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“Creative risk-taking is essential to success in any goal where the stakes are high. Thoughtless risks are destructive, of course, but perhaps even more wasteful is thoughtless caution which prompts inaction and promotes failure to seize opportunity.”
~Gary Ryan Blair
One late, dark, cold night in February 2016 we were lying in bed.
The sudden thunderous bark and shuffling in the house woke us. The dogs were freaking out for some reason.
I looked over at Karen and could see her eyes wide open as I mouthed “What the fu…..”
My pounding heart and tense muscles pulled me into the dim lit room. Knowing that turning the lights on would take away my laser night vision I crept the darkness with my a bat in my hand. Immediately out our room I could see lights beaming into the bedroom adjacent to ours. I kept to the side so I could view what was happening and watched as the car slowly crept around our acreage.
We have a driveway that circles our entire house…and the black sedan with several shadows made a slow pass all the way around.
Being in the country, calling 911 is kind of useless. I would likely be mid-sentence nervously explaining which grid road to turn on while someone is bashing my face while Harley and Beemer lick them to death!
The opportunists decided it wasn’t worth stopping in the yard after all and simply kept going…taking enough time to signal a left turn as they left the yard.
I’m not a big freak-out-ist. Figured it was just a bunch of misguided aliens looking for their space craft and hit the wrong yard. Good enough, back to bed and asleep in about 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure Karen felt so much better with my explanation and didn’t lie awake staring at my snoring, slobbering body all night.
Then it happened again!!
This time I was home ALONE!!
This time I was sitting in the living room in just my underwear (it was very hot in the house!), it was 9:00pm, and it was still light out!
The dogs started freaking out behind the house – which I ignored since I was in the depths of Breaking Bad! Priorities! They freak out a lot…you know the “cry wolf” story? That’s Beemer. He is pscyho.
Whilst “Walter White” was busy adjusting his badass hat, I noticed the dilapidated truck with 3 characters slowly driving by. I stood up and caught their attention! They stared at the fish in the bowl, likely fascinated by my choice of “Rambo-camo” underwear and they hit the gas! The dust puffed up at the speed of a toddler tricycle as they departed.
I had no idea what I was going to do had they stopped and stormed the house. The dogs were merrily trotting along beside the rusted booty-hauler, ready to perform their dog-ly duties if it stopped. I’m sure they (the passengers…maybe the dogs?) were terrified.
The next day I ordered an electronic gate, and nobody can enter this yard now without a battering ram, or the code….or having to drive a hundred yard downwind…..
Protecting the house.
Stock markets, investing.
I own Facebook stock. And Apple. And Microsoft. Google. Amazon. Netflix…..And Schein. Used to own ALGN (Invisalign) but 10X my return in just a few years was enough for me to divest.
My friends say I am lucky.
I am not a gambler.
I invest on my own principles.
Accounting principles matter….but are only one of a dozen factors.
The story matters more. The value of anything is more about how the value is perceived. Public perceptions about stock is part of what drives the valuations. The stories that get printed. Boiler room promoters are now bloggers touting their own principles and stories about valuations…
Why is a company like TESLA, that loses hand over fist money and has never shown a profit worth more than FORD? Why is Netflix worth more than Disney? How can ALGN (invisalign) go from a value of about $1Billion to over $30BILLION in just a few years?
Valuations are about POTENTIAL. What a buyer perceives will happen next. The opportunity.
What is the story of your business? Practices with same cash flow and assets can have very different selling prices….
Owning a business is the best (and worst) investment…
I evaluate businesses outside of dentistry all the time. We have some real advantages in this business.
First is the barrier to entry. You have to be very smart to get into dentistry to begin with. Then be willing to spend in the hundreds of thousands for education. Spending a half dozen years of your life to do so. Then more time mentoring as an associate. Then a Mil or two to open the doors and have your hands tied on how to market and grow your business.
The disadvantage is the barrier to entry and all the above….
However, the majority of small business will fail. Dental clinic businesses have a high rate of success. Varying degrees of success – but from a lenders perspective, the bills pretty much always get paid. The owners perspective can vary.
I want to own my own business.
When I do buy something, I will apply certain business principals:
-Product, process, people.
I will make sure to provide the highest quality product, using an efficient process in order to maintain profitability, and share my success with the people I hire and attract to my team in order to keep the business growing.
I will constantly improve. Invest in myself. Invest in the business. Invest in the team.
The biggest advantage of being an owner is control over your own destiny.
The stock market thing is nice – but I have no control over geo-politics. Over the people who run the companies and their strategies. I don’t personally know all the CEO and know if they actually do have high integrity and will continue to do the right thing on my principals….
Only my own business can do that.
Be in business for yourself, take control. Call the shots. Appreciate your investment, there is nothing that compares!
I’m selling education, not equipment.
During a great brunch meeting recently, a friend made a profound statement.
Instead of dropping $100,000 on that new piece of equipment – we should invest $100,000 in education to expand our skills.
It’s not that certain equipment wouldn’t help generate revenue. The brilliance is the understanding of chicken and egg. To know that expanding and improving your own skill set should come before the equipment investment. If you are going to get into Cad Cam and same day crowns – understand your patient base, your business, the cost of the product and the overall investment. There is a skill set that needs to be learned.
Same as CBCT. A salesman will tell you all day about why you need to invest in one. You need to know that the equipment is proper for your skill level and your demographic before you drop the dime.
If you want to protect the house, and keep your largest investment secure …..
Invest in yourself first.