We had the good fortune of connecting with Jill Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jill, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
When I think about my business’s success, I always think back to the road that got me to that success. I had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. I even had a small business that I ran from elementary school on. Even as a child, I was always looking to do things my own way. I believe this drive to do things a certain way was what propelled me to take the ultimate chance on myself by starting Jill Allen & Associates. The single most important decision I made that contributed to my success was choosing not to follow in the footsteps of all the other consultants before me. Although their path was proven, it was not the path for me. I knew early that our industry needed a new kind of consultant, one who focused on doctors when they needed it the most, during their business inception. Specializing in startup practices meant that I had to become a student all over again. I had to learn a portion of our industry that no one dared to. As a startup consultant, I wanted to be the person that doctors could lean on during their buildout process. I needed to help them make the difficult decisions that could mean the difference between their success or their failure to launch. It is important to me that my doctors have the fundamentals of their business in place from inception. Consulting from inception meant I needed to help them choose their practice location, which meant that I needed to learn demographic reporting. My clients needed to build an office that flowed and was adequate for their patient’s needs. Therefore, I learned the ins and outs of office design and worked alongside their architects to ensure they were getting a layout that was as practical as it was beautiful. Then, once they were ready to open, we had to hire their team members. I was able to lean into my knowledge of overhead requirements and HR initiatives to help them find teams that felt more like family— team members that would stand by them in their first years of business. I also wanted to make sure we were smart with their budgets, and they had clear marketing and growth plans that would propel them to success faster than they could do on their own. It was imperative that everything we did concerning overall practice management was practical and could be built upon as their business grew. So, what was the most critical decision I made that contributed to my success? It was the decision to fearlessly forge my own path.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
In my business, I am most proud that I carved out a niche in our industry—one that no other consultant has exclusively worked in, startups. I love working with new doctors and team members, helping them understand our industry’s big picture ideas and fundamental concepts. It is extremely fulfilling to see doctors, who are also pursuing their dreams of being business owners, find their success in the years we work together. I am honored to be a part of their business journey, and I am incredibly grateful for the relationships that I have developed with this extraordinary, innovative, and often meticulous group of doctors. In the same sense, it is highly satisfying to see the “ah ha” moments that orthodontic team members often experience as they work through our layered training approach. We believe that it is our responsibility as their consultants and mentors to ensure that they get a sense of their practice’s big picture goals and what they are working towards as they grow in their positions. Fostering genuine relationships with the teams we train and seeing them thrive is a rewarding and exciting aspect of my business. One vital lesson I’ve learned in my business is that all practices are unique, just like people. While it may seem like every orthodontic practice is the same, they are, in fact, all on their own individual journey, with personalized goals, branding, values, systems, and treatment philosophies. It, therefore, becomes my obligation as their consultant to blend each practice’s uniqueness with the proven techniques I know make a practice flourish. It’s a balance that I work diligently to achieve with each client. I want the world to know that I started in the orthodontic industry in the most entry-level position, a sterilization technician. I worked my way through every role in an orthodontic practice until I was the office manager. I had a notebook that I would carry around throughout my workday. I was constantly jotting down ideas on how to make the practice be the best it could be. I always pushed myself to be a student in every way possible until I was no longer the student but the teacher. Working my way up in the industry took time, but it also gave me the grit I needed to pursue my business. At the beginning of my career, I worked for a very progressive orthodontist who pursued knowledge and higher education avidly. He firmly believed in cultivating an office culture that allowed team members to learn no matter their position in the practice. Being supported in that way provided me with the perfect environment to explore, test, and master the techniques I pass along to my clients now. This exposure to my industry’s orthodontic sages stoked a passion in me and lit the fire that ultimately led me to pursue my dream of being a consultant. By following in their footsteps and absorbing their wisdom, I was able to push beyond the mold of conventional orthodontic consulting. In turn, I carved out a whole new niche in our industry, focusing on startup practices and helping small business owners succeed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I had a friend visit Colorado for a week-long trip, we would definitely be making a few stops at my favorite restaurants! Colorado has such an amazing culinary scene, and I am always excited to show my out-of-town friends some of the tasty morsels we Coloradans get to enjoy. I would encourage them to spend time in the Denver area and take in the Union Station sights. This area is rich in history and bursting with energy. My friend and I would be sure to eat at my two favorites restaurants, Mercantile and Cholan, both of which are owned by two of my favorite chefs and personal friends. When I have clients come to visit in Denver and ask me where they should go, I am quick to recommend a day trip to Golden. As a Golden native, I would encourage them to take a trip to Main Street, where I make sure to point them in the direction of the historic Buffalo Rose for an appetizer or cocktail. I always recommend a morning walk along Clear Creek path. It’s a great way to soak in the brisk Colorado mornings and snap some amazing photos of Lookout Mountain and the Coors brewery. Anyone visiting the Golden and Denver area must go to Red Rocks to catch a show or do a hike around the park. And let’s be honest, you can’t visit Colorado without taking a few days trips to the Summit Country area. In Summit County, the views are unsurpassed, and there are countless activities that can help you explore your inner outdoorsman (or outdoors-woman). While in Summit County, they would have to make it to another of my favorite restaurants, Rootstalk in Breckenridge, before heading back down the mountain.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I look back over my life and how I got to where I am, I owe a big part of my success and happiness to my husband Doug, who gave me endless encouragement through the years. He never once stood in the way of my dreams or doubted my ability to succeed. Doug was always there to reassure and remind me that I had what it took to persevere. He never let me give up, even when it felt like so many doors were closing, and my dreams were vanishing. With his unwavering support, I am not only successful in my professional life but in my personal life as well. I also credit my parents, who sparked my inner entrepreneur from a young age. They were shining examples of what it meant to work hard and own a small business. My parents showed me that you could level up in life and that not every dream will work out. They were adamant that if those dreams didn’t come to fruition, it didn’t make you a failure if you chose to change directions. This mindset allowed me to pivot as I plotted out my life course, provided me flexibility and empowerment when I needed it most, and without that ability, I know that my business wouldn’t be where it is now.
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