How to run the world’s worst restaurant
How to run the world’s worst restaurant
I wonder how far you’d get in the restaurant trade if you closed at lunchtime and turned away people who hadn’t booked ahead...
August 18, 2016

By Luc Wade, Marketing Director at Hive Business.

It takes a certain kind of person to borrow hundreds of thousands of pounds and stake everything on your own business success when you have little or no business experience.

It’s what dentists around the country are doing every day, and it takes a lot of guts. Getting through your degree and training was hard, and slogging it out as an associate for however many years wasn’t easy, but now you pine for those carefree days don’t you?

You’re having to learn how to be an entrepreneur on the hoof, while still doing your clinical job. And not only an entrepreneur and a clinician but probably a managing director too.

No doubt at some point in this slightly insane moving landscape (unless you go under) you’ll develop a healthy dose of pluck and bravado. You’ll have to, and that brings me to my point: just because you’ve got this far doesn’t mean you’re always right.

Take marketing. Everyone in business understands that marketing is essential. It could be word of mouth, it could be pay per click, and it’s probably a few things, but you’ve got to do something to bring new paying customers in every day.

I don’t think any dental practice owner disputes this, but a great many do dispute the need for a professional approach to marketing. Quite a few that I’ve worked with have agreed to a marketing budget then changed their minds later and gone a bit off piste, with the result that the marketing plan hasn’t delivered the projected revenue.

Proper marketing is good value for money because even when tactics don’t work you have continuing reportage that improves your future tactics. In a sense you’re always placing bets, but they’re educated bets, and they become better educated as you go along.

When you go off piste and commission things like a dodgy new website on the cheap, or skimp £100 on your pay per click campaign and fail to set up call tracking, you sabotage that reporting system and effectively stall your marketing machine. That means you’re jettisoning your conveyor belt of new patients even while you’re spending more money on it.

Another common sight in dental practices is the business hub that shuts for lunch. Great for your staff but not so great for busy potential patients who wanted to talk to you on their lunch hour. And, on second thoughts, very bad for your staff when you have to start letting them go due to falling revenue. Incidentally, website traffic and conversions can peak at lunchtimes.

I wonder how far you’d get in the restaurant trade if you closed at lunchtime and turned away people who hadn’t booked ahead. I think most people working in dentistry now accept that it’s part of the service industry, which was a bitter pill to swallow for some, although we’re still not completely clear of the “you’re lucky to join my practice” mindset.

Generating new patients consistently is a serious business and it comes with responsibility, so if you don’t have an in house business manager I would strongly advise you to get professional help — not because you can’t do it, but because you can’t do it on top of all your other responsibilities and it’s too important to neglect. It’s the lifeblood of your entire business!

This is really about choosing to let go of DIY marketing for professional marketing. Perfectly illustrated by the fact that there are probably thousands of practices that still don’t have websites because the owners are looking at the cost; £4k to £6k for a website looks like a lot until you calculate the extra £10k a month it can generate for your business. Yet so many websites thrown together on the cheap forget to have clear calls to action and aren’t responsive on smartphones or correctly indexed on Google.

You won’t necessarily know the significance of this stuff until you get no traffic, then you’ll have to start again, or give up, assuming ‘marketing’ doesn’t work for the dentistry industry. We’ve had one case where we discovered the poor uptake of new patients in response to a marketing campaign was actually down to the reception staff telling callers they weren’t taking new patients. These were orthodontic enquiries worth potentially £6k each.

So you get my point; serious marketing not only delivers serious revenue, it protects you from seriously calamitous mistakes.

To find out how we can help drive new patients to your dental business get in touch on 01872 300232 or email us at

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Hive Business and does not constitute formal tax advice. Any tax outcomes will be based on individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation, which are subject to change in the future. You should seek specific advice before embarking on any course of action. Hive Business does not provide regulated Financial Advice, including advice on investment, insurance or lending products or their suitability for you. This article is provided for information only and does not constitute, and should not be interpreted as, investment advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or otherwise transact, or not transact, in any investment including Bitcoin and other crypto. Any use you wish to make of any information contained within this article is, therefore, entirely at your own risk.

By Luc Wade Marketing Director
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