“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” A phrase that’s attributed to Aristotle, and although he didn’t quite say it, at least not like that, let’s use it to get us going on the concept of emergence, which is a quality of our work at Hive that I want to explain. The word miracle might as well be substituted for emergence because that is how extraordinary and creative this phenomenon is.
You can build any system by planning, testing and arranging the parts, and yet something miraculous happens once it whirs into life: unanticipated properties and capabilities emerge. This happens even though the individual parts have none of the properties or capabilities of the system. The system becomes a being with a character or nature that is something besides the parts. Actually, that is how Aristotle put it: “The totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the parts.”
We’ve been feeling this emergence at Hive and watching it lift our clients. When we built our business the pieces were as follows: we would be a multi-disciplinary team of management consultants, tax advisers, accountants and marketeers and we would focus exclusively on dentistry. Since then we’ve immersed ourselves in the industry and absorbed as much knowledge as possible.
Because all our clients are dentists we come across common issues that enable us to provide added value, much more than you could expect from, say, your average accountant. Like a dental practice we have different specialisms that cross-fertilise each other, and when a customer comes in they are cross-referred to the most appropriate specialist depending on their needs and circumstances. They can be at any point along their career arc.
For example, an associate looking to buy a practice might need a forecast or business modelling. We might set up a limited company for them and get one of our tax specialists to review their purchase agreement. We could claim back taxes that the previous owner paid through little known allowances. People know they can claim dental chairs against tax but often don’t realise that there are allowances in the body of a building, like the plumbing in the walls, that can be offset against tax. We can put a clause in your purchase agreement saying that you will receive all of these allowances.
Another example: a dentist is saving funds through the tax structure of their company. They end up with a cash pot of £200k, and we reflect to them that really they have invested £200k in their bank account. Is there a better place to put that cash if they don’t need it right now? Another angle on this theme: if your practice is worth £1m, is that £1m investment performing properly, is it one you would be prepared to make again every day?
When you come to sell we’ll examine the tax structure of your business and look at the wider picture. With the Capital Gains Tax rate about to be pulled. we might advise you to go ahead quickly, or we might see that your business is ripe to be fattened up for a later sale. Recently I’ve noticed that clients coming to us for help selling have had good bookkeeping but poor recordkeeping, which can mean hundreds of thousands of pounds chipped away on the sale price as buyers find their due diligence is held up.
There are so many opportunities and pitfalls along the career arc of a dentist and the landscape has become more complex. Your best bet is to stay real, be aware and focus on making good decisions with the information available and for that you need joined up thinking. You’re too busy to do it all yourself and work at the same time. Hive’s system, with its emergent quality of intuiting your deeper motives and goals and what’s on your horizon can weave things together for you to create abundance. If you’re looking for that kind of synergy, join us.