of time needed to focus on the business side of his practice.
After a 45-hour week of clinical work, he still had nearly 30 hours of administrative work that needed his attention. But joining MB2 Dental allowed him to delegate some of that work to others and focus on creating a better work-life balance so he could spend more quality time with his family. Dr. Villanueva commended Dr. Nylund for trying to such a balance because allowing dentists to do that is a priority at MB2 as well.
In February 2018, “We Are Dentistry” went back to Texas to feature Dr. Matthew Simmons, owner of El Campo Dentistry in Southeast Texas. “We chose to feature Dr. Simmons in this video because of his commitment to the El Campo and Victoria communities,” said Dr. Chris Villanueva.
— MB2 Dental Solutions (@MB2Dental) June 8, 2018
In the video, Dr. Simmons describes that he used to feel very shy growing up. As a result, he understands and empathizes with patients who may feel slightly discomforted when walking into a new environment, such as a dentist’s office. Dr. Simmons does his utmost to get to know his patients and set them at ease with quality care. In addition to running his practice, Dr. Simmons is an avid golfer and outdoorsman. He and his wife enjoy hosting many dinners and neighborhood get-togethers in their beautiful Victorian home.
MB2 Dental created the “We Are Dentistry” series in an effort to personalize dental care and reveal the individual behind each white coat. Each video offers a glimpse into the daily life, challenges and hobbies of dentist owners. MB2 wants to remove the heavy load of office administration from doctor owners so that they can focus their energy on caring for patients and their personal life.
Enjoying a Role as Husband, Father, Dentist and Entrepreneur
Honest and open communication contributes to the unique culture that Dr. Villanueva promotes to his affiliates throughout the MB2 organization. He says he doesn’t like to take himself too seriously and avoids getting stuck in the ego of decisions or ideas. He has the ability to laugh at himself when the moment is appropriate and that ability has always served him well. When he sees a need to lighten the mood around the office, he always accepts an opportunity to do so. His office has several nerf guns that help him do just that.
As a man who has the energy to spare and the ability to focus intently, Dr. Villanueva benefited from experiencing expanded horizons throughout his life.
Dr. Villanueva promotes the idea of investing in IT for every company. MB2 Dental Solutions runs on a specialized reporting software that took years to perfect. It had to be created from scratch due to the unique business model of the platform and for compliance reasons. Now that everything has been worked out, however, the software is able to provide every department with insights that help significantly improve the workflow.
“We turned the corner from spending time reporting (often times manually which would lead to mistakes), to spending time strategizing with these reporting tools. I would recommend every company invest in the strength of their IT and reporting functionalities,” says Dr. Villanueva.
As an entrepreneur, Dr. Villanueva has learned that pursuing the “shiny” objects is not always the best method of conducting business. He once decided to open a pizza restaurant with three other dentist colleagues near one of the offices, when ended up sitting empty for most of the time. Although the pizza was undoubtedly delicious, people did not seem to be attracted to the restaurant. This experience helped Dr. Villanueva learn to focus on doing what he is good at without letting himself get overly distracted by other ambitions, no matter how exciting.
Even though his childhood home was in Ohio, he received most of his education in Asia and South America where he graduated from high school. He and his physician wife have four children, and the many demands on his time allow him to understand the importance of MB2 to other dentists. Throughout his work history, he has shown a commitment to mentor doctors and to serve as an advocate for the “doctor-focused practice model.”
MB2 Dental Solutions is founded on the principle that doctors can help each other accomplish more together than working independently as dentists. With its close-knit leadership and more than 78 affiliated locations across six states, MB2 has enabled dentists to run successful practices, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance and a network of fellow dentist owners. Dr. Chris Villanueva is proud to offer a progressive and autonomous perspective on how dental management and practice development ought to work, and change the lives of countless patients and dentists for the better.
For more information follow Dr. Chris Villanueva on LinkedIn.