The Bay Area Beacon
How I Started My Career With Berkeley Dental Laboratory www.berkeleydentallaboratory.com | 510-525-0135
To start off the new decade, I'm proud to say Berkeley Dental Laboratory is starting its own newsletter. I'm Darrell Lee, the owner, and I've been working here for the past 28 years. We're an advanced dental laboratory that's been serving Bay Area dentists since 1971. I like to think of us as your dependable lab partner. Though you might be used to sending off impressions to a lab and rarely meeting the faces behind the equipment, the foundation of my career has always been the interactions with our dentists and their teams. One of the best things about working here is that I have the opportunity to plan cases together chairside with our doctors and patients. It's awesome and rewarding to be able to see our final restoration delivered. The best part is to be there in person with our dentists and patients and see them happy with the results of our finished work. When we say we're an extended part of your dental practice's team, we really mean it. I started my career at Berkeley Dental Laboratory, and I loved the job and living in San Ramon so much that I never left. When I try to trace the start of my interest in dental lab work, though, it gets trickier. It might be surprising, but I don't think I woke up as a kid and imagined myself in a dental laboratory. (Kidding. It'd probably only surprise my daughters that I was a kid once.) However, in other ways, it's always been a dream of mine. My parents owned a grocery store, and although I have five other siblings, we always seemed to do well. Owning my own business always made sense to me. It was my goal after high school, and I planned to transfer to a business college
to learn how to do it. But then, I learned about my sister's friend, who owned a dental lab. Not only was he a business owner, but he was also doing something that immediately got my attention. Somehow, I sensed that I could apply my skills in this field. It might seem unrelated at first, but people always told me I was a good listener and that I had a lot of patience, especially with the older generation. I could remember as a child, I would help out at my parents' grocery store after school. Through the years as I got older, I had a lot of conversations with our customers and learned so much from them. I built relationships with them and learned valuable lessons that I apply today about how to serve and to do whatever I can to help our customers. In 1992, I landed an entry-level position at Berkeley Dental Laboratory during my last year of dental school. It didn't take long for me, as a young lab technician, to grow attached to my job; I was having the same conversations I had at the grocery store, but with dentistry professionals. I built connections with our dentists and their staff. In 2008, the former owner of Berkeley Dental Laboratory retired. By then, I'd worked every position in the lab, and I bought the business and invested in CAD/ CAM technology. Through it all, the conversations with our clients haven't changed. Many of our loyal dentists have worked with us since I started as a technician in 1992. If you're reading this newsletter now, I am so grateful! I've never underestimated how important the relationships with my clients are and how those connections inform me on how
to give great personal experiences to them.
are a big part of what drives my career, but not exclusively. Considering we're in Valentine's Day
season, I wouldn't want to miss any opportunity to thank my
wonderful wife and four daughters for being such dedicated supporters. I'm also incredibly grateful for my parents and their business sense. They always showed support for what I wanted to do, even when I wasn't certain. I don't take that for granted. The best part of our location isn't just the Berkeley area for me: My parents' house is only a couple miles from our laboratory, so I get to visit them often during my lunch break. Being in my dental lab occupation for the past few decades has taught me many things. Mainly, dental technology is constantly becoming more advanced. Whether you're a new dentist or have been practicing for decades longer than I have, I want you and your patients to have every option and comfort available. If you have questions, we'd be happy to answer them and learn more about your dental practice. Give us a call at 510-525-0135. Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your February!
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The line between technologies that are beneficial for large businesses and those beneficial for small businesses continues to blur. While the latest software programs were once only available to large companies that could afford them, some of these programs have also become available and profitable for small businesses to use. In an age of increasing connectivity, these are a few tech trends that small businesses should watch out for. interaction, using AI software programs for small tasks — like email marketing, data entry, accounting, and some low-stress forms of customer service — is invaluable to small businesses. Delegating menial tasks to AI can free up time for you to focus on those more important face-to-face interactions with your customers. Increased Use of Data Analytics “Big data” is intimidating. For years, sifting through customer data and extracting valuable information that can be used to grow businesses was something that only the largest companies had the time, funds, and expertise to do. However, more programs that reduce the upfront investment and expertise necessary to contextualize customer data are popping up. If you can make use of your customers’ data, you can give them an experience with your business that they won’t find many other places. Continued Reliance on Social Media Social media marketing remains an effective tool for attracting customers to your small business, even if the tools continue to change. While marketing on Facebook and Instagram might seem like old news, marketing on trendier apps, like TikTok, Pinterest, or Snapchat, can still work to your business’s benefit. A recent study showed that 45% of consumers head to social media when they have a question about something — are you going to be there to answer it? 3 Tech Trends to Accelerate Your Company KEEP UP WITH THE BIG BUSINESSES Collaboration With Artificial Intelligence While it certainly shouldn’t replace every customer
TWITTER ME THIS The Storied History of Evan Williams’ Journey to Success
The journey of entrepreneurship is akin to finding your way through a jungle with a poorly drawn map. Navigating all the obstacles can be terrifying, but thankfully, the many entrepreneurial odysseys that came before us offer great opportunities to learn. Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger and Twitter, went on a wild journey himself while finding his way out of the metaphorical jungle and into success. Williams began his career running irrigation for his family farm in Nebraska. After only a year and a half of working for tech startups in Florida and Texas, he found his way back to the farm but didn’t give up. He persevered, moving to California and eventually working with Meg Hourihan, pioneer of online blogging and fellow internet entrepreneur, to co-found Pyra Labs in 1999. Together at Pyra, they developed Blogger, a journaling platform that became the launch pad for Williams’ entrepreneurial prosperity. Unfortunately, after venture capital and company resources were depleted, Pyra Labs’ employees, including Hourihan, quit en masse, and Williams forged on alone to keep Blogger afloat. In 2003, Google acquired Blogger, which is successful to this day and credited as one of the first blogging sites. Fun fact: Williams also coined the term “blogger”! After Blogger’s acquisition, Williams' new startup, Odeo, was poised to be a premiere platform for podcasts and podcasting software. However, due to a laundry list of problems, including a lack of vision and the rise of Apple, Odeo experienced a less-than-stellar launch and simply could not compete with iTunes, a platform already holding a major foothold in the podcasting community. At that point, Williams turned his attention to another side project under Odeo’s umbrella: Twitter. Learning from their abysmal launch, the team focused on making a social networking service. With this singular focus, Twitter’s popularity exploded and garnered attention from entrepreneurs and consumers everywhere. Today, Twitter is the sixth most visited website in the world and boasts 330 million active users. In the third quarter of 2019, Twitter’s revenue amounted to $823.7 million. Evan Williams’ journey to success is one for the ages, and it’s a lesson every entrepreneur can learn from while trying to find the one opportunity that will launch them into the big leagues. If you’re interested in learning more about Williams’ path to entrepreneurial glory, check out the bestselling biography “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” by Nick Bilton.
Keeping up with the latest and greatest tech trends in small-business management can be exhausting, but in an age where
technological advancement is accelerating faster than ever, it’s necessary for the survival of businesses of all
shapes and sizes.
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‘Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman’ How Patagonia’s Founder Set a New Standard for Environmental Responsibility
From the very beginning of his 2006 memoir, “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman,” it’s clear that Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, is not the typical entrepreneur. As a kid, Chouinard wanted to be a fur trapper, and rather than going into business with dreams of getting rich, he started making climbing gear to fund his passion for scaling cliffs and adventuring in the outdoors. “Let My People Go Surfing” follows Patagonia’s meteoric rise through its victories and rough patches — including the stalled growth that led to layoffs of 20% of the staff in the 1990s — but its main focus is on the company’s ideals. In plain, forthright, and sometimes irascible language, Chouinard lays out Patagonia’s growth goals, culture aims, and environmental stewardship efforts. The last of which is truly the core of the brand. Patagonia prioritizes minimalism, function, durability, and reparability in all of its products, from backpacks to jackets. It tracks the energy and water use of its facilities, works to eliminate pollution, focuses on recycled and recyclable materials, participates in environmental activism, funds environmental organizations worldwide, and even encourages shoppers to send in worn-out apparel for reuse and repair. In short, over HAVE A Laugh
the course of 272 pages, Chouinard proves he not only talks the talk but also walks the walk — and has made millions championing his cause. He encourages other entrepreneurs to do the same, laying out Patagonia’s footsteps and philosophies for readers to follow. Many already have. “Let My People Go Surfing” was updated and rereleased in 2016, but either version will make entrepreneurs think twice about their environmental impact and what they can do to reduce it. As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “Whether you're a manager or business owner looking to motivate your employees and create a sustainable business, or a fan of Patagonia, or someone curious about how to live a life you can feel good about, this book should work for you.”
TAKE A BREAK!
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Inside This Edition
The Origin Story of Owner Darrell Lee
Important Tech Trends for Small Businesses to Keep Up With Evan Williams’ Entrepreneurial Journey Yvon Chouinard’s Rise From Wannabe Fur Trapper to Billionaire Entrepreneur
Have a Laugh
Selling With Compassion
Sell With Your Heart Avoid a Bad Sales Reputation With These Tips
Let’s face it: Salespeople get a bad rap. Scammers, con artists, and inexperienced or unempathetic sellers make it hard to convince customers you have their best interests in mind. Here are three qualities every salesperson must have to convincingly sell with heart. A Win-Win The most important trait of an ethical salesperson is having a product or service that is honest and true. You can’t ethically peddle something that doesn’t have value for your potential customers. Sure, it’s exciting to make a sale. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, and the payout isn’t too bad, either. But if what you’re selling doesn’t also benefit your customer , then you’re no better than a swindler. Your product has to be a win for the customer, and you have to believe in it wholeheartedly to succeed. The ‘How Ya Doin’?’ Call The sale is done. The dotted line is signed. The customer is happy, and you are excited. Time to forget about them and move on to the next sale, right? Wrong. You have to follow up with customers after a successful sale. If anything has gone wrong, checking in will allow you to be proactive in fixing it. Being proactive builds trust and bolsters your chance of a referral. It
also lets you learn from happy and dissatisfied customers. You can discover what worked, what didn’t, and what they wish they had known before buying. Picking up the phone — or dropping in — to leave a post-sale impression could be more valuable than you realize.
Just Listen A good salesperson knows what their customers want. They actually listen to what customers are saying and don’t
second-guess customers’ needs. Many people associate salespeople with smooth-talking and wittiness. But in reality, a good salesperson just needs to be a good listener. When a customer says, “I just want something that works,” they are not looking for the latest and greatest model. They just want something that works. Selling with your heart is easier than it appears, and these methods are a solid foundation for creating strong, lasting customer relationships.
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