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  • Writer's pictureWarren Bobinski

Dental Clinic SUCCESS!! PIVOT!

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision"

~Eric Ries, author, The Lean Startup

Did you know...Youtube started as a dating site?

Paypal employees Chad Hurley, Steven Chen and Jawed Karim know how to Pivot!! Turning an original idea for a video dating app into a streaming video company in 2005 . Raising several million dollars of funding and then selling about a year and a half later to GOOGLE for $1.65B in STOCK! That stock today would be worth 8-10X that today!

Apple started in a garage with a home built computing device. Over the years the company has almost bankrupt and had to re-invent itself several times. A VERY competitive industry! From the original idea of a user friendly computer - think about how many times this company has "PIVOTED". Comitted to their strengths and constant improvement. Never really worrying about "being first to market" - rather relying on "doing it well".

Because of these "pivots" Apple has become one of the worlds first TRILLION DOLLAR companies.

From a desk top computer to incredibly powerful studio designing laptops and desktops. Inventing entire categories by intoducing products like the iPod, backed by iTunes. Then an iPhone with an App store. Then iPad and the ability to stream movies and music subscriptions. You need a way to listen to this. You want wireless. You want quality. Air Pod Bloomberg estimates this ONE PRODUCT ALONE could be $100 BILLION in sales in 2020....Apple monitoring??

This isn't just about tech companies. In the best selling book by Jim Collins "Good to Great" - Jim describes how companies go from good to great. Interestingly - many of those "good to great" companies would no longer be considered such. Good to Great was a backwards looking book. Similar to measuring the results of a diet or workout regimen...and at some point even the most successful people in question may have decided they like to eat donuts or broke their leg and couldn't work out. Life happens. Circumstances change. Looking back on what makes a company great involved many useful concepts. Believe in them. Try to live them.

Too many Dentists...too many competitors - depends on YOU!

What do you do when you are in a competitive industry where everyone is pretty damn good at doing what you learned to do?


If the clinic across the street has the "same crew" as you do and offers the "same filling" and "same root canal"...but the office is newer and has TV in the you just copy that and add TV? Do you get a CBCT because your neighbor does - or because you recognize opportunity within your own base of patients to add something great to the menu....

If you are "selling" the same services or products - what can you do different? Stay in business? Create your own Air Pod category with streaming apps? Be the GAME CHANGER and MAKE THE RULES!!

PIVOT is about continual improvement. It's about the skills you already have, your passion, and about being the best you can be. Its Facemash becoming Facebook. Its Instagram evolving from "Burbn" location based services to becoming one of the largest image sharing sites.


It's Henry Schein, a presciption pharmacy in the 1930s evolving to a local supplier of medical supplies, then dental. Growing into a large mail order company, evolving to full service with technicians installing and fixing equipment. Worldwide offices. $10B of sales. Integrating into the daily workflow of hundreds of thousands of dentists worldwide providing practice management software, and now "Henry Schein One" a platform to bring all the hundreds of different imaging platforms to all the various businesses involved. From patient on the web to the lab to the specialist.

Henry Schein is a company that knows how to Pivot. Just like many "Good to Great" companies - using it's own core competencies to grow. Not in a reactive way, but in a well managed, well thought out way.

PIVOT is endless opportunity.....even and maybe especially in health care....

A PIVOT is a change in direction without a change in VISION!!

The future is up to you.

In my blog "Moats or Bridges" this author discusses Smile Direct, Invisalign, DSO, Corporations. How about Wal Mart getting into Dentistry? For the Dental Reps and suppliers I consult - how about direct to consumer, Amazon, mail order dental supplies?

Every one of us has competition. It's existed from the stone ages when we used to be in the middle of the food chain and had to fight off other neanderthals AND large lions for food. Then a crafty homo erectus created fire and next thing you know there is McDonalds....

I wanna be the guy with the next thing. A fire builder. Good to Great.

However, I get caught in that crazy shitty downward spiral talk like anyone. It bothers me when a customer uses my competitor - and I wonder what I did wrong instead of working to simply be better. To find reasons that maybe didn't even exist that will bring that patient to my door....

I find ways to be different. Using my skill set to constantly improve - for the betterment of my customers. Not because I want to beat anyone, but because we all benefit! If I build a fire, you will all be invited to come sit down and enjoy food that is much easier to digest rather than trying to fight and compete with all the other neanderthals...

Ideas for "pivoting" in dentistry....

Dental Assistants: Expand your skill set. Learn to electronically chart. Learn orthodontics. Improve your skill with taking xrays. Chairside - are you as efficient as you could possibly be? How could you help turn over those chairs faster? Do you look for products and opportunities to increase office production? What is the future for assisting and how can you help create that future? Become invaluable?

Dental Hygienist: Perio Charting hands free. Exams with intraoral cameras. Digital Scanners as diagnostic tools. Check out The ultimate hygiene exam.. Hygiene drives a practice!! Are you a team player helping advance the ball? Patient education is vital and you have the keys....

Dentist: There are so many opportunities!! Endless really! How can we create more affordable dentistry that patients want? Cosmetics seems to drive a large amount of business...bleaching categories were created by companies like "ZOOM" same day in office. Invisalign created more convenient orthodontic procedures - and maybe Smile Direct is creating an industry we can capitalize on (affordable and huge user base of people now coming to see a dental professional). Surgery is advancing and Scanners are taking digital images. 3D printers and Cad Cam mills are allowing patients to leave with same day appliances created with even better, more reliable materials and less labour....Bulk fill materials. Self etch. Fast cure. How about the upcoming generation of "BIO" type materials that help patients heal themselves.

I believe there are services we never imagined that dentistry can become the "go to" place in health care....We are enjoying a well educated and trained base of customers who believe they need to see a dentist regular for oral health....what other opportunities lie in SALIVA to help our patient with overall health. What other opportunities lie in "looking better" that we are the masters of already and need regular treatments (ummmm...hmmmm....).

Is there opportunity in marketing these new skills, or perhaps working closely with the companies that completely reinvent these categories so we call benefit? Building bridges for the future instead of moats?

Dental Product manufacturers and suppliers Automated resupply. Transparent pricing. Front facing customer service with high level knowledge on the products and services they sell. Easy to navigate websites. Platform sales - one stop shopping for any and all supplies with next day delivery. Better mobile apps for ordering. Image recognition. Ability to order by speaking to a device, or pressing a "reorder" button. Efficient warehouse operations. Lean operations. Expanded skillsets of services so customers can spend more time doing what they do well.

There has NEVER been a better time to grow a business than today! Incredible, easy to access education. Techniques and skills that used to be the domain of specialists are becoming mainstream. Digital is offering completely new business opportunities.


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