A while back, nobody had heard the term entrepreneurial dentist.
Among the dental fraternity, if you approached your dental practice as a business, well, let’s just say, it wasn’t the done thing.
Now all that’s changed.
Far more widely accepted, dentists are finding their inner entrepreneur and approaching business differently. Like entrepreneurs.
This evolution didn’t happen overnight.
And like most change, it was borne out of a need.
Adjustment to industry changes, increased competitiveness, and consumer expectations have all played a part.
For things to be different, there’s been an overwhelming need for dentists to look more broadly than dentistry for business solutions.
The point here?
Dentists can learn a lot from other industries; even those, like artificial intelligence, with no apparent connection.
An outstandingly successful entrepreneur, Matthew shared his wisdom and insights during our interview.
What he’s learned in the commercialisation of artificial intelligence technology is just as relevant for entrepreneurial dentists who want to grow and scale their practice
#1 Change Is Guaranteed. Be Ready For It.
There are so few guarantees in life, but here’s one you can count on.
With humans being who they are, we’re always going to look for ways to innovate.
Innately, we’re wired to look for better, faster, more enjoyable.
The AI industry shows what rapid response to change looks like.
A convergence of cheaper, more powerful technology, more sophisticated algorithms, and today’s volume of data, AI could only change to survive the current iteration of its development.
For an entrepreneur, this means understanding your business is dynamic too.
It will not stay the same, especially if you want to grow and scale your practice.
The thing about change is it often moves on us before we move on it.
However, a dental entrepreneur does things differently.
Not simply making change for the sake of it, she will accept change is part of business and respond instead of react.
#2 Change = Opportunity
It’s widely known the Chinese character for crisis is the same as opportunity.
Whoever came up with it was on to something.
While change is often synonymous with upheaval, it pays to remember this is often due to a more evolved version of the business emerging.
Rather than resist change because it brings challenge, be more welcoming of it because on the flip side, you’ll find opportunity as well.
#3 Expand Your Bandwidth Beyond Dentistry
There may not be many direct applications for AI in dentistry right now, but it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about it.
Because AI is impacting many industries our patients and service providers operate in.
If we’re oblivious to what’s happening to them, we face our own demise.
Failing to adjust our approach as dental business owners, we could be blindsided i.e. not ready for change (refer to point #1).
We may also miss opportunities to provide better, more customer-centric, in-demand services.
#4 Focus On What People Want
This is a bit of a mind shift for most dentists.
We’re educated to deliver treatment patients need.
And there’s no doubt we’ll continue to do that.
What’s as important is finding out what patients want.
Today people seek customised experiences, tailored care, and personal connection. Our job is to work out how to deliver this through a dental business.
We can take the lead from AI in this regard.
AI isn’t a universal solution. However, it is ideally suited to specific applications.
It is only finding a place in the world because people are looking for better or faster ways to do things (what people want) in certain industries.
This translates to delivering what the market wants.
How is this relevant for dentistry?
We can package up services, offer payment flexibility, adjust opening hours, eliminate hurdles for people to step through the practice door, personalise an approach that is unique to our practice.
Be creative and innovate, just like AI has.
#5 Have A Clear Vision And Work It
We’ve talked a lot about vision in this blog so it’s no surprise to find it making another appearance.
A clear vision is ‘ground zero’ of your dental business.
It should encapsulate where you want to be in the future.
Maybe it’s two, three or five years’ time for you.
It should articulate what the business will look like and what you’ll be doing.
When the vision is clear, all other decisions become easier.
You can discern whether an idea or opportunity will move you in the direction of your vision or away from it, and then act accordingly.
Not clear on your business vision yet? No problem.
Take time away from the everyday and ask the questions that will clarify your vision.
Some people can do it themselves. Others need a coach, friend or mentor to keep them on track.
It doesn’t matter so much how you approach this exercise. It matters more that you do it.
What also matters is that you work hard to bring that vision to life.
Entrepreneurialism is a must for any dentist who wants more than a practice.
While success isn’t guaranteed, we can’t become entrepreneurial dentists without adopting a shift in mindset.
Delivering to what the market wants is essential. So too is looking beyond our own industry for better and more creative ways of doing things.
Underpinned by a vision and hard work, and we’re well on the way to becoming dental entrepreneurs.