My wife always tells me, and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, to “be the change you want to see in the world.” In other words, don’t just sit there — do something about it. I can’t stand how trite it is, but it’s true.

For years now, I have had the privilege of writing practice management tips for you on DrBicuspid.com. If you’ve read any of them, you will see that they most often focus on the importance of new patients. Why? Because new patients are, without a doubt, the foundation for your practice’s success. Today, I want to talk about the importance of that success.

If you are providing a quality service with great value, you deserve to make money and be successful. I want you to be successful not just so you can experience the joy of living in a nice house, driving a fancy car, or belonging to an elite country club. I want you to be successful for the joy that comes from what you can ultimately do with that success. Let me explain.

Most dentists grade the success of their year based on their income. Yes, that is a piece, but think about what else you do. What impact you are having on the people and world around you? One main reason to grow your practice is so you can give more money away and do more good things with it. It’s not a greedy endeavor to make more money and have nice things as long as you are a good steward of the prosperity that comes your way.

After all, working to give is a far more magical thing than working to pay bills. It brings the joy of giving, the joy of impacting others. That’s why we encourage our clients to give back to their community through projects such as Dentistry from the Heart, as well as through patient appreciation events and other community-minded endeavors.

For the past three years, I have challenged my highest-level clients to increase the reach of their giving through mission trips abroad. I even supply scholarships for teams just to give them the nudge they need to make the commitment to go. Why? Because they come back from these trips completely changed.

Even better, that experience begins a ripple effect throughout the community in which they practice. So aside from a direct impact on the team members who are going (which is huge), their families, neighbors, patients, and potential new patients, are hearing about it through your fundraising efforts, social media updates, newsletters, and word of mouth.

In 2014, through Costa Rica Mission Partners, we led dental teams to one of the poorest communities in Central America to serve its population. We started with nine doctors and their teams who served 519 patients in 24 days of clinical treatment. This year, we have expanded to the Dominican Republic, and, in just the first two months of this year, we’ve already had five teams serve 542 patients in 20 days, with a projected 38 teams committed to travel the remainder of the year. Imagine the impact these trips will make on those who participate — those who are financially able to participate. This is where success and margin come into play.

I’ve had clients who have returned from these trips and immediately increased their revenue goals so that they can do more of this type of work. It’s pretty amazing.

And it’s contagious. Without my initiating, our team at the Scheduling Institute began a baseball hat drive to further support the efforts of our clients and protect the people in the Dominican Republic who are working outside and exposed to excessive sun. The goal was to get 500 hats in a just three weeks. Team members put a call out on social media, and 661 hats came in to Alpharetta, GA, from all over the country, including New York, North Carolina, and Ohio. Now that’s what I call a ripple effect! And it’s a confirmation that people want to help and they want to make an impact on others. Big or small, they want to make a difference in the lives of someone else.

And that’s what you do as a dentist. You make a difference in the lives of others, including your patients, your team, your family, and your community.

So I’m going to circle back to new patients — the lifeblood of your practice and foundation for its success. Earlier I said you deserve to prosper. The best way to kick-start that process is to increase your new patient numbers. When you can dramatically improve your new patient numbers, you will dramatically improve your life and the lives of those around you.