The Showcase

A week today the BDIA annual trade show will open at the NEC and, as usual, I’ll be there ready for 3 solid days of networking.

Back in 1996 I first walked through the door at in Birmingham and spent my time wandering around a room full of strangers.

Attending was one of the defining factors in convincing me to become a full-time dental business coach from January of the following year.

Here I am, 19 years later, speaking for Practice Plan on all three days and with a diary filling with appointments.

Frankly, I don’t go to The Showcase to meet with clients, rather to feel the pulse of the profession and network with the trade.

Usually, I emerge with a few speaking engagements for the following year and the occasional prospective client who hears me speak or is recommended by a friend.

Far more important is the opportunity to observe the mood, listen to the trade tell me how business is and look for innovation.

On which point..and given the strap line of the show.

Innovation tends to occupy the smaller stands on the periphery.

All that flamboyant super-sized stuff in the middle of the hall is largely a corporate ego trip.

This is a paradox as the larger organisations have the money and the people to innovate but are slow, whereas the smaller teams have the passion around innovation but limited resources.

In the IT industry business angels are constantly funding new ideas.

You don’t see those angels in dentistry – its a shame I didn’t win the Lottery (again) last night as I would love to be one.

Next week you’ll see me on mainly on the fringe, looking for innovation (mainly digital), when I’m not sat chatting at a coffee station.

I’m never too busy – pop over and say “hello” and/or ask me for a second opinion on that gizmo you are about to buy.


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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.