DR. ART MISSIRLIAN, DDS, heads up a small dental practice here in Fort Collins. Full disclosure: he’s been my dentist since he launched the business in 1987.
I’ve appreciated his quality work and attention to customer service over the years. But that’s really just the kind of service one would expect. If I’d been disappointed, no doubt I would have gone to one of the many other professionals in town.
I realized a few years ago that he brings his Christianity forth as part of his personality. It’s not a huge part of his approach, but you’ll find in his bio on the website. You might find Christian music in the background in his waiting room, and the directory of local Christian businesses.
It’s not a huge part of his marketing approach, though. It’s just that he’s choosing to run his life according to his spiritual principles. And because his company is very much centered around him as the sole Dentist, he lets that come through as founding principles of the business itself.
His core philosophy is based on the belief that we’re all destined for eternal life, and therefore the long-term relationships are what matter. First with God and his wife and kids, of course, but then to his associates and patients. His thinking is straightforward: “I just want to be able to look at myself in the mirror.”
That’s a life foundation that we can all aspire to.
We talked a bit about his desire to grow this practice into something more magnificent, but it’s not in the cards. Not that he’s against growth, it’s just not the objective. Instead, he strives to maintain a personal relationship with each person he meets. The best way to do that is to keep the business small and personal.
Dr. Art told me that he has evidence that the more he gives, the more God rewards his generosity. Part of this is the mission trips he does periodically to provide dental care to developing countries around the world. It’s not a big part of his marketing, and in fact you have to scour his website to find hints of his trip last year to Ethiopia.
Instead, it’s an important contribution he makes because it’s his Christian desire to help people.
As with all these business profiles, I asked him what challenges this presents for the business. The first, as you might expect, is that his religion has indeed turned off some customers. He’s lost some patients because of it, but that hasn’t caused him to rethink his principles.
Right now, he’s also focused on the impact of the ACA health insurance changes. This changing the structure of pricing, and putting some patients in a real bind. But he’s sticking fast to his principle: Take care of the people first.
And run a business built on faith.