Dr. Michael Sawaf, D.M.D., is a renowned orthodontist based in Franklin, Tennessee, celebrated for his meticulous approach to orthodontic care and his unwavering commitment to enhancing smiles. With a foundation in dental medicine from Boston University, Dr. Sawaf’s journey in dentistry began with honor as a Naval Officer before advancing into specialized orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics at Jacksonville University. His profound dedication to his craft is evidenced by his board certification through The American Board of Orthodontics and his active memberships in several prestigious dental associations. Beyond his professional achievements, Dr. Sawaf’s practice, Cool Springs Orthodontics, is a testament to his philosophy of precision care, where he leverages the latest technological advancements to achieve the best outcomes for his patients. A respected figure in his community, Dr. Sawaf’s interests extend to soccer, running, and philanthropy, reflecting a well-rounded individual who values both professional excellence and community engagement.

How did you get started in this business?

I began my journey in orthodontics following a rewarding career as a Naval Officer and working in general dentistry. My passion for precision in dental care and my desire to make a lasting impact on people’s lives drew me to specialize in orthodontics. After completing my advanced studies in orthodontics at Jacksonville University, I established my own practice in Cool Springs of Franklin, Tennessee, focusing on providing high-quality orthodontic care.

How do you make money?

My practice generates revenue primarily through orthodontic services such as braces, clear aligners, and other corrective orthodontic procedures. We offer personalized treatment plans that cater to the unique needs of each patient, ensuring a broad appeal and a consistent patient inflow.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It took about two years to become profitable. Initially, the investments in the latest technology and building a skilled team were substantial, but these were critical for setting a foundation that emphasized quality and precision, which eventually attracted more patients through referrals and high satisfaction rates.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work?

Certainly, there were initial doubts and challenges, particularly with the financial strain of advanced orthodontic equipment and establishing a patient base in a competitive market. However, my commitment to providing top-tier care and the belief in my training and capabilities kept me anchored through those uncertain times.

How did you get your first patient?

My first patient came through a referral from a dentist I had previously collaborated with during my time as a general dentist. This solidified my belief in the power of professional networks and the importance of maintaining strong relationships within the dental community.

What is one marketing strategy that works well to generate new business?

One effective strategy has been leveraging patient testimonials and before-and-after photos to showcase real results. We use these testimonials on social media and our website, which not only helps in authentic marketing but also builds trust with potential patients.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

The toughest decision was to expand our practice to include more digital orthodontic solutions, such as digital scanners and 3D printers. This required a significant upfront investment and a reshaping of our practice’s workflow, which was a substantial commitment during uncertain economic times.

What do you think makes you successful?

My dedication to continuous learning, patient-centered care, and staying abreast of technological advancements in orthodontics have been pivotal. Additionally, my background as a Naval Officer instilled a strong work ethic and leadership skills that have been crucial in managing my practice and team effectively.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moment was when our practice was first recognized with The Talk Awards for excellence in patient satisfaction. Knowing that our patients appreciated our efforts enough to give such positive feedback was incredibly rewarding.

What does the future hold for your business?

The future looks promising with plans to further integrate AI and digital orthodontics, expanding our ability to offer personalized, efficient treatment plans. We’re also considering expanding our locations to serve more communities.

What business books have inspired you?

“The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber has been incredibly influential. It breaks down the myth that most people who start small businesses are entrepreneurs and offers insights into the importance of systems and roles in a business’s success.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to embrace every challenge as a learning opportunity and to never underestimate the importance of building and maintaining strong professional relationships. Also, I’d stress the importance of balancing work and life to prevent burnout.

Are you willing to be a mentor?

Absolutely, I am always open to mentoring young professionals in the field of orthodontics. Sharing knowledge and guiding the next generation of orthodontists is not only a way to give back to the community but also an opportunity to invest in the future of the field.

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