Who better to explain the Spot On Business Planning process than our dental business clients? We hope you enjoy reading their experiences of working with us. If you would like to speak to them in person, all have said they would be happy to provide further information. Please click on their logos to be taken to their websites.
“Andy, Anne-Marie and the rest of the team are always available to help with any problems or deliver solutions. They genuinely care about our business,”Kate Pritchard, Goldsworth Road Dental, Woking
We have been with Spot On Business Planning since 2011. I attended a business planning course Andy was running with the BDA and I spoke to him afterwards to ask him to come into our business.
I was doing the level 7 course with the Institute of Leadership and Management at the time. At that point we had no current figures and no ability to forecast or plan strategically. Andy goes through a very logical process and this appeals to the way my mind works. We looked at absolutely everything – and eventually overhauled everything too!
I became a partner in 2006 and the practice had been running for a considerable number of years before that. It was being badly managed. We would know what our tax bill was going to be two weeks before we got it and would have to scramble around to find the money. There was quite often not enough to pay it.
We are now able to plan, forecast and adjust to change as required. This is a stark contrast to our life before Spot On Business Planning where our finance administrator would come to us at the end of each month to ask which bills we could pay!
Time and motion analysis allows us to analyse our productivity and profitability. We now have a very detailed understanding of our business and have increased our business turnover year on year.
The specific strategies that SOBP determined that have made a real difference are the operational management that has helped us reduce our staff costs, and improving our ability to plan for future increases with a full understanding of our increased costs from the management accounts as well as cost analysis for each treatment item.
We used to have three practices and we sold two of them streamlining and overhauling the way we did everything. We restructured our team and recruited a practice manager from outside, who had good computer and HR skills but no dental experience. With help from SOBP I spent the first year setting up the systems with her and getting everything right from the outset, starting a process that meant we could measure everything in real time.
We have a very good working relationship. Andy, Anne-Marie and the rest of the team are always available to help with any problems or deliver solutions. They genuinely care about our business.
Their face-to-face meetings and regular Zoom conference calls are a very efficient and time-friendly way of keeping our business on track.
I would – and have - recommended Spot On Business Planning to others. What I would say to anyone is, “If you think you know your practice, get them to come and test it!”
“Andy’s speciality is monitoring how your practice performs in “real time” rather than historically at the end of the financial year when the time to alter your course has come and gone.”Matthew Clare, Lincoln Orthodontics
I engaged Andy several years ago to optimise my orthodontic practice. Everyone at the practice was working very hard but I was aware that the harder I worked, the less time I had to organise and monitor the practice’s progression on an economic level.
The danger is that you set off down an inappropriate or suboptimal route and never find out your mistake until too much time has passed. Andy can provide this because his speciality is monitoring how your practice performs in “real time” rather than historically at the end of the financial year when the time to alter your course has come and gone.
With Andy’s help we have continually set, monitored and exceeded our goals on a rolling basis that allows us to react much faster to potential fluctuations in operational efficiency. Although this sounds complicated, Andy explains it very simply in non-accounting language with infinite patience!
Andy brings big business techniques to the dental industry at a personal level that allows you to still concentrate on what you do best, whilst also optimising the financial performance of your practice.
“I can safely say that not only has the whole process been a most satisfying one but that the costs of Spot On have been covered many times by the increase in profits.”Andrew Prynne, 740 Dental, Bournemouth
We are a large, mainly private practice with five dentists and five hygienists/therapists. We began working with Andy about five years ago at which time we were little more than a group of independent dentists, leaderless and directionless running a practice that we thought was efficient and in good shape. We were very wrong…
Spot On’s strengths lie in the range of skills that their team have that enables them to understand every aspect of a dental business. The team is extremely friendly and has integrated seamlessly into our dental practice
Over the last few years, Andy has got to understand who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, has fully analysed our systems, procedures, team and our personal financial goals.
From this he has stripped the business down and supervised a complete rebuild into a thriving, happy practice staffed by a team who have a full understanding of who we are, where we are going and who work hard, safe in the knowledge that the better they work as a team, the better the business and, thereby, the better they are rewarded.
I can safely say that not only has the whole process been a most satisfying one but that the costs of Spot On have been covered many times by the increase in profits. I cannot commend Andy and his whole team highly enough.
“The biggest single difference SOBP has made to my business over the last five years is profit!”Matt Lamb, Glendair Dental Practice, Derbyshire
The biggest single difference SOBP has made to my business over the last five years is profit, which has massively increased. Using their services is a no brainer – they do exactly what it says on the tin. There are lots of consultants in the industry but with Andy and his team you don’t get any bulls**t.
The three specific strategies or analysis that SOBP has determined that have made a real difference are:
- Understanding the cost base, meaning money is not wasted
- Critical evaluation of profitability of clinicians to enable evidence-based discussions
- Targeted marketing to attract the correct patients to the practice
“We have added over £50K to our net profit simply by applying sound business principles of evaluation and cost control.”Chris Smirthwaite, The Smile Centre Liskeard
Working with Andy at Spot On Business Planning has taken our practice to new levels of profitability, that I wouldn’t have thought possible 18 months ago. We have added over £50K to our net profit simply by applying sound business principles of evaluation and cost control.
We now have a robust rolling three year financial plan that links to marketing and sales activity and look set to continue the upward trend for the foreseeable future. Andy’s direct ‘say it as it is’ style hasn’t always been comfortable to live with but I have no doubt that he works tirelessly to make my business succeed to the benefit of both my clients and my team. His integrity is unquestionable and his vast business experience invaluable.
“Working with Andy and Spot on Business Planning has enabled me to significantly improve practice profitability by increasing productivity and reducing overheads.”Kevin Parr, One20 Dental, Liverpool
Working with Andy and Spot on Business Planning has enabled me to significantly improve practice profitability by increasing productivity and reducing overheads. Andy differs from other dental consultants; he is hands-on and focuses on what is needed in each individual practice.
His background as a management accountant enables him to thoroughly analyse the business, gain control of the finances and bring about change to the most important element-the bottom line.
“I cannot advocate SOBP enough, it changes your life!”Bev Harston, Glendair Dental Practice, Alfreton
I was working six days a week, going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark (I described myself as a pit pony) doing the same things day in and day out and expecting the results to be better, in fact they got worse. I now know that that is the definition of a busy fool. Why did I expect things to change when I carried on doing the same things in the same old way?
I cannot advocate SOBP enough, it changes your life! You learn so much about running a business, which is never taught in dental school, as well as skills that are transferable into other businesses too. It makes you focused on the delivery of a business plan. SOBP enhances and brings the team together. They focus on the key areas and it changes your business - I am proof! No other consultant offers a business plan, accompanied by monthly financials, which translate to KPIs for the team, which in turn drives the business and gives us focus and direction. This helps you understand marketing in order for you to be able execute the business plan. We also received advice on how to manage our people. If you do it to the letter, it transforms your business and life!
We have gone from broke to not knowing what to do with our cash! One of our first meetings with Andy was with our bank manager because we couldn’t pay that particular month’s wages. I will never forget feeling vulnerable and embarrassed. We could have quite easily gone bust. Thank God we found him, followed his plan of action and now we are hugely profitable. Andy undertakes every financial exercise that exists within your business and you begin to see patterns emerging. I very quickly learnt to stop saying “I think”. Everything has to be evidenced, just like your dentistry. It wasn’t a single exercise; I can only describe our practice as a sieve, lots of little holes that all needed plugging. One by one we sorted out the problems and we began to see the figures changing. It’s like turning an oil tanker around – slowly, slowly.
Everything made a difference. We learnt to be more efficient with stock (after I had realised my overdraft was equivalent to my stock cupboard!). We learnt to improve our marketing, our reporting, we improved our appointment book utilisation, we checked our pricing was correct and profitable. We distributed the work more efficiently; we increased sundry sales and made the most of our new patients. Our company structure was even sorted too.
Another huge thing that SOBP is good at is putting you in contact with the right people to help you and your business. I am now surrounded by professionals who I trust, who help me make a difference to my business and who are as passionate as I am
“Figures speak the truth. Andy is able to analyse your business and build it to a highly profitable and highly performing one.”Norman Kendal, Kiln Lane Dental Practice St. Helens
Figures speak the truth. Andy is able to analyse your business and build it to a highly profitable and highly performing one. He and his team cover all aspects of performance in a practice and can transform the operation of it beyond measure. All practices would find this invaluable and I highly recommend him.
We saw 50% growth over a three year period! The proof is in the numbers!Niki and Gary Rowland, Perfect 32 Dental Practice, Beverley, Yorkshire
Spot On Business Planning was instrumental in the crucial business planning that led to the growth and success of our dental practice. My husband and I set up Perfect 32 in 2006 with little understanding of financial management and management accountancy. It was always an area of work that gave us sleepless nights.
I attended one of Andy’s courses back in 2007 and I thought ’This guy could change our lives’ and he has! Andy, Vikki and their team are highly experienced, professional and above all friendly and supportive. They not only held our hands and steered us through the financial management aspects of business but also taught us to implement strategies that boosted profits and saved expenditure. Their systems are tried and tested and had a hugely positive impact on our practice. We saw 50% growth over a three year period! What more can I say? The proof is in the numbers!
"Stop pondering and start acting. We have had double-digit growth year on year for every year we have worked with Andy."Khalid Master and Thomas Sarpong, Bank View Smile Studios, Blackburn, Lancashire
Khalid and Thomas bought Bank View Smile Studios in Blackburn after being associates in Accrington for 10 years.
Although they had accumulated around 7,400 hours of undergraduate clinical training each during 5 years at dental school, the sum total of their previous business training was a 1-hour lecture each in their final year. This predominantly centred on finding a good location and fitting a large outdoor NHS sign in a prominent position - neither of which were going to be of any help to them, as they wanted to run a state-of-the-art private practice in a lovely Georgian building dating from 1868 but set back from the main road.
“With very little practice management training and even less financial knowhow, Thomas and I needed to find a specialist collaborator to help us run our new business professionally and profitably,” said Khalid.
“We had invested hundreds, if not thousands of hours to make ourselves the best dentists that we could be clinically, so we knew our dentistry very well but we were novices when it came to business management.”
“So, rather than trying to use some kind of Jedi force to find our way to our destination, we both felt we needed some expert help and that is precisely why the search began for our Business Master.”
Khalid and Thomas first found out about Andy and Spot On Business Planning through an email flyer from the BDA. They trusted that proper due diligence had been done by the BDA and felt the course was ideally suited to dentists and new dental practice owners. Khalid and his practice manager enrolled on the course in Leeds a few months after the practice had been purchased and were both so impressed they signed up as full members – which they still are 8 years on.
They say they would have no hesitation at all in recommending Spot On Business Planning and Andy in particular – and have already done so dozens of times to friends, colleagues and even perfect strangers they meet on courses!
What were your impressions of Spot On Business Planning?
“Khalid and I were very impressed with the process we underwent with Spot On Business Planning. It was logical, methodical, well presented and understandable. Everything made sense and when it came to implementation, we received assistance throughout the process,” said Thomas.
“We certainly got results and almost instantaneously, as the impact of those were felt within the first quarter.”
“Every single analysis or strategy has resulted in achieving a real and positive difference. If we had to single out three such strategies, they would be stock control, tactical pricing and profit by clinician; however, monthly management accounts with bespoke KPI analysis, gap closing strategy, and a calendarised 36 month strategy plan would come a close second,” said Khalid.
“What we like about working with Spot On Business Planning is the industry-specific expertise, collaborative approach and the ability to act pro-actively due to monthly management reports rather than looking back retrospectively through annual tax accounts and wondering when the wheels fell off and why,” said Thomas.
Khalid finishes by saying: “The one piece of advice I would give to a prospective member would be to STOP pondering and START acting. Business management and financial planning should NOT just be considered when the problems are self-evident.
“Do not try to re-invent the wheel by attempting to ‘work it all out’ for yourself. Get help from industry experts who have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and then bought the T-shirt printing company! Be pro-active and educate yourself on these matters just as you do with clinical matters (as soon as you are an associate, let alone partner or principal) because these are as, if not more important than the other and it is NEVER too early to start.”
Would Fulham dentist Ayzaaz Akram recommend our services? Ideally notAyzaaz Akram, Pure Smiles, Fulham
Ayzaaz Akram from Pure Smiles in Fulham does not recommend our services and would rather we didn’t spread the word about Spot On Business Planning. What he’d really like is for our whole team to work solely for him and his business!
Several people had mentioned Andy McDougall and Spot On Business Planning very positively to Dr Akram and his brother and business partner, Shiraz. Having worked with other dental business coaches in the past, they decided to speak to us and find out what makes us different.
During the initial stages, Dr Akram was a little skeptical. Previous coaches had concentrated solely on the top line figures and Andy’s approach was different.
“It is a very different, thorough, measured and planned out approach,” explains Dr Akram.
“We thought we already had a great practice and were expanding our business, however we were without an in-house manager and were finding it difficult to recruit the right people to join our team, retain them and train them. Our knowledge of the business financials was lacking and we did not have a deep understanding of the business. We wanted to get on top of this, improve our profit and have a clear plan for our growth.
“We systematically worked through the business finances to understand what we needed to do to move forward. With actual hands-on support from an experienced external team we learned how to deal with the real issues we face on a day-to-day basis in all the areas of running a modern dental practice.”
Did Andy’s approach get results? What were they?
“The patient and meticulous analysis of the costs of the business allowed us to see exactly where the business was not profitable and how we could address this with good planning. We now produce useful monthly management accounts that actually show us how we are progressing. We are better at recruitment and retention of staff and our team is beginning to fire on all cylinders.”
What specific strategies or analysis made a real difference?
“Guidance and support in recruitment and induction processes have really helped. The in-depth analysis of our figures and the detail with which this was performed really allowed a clear picture of the situation, without this the future planning would simply have been guesswork and we would have continued to focus on the gross numbers, possibly without realising any more actual profit. Everything is analysed, measured and understood with clear targets set before moving forward.”
What do you most like about working with Spot On Business Planning?
“The attention to detail reassures me a great deal - knowing exactly where you are allows you to look forward to your goals with greater confidence. We have yet to come to a situation or issue that one of their team cannot advise us on.”
"I was promised our profits would double every three years - Andy has over delivered."Mark Skimming, Dentistry on the Square, Glasgow
I have been working with Andy and the team at Spot On Business Planning for around three years now. So many accountants and dental business coaches merely scratch the surface but their approach is totally different.
Andy gave us the usual promise of doubling our net profits every three years. This was way beyond my expectations at the time but Andy has over delivered. It’s only when you get that insight into your business that you believe this promise is achievable.
The process is very efficient. With other coaches and accountants it’s meeting after meeting after meeting and most of that time is spent getting to understand the dental industry. Andy and Anne-Marie know the industry inside out. They do need lots of information to ensure they completely understand what’s going on but they make the process very simple.
I wanted to get real financial insights to help our practice grow and I wanted to make sure that the business wasn’t completely reliant on me, that if something happened the business and staff were secure.
I was referred to Spot On Business Planning by the Marketing Pirates of Dentistry and I also spoke to one of their existing clients, 740 in Bournemouth. All seemed very impressive so I made the call.
Growth and control were the two main issues I wanted to address and I now have really tight control over the business. Our last call was amazing actually – it was as if Andy was seeing into the future. Their video analysis and feedback is fantastic. We analysed the projections and there are so little variables, it was great and very reassuring to see.
The three specific strategies that Spot On Business Planning determined that made a real difference were looking at our pricing structure to see what was costing and making us money and then making the essential tweaks. Second was sorting our associates’ contracts and finally, putting a three-year business plan in place.
I would certainly recommended Spot On Business Planning and have already done so to friends and colleagues.
"Andy's aim was to double profits in three years. We almost did that in year 1!"John Fleming, Hob Hey Dental Centre, Warrington
John Fleming’s Hob Hey Dental Centre in Warrington was flat lining and although he knew some of the reasons why, he couldn’t work out how to approach fixing them.
Dr Fleming had attended one of Andy McDougall’s BDA Business Essentials courses in 2012 so he knew a little about Spot On Business Planning but it was a recommendation by his Practice Plan rep that brought him to our first meeting.
“I had been running my dental practice as an expense sharing partner since 2002 until I took over the business and incorporated in 2013 and I ran it on my own with two associates working for me. It felt that I was working more and more hours but seeing no return,” said Dr Fleming.
“Andy said from the outset ‘if you do everything we say, this will work’ and I made a commitment to do exactly that.”
“Andy managed to identify the problems in the business in no time at all. It was reassuring that he felt things could be improved and he developed a clear strategic plan as to how we could achieve the objectives.
“I feel fully supported by them and nothing is too much trouble”
“Spot On Business Planning feel like partners in my business. Every decision you make in running your business can have an effect on the numbers and SOBP are there to understand your numbers inside and out. The amount I have learnt from them in the last 18 months is unbelievable.
“The first stage of the process was information gathering. It was intense and laborious but completely essential to give Andy and his team as much information about the business as possible and it really challenged me to what I thought my business was about. This was the most labour intensive part of the process I felt but I decided to do it well and do it quickly so that we could move forward.
“Once I knew where I was, I certainly knew where I wanted to be and the following stages of the plan helped ensure that. Very quickly a plan was coming together and I was keen to implement it in my business so that we could begin to see the rewards for our hard work.
“There were some unexpected hurdles along the way but at each stage I had Andy, Anne-Marie and the team behind me helping to ensure we move in the right direction. They helped to get the team on board by introducing a bonus scheme too.
For Dr Fleming, the three specific strategies that Spot On Business Planning determined that made a real difference were getting the prices right, paying the associates correctly and keeping control of expenditures like labs and materials.
“They are quite simply the best thing to happen to my business”
“You could say we have achieved the objectives that Andy set out but I cannot foresee a time that they will not be a part of my business. They respond to emails quickly and are always on hand to have a web chat.
“They are quite simply the best thing to happen to my business and I look forward to working with them as the business evolves in the years to come. I am far more relaxed and feel rewarded for the hard work I put in and I feel more confident about my business than ever.”
"Knowing my numbers means that I can ensure every business decision is driving my business in the right direction"Carol Somerville Roberts, Evolve Dentistry, Portishead
Carol Somerville Roberts set up Evolve Dentistry in Portishead from nothing, so she has invested emotionally, personally and financially in the business. She had heard people telling her to get on top of her management accounts but thought this meant her tax accounts. After a friend recommended Andy McDougall at Spot On Business Panning she decided to speak to someone in the know.
“I realise now that there is a big difference [between management and tax accounts] and by really knowing my numbers means that I can ensure that every business decision is driving the business in the right direction. By working with Andy and his team, my business started to turn around from a flat business to one that is in profit,” says Dr Somerville Roberts.
What were your impressions of the process you underwent with SOBP?
“It’s very thorough and you need to be prepared to put the time and effort in to achieve the results. We reduced our stock levels by 50% and now have a very tight stock control system. We know exactly how much each procedure we carry out costs the business and the impact of any price change that may have. I know exactly who is profitable in the practice and who is not and what changes need to be made to improve.
“I know where my business needs to go in the next 12 months and this is reviewed and benchmarked on a monthly basis and adjusted accordingly. If I want to make a change to the structure of the business, I can model the impact of the proposed change. This is all with the help and support from SOBP.”
Did it get results? What were they?
“Yes, the business was not in great shape when I started working with Andy but with his help we are now doing well and I have confidence in the future.”
The three specific strategies determined by Spot On Business Planning that have made a real difference are:
- Helping with the incorporation of the business was key as this was a big decision and needed to be handled correctly.
- We have an amazing spreadsheet that we can feed our KPIs into so that we can really measure how we are doing and this in turn feeds into individual spreadsheets for each clinician to discuss with them.
- We also have an excellent stock control system that allows detailed analysis of our material spend and if this is changing.
“Running your own business is hard work. Andy takes all the emotion out of making decisions so that they are based on sound business reasons. He will not tell you what to do but he will demonstrate the impact of your decision in the numbers. It’s very powerful. I would recommend his services without hesitation.”
Two years on and we are seeing great increases in our profitability.Jas Sandhu, High Street Dental, East Grinstead
I heard about Spot OnBusiness Planning from Tony Gedge at the Marketing Pirates of Dentistry.The biggest issue I was facing was that the increased turnover within my practice was not reflected in its profits. With the aid of Spot OnBusiness Planning, it became apparent that this was because of a likewise increase in outgoings to my associates.
The most effective strategies implemented by Spot OnBusiness Planning have been their ongoing analysis of the practice income and outgoings, effectively translating the importance of their work to my team, and their advice regarding paying my associates.
I particularly like Andy and Anne-Marie’s approachability, together with all of their support team. They have been incredibly supportive throughout our time together.Two years on and we are seeing great increases in our profitability.
My impressions were (and still are) that Spot OnBusiness Planning were very thorough in their analysis of my practice finances.
I would recommend them without hesitation. In fact I have to several - and counting - of my colleagues.
What did you like most about the course?
Clear, concise presentation - huge topic
The explanation was very clear and very motivational speaker.
Great overview of leadership
Gave an insight into leadership, which we in the dental practice don’t have much experience!!
Informal style, enthusiasm of speaker
Materials given were clearly explained and thought provoking
The presenter made it very interesting and easy to understand
A lot of information to take back to practice to use practically
Really good; well structured course, lots of useful information. Delivery very good
What did you like most about the course?
Great speaker, made a difficult topic easy to understand, good humour!
I realise now that I don’t know anything about accounting
Andy is great. Information given is very important
Materials linked to dental practice
Very well structured and informative course
Making the financial jargon easily understood
Reliable information, well presented and difficult to get elsewhere
Motivating to implement change
Great speaker, lots we can do
Andy’s presentation was excellent. I didn’t have much expectation from this course but Andy exceeded it by turning it into such an interesting lecture!