By Hayley Robins, Senior Accountant at Hive Business
Through personal experience I take the view that people are driven predominantly by fear of loss. Every day I see people take decisions based on what they stand to lose in the immediate future, forgetting the unquantifiable loss that accompanies every decision.
I might advise a client to incorporate their business. The initial accountancy fee puts them off so they delay, then six months later they feel regret because they are — unnecessarily — paying six times those fees in avoidable tax. It’s the same in human resources. You have a team member who isn’t pulling his weight but you think “they are responsible for a lot and if they go I’ll have so much to sort out”.
It’s a headache, perhaps as the owner you will need to get heavily involved and re-evaluate your strategy, especially if we’re talking about a business manager. Yet the wrong person as business manager can do an awful lot of damage to your business. Ripping the plaster off is your best play. There will be pain and effort in the short term but it’s going to be less of a drain on the business than letting things continue. People in the wrong roles in dental practices is a common problem.
Avoidance happens with marketing too. People can’t see past the cost because there is no guaranteed return, and so they don’t do anything, and their business doesn’t grow. Even a relatively poor return, with modest business growth, would be preferable to that. And it happens with associates. They might reject your 40% deal or try to haggle because they feel they’re worth more, but they forget to ask about the book.
If you as the owner are saying you will fill their chair 75% of the time, the salient question is whether a 40% deal on a diary that’s full 75% of the time is more or less than a 50% deal in a different practice. Associates forget to ask about this and, anyway, a 50% deal is a bad omen: it’s a sign that a business is stagnant because the principle isn’t commercially astute and isn’t driving new patient acquisition (if they were they would be bullish and tell the associate all about it).
As an associate you reject the 40% deal because it doesn’t sound good enough to your ego; as an owner you keep the bad business manager and defer incorporation because change seems too risky. How do you break this pattern, go deeper with your analysis and make decisions that serve you better in the long term? It’s especially hard when you’re under pressure and you don’t have time to think. That’s when you need a third party like Hive to consistently challenge your superficial drivers and reveal what, deep down, you already know. Avoidance is so irrational yet so human — isn’t it time you factored it into your business life?