I went on a leadership course in February. Hive Business and Fine Company run them for dental practice owners predominantly, but not exclusively. I felt out of my depth at first, surrounded by older, apparently more accomplished people, but I left with more confidence. It’s time for me to be more assertive, to stop looking for confirmation from others before taking action, to reset and step up.
The course left me with a strong impression about the dangers of putting busyness over business. It feels as though I am, like many people I know, always busy. We churn through our workaday tasks, assuming we’re heading towards a goal, but what if we haven’t set the goal or the strategy to get there? I took a look at the past year and asked myself: what have I achieved and what do I actually want?
These are opposite questions for anyone who owns a dental practice. A practice is the principal’s biggest asset and they naturally assume that it’s going to cover their pension requirements when they sell. It’s a shock when I show them what their pension would be today, based on the actual numbers.
This is useful because it focuses the mind. If the number is too low, this prompts the principal to decide on the right number. And when they want to retire. Many are initially vague about the age they plan to retire and like to think they can keep going, but when it’s put in concrete terms like “you will have to work another 15 years instead of five”, this focuses the mind too.
Often principals don’t know what their practice is worth. Cold hard facts from an accountant do wonders for snapping them out of this ennui. Find out it’s value and what it needs to be. You don’t want to be poor in retirement so this way (the conscious, strategic way) you’re more likely to do the things you’ve been putting off: grow your revenue make the practice less reliant on you and improve the EBITDA so it’s more attractive to buyers.
Another matter affecting the long term future of your business is your tax strategy. It’s not unusual to find principals overpaying tens of thousands of pounds to HMRC each year that they could be reinvesting. When you sell there are many pitfalls. It can go really wrong and you need an expert involved as soon as possible. We saved Chris Stafford £200k on the sale of two practices, which he explains in a testimonial video here:
You may already have a plan, but if you haven’t actioned anything yet, it wasn’t right. When you’re aiming for a goal you actually want it feels different because you’re engaged in your long term drive. You’ll do what you need to do because you want the outcome and you know how to get it. On this path there will always be conflicts of interest which are hard to deal with. It’s your business, you have to implement things your way. You have to manage your people while ploughing forward in line with your strategy and at the same time stay true to yourself. Not easy. We know what it’s like and we’re here to help.