Dr. Sama Salim

Owner and Principal Dentist, 16 Mile Dental

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Lianna Harrington

Who is Sama Salim, could you please introduce yourself?

Hello, I am Sama Salim, a passionate and caring dentist whose main goal is to ensure the comfort and well being of all her patients. I am the owner and principal dentist at 16 Mile Dental.

What is your business and when did you start?

My business is a full-service dental practice, and our journey began in early 2013, constructing what we envisioned to be 16 Mile Dental, and we physically opened our doors to our patients in late 2013.

What inspired you to start your business?

Being a dentist has been my passion for a long time, and it was fueled by my love of art and science. My affinity for this profession empowered me to build and grow a welcoming and comfortable space. As a parent, I wanted my family and other families to find a dentist who cared not only about a patient’s treatment but cares about them as individuals as well. When I started practicing, I felt a growing number of patients who were anxious thinking about going to the dentist. My goal became to create an environment where a patient’s fears were eased, relaxed and comforted. Those patients inspired me to start a practice where their comfort was my first thought, their concerns were heard, and their questions were answered.

What were the challenges in the initial stages of your business and how did you overcome them?

One challenge I faced initially was knowing that many people had anxiety when visiting a dentist. I wanted to help those patients let go of their dental-related fears by creating an office environment that is warm, homey and welcoming. I had regular meetings with my designer and construction team to bring to life what I had envisioned. I am lucky enough to have built a warm office space and have a team that cares as much as I do about the well-being of our patients. While there were challenges at times and the pressure of deadlines that needed to be met, it was a rewarding process to see 16 Mile Dental flourish and to see all our hard work come to fruition.

What motivates you about your business?

My family is what motivates my business. Not only my husband and my daughters but also my extended family- from my team to my patients and their families. At 16 Mile Dental, we consider our patients to be our family. My motivations stem from my drive to ensure that they all feel their needs are met with the utmost care and compassion.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

My biggest piece of advice to entrepreneurs is to do something you truly enjoy and want to grow and better yourself continuously. Your business can only be successful when you love what you do. Employees and clients sense when you have a passion for what you do, and that is what makes a successful business.  When that feeling is missing, it makes it much more difficult to grow and succeed.

Interesting fact most of the people do not know about you?

One interesting fact that people don’t know about me is that I love to draw and paint, and I used to create handmade greeting and holiday cards for my friends and family!

The best business advice I ever received was…

To always take every opportunity to grow your network. You never know who you may meet and what experiences they have had which may change the way you think of your business and shape it to be great. I have been able to meet some of the most insightful and intelligent people through my network. I believe your network is your net worth so make the most out of every encounter and always be genuine.

My definition of success is…

Success to me is the ability to change lives, one smile at a time. Everyone has an innate beauty and it is my goal to bring it out and show our patients this beauty. Seeing beaming smiles walking out of my office means that I was successful in giving people their confidence back and is what drives me to continue to do what I do. My success is driven by my commitment, my perseverance and my compassion in everything I do and pursue.

If I could go back in time when I started my business, I would tell myself to…

Be patient. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Building a business is a process that requires patience from choosing a name, creating a brand and building a reputation. It is a journey of refining and cultivating your effort, putting together small building blocks, which all lead to the success of your business. While at the moment it may feel like you are not achieving your goals, always appreciate the milestones-even the ones that seem small, and before you know it, your business will not only be successful but will thrive.

Three books I recommend for entrepreneurs are…

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C Maxwell

Dare to Lead by Brenė Brown

Start with the Why by Simon Sinek

My personal tagline is…

16 Mile Dental is where modern meets comfort, and patients become family.

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