Reduce risk, talk to real experts
Reduce risk, talk to real experts
Dentistry is prey to people giving advice on things they're not deep experts in

By Ross Martin, Management Consultant at Hive Business

A client tells me his old accountant once drew a line on a page to show him what would happen if he grew his revenue by 10% a year. “Of course I knew what the numbers would look like if revenue increased,” he said, ” what I needed was help to make that happen.”

There are accountants who shouldn’t try to be consultants and business coaches who shouldn’t try to be marketing experts. There are now also lawyers getting stamp duty all wrong. Stamp duty sounds straightforward but it’s not and should be left to qualified tax professionals.

The dental sector is less amateur than it was but it’s still prey to people giving advice on things they’re not deep experts in. As the stakes get higher the well trodden plod of graduates through the NHS into cautious, conventional dental practices continues, and many practice owners remain in a comfortable cocoon of apparent safety.

It seems safe because other people are doing it, but dentists are not trained to be business people, and the knowledge to succeed in business only comes from experience. You either wait until you’re battle hardened yourself, in which case you’ll have to accept some expensive mistakes, or you find someone to help you who has the training and experience you lack.

The NASDAL Benchmarking Report for 2017-18 showed a reduction in profit of 0.5% in private practices and 10% in NHS and mixed practices, as rising costs — attributed mainly to wages — hit an average of 70.1% of fees across all practice types.

These numbers are gathered from the accountant members of NASDAL who together act for a quarter of self-employed dentists. They show what the typical NASDAL dental practice is doing, which will be aligned to what NASDAL accountants do.

In contrast, at Hive our multi-disciplinary team works according to the T-model of knowledge: individuals are expected to have a broad ability to work outside their core area and a deep knowledge of their chosen field. So strategists, accountants and creatives listen to each other and create new solutions that work across all areas of your business.

Going back to the NASDAL figures, if wages are going up, putting up fees is in no way a strategic response (look up Known Value Items), you may need to come up with more sophisticated revenue growth tactics and maybe even reposition your practice. Does your adviser encourage you to grow your business by looking to the future and planning strategically?

We do. And we aren’t scared of complexity — we mitigate it for you as a bread and butter part of doing business. A client told me recently there is nothing else like Hive in this space. “You guys really do have a diverse and comprehensive expertise,” he said. His words, not mine.

Ross Martin
By Ross Martin Management Consultant
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