How strategy helps me cut through the chaos
How strategy helps me cut through the chaos
Dental practice owners wear so many hats: business manager, finance manager, agony aunt, fee earner, wage payer

I’ve been at Hive since it was born in 2015, and in that time the company has behaved like a start up. We’ve tried working with different partners, we’ve tried different business models and we’ve tried offering different services. We’ve been learning from experience and getting clearer on our strategy.

What has helped enormously is that last part. We have invested more time in making our strategy clear and simple, especially in the past year. That’s the strategy of each department and, above that, the company strategy.

This has really helped me personally. It’s made the inevitable chaos that all senior business people face so much easier to manage because it’s easier for me to prioritise. This was especially welcome in Q1 because it’s been a prolonged busy period. HMRC extended its tax deadlines and we took on lots of new business.

Like me, dental practice owners wear so many hats: business manager, finance manager, agony aunt, fee earner, wage payer… Your world is a constantly evolving task list. You’re ticking things off but there are conflicting priorities, and it’s hard to keep perspective and not to get lost in the hamster wheel of what’s right in front of your nose.

Obviously dentists are busier than ever too, servicing patients and dealing with unusual staff issues that keep arising because of Covid. In that situation it’s normal to want to keep your head down and power through but actually the best thing to do is dedicate the time to step back. I think that dentists are doing a bit of this. The buoyancy of the buying and selling market suggests they’re wondering what they want out of the whole game.

Perhaps people who were planning to sell in five years are thinking they may as well jump now. And entrepreneurial associates are looking to buy. Maybe the lockdown period has tipped them over the edge because they got so squeezed. As self employed workers they were sidelined and had no control over their own destiny, while their principals needed to step in and service fees to keep their own business going.

People in both of these groups, then, are coming to a realisation about what they want faster than they might have. Which begs the question, why do we need a pandemic to get clear on our end goals? It’s a bit like ‘normal’ being using road signs to get to your end destination. Of course you will waste time and fuel and get distracted by other things. You could get there directly using a map or satnav.

If you’re looking to buy or sell for the first time it might feel like there is no other option but to follow these road signs. But we have satnavs. If you’re an associate looking to buy we do a Discovery Day, which will basically install one on your dashboard. This satnav will help you identify what you want to buy, find it, check it’s financials are solid and safe, and guide you through to ownership and business growth and then, ultimately exit.

If you’re thinking about selling, we can offer you an evaluation of your practice, guidance on how to take it to market and the price you can get. We do this in association with the broker Christie & Co. You’ll discover if you’ll get enough for retirement and if not we’ll help with your wealth planning too to get you where you need to be. If it turns out that you need to reach a growth target before selling, what you will find is that this is easier to achieve now that you have a purpose.

In business you have to be careful how you spend your energy. It’s too easy to stay the same and keep thinking you can make it work by just trying a little harder. But it doesn’t work like that. You need to think strategically to get ahead. I know from my own experience in the past year that I have more clarity on what my priorities are, what I should and shouldn’t be doing and what should be delegated in my accounts team, because I know what is feeding into my end goal. We can help you do this in your business too.

Hayley Robins
By Hayley Robins Senior Accountant
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