I’m a shameless student of any entrepreneurial business idea I think will help me run my practice and coaching business better.
I love learning from the best, testing ideas myself, refining them and making them my own.
Having read hundreds of books, attended countless seminars and been coached for hundreds of hours, it can seem like there’s always something to learn.
What I’ve come to accept is there are some maxims for business that remain timeless; regardless of industry, business size, or any distinguishing factor.
Far from being the secrets alluded to in the blog title, these maxims are frequently overlooked for their simplicity.
We’re often dismissive of these simple principles, equating simple with easy. However, simple is not always (if ever) easy.
In the world of business and dental practice, not everyone applies these principles, but if you do, there’s a good chance, you’ll learn to leverage your business too.
5 Secrets Every Dentist Should Use to Leverage Their Practice
#1 Secret – Just do it
While Nike claimed this baby as their own, I think they borrowed this entrepreneur’s ‘secret’ from others who were already just doing it.
So obviously simple in its directive, we can forget easily that action makes all the difference.
That’s right: action, however imperfectly executed, will be better than a ‘to do’ list every day of the week.
Without action, nothing happens. It’s really that simple.
As dentists, we’re strive to create perfection; it’s what we’re trained to do, and that’s admirable in delivery of treatment.
But business is not like that. Not so easily crafted, a business demands that you ‘just do it’.
There’s a saying from famous actor Cary Grant, who claimed he acted like Cary Grant for so long, he became Cary Grant.
Loving and leveraging your business is like that. To a large degree, it’s necessary to act the part, even if you haven’t quite mastered all the skills yet (more on this in Secret #5).
Act like this for a while and you’ll be surprised how good you become at just doing it.
#2 Secret – Apply the 80/30 rule
Secret #2 is all about using people to create leverage in your business.
If you’re the only dentist working in your practice, you are the business.
Something I teach my clients, working this way means your practice growth is limited, you take fewer holidays and it’s a direct route to burn out and resentment.
There’s no doubt, putting on extra team members is a big step. But there is an equation that will help you pinpoint the ideal time for doing so.
That magic point is when you’re working at 80 percent productivity. Not 100 percent or 120 percent; just 80 percent.
When you take 30 percent of your productivity and put a person on, there is massive leverage to be gained from that new employee’s latent capacity.
And when they’re working at 80 percent, you bring on the next team member, and so on.
Is it simple? Yes.
Is it easy? No
Challenges will most certainly arise as you shift gears.
That’s business, but try thinking of it like this: when you’re driving a manual car, there’s always a slight drop in momentum before the engine kicks in and starts running more smoothly in the higher gear.
And it will be like that in your practice when you apply the 80/30 rule. If in doubt, check out those around you who’ve applied the 80/30 rule already, i.e. created leverage by putting on another dentist or hygiene therapist.
#3 Secret – Find the right people
There are few areas that cause as much angst and heartache in dental practice as the recruitment and retention of good people.
A recent discovery made in my interview with serial entrepreneur, Doug Winnie, may have put paid to that grief.
Doug subscribes to the 4-hour recruitment process, which goes like this:
Place the job ad as you normally would.
Instead of accepting resumes, have prospective applicants call a number on which you leave a recorded message describing the skills and experience you’re looking for. Have the respondent answer three questions.
- What’s your biggest success to date?
- What are your three best attributes?
- What makes you best suited for the position?
Give the applicants three minutes to sell themselves.
Smart people will hang up and call again (and again if necessary) to get the questions. They will also take time to plan their responses. It’s a process that allows the ‘rock stars’ to shine.
Unbelievably, this process filters out 85 percent of applicants.
Once you’ve assembled a pool of applicants, call each one, and click down into their responses to each of the questions on the recorded message. A perfect opportunity to identify any deal breakers, this is a second important filter in the process.
Proceed to the next stage by setting up a group interview. Lasting between one and two hours, the group interview is a great forum for further filtering. Ask questions and give each person the opportunity to go first and last when responding. Score the answers.
Finally, do the last one-on-one interview, which may take an hour.
Full-proof it may not be, but it is a structured process and one tailored to yield a positive result that will create leverage in your practice.
# Secret 4 – Focus on the big rocks
If you’re like me you have a to do list that is always long.
And I’m as guilty as the next person for being distracted by tiny little to do’s that don’t take very much time at all, but getting them done means I can cross stuff off my list.
It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of productivity with this approach. Knowing that, I’ve endeavoured to live by sage advice shared by my dear and wise grandmother who stated:
The urgent is seldom important and the important seldom urgent.
Staying focused on the big rock – the important stuff – means identifying the highest priority for the day and doing it regardless.
It was Goethe who said: The things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
That means: focus on your big rock and productivity will skyrocket and leverage will be yours.
#5 Secret – Choose mindset over skill set
Answer this question: to solve any challenge, do you need to work on your mindset or your skill set?
If you answered skill set, you may wish to reconsider your response.
Let’s just say you’re a dentist and you want to set up practice at a second or third location. Do you need more skills or a shift in mindset?
There’s a good chance it’s your mindset that needs honing.
Yes, you may need more skills, but before you acquire the skills, you need the mindset adjustment that will open you up to envisaging the two or three practices.
Limiting beliefs may not be immediately obvious, making an initial shift in mindset more important than acquiring more skills.
Often it’s our mindset that holds us back. Free it up and you’ll see greater leverage in your business.
These are just a few of the techniques that can be used to start creating leverage in your dental practice.
See if you can adopt just one and assess how it works for you. Or maybe you’re already using tools and techniques to create leverage. If you are, share them here, as others will benefit too.
A final note, if you haven’t already, be sure to book in for, our next two-day intensive that brings together essential ingredients to train and support your staff and key players to be top performers. Book here for Be Impressive on Purpose: the Aligned Team.
Looking forward to sharing more entrepreneurial secrets with you.