Letters from a perfect imperfectionist: Running out of ideas?

I count myself very lucky that, at least twice a week, someone contacts me and asks for advice – almost always because they have been “following my stuff” for a month to 17 years and have experienced a “trigger event” that has prompted the connection.

Just like in your business (I hope).

Prospective new patients contact you because their “trigger event” has made them decide to get that new smile sorted out (or that functional problem repaired once and for all).

They don’t know how to do their own dentistry (wouldn’t want to if they did) and need your help.

With me, it’s a bit different in an intriguing way.

On a call today, my prospect spoke for many of you when he said:

Ive owned the practice for 5 years, we have hit a glass ceiling and Ive just run out of ideas – so I need your input.

Again, lucky me – I do mean that.

But what intrigues me is that there have never been more ideas floating around in the history of the human race – so how can anyone have run out of them?

The internet has created a conversation about ideas that has overwhelmed us; the ground is so densely covered that the individual trees have become as impossible to see as the wood.

Everything you could ever need to know about how to run a successful dental business is available, free of charge, on the internet. Just as everything you could ever need to know about pretty much anything is there as well.

So how come I’m not selling The Big Issue and my calendar doth brimmeth?

Because to have ideas you have to:

have the time to do the research
know where to look
get out of your comfort zone
be prepared to take the risk of innovation

Maybe I’m busy because I make the time to do those things, especially the research.

Changing the subject just a tad…

Yesterday I caught the 14:40 from Euston to Stockport after a mid-day meeting in The City.

The train was packed with off-peak travellers.

The chap sitting next to me was 50+, besuited and spread out on the table before us a Dell computer (clearly company issue), an iPhone 6 and an iPad Mini.

He then spent the 2 hour journey as follows:

chomping his way through a variety of cardiac-inducing fruit cake, chocolate biscuits, crisps and frothy Virgin trains cappuccino
playing with Excel spreadsheets on his PC
answering emails on his iPhone 6
playing Candy Crush on his iPad Mini

Candy Crush?

80% of the time I’m on trains it’s full on with emails.

20% I relax on the train by catching up on the blogs, newsletters, aggregators and other sources of knowledge of fruit of the tree of dental business – there is loads of it.

It’s is my equivalent of Ashley Latter listening to development books whilst driving. That’s why he is as busy as I am helping people who have run out of ideas about ethical selling.

But Candy Crush – really?

I’m sure it’s a form of relaxation – as are all the other games I see grown ups playing on The Tube, platforms, terminals and in transit.

They have clearly run out of ideas.

Change of subject over – thank you.

Back on point.

There are more ideas than you can shake a stick at – it is all right there, right under your nose.

You just need to prioritise your time.

People don’t.

I suppose I should be grateful – it’s keeping me in a job.

“These “letters” are the personal observations of me, Chris Barrow and are not intended to reflect the views of 7connections and its team members, they just give me permission to publish here on the basis that they can keep an eye on me, a bit like a mad relative at a wedding reception. I’m likely to upset the sensitive and outrage the sensible – if you fall into either of those camps then read at your peril.”


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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.