GC Dental Center is on a mission to make the best smiles in every town they’re in. We spoke to Dr. Irene Guevarra-Cesante--clinic owner of GC Dental Center and CEO of IGC Dental Corporation--about achieving her goals, embracing marketing strategies, resolving challenges with her dream team, and staying true to their mission of providing the best dental care for everyone.
If you were to tell the 20-year old Irene that she’ll someday be managing 10 clinics and running a corporation by 2020, she’d probably just laugh it off as she goes to pick up a second hand, purely manual dental chair in Batangas. She’d probably think that you’re joking as she sets up the dental chair in her small and cramped home clinic, just big enough to fit in the room and leaving only a little bit of extra space to move around. Although it really was her goal to have 10 clinics the moment she started her career, back then, Dr. Irene was still very much skeptical about actually achieving it.
With her first clinic set up in a small space at home in a small neighborhood in Santa Cruz, Dr. Irene was satisfied to have finally started her own clinic after passing her board exams. To her, being able to just start was the most important thing to do. Although it was only open on selected days because of her nine-to-five job as an associate dentist for another clinic, it became the starting point of her career as a dentist, and eventually, an entrepreneur. Working with a small salary as an associate dentist and still working nonstop on her days off in her own home clinic to save money for someday building another branch, Dr. Irene’s hard work paid off when she was finally able to put up a new, bigger, clinic located in a more commercial and more strategically placed area.
Dr. Irene Guevarra-Cesante, owner and President of GC Dental Center
From there, the clinic continuously experienced organic growth. Back when advertisements weren’t as competitive in social media as they are now, Dr. Irene saw the growth potential of her clinics through social media promotion. “I really embraced social media as my marketing strategy, as my plan to let people know about my clinic. Naglakas loob ako [I mustered up my courage] even if I’m not very familiar with it,” she recalled. “I had to try everything because unlike my previous home clinic, I now had to pay for rent for my new branch.” Even though she wasn’t the best at it, Dr. Irene remembered how she would edit promotional photos on her own that she would then post on Facebook. Once again, effort and hard work proved to be Dr. Irene’s partners in success as business began to boom after her consistent social media promotion.
GC Dental Center - Tayuman, Manila Branch
From a tiny home clinic, GC Dental Center has grown to a total of 8 branches and is now under IGC Dental Corporation. Dr. Irene also established Clinique Dentaire, which specializes in dealing with TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorders and has now 2 branches in Metro Manila.
Of course, GC Dental Center’s growth didn’t come without challenges. With the increasing number of clinic branches, staff, and patients, Dr. Irene found that she needed expert assistance, particularly with accounting and human resources. In what she describes as fate and God’s grace, she was fortunate enough to be closely surrounded by people she trusts, who became a part of her current team. Her sister, who was then working at a big company as an accountant, and a close friend whose expertise lies in human resource management, joined the GC Dental Center team.
Due to the pandemic, GC Dental Center also recently experienced struggles that affected the entire team. When the enhanced community quarantine or total lockdown was imposed last March 2020, all the clinic’s branches closed down, rendering all staff without work for months. Dr. Irene admitted that it took a toll on her mental state as well, unable to stop herself from worrying about her employees and the clinics’ future state. Despite this, she chose to pick herself up and gather her team to discuss the next steps forward. “For me, if you have a problem and you want to cry, then you should allow yourself to cry. But you shouldn’t forget to move forward and find the solution to your problem.” Dr. Irene recalled how she allowed herself a few days to cry and worry, and then proceeded to (virtually) meet her team to plan for the clinics’ eventual re-opening. “It was a huge challenge, but I had a great team that actively contributed to finding solutions to our problems, and I’m very grateful for that.” Dr. Irene said.
The GC Dental Center Team
With consistent brainstorming and team effort, the GC Dental team once again made use of social media to up their marketing, so when businesses were allowed to operate again, people were well-informed that despite only having skeletal operations, GC Dental Center was ready and equipped to accommodate patients. During the pandemic, Dr. Irene also sparked the idea of starting a YouTube channel, and what was then only an attempt to do something productive during the lockdown has grown to an active channel that has now gained approximately 10,000 subscribers in just 8 months. With the goal of keeping connected with their patients and expanding their reach, the GC Dental Center regularly puts out videos on dental care, personal stories and clinic updates, and even music sessions!
GC Dental Center’s motto is to give the best smiles in town--and in order to stay true to their motto, the best care is provided not only for their patients, but for their staff as well. Since GC Dental Center now has a total of 8 branches, Dr. Irene says that she is unable to visit all the clinics as much as she used to. However, she does her best to connect with all of GC Dental’s dentists and staff by regularly holding meetings to catch up and to remind the staff as well of the goals and values that the company holds. Dr. Irene also believes in the importance of providing opportunities for continuous learning for her team, so monthly seminars are provided to the staff of GC Dental Center. “I really believe that if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients. If they feel valued, they will also make the patients feel valued,” Dr. Irene said.
With a team of dental care experts who know how to treat their patients right, it’s not impossible to see how the GC Dental team accomplishes its mission of providing the best smiles in town.
As her clinic grew, Dr. Irene also faced hurdles when it comes to diversifying her payment methods. To cater to patients who prefer to pay with credit cards, especially for more costly operations, she decided to acquire a POS terminal for her clinics. However, with her busy schedule, she found it difficult to process her application for card terminals. Back then, it required her to keep going to the bank and wait in long lines just to submit requirements. The approval process in itself was also lengthy, typically taking several weeks or even months.
“I’ve been with JazzyPay for so many years now, and I can say that it’s really a great help for small businesses, especially now that it’s harder to go to banks and apply for card terminals,” she also shared her appreciation for how JazzyPay takes care of their partner merchants. “I feel that the company really cares for their partners because every time I have concerns or inquiries, they personally assist me. I also didn’t have to do anything else to start accepting cashless payments, because they actually had everything set up for me. They’re very hands-on when it comes to helping merchants, and this is one of the main reasons why I still continue to trust them when it comes to cashless payments.”
With JazzyPay, GC Dental Center’s patients can pay the clinic through credit/debit cards, e-wallets, online banking, and over-the-counter cash deposits. Payment collection is easier as well as JazzyPay allows the clinic to send and schedule payment requests via SMS and email.
Consult and visit GC Dental center for your dental care needs. You can find GC Dental Center clinics in Tayuman, Laong Laan, Gilmore, Marikina, Makati, Antipolo, Las Piñas, and Congressional. To find out more about the clinic and learn how to secure a slot for your visit, go to their Facebook page @gcdentalcenter. You may also check out their YouTube channel here to watch informational videos about dental care, clinic updates, and other fun stuff!