Busy Busy Busy

I’m just amazed at HOW busy my professional life is right now – and that’s a reflection of what’s going on in the UK dental market I suppose.
Is there fear and anxiety?
Yes there is.
How do I know that?
Because my network is telling me that:

  1. Hygiene books are gappy
  2. Discretionary spending is slowing down
  3. Referral clinics are down on business – because referring dentists are choosing to deliver crown and bridge work (and keep the cash flow for themselves) – I can hear the outrage from the precious dentists who suggest that whatever they diagnose is in the patients’ interests and clinically necessary – yeah right;
  4. The banks have dried up and liquidity for practice purchase is becoming as rare a rocking horse poop;
  5. The well-poisoners in the dental media and on the forums are having a great time prophesying doom.

Are there “green shoots of recovery”?
No – there are not – we have a long way to go and one tongue-tied politician is not going to make a summer, even though I’ll bet she wishes she could swallow her words.
Is there cause for optimism?
Yes – there is.

  1. I invested a delightful day last week with a top clinician who has bought the goodwill of a bankrupt practice for next to nothing and now intends to create a private squat in an affluent town – and I have every confidence that he will succeed – with careful planning and prudent investment. Watch out for bankrupt practices for sale!
  2. And another day with a simply fabulous private referral clinic that is busy with dentists on their MSc course (oh – by the way – in a recession, dentists seek safety in clinical courses);
  3. Everywhere I see practices with strong membership schemes – I see robust cash flow – because the British don’t cancel their standing orders and direct debits – they cannot be bothered calling an overseas call-centre to do that. A membership scheme in private dentistry is like a UDA contract in the NHS – almost guaranteed cash flow – very powerful nowadays.
  4. I also see referral clinics continuing to receive business because the have entered into a marketing partnership with their referring dentists to improve the referrers systems;
  5. Everywhere I see fabulous customer service, I see strong patient loyalty;
  6. I see orthodontists reporting record private sales of adult treatment – I love Incognito and would love to go to Dubai and learn more about it – click here for the 3M Unitek brochure download (2.6 Mb)!
  7. Many NHS practices are uber-busy, attempting to reach their UDA targets before the end of the quarter and thus avoid claw-back – and so focused on delivery and not on service – an opportunity for the private sector?
  8. A dentist tapped me on the shoulder at 4.00pm yesterday in Costa Coffee and asked “you are Chris Barrow aren’t you?” – I was – and so he told me all about his successful private practice and asked about the IDH private proposition!
  9. I was approached by a well-known dental supplier yesterday – out of the blue – to deliver lectures during the summer on marketing for the whole dental team, not just principals. There request came as a direct result of customer feedback – “who do you want to hear from and what do you want to hear?” We are going to design a brand new day in which the team can arrive and leave with a 12-month marketing plan done and dusted – no homework – great idea and I’m jazzed;
  10. I’m just about to start a month of public speaking – Tony Gedge’s marketing weekend on Saturday, BACD Study Group in the West End in a couple of weeks, SOE marketing evenings in February all over the UK and The Brits 2009 next month as well – I cannot wait to get out there and hear more success stories.

There are still people out there who are as busy, busy, busy as I am – to coin a well known phrase:

Attitude, not aptitude determines altitude

The ultimate litmus test of my busy-ness.
60 emails a day – and rising.
Bring it on.


Published by

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.