Last week, I shared with you the first seven entrepreneurial lessons for dental practice owners…

The lessons are based on my experiences during my own journey and are combined with the business insights of my podcast guest, dental entrepreneur and practice ownership consultant Dr Nauvneel Kashyap.

Here are lessons 8 to 13…

#8 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Apply focus in the right direction!

Identify where and when you need to focus your energy and time. And before focusing on the little things that make a difference, get the bigger things operating smoothly.

We’re all familiar with the 80:20 rule, but I look at a 64:4 ratio… To do this, consider what the vital few things are that need your focus, time and energy.

Ultimately, these may be things that are going to give the biggest return on effort and on investment. Or the tasks you love doing so that you do them damn well.

It also helps to have those around you focus on the aspects of your business where you do not apply deep focus. Not every aspect of the practice needs your focus, the focus of team members can be just as critical.

Consider how and what you are spending time on, what you are missing, and where you are wasting time. Develop a set of rules for your own game, and stick to them, and then you’ll find your sweet spot.

#9 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Progress is exponential!

I would often get impatient because I wasn’t achieving certain results in certain time-frames, or I’d be knocked off course because I’d have a set-back.

I’ve learnt set-backs are normal in life, and business is not a linear journey.

Progress starts off with getting the foundations in place; then there’s acceleration, and finally you can own and dominate a marketplace.

A sensible thing to do as your practice grows is to manage cash flow upfront and early on. Then if you do go through that period of slow and incremental growth, you will have enough cash reserves to get through and you can hold strong.

#10 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Build and strengthen your ‘moat’!!

Dr Nauv makes reference to a metaphorical moat around his ‘castle’; building a ‘moat’ protects your business and makes it difficult for competitors to run up to the castle and hammer down the doors.

So, the question is…Do you have a moat around your practice?

The ‘moat’ acts as a protective ring. It may be in the form of exceptional patient service by a happy caring team, or a culture of taking more time to chat and develop deeper relationships with patients, or offering a state of the art, caring and considerate environment for all patients including kids. Find your moat! Find what stands you apart from any neighbouring practices…

Learn to re-adjust and refocus this ‘moat’ to suit you at different times, so you can also enjoy your successes, and not be focused on defensive gameplay.

#11 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Love your customers!

Without customers, there is no business! Our customers are critical to our success. Their opinions matter much more than some of the other stuff we find ourselves focusing on. One example is advances in technology.

And as dentists we can get caught up in the gizmos and gadgets and sometimes forget our work focuses on solving real problems for real people.

Dr Nauv agrees that falling in love with processes and systems instead of responding to patients’ feedback can be hugely detrimental to a business.

Empathy and problem solving are attributes of a brilliant dental entrepreneur.

#12 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Build your Resilience!

Resilience comes from our own personal experiences and learning from our own mistakes. Embrace those failures, errors and mishaps. Think them through, find the lessons to be learned and let them build your level of resilience.

Dentists tend to be perfectionists. We are often A-Type personalities who strive and strive and strive. Then when things don’t go perfectly to plan we struggle with the backlash; the rejection.

One of the things I’ve observed is that perfectionism has served me well in some elements of my life, but it’s also been a huge factor in slowing me down in other parts of my life.

You don’t have to be perfect. You can build resilience each and every time you have a set-back.  Simply ask yourself… What can I learn here; how can it make me stronger?

#13 of 13 Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Surround yourself with great people!

The greatest challenge facing dental practice owners is the recruitment and ongoing management of their team.

An entrepreneur needs a great team – hire people who might be better at certain things than you are!

Dr Nauv no longer bases his recruitment decisions on competency alone. Instead his focus is on three things; attitudes, ability to take feedback and people who aim to lift up the whole team.

Hire on the basis of transferable skills, recruiting characters that fit within the ethos of your practice. Skills can be taught are not necessarily the things that a dental practice owner should focus on when recruiting the ideal team for their business.

I also have a hiring process; it’s called Performance Culture Matrix; it’s about being a good fit attitudinally – based on A players, B players, and C and D players.

In my book, I write about my experience being a C player and about the lessons I’ve learnt from that time; (‘RETENTION! How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice’ is available on Amazon.)

One of my mentors has this great saying, ‘you get what you tolerate’.

And so, I’ve learnt that effective hiring is about getting the right culture fit.

I teach about culture in relation to leadership and team building in the next Practice Max workshop; click here to find out more. I’d love to see you there.

Final Words on Entrepreneurial Lessons:

Be sure to listen to both parts of my podcasts with Dr Nauvneel Kashyap, and also check out last week’s blog post with the first seven entrepreneurial lessons.

And of course, I hope these lessons are helpful for you and your dental practice.


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

  1. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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