“It never ceases to amaze me how people just go with the flow,” says dental business coach, Andy McDougall from Spot On Business Planing. “You want a special business but you just accept what the mind benders put out there.”
“If I read a book on dentistry this morning and you asked me some questions on the subject that I answered well, would that make me a good dentist this afternoon? Would you be happy to hand me the drill for the first time?”
We imagine you are thinking it a ridiculous notion yet that’s exactly the way we feel when dental practice owners hand over the reins of their business strategy, pricing and profitability to complete novices. People with no financial pedigree or business credentials; with little or no skill, expertise in commercial enterprises of any sort!
If it were that easy to analyse your financial and non-financial performance and determine a methodology that underpins the doubling of your net profit within three years, a trip to Waterstones would hold the answer.
So when you choose your ‘dental consultant, coach, mentor’ what should you be thinking? What criteria should you base your decision making on? Here are a few thoughts. After all you are putting your family’s livelihood in the hands of this person so some form of due diligence is mandatory!
- Has he/she only read the books or has he/she worn the T-shirt?
- What strategy do they propose and what financial outcome does it support?
- Has this person led organisations prior to dentistry and do they come with rounded, commercial experience of leadership, finance, process, decision making etc?
- Ask around – what do existing customers and peers in the industry have to say?
- What track record of specifically improving financial performance does this person have?
There is a lot to figure out when analysing any business, including a dental practice
- Figuring out what’s wrong with your business – financial analysis.
- Figuring out what to do to fix it- strategy.
- Interpreting the results and driving the changes necessary to deliver the planned results – the art.
Financial modeling, business process techniques, and perceptive financial analysis: these are the necessary skills and experience of any advisor you let loose on your dental business.
Textbook versus expertise? There is no question. If you don’t feel Andy is competent and confident to undertake dentistry on your patients after reading a textbook, don’t assume a former dentist, treatment co-ordinator, dental nurse, sales person, practice manager, marketing exec … is proficient to determine and implement your business strategy.