Dr. Kami Hoss is The Author of The Week
Dr. Kami Hoss is a dentist and orthodontist and the founder of The Super Dentists, one of the leading multi- specialty dental practices in the country. He is also a speaker, a musician and an author and his new book If Your Mouth Could Talk is out now.
Hello Dr.Kami, welcome to Brand Education! What’s your favorite word and why?
Everyone wants more balance in their lives. But what does this mean? And does it really matter? Balance, to me, is evenly distributing things in your life. It means having enough time for school, work, family, and community. I also believe striving for balance in one’s health is an often overlooked strategy in our lives.
What’s the last book you read?
Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind
What’s the book that changed your life?
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
To me, this book seamlessly draws out the basic instinct of great leaders and entrepreneurs to be focused, blatant, and determined to change the world we live all live in.
Why do you love what you do? What do you love most about it?
There are so many things I love about what I do. As a dentist and orthodontist, I can help people have more confidence, be happier and be healthier. Since oral health impacts so many aspects of our lives, I have an opportunity helping people in variety of ways. I also get to combine my love of science and art and use the hand dexterity I’ve developed from my musical training. And as a CEO of a company, I can help so many people follow their own dreams.
Are you pursuing your passion? If so, why? If not, why?
Absolutely, or I wouldn’t be doing it for so long. One of the secrets to happiness and success is loving what you do. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you’re getting paid for something you’d gladly do otherwise.
What life experience do you think has had the biggest impact on you or your career?
Moving to the U.S. as a teenager. I grew up in Iran and one day when I was 15, my parents sat me and my siblings down and said we were going to leave Iran for good and we left 2 days later. Iran at the time was at war with Iraq and I was the oldest of my siblings and getting close to the age to get drafted to go to war. Universities were also closed during the war and education was very important to my family. My parents made the very difficult decision to leave everything they had behind and take us away. Luckily because my father received his MBA in Boston when I was a child, we were able to get a visa to U.S. and moved here when I was a junior in high school. I think in some ways, I’ve always studied hard in school and worked hard in my business because of the sacrifice my parents made to provide us a better life. Deep down I don’t want to ever let them down.
What’s the most interesting or important thing you’ve learned from your significant other, best friend, sibling or parent?
My wife is one of the smartest and most talented people I’ve ever met. We also work together. Although in our personal lives we have very similar likes and dislikes and we almost agree on everything, in our business we have very different views of things and have our own unique talents in opposite things. One of the most important things I’ve learned from our working relationship is how wonderful it is to work with people who are complementary with different talents than you. We help each other be better.
Can you tell us about a risk you took in life and why you are glad you took it?
When I was graduating from my orthodontic residency at USC, a practice business consultant sat me down and said, “Kami, I really like you. You’re a good student and I’m going to give you some advice before you graduate.” She told me not to move to San Diego since I grew up in L.A. and knew so many people there (I only knew one person in San Diego). She also told me not to work with my wife for the obvious reasons. My wife and I moved to San Diego the following week and started working together. These are probably 2 of the best decisions I ever made. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling.
Can you tell us the story of how you started your business? How did you get your first client? What were the first steps or things you had to do to get started? If it started as a hobby how did it go from hobby to business?
When my wife and I moved to San Diego, we rented an office a couple of days a week in Chula Vista from a general dentist who had 2 offices. We asked him to leave some charts in his cabinet so it didn’t look empty when we would see our patients. We bought a scheduling book and hired someone part-time and asked her to get an extra phone in her house with our number since we couldn’t afford having her in the office full time. We also gave her instructions to schedule any patients she would get on the phone in the same day and time so the office wouldn’t look empty. A few years later, we had became the largest pediatric group dental practice in San Diego with offices all over the county.
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
Life is about taking risks and managing them but I think everyone should find the balance of what they’re comfortable with. I’d like to think the risks I take are carefully planned and I have a safety net and a back-up plan if I fail. I do expect some of my risks to fail or otherwise I think I’m not taking enough risks.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
I think there are always many factors behind a brand’s success. For us, one of the most important is that we know our customers and we fix their pain – literally in this case. We’ve been able to figure out how to take a business that is typically feared and/or hated (dentistry) and make it into one that kids literally beg to visit The Super Dentists.
Early on in my career, I used to think my customers were the parents (especially moms) because they’re the ones who would bring the kids in and sign the checks. But one day I had an epiphany and realized I was wrong. Once I realized kids were my customers, I built my whole practice supporting their needs and wants, and parents followed.