Bringing up baby

What a pleasure it was yesterday to drive over into Devon and meet with new clients who are at the very beginning of their business adventure.
A 4-person dental laboratory with a man and wife team in charge, who are entering their 4th year in business.
We began with a tour of the lab (which took minutes) and then continued the conversation at their home until enjoying and long, late lunch in a riverside hotel and pub.
The “conversation” started at 9.15am and concluded at 5.15pm, with hardly a break.
The conclusions were that, in order to take the business from baby-stage to adulthood, they would have to make some significant sacrifices in the next 3 years – sacrifices of leisure time and time with their very young son. Sacrifices necessary because they simply don’t have the cash to build a strong support team around them.
They have two babies to mind – a son and a business – both of which are crying for attention.
He, of course, is spending 90% of his working time at a bench making teeth, 5% operating the business and 5% in communication with existing and potential new clients. That means his business will plateau – because just like yours and mine, his is a sales-driven business and he MUST get out and meet dentists. I asked for a change to 20% operational, 40% bench and 40% communication.
She is “bringing up real baby” and trying to keep pace with invoicing and general paperwork in the gaps. A lousy accountant is supplying financial data hopelessly late. She must to send real baby to nursery and hire a child-minder. I have requested 20% financial controls, 40% operational systems and 40% in quality time with real baby.
Big requests – they both looked bewildered at the end of the day – but grateful for the insights.
At 5.00pm they asked “where we do we go next in coaching with you?”
It would have been so easy to say “join my programme” – but I didn’t, because they are not ready and cannot afford the investment.
So I asked them to work on the goals I have set them for the next 90 days – and we will then revisit. In the meantime, I’m happy for them to have casual e-mail access.
Last night I felt as if I had made a positive difference to their lives – and that’s right in line with my Unique Ability® and core values.
Can I admit to a rosy glow of satisfaction that was worth more than the fee?


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.