While he might have recently sold his business’ long-time home along County Road 21, Patient News co-founder and CEO, Wayne Lavery, said he’s never been more invested in Haliburton County.
Launched originally as a publishing company in 1993, Patient News has grown substantially in the decades since, boasting almost 4,000 clients in the dental industry, distributing millions of newsletters to practises across the continent bi-weekly, and “changing the game” with revolutionary new software that Lavery says tracks data dentists can use to streamline, and improve, their business.
Reflecting on his 30 years in business in the Highlands, Lavery said it’s been quite the ride.
“Patient News is a little bit different than most businesses in Haliburton, being that we’re located in the community but we do almost all of our business outside the County. We have clients across North America, employees working remotely in the GTA, in the Philippines, Romania, and India,” Lavery said. “It’s a long way from the single skew print company we started out with.” In fact, printing, at least locally, isn’t part of the company’s ethos at all anymore. Lavery said he was forced into the difficult decision of shutting down the printing press, which was located inside Patient News’ home hub, in March 2020. When COVID hit, not only was Lavery forced to close his office – 75 per cent of his clients were also shuttered. That made for a “a tough few months,” Lavery admitted.
The company pivoted, focusing more on its digital software, which Lavery said paid off in a big way. Last year, the company got back on track, posting pre-pandemic levels of profit. This year is shaping up to be a record breaking one, Lavery said.
Asked for his recipe for success, Lavery chuckles – crediting what he calls the world’s most valuable resource.
“It’s the people. Our service differentiates us – I hear it all the time,” Lavery said. “We represent Ben Winters, who has the largest social media presence in the world among dentists, with 20 million followers. When I talk to Ben, he never says ‘I love the website you built for me’, he’s going to say ‘I love working with your company. I love my account manager, my sales executive’. It’s the relationships people gravitate to.”
The company currently employees 34 people full-time, with another 15 or so part-time, and contract workers.
Lavery has fully embraced the work from home lifestyle, which is why people may have noticed a lesser presence at the Patient News Building located beside Haliburton Timber Mart. Lavery said he sold the 16,000 sq. ft. building last year, but rents about 5,500 sq. ft. of floor space for those who like working in an office environment. The rest of the building houses the Haliburton County Development Corporation and a selection of other partners under ‘The Link’ umbrella.
That shouldn’t be seen as a sign that Lavery is looking to get out of the printing and digital management business – far from it. He believes Patient News will continue to grow long into the future, and serve as a beacon for how businesses can maintain a local feel even after going global.
“The digital side is going to fuel our growth – print will still be a strong division for us, but we’re adapting our technologies every day on behalf of our clients. There’s lots of room for growth. Dentistry as a whole is a growing area,” Lavery said.
“Patient News is thriving in Haliburton – we’re very fortunate to call this community home, and with the advancements in internet, I can only see more businesses setting up here. Haliburton draws people in and makes them stick around. I think there’s such potential here now to foster and develop a vibrant business community, full of all different kinds of business,” he added.
For more information, visit patientnews. com.