Managing Director of Ustomed
Specializes in the direct distribution of dental instruments across the globe
- Has helped over 3000 practices with business management and social media marketing
Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/urbat
Facebook (Official): https://www.facebook.com/ustomed/
Instagram (Personal): https://www.instagram.com/daniel_der_uhrbartige/
Instagram (Official): https://www.instagram.com/ustomed_instrumente
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielurbat/
Bischof-Sproll-Straße 2, 78532 Tuttlingen, Germany
In Conversation with Daniel Urbat
Whether you’re starting a new practice, expanding an existing practice, or trying to market your existing dental practice for a new age, you might struggle with aspects of business management and marketing. While all dentists undergo comprehensive training and education in dental schools, only a few learn the business management skills necessary to run a successful dental practice or business. To fill that voice between dental know-how and business management, dentists often rely on individuals like Daniel Urbat, aka the Son of Dentistry.
Our team at Zircon Medical recently hosted Daniel Urbat, the managing director of Ustomed, on our podcast series to discuss dentistry in the age of social media.
Introducing Daniel Urbat, the managing director of Ustomed
Daniel Urbat is the managing director of Ustomed, a company specializing in the direct distribution of dental instruments across the globe, especially in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). In addition to managing and running Ustomed, Daniel helps dental practices and startups with social media marketing and business management. He’s endearingly known as the “Son of Dentistry,” and he calls the legions of dentists around the world the “Sons of Dentistry.”
Daniel says he wanted to create a brand identity that everyone could relate to, including dentists, technicians, patients, and others in the industry. He came up with the design for a t-shirt with a skull and crossbones, with a mouth mirror underneath, and a friend of his gave him the idea for the name “Sons of Dentistry” after watching the show “Sons of Anarchy” while drinking beers in the middle of the night.
Solving staffing problems with meaningful work
When he was a sales employee, Daniel says he drew the meaning for his work directly from his boss, who simply instructed him on what to do without offering greater context. However, Daniel says younger individuals today are more driven by context and meaning. You can’t simply tell them what they should do; you need to tell them how their work fits into a larger context, so they can derive meaning out of work.
That realization has helped him foster a workplace ethos wherein he leads the spirit of his employees. "It's just this way of thinking of supporting your employees,” he says. “Not being the king in your empire and then commanding your subjects, but seeing that your employees can grow, feel good, and find fulfillment from their work. And I think that is the most important key.”
Daniel says creating a collaborative and meaningful workplace ethos also solves most staffing problems. Employees are highly connected to each other, and they talk amongst themselves if they believe the work isn’t fulfilling enough, which can lead to bad morale. But if the staff members feel comfortable with their employers or leaders, they can comfortably sit together and air out concerns, which can then be resolved.
Social media engagement must be authentic
Doctors are often skeptical or hesitant about using social media platforms for marketing. While they might be exceptional at their primary work as dentists, they might not have the knowledge, skills, or expertise to handle social media platforms deftly. Daniel believes social media is essential in the modern age, but he also believes all dentists should follow their natural instincts.
“If you don’t even have your own Facebook account, leave it alone,” Daniel says. “But if you have a bit of digital affinity or like using social media privately, you can join dental groups. If you have a question, you put it there and receive 86 different answers.” He also believes everyone should use social media according to their personalities and nature.
“If you don't like dancing at all,” Daniel says. “Do something you can identify with, like cooking. You can then cook with your team and post pictures, and that’s fine.” He primarily exhorts dental professionals to engage with social media with authenticity, doing things that come naturally. And if social media management doesn’t come naturally to the dentist, they should leave it alone.
If the dentist isn’t comfortable with social media themselves, they can delegate the responsibility to assistants who are social media savvy. “See if you have an assistant or several assistants who like to be on Instagram in private, give out the account to your staff,” he says. Not only will this be a more authentic way of engaging with social media, but it will also give your employees a chance to do something they enjoy and appreciate.
Learning business management and marketing
Ustomed recently organized an event called just.dent.it, which aimed to give dental professionals the business management and marketing skills they need to make their practices flourish. Daniel says most dentists in Germany aren’t taught about business management, personnel management, and marketing during their courses, so they’re usually ill-equipped to handle the issues that arise while establishing or running dental businesses.
Daniel says he has noticed considerable insecurity amongst young doctors who are keen to run dental practices but don’t know what to expect. In lieu of traditional educational systems, the just.dent.it event aims to close the gap between medicine and business administration. The event was co-organized by Daniel and six of his colleagues, who have helped hundreds of dental practices flourish within their fields.
During the event, the organizers help the participants determine if they prefer taking over existing practices or starting new practices, following which the tax connotations are clarified. Daniel also contributes his knowledge of social media management, giving the participants an in-depth overview of how dental practices are marketed to patients in the modern age. The event also includes stories from founders of dental practices who describe their individual paths.
During the just.dent.it, one of the speakers happened to be Dr. Lilly Qualen, a young dentist and mother from northern Germany who gave an emotional account of her feelings and the tasks associated with running a dental practice while raising children. In fact, we also hosted Dr. Qualen on the Zircon Medical Podcast a few weeks ago, where she had discussed striking the perfect work-life balance while being a mother and the owner of a dental practice.
In addition to educational seminars and workshops, the event also concludes with socializing activities, such as climbing and zip-lining. The social events create a more informal setting where the participants can talk to each other, discuss the subjects mentioned in the workshops, and come up with solutions to concerns they hadn’t even considered previously.
Taking over or starting from scratch?
Daniel says different dentists embark upon different journeys — some start new practices, some acquire existing practices, and some completely overhaul existing practices. Which of these paths a dentist follows usually depends on circumstance.
Some dentists inherit their dental practices from a mother or father. After acquiring the practice, some dentists are happy with the status quo, and others choose to modernize or change the practice. For example, the new dentist may choose to rip out the floors, make a new counter, digitize the processes, get new x-ray machines, and overhaul the practice according to their standards, which makes the practice essentially a startup.
However, some dentists are a little more risk-averse and make incremental changes. The dentist may gain a little experience, establish a customer base, and then slowly introduce new changes. After working within the practice for a year or two, the dentist may build a new practice a few kilometers away as a new founder, following which they move the customers over to the new practice. Everyone’s path is unique.
On a personal level, Daniel says traditional values are important, and the practice’s foundation must be preserved, but individualization is just as important. If he had to take over an existing practice, Daniel says he would gradually change things to ensure the patients aren’t shocked, which will allow him to gradually bring the practice to new and modern standards.
Frequent questions at the just.dent.it forum
Daniel says some of the most common concerns raised at the just.dent.it forum are related to the organizational aspects of dentistry. Dentists usually know which instruments they need, but they need some guidance with the most efficient organization of the instruments. They usually work with instruments all day, but they might not know what happens afterward, including how they’re sorted, organized, cleaned, sterilized, and stored.
Dentists don’t usually think about these issues until it’s too late, but the just.dent.it forum’s socialization events bring them up through conversations. In addition to organization and storage, dentists also need assistance in figuring out how many instruments they need, including implant sets, mouth mirrors, and more. Daniel and his colleagues help dentists figure out the answers to these questions, so they can initiate their practices with the least hindrance.
Daniel says just.dent.it forum will be back for future editions, with perhaps another session in the autumn or the beginning of next year. If you want to get notified when the next date is announced, you can follow the just.dent.it Instagram account. You can also follow Daniel Urbat on