Owning and running a business will be the greatest personal development course you’ll ever take.

Of course, I don’t recommend becoming a business owner purely for that reason.

But by some mysterious design, owning a business takes us up a steady pathway of growth punctuated by what can feel like deliberately divined challenges.

Patient numbers, marketing, personnel, cashflow – you name it. In business, you’ll be putting out fires left, right, and centre.

Though these challenges are rarely easy, they are experiences that galvanise and propel us forward.

When we’re faced with a problem, we often have a tendency (and it’s a generalisation) to want to craft the perfect solution.

And why wouldn’t we? As dentists, it’s drummed into us.

If we haven’t yet finessed this trait before university, we certainly hone it to perfection during that time.

We work methodically, to specific margins, and pride ourselves on precision.

Unleashed into practice, our perfectionism takes full flight; and it’s a quality that makes us fantastic clinicians.

Neither we nor our patients would have it any other way.

But in business, perfectionism can be your undoing.

It slows progress.

It stymies creativity.

And it can paralyse you from taking action altogether.

As a dental business owner, you’re going to be required to make decisions without all the information, be bold, and take imperfect action.

And the only way to do this?

Lighten up on perfectionism.

To get business moving, bolder action – however imperfectly executed – is required.

Here are my tips for enjoying some imperfect wins sooner.


Have Simple Systems

I’m a big believer in systems.

I’m an even bigger believer in simple systems that work and can be implemented with ease.

Systems are intended to make dental business easier, not harder.

They should support your team, promote consistency, and keep business moving.

My team know we work to systems made up of speedy standard operating procedures – or SOPs.

Presented on a single page, it is entirely possible for your dental business to be systemised this way.

Does this mean you need to write every SOP?

Definitely not.

Yes, you’ll want to have input, but you don’t need to write it yourself.

And I know you might be overwhelmed when it first comes to creating and implementing SOP’s and systems.

I get it.

Just accept that this is a process that won’t happen overnight, and it will take some time to get them up and running in your dental business.

But just get a start.

Make a list. Start with five. Get them done.


Because getting stuff done is better than waiting for perfect.


Know Your Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

We talk a lot about dental business KPI’s at Savvy Dentist.

If you’re serious about moving from being a practice owner to a dental business owner, it’s vital to know your KPI’s.

Again, we’re not talking anything complex here.

Just a few simple metrics tracked consistently.

A KPI is something you’re measuring right now; something you’re aiming for each week.

It might be new patient starts, number of people asked for a referral, or even reactivations.

Theoretically, the amount of KPI’s you could track are endless. But if you’ve got dozens of KPI’s you’re trying to keep top of mind, then you’re going to get too cluttered and not be laser focused on any of them.

That’s a shortcut to perfection overwhelm.

Instead of thinking about all the important business metrics, just think about the three to five most important ones.

The ones that keep the practice rolling, and let you know you’re on the right track.

Making this shift in mindset will not only help you overcome the dilemma that there’s too much to do and not enough time.

It will also put you on track for true dental business ownership.


Practice Makes Perfect

I know what you’re thinking.

Isn’t this post about letting go of perfectionism and getting stuff done?

And now here I am suggesting you practice to make it perfect?

Let me explain.

Giving up habits we’ve developed and hung onto for a long time takes practice.

Like any muscle, it needs to be strengthened through consistent use.

Which is why you will need to practice not wanting everything to be perfect.

I’m not suggesting you relax your professional standards in clinical practice.

What I mean is find ways to engage the 80% rule in development of your business.

If it’s 80% there, finish it off and move on.

One area this applies for most dentists I encounter, is in their marketing.

Yes, they know producing content is important.

But they refuse to hit publish until it’s a perfect production.

It’s better to do it imperfectly than to not do it at all.

At its core, perfectionism is about control.

We think we can control many things that we can’t. Ironically, the more we try to control something, the more out of control it gets.

While it’s counter intuitive, letting go of some of that control and perfectionism takes the pressure off.

It allows other solutions to emerge, often making life easier than if we’d controlled it every step of the way.

In my experience, perfectionism in business has slows things down. Don’t let it do that for you.