"People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it"
It's never been a better time to own a clinic, but it's a matter of attitude!
Some people say it's never been a worse time. There are too many dentists. Not enough support team. Expenses are through the roof. Profits are horrible, and going to get worse. The price to buy a practice is overwhelming, and only made worse by corporations.
Corporations. Whats their WHY?
Why would any modern, profitable business want to even THINK about getting into OUR long established business of patient care when it's the worse of times? Are too many dentists a bad thing, or even more opportunity to find team members willing to excel and shine (or opposite, work cheaper). Is it bad to have a lack of support team, or an opportunity to learn how to hire and motivate the RIGHT support team? Is there a way to focus on expenses and keep the business profitable while maintaining a high standard that will keep the doors open?
Did we have an OLD MODEL for viewing the value of the greatest asset...the goodwill. The dedicated and loyal existing patient base? Was the goodwill an undervalued asset that offered great opportunity which had not yet been realized? Can this asset be maintained and grown to become even more valuable...
A corporation, however, is not human. Neither is it an enigma. As a whole, a corporation is an entity of like minded people. A SUCCESSFUL corporation, that is built to last has the right WHY as well....and many successful corporations thrive by understanding WHY. It's my view that many corporations have the right why! Not all, so don't start a big flaming war with me please....
My feeling is that corporations just made us realize, now more than ever, what our real WHY is about this business....(at least it did for me).
Turned down MULTI-MILLIONS
Maybe you have the same "dilemma" that I did when I was on the verge of bankruptcy and still turned down a MILLION dollar offer. My personal WHY outweighed any amount of money!!
This is what I am learning more and more as I continue to consult in the business. It NOT JUST about the money!
There is ABSOLUTELY a business aspect to the valuations. We can't altruistically and whole heatedly ignore valuations of business. We MUST apply principals and numbers to make logical decisions. Part of that means that a TRUE MARKET VALUE of a clinic must consider all offers as valid.
What are the terms? What is the WHY for accepting this money, and what will the WHY be behind the ongoing treatment and accomplishments for this business?
These are EXACTLY the reasons several friends of mine have decided to work with new and different strategies without sacrificing market price (my blog "think different"). I KNOW what they may be sacrificing. These established clinics have multiple associates, all with a dream of personal ownership. The current owners have a strong WHY...and it's not ONLY about the money. At the same time, like myself, they have their own values. When I turned down $1 Million - I KNEW I could make money and "get by".
Better to associate or own?
Being an owner is HARD!! We are a business that has trained people to look in an oral cavity, not understand profit and loss statements. What exactly is EBITDA? WTF is a KPI? How come it's so hard to make my team understand that I can't afford to pay more. My supplies need to be cheaper. Rent is too high. I can fix it myself. Nobody is going to accept having to pay for the treatment I just recommended and insurance is just deteriorating and now another clinic is opening across the street and my compressor just died and then, and then, and then...
And then you realize how you just helped a kid that got a puck in the face save their tooth. Now Mom has told Dad and they are so thankful. They want YOU to help them with their dentistry. Grandpa needs a denture, and in a short visit with you realizes how life changing implants could be to keeping his teeth in...he tells his friends at golf whose denture keeps falling out every time he putts.
You are able to find a team member that is now your work spouse. They live and breathe to help people just like you. So proud of the work you do every day.
More people come and join you. Not only because you pay good - rather because you provide an exceptional place to work. Where patients WANT to refer their family and friends. Where treatments are a sincere variety of options in the best interest of patients and the team just keeps getting better and better.....they WANT to be there tomorrow....
Money does matter, but not how we think
We seem to have all been taught that money is the most sincere form of recognition. It's not really "money" though! It's getting to SHARE in the REWARD of the GOAL.
We all know the job we have been trained and trusted to do. Understand these jobs are paid in a certain range. There is high and low. If our team is performing at a high level, it's nice for all of us to reap a little of the financial rewards.
The goal SHOULD NOT be the financial gain though! If the goal is ALWAYS just a number, the incentive will gradually become un-attainable. There is a physical limit to how much dentistry you can do. The drill only spins so fast. You can only talk to so many people in a day. If the goal is simply to make more money - do we start to do things we wouldn't have otherwise do? Sell something we wouldn't have just so we can be recognized for kicking ass? You made your number, let's put you on the pedestal and pay you more....and more...and more...
BOOM. The sales guy is selling ice to eskimos. Treatment planning every virgin tooth. Finding work that maybe mom wouldn't even do....
The people who have a different view and WHY don't quite understand the recognition. Shouldn't it be about how AWESOME the patient felt when they left? How the customer got MORE than they asked for? That the team came up with a NEW and BETTER system for providing services?
The WHY for all of us is why dentistry is going to THRIVE!
TEAM. Motivated to provide high level care. Continuing to improve and invent ways for an even more exceptional experience.
PEOPLE. Where money isn't the ONLY reason, rather the EXPERIENCE. The RESULT. The ability to offer BETTER, MORE PREDICTABLE, LONGER LASTING outcomes rather than CHEAPER outcomes....the change we truly need in healthcare!
How can we maintain and motivate each other when all indicators MAY BE pointing otherwise?
It's all about attitude....