AXPM CEO Merritt Dake has been sharing an office with the company’s president, its chief marketing officer and its head of business development. Taking a phone call in private has required Dake, and others at the consulting and software company for dental practices, to duck into a storage room.
Taking a phone call in private has required Dake, and others at the consulting and software company for dental practices, to duck into a storage room. Cellphone service is rarely ideal there. Dake has generally chosen to look at those cramped conditions as a sign of progress, rather than a source of complaint. AXPM has grown more rapidly than Dake envisioned. It will soon move from
Dake has generally chosen to look at those cramped conditions as a sign of progress, rather than a source of complaint. AXPM has grown more rapidly than Dake envisioned. It will soon move from site of the Clinton Presidential Center gift shop.
The company offers software that primarily helps with office-management tasks such as scheduling, processing of insurance payments and accounting.
AXPM had 10 employees when it started in 2012. Its new location will accommodate 55 initially, with room to grow.
“We thought we had plenty of room,” Dake said. “It’s changed a little bit. We can’t complain about it, really. We’ve seen a lot of growth.” AXPM’s rapid growth has come in conjunction with that Westrock Orthodontics, Leap Kids Pediatric Dental and Impact Oral Surgery. Currently the company has 31 locations in Arkansas and Missouri.
Dr. Mark Dake, an orthodontist in Mountain Home and Merritt’s father, is co-founder and CEO of Rock Dental Brands. Although AXPM and Rock Dental Brands have the same founders, they are managed separately.
Combined the companies have averaged 90.58 percent revenue growth between 2012 and 2015. Employment at the sister companies has grown from 35 to 226, spread out across the AXPM offices in Little Rock and dental practices in the two states.
Initially, Merritt Dake, a former certified public accountant, and orthodontist Bryan Hiller managed three orthodontics practices. From there they realized the need for developing software that could make managing dental practices easier.
Dr. AnnaKate Tatum joined Rock Dental Brands in Harrison in November. Through Rock Dental and AXPM, Tatum said she has been able to be less hands-on with the business side of the practice and devote more time to patient care and continuing education.
Tatum began her practice with one other employee. She said she and her husband cleaned the offices at night. Now she oversees 17 employees and her practice includes offices in Harrison, Berryville, Branson and Springfield, Mo.
“It’s amazing to wrap your head around the growth,” Tatum said. “Relinquishing control [of the business] was a little hard at first, but once we saw how smoothly things were going, it wasn’t hard after that… I’m focusing on what I want to focus on.”
Streamlining the scheduling and accounting processes through AXPM has been a significant help to growth, Tatum and other doctors in the practice said. Some offices were using as many as 15 different computer programs to run the back end of their offices.
Merritt Dake noticed the need for a simplified process while building an accounting practice focused on the dental industry. Soon he shifted his focus to include more office needs like scheduling.
AXPM will continue building its platform and marketing it to dentists, including those outside the Rock Dental Brands operation. Dake said the software could work for any business “that requires scheduling and payment collection from multiple parties,” including places as varied as medical offices, nail salons and auto mechanics.
Rock Dental Brands also has plans for growth with additional dentists and locations. What its founders are trying to do is maintain a balance between making money and caring for patients.
“Our group came together as a group of individual doctors,” Mark Dake said. “If you want to call us corporate that’s great, but we’re coming at it from a different standpoint. We’re not a corporate office trying to run a practice. We’re not a business first.”
Rock Dental Brands doctors are subject to peer review, a practice that helps them stay current on treatment options and keeps them focused on quality of care. Doctors who are brought into the company are paid a base salary with bonuses, student loan payoffs and other benefits that can range from $222,000 to $347,000 annually.
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