By Hayley Robins, Senior Accountant at Hive Business
Sometimes it’s ego. Sometimes it’s fear. But behind every unhappy dentist is a thinking error that’s making them do things they don’t want to be doing.
For instance, when that associate job offered the job satisfaction and income you wanted, why didn’t you take it? And now, as the main earner in your practice and your family, you feel trapped and frightened of your cost base, which isn’t going anywhere, so the only variable is how hard you work, right?
That’s not quite true, but this thinking is borne of a defensiveness that’s understandable given that as a principal you’re playing a balancing act between director, shareholder, technician, ops manager, team leader and CEO. With lots of conflicting tensions the way to maintain a consistent direction is to have an anchor point: a strategy that’s aligned with your values.
If you don’t know what your strategy is, there’s no chance your team will, and so there’s no way everyone can be working towards a common goal. What do you do when you don’t have a strategy? You peddle through your clinical hours, enjoying the feeling of generating income and not having to step back and think about what you actually want. It’s comfortable. Meanwhile, deep down, what you want is one of three things:
- More free time
- More money
- More job satisfaction
In my experience dentists find it hard to be honest with themselves. For instance, I see tired dentists who just keep working longer clinical hours, and it’s only when we start a conversation with them and look at the maths that we see why they’re tired: they’re not being paid what they should be.
You have to start the conversation in order to discover these things and be honest with yourself. You might be surprised. Maybe you’ll realise you want more time with your family, and you’d like to cut back to three days a week, but keep the same income. If you’re a principal, is that possible? We can find out with business modelling. But it’s no use doing it the other way round and creating business targets that require you to sacrifice your values.
If you don’t know what you want, you can find out with a Diagnostic Day. If you realise that you like, say, giving your clinicians freedom, building a good reputation in your community and having happy staff, might you be OK about forgoing some of your margin and revenue to pay for them? Many practice owners have never looked at it like that. With business modelling we can figure out how to make your compromise as advantageous as possible for you.