Autonomy, corporations, mergers and the future of dentistry.
"Find the autonomy in your work. Autonomy is key to feeling good about the work you do, no matter what kind of work it is."
~Jean Chatzky, author
Many of you have the chance to take over the small family business. Or you go to school with the hope of becoming the owner of your own business. You WANT the freedom and independence of calling your own shots!
Dentistry is still 4 of the top 10 professions for a multitude of reasons!!
-The success rate of dental clinics is still over 99%
-The unemployment rate is negligible (under .9% - who are those people anyways that can't find a job in denitstry?)
-Who sets the amount of hours you work? You do.
-Who are your potential customers? Everyone.
-Where are your potential customers located? Everywhere.
-Who sets the hours you work? You do.
-Who tells you HOW to do you job? You do.
I could go on and on, and yet we seem to find a million reasons to throw up our hands and play the "BLAME GAME"!
"A POOR WORKMAN BLAMES HIS TOOLS"
DSO. Corporations. Valuations. The cost of education. The cost of supplies. The lack of skilled workers. Technology costs. Patient Demands.
We can go on and on and play the blame game (seriously - read my blog!) for all the reasons we SHOULD QUIT or will fail. If we keep focusing on this, the inevitable will happen....and is happening....
We will let someone else eat our lunch.
It's happened to me!
My journey in business started at 17. Joining my Father in the Dental Supply business in 1984. I learned a lot! the changes for that part of the industry already started back in 1984!
As an INDEPENDENT company - we had all the start up costs. The Million dollars to find a location, renovate, purchase inventory, hire people. All before a dollar even got sold. Then the cash flow...the issues with start up marketing. How do you get in the door and get people with a strong loyalty to a large company switch business. There has to be a plan. In retail, it's generally PRICE.
If you are in business and your strategy is PRICE - you better find a way to lower your costs of overhead. Better price on your consumables. Less labour to produce the product. Larger volume sales with low collections. Turn over the inventory fast. All the same problems you have! Cost of labour, cost of supplies, your "shrinking" retail price and affordability of your product....
I know you don't have empathy for the dental supply industry - but we went through the transitions you are going through now in the 80's and 90's and still are. I have never lost my independent thinking and I promise to work in this business as long as I can to prove to you that there is VALUE in your relationships that are included in the "price of cotton rolls" (LISTEN to my podcast "Will cheaper cotton rolls change dentistry forever?")
My Dad was a skilled salesman - but like may skilled dentists had to learn the "business" of cash flow. Overhead. Strategy and identifying your market.
Ultimately the story went this way.....We merged with another, larger and independent supplier Sinclair Dental. Eventually that got bought by a wealthy and business minded individual who ultimately bought my Dad out....and I became a disgruntled employee. My dream of autonomy never died though...it continues today as I write these blogs and help offices understand valuations, and create opportunity.
"The Opportunity Broker"
A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not the desire to beat others....Ayn Rand had it right. Instead of playing that "blame game" and finding every reason that you may be getting beat - start to think different! Lets work on the desire to achieve!
We CAN and we WILL succeed in this business! In my view there has never been MORE OPPORTUNITY! We are sitting on a teeter totter right now - the difference for going the right direction is a matter of skill and attitude! Let's weight our side with the right people and attitude! Don't let the corporations take over this space. They are simply thinking of the business. YOU have the same opportunity - you just need a little help....
In my blog "Successful practice transitions" I spoke about ways for Dentists to keep ownership of their practices, or to help younger generations afford to purchase. Today I want to present another opportunity we don't think of often enough....
In his book The WIN-WIN Outcome, Bernie Stoltz speaks about how corporate dentistry is changing our world. In Canada - I don't see it quite the same. The formula they are using is all about business. They are creating value and wealth for their private equity shareholders. Many of whom are dentists and previous owners.
Instead of writing a whole book in the form of a stupid long blog - let me offer this. Bernie and many other consultants and owners are already all over this! Read this to get the "basic" understanding and then find your self someone with experience to help take your business to a new level.
There IS A WAY to keep the value of the business you worked so hard to gain. A way to work with the dentist across the street and not only keeping your autonomy, but maintaining and increasing the VALUE of your business! More cash flow. The ability to compete by reducing overhead. Less issues with finding quality team members.
You DO NOT need to sell your business. You DO NOT need to give up control of how you like to practice. What you like to use. How you treat team. This is all about creating a NEW VISION where you run a business within a work coop. Its a way to have access to new technology. Access to compete with corporations that offer extended services. A way to incorporate specialists within the practice, who will also benefit from the reduced overhead and less politics and drama of running independent practices.
But Rah, Rah, Rah. It's not likely going to be quite as simple as that. You will need your accountants, appraisers, lawyers, consultants involved to create the WIN-WIN formulas.
Ultimately, I believe we are about to go through a revolution! Let's work together to control the future. For the benefit of our profession, and ultimately the benefit of the unbeknownst public.....