Why disruption is the new normal

There is a lot of disruption in the UK dental landscape at the moment, both negative and positive.

Here are some of the things I’m noticing, even in the first few days of the working year:

  • as the battle for private market share heats up between BUPA, Portman and (now) Dentex, positive disruption in goodwill valuations (if you are selling). I met with Barry Lanesman from Dentex last week and was very interested to hear how rapidly they have progressed in just 15 months, with a new and unique approach to shared ownership. It is competition that can only be good for the market, forcing the other players in acquisition to maintain their own competitive advantage, whether that be price or quality;
  • as the NHS orthodontic tendering process forces existing practitioners to take a compulsory pay cut and drastically revise their business development targets, negative disruption in NHS ortho;
  • it’s that time of year when, as a supplier of goods or services, you can’t even get an email answered by an NHS practice owner. As NHS mainstream corporates struggle to hit their UDA targets, negative disruption leading to the potential disintegration of the main players;
  • as the dental implant market continues to boom, positive disruption for the smaller independent seeking to offer a business class experience, potentially negative disruption for the specialist referral clinic as more GDPs choose to increase their skill set. Oh – and that’s good for course providers;
  • as the new ECPD rules come into play, positive disruption in the provision of post-graduate education to better standards, with better record keeping and a higher CPD requirement for dentists;
  • as the Faculty seeks independence, positive disruption in representation for the profession;
  • as the new employee pension rules arrive from April, negative disruption to profit margins;
  • as the number of digital equipment manufacturers increases, positive disruption (for the independent) in capital prices and an inevitable improvement in clinical performance and results;
  • arguably the most disruptive influence of all – the internet of things – how dental businesses are going to facilitate patient communication and education in the connected economy.

I could probably go on but I think by now you may have my drift.

That, once more, the bottle is either half full or half empty, depending on where you are right now.

Thus, of course, it ever was.

The prizes go to those who realise that Charles Darwin wrote about business development when he suggested that:

” a species evolves through a process of continuous adaptation”.

Next Monday in Central London I’ll be facilitating the first of my Extreme Business 2018 workshops, with around 50 owners and managers in the room.

We will be looking at all the disruption outlined above and, no doubt, more that they mention – making absolutely sure that they EVOLVE through ADAPTATION to market forces.

There is no STATUS QUO.


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.