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Taking Care Of The Dentist’s Business
Ken outside the Jurong East dental clinic that he manages
“DOCTORS and dentists help their patients to get well. And I want to help the doctors and dentists, by managing their paper work and administration, so that they can concentrate on their treatments.”
This is the business goal of Ken Tan Ping, 26, who now manages two private dental clinics, at Jurong East and Chin Swee.
“Let them concentrate on filling or pulling teeth and handling root canal. I take care of everything else in the clinic, including record-keeping, updating appointments and handling the follow-up of patients.
“I even handle promotional activities such as holding public seminars on oral hygiene,” says Ken who was trained as a dental assistant in his National Service stint.
Dental assistants in the Army handle a large number of patients, Ken explains. Such valuable, intensive experience makes them highly sought after by clinics after they left NS.
“From my Army days, I’ve gained a thorough working knowledge of dental practices. It’s therefore not a problem for the dentist to entrust the management of the clinic,” he adds.
Ken began his clinic management services in 2012 while studying part-time in the SIM-RMIT Bachelor of Business in Economics and Finance. Graduating in 2014, he intends to expand his management service to more dental clinics, and even to handle medical clinics too.
Everyone Is An Informed Patient
Ken hopes to sign up 10 more clinics. He says: “I’m even willing to provide free service to the clinic for up to six months so the dentist can notice the difference. I can even help to increase the number of patients through professional customer care that will make people return.
“Today, with Internet access, everybody is an informed patient. They will compare prices, especially for treatments like root canal which can range from $400 to $600 depending on complexity.”
Healthy, Yummy Snacks
Ken’s hobby is cooking and concocting various sauces for snacks. He and a friend, Perlin Chan, came up with the idea of grease-free air-fried fish skin as a healthy alternative to those oily, salt-encrusted crackers and fries that give you sore throat when you munch too much. Calling their food product “Fish Sh-nack”, the two of them were soon selling it at flea-marts in Kranji and other open fields. They also took part in RMIT’s annual business plan competition in October 2014, using Fish Sh-nack as their showcase product.
“We were the only team in Singapore who made it to the finals in Melbourne where against more than 200 teams worldwide, we emerged among the top five,” says Ken. Perlin herself was a graduate of SIM-University at Buffalo, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2009.
At the flea-marts that they took part, all their fish skin packs were sold. One can quickly get addicted to the snack, particularly when one dips it in the salty-egg sauce that Ken created.
Laying a strong foundation
Tertiary education is important to Ken because it lays a strong foundation for business success. “My studies help me better understand financial markets, how to manage my own finances and where I could source for investment funds. The project works required by RMIT were also good learning experience in teamwork and building cohesiveness.”
Ken’s advice to himself and to his peers is taken from author Chris Gardner: “Don’t ever let someone tell you that you can’t do something, not even me.” The line is taken from The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), by Gardner, the true-life story of a homeless father who raised his son on the mean streets of San Francisco.
“I love motivational books,” says Ken. “Aside from family and close friends, motivational books are an entrepreneur’s next best thing. Keep the books close by; they will carry you through hard times!” he adds.
Ken and Perlin getting out their Fish Sh-nack at an outdoor flea-mart in Goodman Road.
— Published on the February 4, 2015