Avoiding the Mark Cuban Effect

December 17, 2023
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The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and star of the “Shark Tank” series started quite a stir in the pharmaceutical business.  His 2022 start-up, online pharmacy, Cost Plus Drugs, seeks to lower the cost of prescription drugs.  He has over 2,000,000 customers.  Since then, Cigna and CVS have formed their own, discounted programs.  The game is on, with the winner being the one who can exist with the smallest profit margins.

It’s not only a race to the bottom, but also will have far reaching effects as Big Pharma will be impacted.  Their ability to do research and development could be reduced.

Does the Mark Cuban Effect impact dentistry?  You bet it does.

Think of insurers like Big Pharma.  They control prices.  And when they get squeezed, or desire higher profits, guess who suffers?  The poor providers who are at their mercy, and eventually, patients who don’t receive the level of care that the United States has become famous for.

The only ways to boost profits with lower profit margins is to cut costs, increaseefficiency or increase volume.  That’s what keeps Amazon and Walmart afloat, even with inflation.  

You might not have that luxury.

Cutting costs means cheaper labs, materials, or fewer employees.
Increased efficiency means doing more in less time.
Increasing volume means seeing more patients, which means extended hours and/or less time per patient.


While doing these you and your team will be more prone to burnout.  Work more, make less is not a healthy strategy for 2024 or any other time.

So, as you’re contemplating (as you should be) what to do next year to help protect yourself, your team, your patients, and your family, here are a few tips that you might consider to reduce the MARK CUBAN EFFECT in your life.

1. Increase the perceived patient value for what you do.  The best way to do this is to subscribe to The Liberated Practice.
2. Consider starting or revamping your Membership Programs (yes, there can be more than one, or one with several levels).
3. Offer non-insurance dependent services.  I’m very excited about some new facial esthetics technologies that do not require expensive lasers, certifications, or licensing.
4. Offer upgraded preventive and treatment options that might not be covered by Insurance.  This requires a team-sales (oooh, I used that bad word!) approach.  The Cialdini Ethical Practitioner Certification Program can be invaluable.
5. Target your marketing efforts to attract patients that are not insurance dependent or attracts patients who desire non-insurance covered therapies such as implants, regenerativecare and comprehensive esthetics.


Of course, having a strategy means nothing if you can’t implement it.  That’s why I have carefully curated people who can help you.  It’s also why having an “A” team, aligned with your vision and mission is so important. By giving them the gift of The Liberated Practice, you help educate, empower and motivate them.  A happy and knowledgeableteam can make patients happier, which is the lubrication that makes all the gears work in synch.

Start planning how to avoid the MARK CUBAN EFFECT and act now to get the systems you need before you’re pressed like a Cuban sandwich.

To your Practice’s Liberation, a Merry Christmas, and Happy, Prosperous New Year,


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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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