This is how I broke even after starting my dental clinic business

Juma Winstone Arondo, is the founder and managing director of Bigsmile Dental Clinic, Kitengela. Photo | Pool

What you need to know:

Juma Winstone Arondo, is the founder and managing director of Bigsmile Dental Clinic, Kitengela

Starting a medical business, especially a dental clinic, is tough. It requires lots of funds to purchase various machines, tools and savings for self-sufficiency. I started preparing for my business in early 2021 by buying the small essential tools and equipment while saving up for the main equipment which is the dental chair. A brand new dental chair normally goes for between Sh600,000 and Sh2.5 million depending on brand and country of manufacture. I then started my own practice in August 2022 having incurred costs of roughly Sh1.5 million for the equipment, consumables, space and furniture. My medical business involves major dental procedures like fillings, root canal treatments, replacements and alignments with braces.

I have worked in different companies and institutions as an employee in this same line of duty. Just before I switched to my own dental business, I was working at Equity Afia Hospital, Kitengela as the In Charge of the dental department. When I started, it took me three months to break even. This was supported by a good flow of clients, good client and doctor relationships, and proper marketing. I will say that this line of business is largely dependent on patient inflows. A low number of patients automatically translates to low revenues which is a challenge for a privately funded and operated clinic.

I once made the mistake of paying the wrong debt at the right time. I had realised that my consumables were almost depleted and decided to make a new order and paid it off only to realise that it was the end month and the rent was due. I was almost locked out. The proper way would have been to pay for my space and later sort out my consumables. This experience taught me that bills should be cleared in order of urgency and time.

If I was to start my business all over again, I would make the same decisions I have made. However, I would acquire more startup capital for bigger rooms and dental equipment for maximum client satisfaction and business return.

One of my favourite saving platforms is flex pay which allows me to create target accounts, monthly Chama’s and saving challenges that help me grow interest over time. I also receive my funds fully without any deduction and can still save and pay for items that are then delivered to my office. I have found this to be very effective. I also invest in MMF but currently I am planning on starting my poultry farm for an extra source of income.

Establishing a business requires not only start-up capital to keep it moving but your personal coordination. This includes aggressiveness, timely planning and enough marketing techniques. I thank Dr Tony Akoth for his outstanding guiding influence on managing and working skills and sound mentality in medical entrepreneurship. Through my business, I have also learned that while financial discipline is very important in keeping operations moving, the main secret is ensuring that your clients and staff are well-catered for by the business.