So what is the big difference between a profitable practice and a scalable practice anyway? Business owners mistakenly use these terms interchangeably, and limit their business’s growth as a result. A profitable business is one with healthy cash flow and a great Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet.  But that doesn’t represent scalability. Good profits can take a dive with the slightest change in your revenue, or even your marketplace.

A scalable business on the other hand relies on efficient team work to grow. You don’t just look at the numbers on your balance sheets but rather at the structure of your business. You assess how many chairs you can bring into your practice without having to relocate. How many more team members you need to support that growth and what would be the roles and duties of those team members in order to make them worth the investment? More like a Jenga tower, where you carefully place each block over the other in order to make it sturdy. You also understand the importance of each block and its role in maintaining the strength of that structure.

But in order to make it possible, you need to leverage that through efficient team and effective systems.


The Performance Culture Matrix

When it comes to building a great team, I have a grid based system that I call the Performance Culture Matrix. This two by two grid works like a dental quadrant. On the vertical axis, we would have performance, and culture fit on the horizontal axis. The top right-hand quadrant houses the A player- a competent player who does his work at high standard and is also a great culture fit. In other words, he gets us, he knows us, he likes us, he is on board with what we’re trying to achieve.

In the bottom right-hand quadrant we have the B player. This one is also a great culture fit but requires some training to develop skills. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are incompetent; it just means they are either new or settling in to new roles in the organisation and need some training and time to adjust.

In the top left-hand quadrant is the C player; this player is extremely good at the technical aspects of his job but isn’t a good culture fit. This player also needs some training and you need to try and encourage them to become a culture fit; however, if they don’t settle well, then they need to be moved to the lower left quadrant which is the D player. A D player is neither technically competent nor a culture fit. The D players need to be gradually moved out of the practice.

In order to maintain an efficient team, you need to have as many A and B players in your practice as possible.


Have an Organisational Structure

So how do you identify these players? Working in a systematic manner enables you to monitor progress and performance. An organisational structure is extremely useful in workforce planning, mapping out the structure of your current practice and also in mapping your future growth plans. You can easily identify ways you can get the most out of your team members and recruit the right people to fill in any responsibilities and roles that you foresee being needed in the future.


Have the Roles Outlined

It is extremely important to define the roles each team member needs to fulfil to effectively meet your goals. Don’t let your receptionist or dental assistant figure out their job description and priorities on their own. Specify their roles and have them mapped out. You need to have very clear metrics for success that will also serve as performance indicators.


Key Person Risk

You need to assess each player’s performance and see if your practice is heavily dependent on any one team member. You need to mitigate this risk by acknowledging the person’s head in terms of documenting systems, processes and how things are done at the practice. You also need to adopt the Noah’s Ark principle- you should have two people who can fulfil a particular role. An organisational chart would really help with this.

Also avoid designating tasks to individual people. Rather than saying this is Bob’s role or Susie’s role you should be using terms like this is the hygienist’s role or dental assistant’s role.



You need to have a systematic and methodical approach to recruitment. Your workforce is one of the highest expenses of your practice; you need to ensure you hire the right people for the job. Don’t just look for people with glorious work experiences, you should be looking for someone who would be a good fit for the job description you’ve laid out and will also be a good culture fit. Know the salary you can afford for someone working on that specific role. Here are a few tips to help hire the right people:

  • Create a compelling job opening description based on your ideal applicant avatar. This ensures only the most suitable applicants apply.
  • Market your job openings. Your workforce is as important as your clients. Make your job postings attractive and enticing so as to find ideal applicants for the particular role.
  • Prepare targeted questions for your interview process. You need to assess whether the person is going to be a great fit for the team. Do they have the requisite skills? Ask them to describe what a value means to them and equally, if we paint a vision for our practice how are they going to be able to support the practice to bring that vision to life.
  • Once the candidate passes through the first interview, conduct a second interview.
  • When you have made a selection craft your magnetic job offer. This is to make sure that you put the odds in your favour to entice them into taking the job.


Personal Improvement Plan

Once you have the right people working for you, you need to provide robust training opportunities to make the most of their skills and experience. This is only possible when you help the employee grow with you. They need to be able to answer ‘what’s in it for me’ in order to efficiently help meet your goals. One of the most commonly used coaching frameworks is a model called the GROW model which stands for Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward.

This method allows you and your employees to continually assess the growth chart and take action to further polish those skills in order to move forward. Your team members are your practice’s greatest assets, and it is only when you truly invest in them can you scale your business, creating a business and a life you will love!


P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:

1. Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”

The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here

2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too

It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here

3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event

Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details!  – Click here

4. Work with me and my team privately

If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here