Building a First Generation Family Business: Dental Practice

Entrepreneur's Journey

Jul 15 2022 • 35 mins

A charming conversation between Dr. Harry and Cindy Monokian and Michael Pallozi as they share how they built a dentistry practice from the ground up together, as a couple and as partners. They also talk about how it felt to gradually transition out of the business and officially hand everything over to their sons. They recount their long journey of intentional learning and inevitable trial and error as well as all the values they passed down to their sons.

Dr. Harry Monokian and Cindy Monokian have been running Monokian Dentistry since the late 70s.

Tune in until the end to learn:

  • How to get your children to become genuinely interested in growing your family business.
  • Mistakes to avoid when transitioning your family business.
  • What to consider in your buy-sell agreement.
  • How even 3-day courses can completely change your business.


[00:58] Who are Dr. Harry and Cindy Monokian?

[03:30] How did they start their dentistry practice? (and why starting slow worked out well)

[05:27] How they got clients in an age when advertising was taboo.

[06:23] Why education is huge for business owners.

[07:23] Taking your child to work with you. OR How childcare happens when both parents are business owners.

[09:25] From being a teacher to running a dental practice.

[10:03] Expanding the business and running out of money.

[13:04] How to use systems to create consistency in your business.

[16:57] How both their sons became interested in dentistry.

[20:06] Bringing in their sons to work at the family business.

[24:12] Transitioning the family business: setting up a buy-sell for your practice, mistakes to avoid, clients

[29:59] The hardest part of letting go of the practice

[32:07] Advice for building a first-generation family business

[33:20] What’s retirement like for the Monokian?

5 Key Highlights

  1. In the late 70s, it was frowned upon to advertise. Very few businesses advertised their services. Work of mouth was key in acquiring new clients. Another way to get clients at that time is to depend on the overflow of clients that other businesses couldn’t handle due to high volume.

  1. You must have a whole system in place for how you create a first impression on your clients. How you answer the phone, how you collect information, how to be pleasant - should all be part of the same system. All your staff should execute the system in the same way. This way, you create a consistent feel.

  1. Getting your children to work at your family business during the summer can be a way to get them interested in your field of work.

  1. Taking courses can be a game-changer for your family business. And taking the courses together as a family can help you learn and retain even more information than you would alone. Education becomes a family affair.

  1. It’s important to set up a buy-sell agreement for your business when transitioning your family business down to the next generation.

Useful Links

Connect with Dr. Harry Monokian: Monokian Dentistry Website

Connect with Cindy Monokian: LinkedIn |

Continuing Dental Education: