A sincere thank you to Richard Howarth from Smile Style Dental Care Centre in Stafford for his glowing testimonial for dental business coach Andy McDougall and his team at Spot On Business Planning.
“I thought I was quite good with the practice numbers, we had a few KPIs and as the practice was growing from just me to an associate-led model supported by dental therapists, we were certainly grossing more.
The bit that was giving me some concern was what was left in the bank at the end of each month. We had ok months and better months but what was mine? Precisely how much was HMRC going to need? Should I spend some of the cash on new kit or would I need it for a rainy day? And what would be the effect of hiring an extra nurse, receptionist or another associate?
The problem was my simple KPIs at the time could not answer these questions, the maths was so much easier when it was just me. I did make those decisions and maybe it was my gritty determination or consistent hard work but most turned out ok in the end most of the time.
I have found that for me when I have needed help I seem to meet the advisors I require at that time. My belief is that I probably have been seeking them out consciously and subconsciously and it is not just a coincidence and that was the case with Andy. I was introduced to him at a dental meeting. I am glad I met Andy that day.
I had an accountant but as I now understand he is just a commentator, reporting on how Smile Style has done and usually shocking me with the tax I need to save. Andy introduced me to management accounting; a way of planning forward, setting goals and steering the practice through the turbulent waters with purpose rather than being at the mercy of the tide and wind.
It was a long process of firstly modelling the practice by gathering data about our numbers. A tricky process for Andy and especially Anne-Marie as Smile Style is unique and runs a therapy model around wellness. I am sure you could say that about your practice too because ultimately our practices resemble us, their leaders and each one is different.
This took the best part of 8 months and was a painful, hard process, checking and rechecking the figures, looking at the model and the fine tuning it until we had Smile Style distilled down to a few spreadsheets.
For the first time we could look at the future, change growth percentages, discuss how we were going to achieve the growth. I had choices; increase fees, more productivity, add another associate, be strategic with the fee increases not just a blanket 5%. We had a tool to keep a handle on expenses, materials labs, associates and team salaries.
With a few clicks or a chat to Andy and Anne-Marie we could have models to decide the wages rises and the effect that would have. What would happen if I reduced my clinical time to 2 days or add more therapy hours? I could now make informed decisions based on the models versus gut feeling.
If this was the only service Spot On provided for a busy dentist running an ever-increasing complex practice, it would be worth every penny. The systems they have helped me set up have been invaluable and yes we have grown, adding significant value to my EBITDA.
This is not just the service I have received. As any principal knows, when it is running smoothly you are waiting for the next calamity whether it’s a key person’s notice on your desk, client complaint, associates taking their foot of the gas, sickness/injury. To be honest nothing surprises me, I think I have seen it all in my 25 years as a principal. Andy has always made time to listen to me in a crisis. The vast majority of the time in verbalising my worries I have found a solution but I have also been able to feed on Andy’s vast experience and knowledge.
If you find anything in here that resonates with your situation even a little I would recommend you get Andy and Spot On involved in your practice. We get taught to do the practical side of dentistry but to be able to deliver our best we need help to run our dental practices so we can fully express our skills for the benefit of our clients, our team and ourselves.
Thank you Andy and all your team at Spot On.”