When passion and occupation coincide, they draw out the best from us. It is the same for Dr. Molly L Karmazin, who runs a family dental practice along with her husband, Dr. Corey Karmazin, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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Dr. Molly L. Karmazin shares with eBrandz readers her practice, philosophy and plans for a successful small business.

Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business.

Karmazin Family Dentistry is a General Dental Office which caters to, both, adults and children, in short, the whole family. Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we have 3 full-time hygienists, and, an incredible staff who treat our patients very well, just like family.

Kindly give us a brief description about yourself.

Hi, I am Dr. Molly L Karmazin, DDS. I graduated in 2003 from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry. I met my husband, Corey Karmazin, while in dental school. He graduated in 2002. We set up Karmazin Family Dentistry in 2003 and have been practicing together ever since.

What ignited the spark in you to start your own business?

We wanted a practice that was our own. We were also keen to practice our constant philosophy – ‘Treat patients like they are family, and, with their best interests in mind.’

How important have good employees been to your success?

CRITICAL. Patients are reassured when they see familiar faces and, hence, longevity and consistency of our employees is crucial. We are lucky we have the BEST staff, we could not have wished for anything better.

What three pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?

Have a good business plan, confidence and integrity.

If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing really. Our initial location was around 4,000 sq feet, we probably needed only 2500 sq ft. That made it a financial struggle for a while. Looking back, I think I would have been more conservative with our initial build-out and lease space.

How many hours do you work a day on average?

I work around 8 to 9 hours a day. The Karmazin Family Dentistry Office is open from Monday to Thursday 7:30 to 5:00 pm.

How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?

It has affected my family in a positive way, by providing me flexibility. I am available to my kids and join in their activities, whenever they need me.

What motivates you?

Learning and acquiring new skills. I want longevity in this career and that means I have to keep myself updated on the latest developments in my field. This motivates me to be good at my job and to keep improving.

How do you generate new ideas?

Continuing education broadens your horizons and helps in coming up with new ideas. I read dental journals and online networks.

What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?

Failure in business is my greatest fear. I manage it by being conservative in my spending and practicing with integrity, hoping that in the long-term it will pay off.

How do you define success?

Success for me is long-term patients and their loyalty.

Where did your organization’s funding come from?

We got funds from local banks which focus on small businesses.

If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

I am fascinated by World War II, and would love to meet any war hero.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?

The flexibility it affords.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Being voted as the best dental practice in Sioux Falls Local Best after 7 years in practice.

What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

Sense of pride in our job. No job is too small for us. We take out garbage, vacuum and clean, to keep this office a place where patients want to visit again.

How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?

We concentrated on local newspaper ads at first and then direct mail. For us, the most successful form of advertisement has been word of mouth referrals from patients. Now, younger patients find us on the Internet, and, that is why we are focusing on improving our presence there.

What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

Whenever I have free time, I spend as much time with my family, as possible. Sometimes, I try out new recipes, and, bake and cook.

What makes you happy?

Appreciative words from my patients. A good day at work followed by a night with my family is the most satisfying thing for me.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?

In the initial years, I have had to invest money back into the practice and not put it into my wallet. It was a sacrifice, both my husband and me knew, would pay off. Yet, it was hard in the first few years when we could not pay ourselves. Everything we earned went towards staff payroll, rent and business loan.

Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

It’s again within the family. Two of my brothers have successful dental practices, and, I really admire them.