The best way to create your future is to plan it

“We hit our targets after the first year, in fact we exceeded them.”

Published by . thanks to Chris Leech, from Clear Dentistry in Bishops Waltham, who sent us this briliant review recently.

What issues were your practice facing that led to you to seek help?

We were concerned that our management setup did not have our fixed and variable costs under control and there was a lack of understanding of how to run an efficient a practice in terms of it being an efficient business. We were looking for a retraining program or a redesign of our management setup.

How did you hear about Spot On Business Planning?

We attended a day session at the BDA headquarters and were impressed with the logic and proposed methods of implementation that were presented.

What were your impressions of the process you underwent with Spot On Business Planning?

Extremely thorough and precise. All aspects are analysed and the presentation is also very clear and easy to understand.

Did it get results? What were they?

We hit our targets after the first year, in fact we exceeded them.

What were the specific strategies or analysis that SOBP determined that made a real difference?

After our initial assessment it was recommended that we needed to look to overhaul our management setup, this was our first strategy. SOBP has been undertaking a training program with our new manager to ensure they are able to understand and provide what is expected of them. Looking at our associate model and pricing strategies were also key parts of our restructuring.

What do you like about working with Spot On Business Planning?

The detailed assessment of things that I want to know about but struggle to have the time to prepare all myself. They are approachable and effective.

Would you recommend our services?


“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.”

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smilestylelogoA 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.”

“Many professional friends and colleagues are now part of SOBP – all the feedback is the same as ours – excellent!”

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Bourne End logoWe would like to say a huge thanks to Andrew Chandrapal from Bourne End Dental in Bucks for this wonderful testimonial.

“Working in a partnership has many advantages, however, we all saw the financials in different ways. We saw a course advertised at the British Dental Association that was conducted by Spot On Business Planning that really made sense in terms of how a business should be viewed and run – by looking at the small details that make up the bigger picture.

We immediately sought a meeting and it went forwards from there. It now appears that many professional friends and colleagues are part of SOBP – all the feedback is the same as ours – excellent!

As with any process, it takes work and you need your team behind you or indeed obtain a team that does! It also means looking at yourself and your business with a very detailed and practical viewpoint so you are able be pragmatic and self reflect on what works and what does not.

Be prepared to take your accounting to the smallest level and only then do you have an accurate indicator of the true performance of your business. Once the hard work is done it is a case of maintaining things and keeping things going. The information obtained is frankly staggering and you learn a huge amount about your business. My view is that it has been indispensable.

The process was demanding but extremely rewarding. Looking back on it we would not have had anything like the type of analytical and recordable growth that we had. It was also a real education as none of this is explained or illustrated as a self employed trader or business owner.

We have now achieved year on year growth and whilst we have split our time as managing partners between clinical and management it has affected our work balance to a much more efficient level.

The three specific strategies or analysis that SOBP determined that made a real difference were comparing year on year trends, analysing trends with labs and materials compared with turnover, and profit by clinician.

What I most like about working with SOBP is their personalised approach to our business and its needs, continual commentary and individual/group trends every financial quarter.

I would most definitely recommend their services – if you are interested in getting the most out of your business, running it with efficiency whilst maintaining quality and don’t know where to start, then start with SOBP.”


Hear Andy answer the big questions at the Dentistry Show in May

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Industry favourite Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planning will join a panel of experts at the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show on May 17 and 18 at the NEC Birmingham.

Unlock your practice’s hidden potential with Andy McDougall, Alan Suggett, Lis Hughes, Sarah Jarvis and John Clarke as they combine their knowledge and experience to answer the whats, the whys and the hows to help you boost the value of your practice!

Saturday 18th May – 15.45 pm

Practice Plan are hosting The Dental Business Theatre. This time they will be answering the biggest questions around a variety of hard-hitting business topics. Listen to Nigel Jones and Les Jones challenge a panel of industry experts who will be sharing their advice and experience to ensure your biggest, boldest questions are answered.

“The biggest single difference SOBP has made to my business over the last five years is profit!”

Andy McDougall is the owner of Spot On Business Planning and our aim is to radically change dental businesses results and develop teams along the way. Each dental business, strategy and aspirations are unique, which is why we do not have a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We determine a system for running clients’ dental businesses year after year – allowing them to double their net profit every three years.

“Stop pondering and start acting. We have had double-digit growth year on year for every year we have worked with Andy.”

We cater to all types of dental clients: we help those at the start of their career to find the right practice at the right price and then we work with them to help build the practice, engage the team, grow their patient base, and plan and realise growing profitability using our trademark promise to double net profit within three years.

Then we have those business owners who have been in business for years and who want to maximise their opportunity to build profitability and finally those who are working towards hanging up their drill and want to maximise their exit value.

Andy and the SOBP team are hugely respected in the dental industry for delivering exactly what they promise – to work with clients as part of their own team, to deliver a doubling of net profits within three years, so come along and hear what Andy has to say.

Private audience with Andy

If you would like a private audience, send us your last three years accounts and Andy will analyse your numbers and explain his findings in a one hour+ free consultation. Contact us to find out more.

“The support given to me by Andy and Anne-Marie has been invaluable. Often as a business owner one can feel very alone, so the help of such knowledgeable advisers has been very helpful.”

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Andy McDougall and the Spot On Business Planning team would like to say a huge thank you to Mark Willings from Horbury Dental Care & Implant Clinic in Wakefield for his fantastic testimonial.

“We were having a problem with cash flow and struggling to control our finances on a monthly basis with no accurate forecasting available to us. We tried to manage our accounting in-house using Sage and aided by our financial accountant. Unfortunately, however the data was not sufficiently sensitive on a daily basis. Therefore, we were finding it was not until 3 months later we could see results from a particular month but by then it was too late to change anything. In short, I felt we had a real lack of financial control.

I’d heard about Andy McDougall from two colleagues who both used Spot On Business Planning in their dental practices. They recommended I contact Andy, so it was very much word of mouth.

My impressions of the Spot On Business Planning process were very good right from the start. The approach is very thorough and methodical. It takes a short time to understand the importance of “order and sequence”. Once this concept is grasped fully, then the process makes perfect sense and it was amazing how quickly Andy and Anne-Marie could get right to the core of our business to understand the challenges we were facing.

Naturally, recommendations and suggestions to help us quickly followed. This process, whilst painful at times, is now yielding results from which not only the finances but also the business structure and personnel are all benefiting.

Has the process achieved results? Yes:

  • A restructuring of the business to have personnel in correct positions to achieve agreed objectives.
  • Re-writing of job descriptions to accompany new roles.
  • Proper performance measurement leading to performance management for all staff. This has been very positively accepted by all staff who now understand their contribution to making the machine work efficiently and effectively.
  • And monthly management accounts using carefully planned forecasts to compare business performance means we have much tighter control on business finances.

What were the three specific strategies or analysis that SOBP determined that made a real difference?

(i) Business restructuring.

(ii) Initial analysis carried out by SOBP on our 5 year plan proved that it was not financially justifiable. This has made us completely rethink our strategy… a major change in direction but one we have made with confidence! The background to this is I sold one practice because Andy’s advice was that I was going to lose more by not being at my other practice than I could make up developing the new one. Andy’s models proved that the financial goals and strategy I was pursuing did not stack up and we needed to completely change the business model. So, I sold to concentrate all my efforts on the existing business.

(iii) Monthly management accounts with Andy’s detailed interpretation.

One of the things I most like about working with Spot On Business Planning is having the confidence of knowing that I am making the right decisions for the right reasons. This comes from talking through problems and possible solutions. The ability then to analyse the implications of various options on the financial performance of the business by using the forecasting models that SOBP have built. This has meant that decisions have been taken with an insight as to the outcome without a ‘hit and hope’ attitude!

On a personal level I have found the support given to me by both Andy and Anne-Marie has been invaluable. Often as a business owner one can feel very alone and so the help of such knowledgeable advisers has been very helpful.

Would I recommend SOBP? Yes, unhesitatingly.”

“Andy, Anne-Marie and the rest of the SOBP team are always available to help with any problems or deliver solutions. They genuinely care about our business”

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Goldsworth Road Dental logo - Many thanks to Kate Pritchard from Goldsworth Road Dental for her glowing testimonial of Andy McDougall and his team at Spot On Busines Planning

Many thanks to Kate Pritchard from Goldsworth Road Dental for her glowing testimonial of Andy McDougall and his team at Spot On Busines Planning

We are delighted to share this testimonial from Kate Pritchard, partner at Goldsworth Road Dental in Woking, Surrey.

“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!”

Want to find out how we can help transform your dental business?

Spot On Business Planning provides business planning services that assist members of the dental community to respond to the dynamics of an increasingly commercial and competitive environment. Our tailored service provides straight-talking and results-driven advice and tools that transform performance – and our clients typically double their net profit every three years.

If you are interested in improving your financial results and running your practice more efficiently contact us to request a FREE initial consultation.

BDA Training Essentials

Andy McDougall will be running his hugely popular leadership course with the BDA in July. Click here for more information.

Excellent feedback to Andy McDougall’s BDA Business Essentials course

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BDA logo -Join dental business coach Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planning for his business essentials courses at the BDA

Join dental business coach Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planning for his business essentials courses at the BDA

On two Fridays in October the BDA held a Business Essentials ‘What every dental practice owner needs to know’ training course that was met with widespread praise from delegates.

Attendees were asked to complete a course evaluation form and 100% said they were satisfied with the event overall and 100% praised dental business coach Andy McDougall, from Spot On Business Planning, for his content, which they rated either excellent (82%) or good (18%). His presentation was given further praise with 81% rating it excellent and 19% good.

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Dental business mentor provides a different way of looking at the numbers

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woman thinking

Want to double your profits every 3 years and get greater control of your dental practice? Email Spot On Business Planning for details

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a surefire way of achieving the results you’ve dreamed of? There is, says dental buisness coach Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planning – it’s called effective business planning.

Everything you do in your dental practice comes back to numbers so understanding them is essential – but knowing how to influence them is critical. When working with Spot On Business Planning we cut through the jargon to teach our clients what they should have learned at dental school.

The process starts by taking a look at where your business is today and comparing that with where you would like it be at some time in the future. Being able to read a set of accounts and understand what it tells you about the changes you should be making if you are to improve profits is vital. Welcome to the world of business planning.

This article gives you a taster of the kind of things clients of SOBP typically experience and learn.

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PM business club launch hailed a success

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Some 100 practice managers and principals joined the launch of the Practice Managers Business Club in London on Saturday, November 10.

The Discovery Day introduced the business club – the brainchild of industry favourites Ashley Latter and Andy McDougall – attracting delegates from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, who attended to hear four inspirational speakers and find out more.

This revolutionary business club will provide forward-thinking PMs with the very best coaching the dental industry has to offer. Its aim is to up-skill PMs to help them become more effective business leaders.

Feedback from the Discovery Day at Friends House in Euston has been very positive. One attendee, Julie Randle, practice manager of Smile Style Dental Care Centre in Stafford, said:

“Not often do I come away from a course buzzing and with so many new ideas to implement. The speakers were first class, enjoyable, engaging, informative, passionate…the list goes on! Every time I hear Ashley and Andy speak I have more ideas and those light bulb moments that we all love.”

Other responses from attendees about what they most enjoyed about the day included:

“Very motivational and inspiring. Would recommend! Looking forward to putting ideas into practice,” Holly

“Gained valuable information and motivational ideas,” Julie

“Realising that we are not on our own with our challenges and that we can do something about it,” Gillian

Some 100 practice managers and principal dentists joined the Discovery Day for the PMBC

Some 100 practice managers and principal dentists joined the Discovery Day for the PMBC

Ashley and Andy were absolutely thrilled with the success of the day, which also provided delegates with six hours of verifiable CPD and a welcome pack that included information about membership perks including a copy of the launch edition of A-head for Business a quarterly magazine, details about forthcoming seminars and members’ only website, a business toolkit packed full of useful resources and more.

“The atmosphere was amazing and we are delighted with the feedback we have received from delegates, who seem very keen to join the club and take their practical skills and business success to the next level,” said Andy McDougall, from Spot On Business Planning.

For more information about the PMBC, which will kick off in January, please email us.