Water, lemon and aloe vera on wooden background

Amateurs forget to hydrate

Practice Development, Ross Martin

By Ross Martin, Accountancy Director at Hive Business

A 3% loss in hydration leads to a 10% loss in performance. I don’t know how I know it, but our business adviser Dan used to be a personal trainer and he tells me I’m right and this is indeed true.

It came back to me, from the recesses of my mind, as a strong analogy for business. I think it captures a business truism that if you want to be really good you have to be scrupulous. To mangle a phrase from Thomas Edison, inspiration will get you just 1% of the way — it takes perspiration to go the other 99%.

Most people have had at least one inspired idea, but how many people have applied their idea? Very few, because very few people can cope with how difficult and painful the necessary compromises are.

When the old head of the Prussian army Helmuth von Moltke said: “no battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy” he might have added that neither did any army that scrimped on scrupulousness and perspiration. These were qualities the Prussians were admired and hired for.

In the fullness of time, an organisation that neglects an area of its operations by not allocating enough attention and resources — scrupulousness and perspiration — will discover there is a cost, and the cost might prove terminal.

For example, as a busy dental principal, there is a cost to writing your own website content. And there is a cost to doing your own accounts if you don’t have enough time or experience.

Whenever I ask a practice owner whether they monitor their financial position they almost universally say yes. What they mean is they look at the bank statement at the end of the month. When I ask about KPIs, they say “I don’t need that”. What they mean is that they are comfortable, the bills are getting paid and the business is washing its face.

Understandably that feels OK for them because they don’t know what they don’t know. Then, eventually, there’s always one deep conversation that changes the way they see things. Here are some examples of owners who felt they were doing OK (and that we have seen more than once):

  • Principals on the equivalent of a 25% associate deal if a transparent assessment of profit is undertaken

  • Practice owners who would be better off selling their practice, doing nothing, and renting out the freehold

  • Expensive extensions being built for extra capacity when loss-making surgeries are in operation

  • The belief that growing at 8% is good — dentistry is on average growing at 8% so this level of growth (although no walk in the park) has nothing to do with your ability to lead a practice and beat the market

Much the same is true for digital marketing. No doubt you use and interact with websites every day, but that doesn’t mean you should be able to build a high-performing one, and then leverage its position for new patient enquiries using the best channels for your target audience.

There’s always a mate who does SEO or social media. It doesn’t matter whether them “doing” SEO is simply that they manage their own local rugby team’s website, or that they have a couple of social media accounts — but it should. They say that an expert costs, but wait until you see the cost of an amateur. Amateurs forget to hydrate.

If you want more visability on how your business is actually performing, book a diagnostic day with us. Call 08172 300232 or email [email protected] 

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