Spotlight on Small Business: Rio Rancho Smiles

Small Business Spotlight: Rio Rancho Smiles

Drs. Kartik Antani and Jajung Yoon, owners of Rio Rancho Smiles, acknowledge this past year has genuinely tested their dental practice. However, these small business owners say their patient-centered and staff-focused mission has helped them persevere – and continue to drive them as entrepreneurs.

“For me, doing the right thing for our staff and our patients is the first priority and first inspiration,” says Antani, CEO and practicing dentist. 

“After that, solving problems, finding unique ways to set ourselves apart from others, and seeing our company grow is what keeps me going.”

Surviving The Worst of the Pandemic

Like business owners across the U.S. at the onset of the pandemic, Antani and Yoon had to close and lay off staff temporarily.

“The initial challenge was being shut down,” Antani says. “We had to furlough and cancel most of our patient appointments and see emergencies only. We also saw our cost of personal protective equipment increase substantially.”

Their initial motivation, he says, was to see emergency patients safely and efficiently. To do so, they focused on ordering PPE and safety equipment and changing schedules to accommodate emergencies right away.

“As things opened up and we got a sense of what to do as guided by local and federal authorities, our motivations changed – we wanted to get back to normal in a safe manner.”

Locating To The Albuquerque Area

Antani and Yoon chose to practice in New Mexico after finishing their training in New Jersey, where the two had lived for years.

“We noticed that as healthcare providers, and for personal lifestyle choices of living in a different area, we needed to establish our business in an area of patient need and decent cost of living,” Antani says.

Since moving to the Albuquerque area, the dentists have grown their business from one office to three. In addition to Los Lunas Smiles and Napa Family Dental, Antani and Yoon bought a third location and renamed it, Rio Rancho Smiles. They have five employees at the newest office, plus four more who rotate in and out for support duties.

“The pandemic certainly shook things up as we faced new challenges with shutdowns, increasing costs and requirements for personal protective equipment for our staff and patients, and an uncertain business future,” Antani says.

“Fortunately, our core beliefs remained unchanged, and in fact, became further strengthened and ingrained in our business beliefs.”

Pushing Through Challenges 

Even outside pandemic conditions, running a successful small business comes with a myriad of challenges. But keeping your priorities straight – your primary mission – can help guide your decisions through the most challenging times. 

“Business comes with a multitude of challenges, and the idea is to grow, take care of each other, and serve our communities the best we can while addressing these challenges,” Antani says.

“We have always been patient-centric, caring, and ethical dentists, and we envision our company continuing to uphold our beliefs in business best practices, but most importantly, patient care.

“We also consider our associate doctors, staff, and personnel to be the second most important part of the company (first being patients), and we envision continuing to grow our staff, continue to improve benefits, and make this one of the best places to work.”

Competing for Business, Staff 

Antani sees competition as generally different than what other small businesses might see in other industries. It’s more about doing the best they can for their patients, treating them well, and doing good work.

“I think that’s all you really need for patients to come in,” he says when asked about competition with other practices in the area.

“The same goes for finding great team members – have a good work environment, support them and keep them happy. For attracting staff as well as for attracting patients your core values play the biggest role – honesty, ethics, benevolence.”

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