What Will You Build?

A man I know once built a fence in his backyard from scratch. No background in building, no internet, just a tape-measure and a sketchpad. He planned, bought wood, and hammered every nail himself—and it was a decent fence. It stood up for years. But it looked nothing like the other fences on the block. The design just came from his head.

A few years after the fence was built, he was looking at old photos from his childhood, and saw the same unusual fence he had built himself. It was the fence from a home he lived in until age 6. He had no memory of the house (or the fence) but it was there in his brain as the blueprint and image next to the concept of “backyard fence.”

I tell this true story to show that even when we try to build something new, we often are not building something that is new to us. If you are in the process of transforming your business, you have to look outside yourself to make sure you aren’t unconsciously repeating your first business model.

When you sit down and make a list of all the things you want to be different and do differently in your new business model, you are usually thinking of tangibles, not processes. But it’s processes that create a new business. The difference between old and new needs to be written into its DNA from the very start.

Building Something New

Whether you are shifting your clinical focus or expanding into a multi-office group, you have to cast off the old blueprints if you want to build a new creation. You are not re-building the house you just tore down, you are building something that should be different.

How can you make sure you aren’t just re-building?

  1. Clarify Your Vision and Your “Why” – As I’ve written about before, the impetus to change usually comes from an emotional place. For some it’s just a drive to keep what’s working well and do it bigger (expand, scale-up). If that’s you, then great. But many of us want something more and something different. If you don’t have a clear vision for what should be different and why you are choosing this path, figure it out. You need guiding principles before you can hammer a single nail.
  2. Plan to Cross Your Rubicon – Julius Caesar knew that crossing the Rubicon river was a point of no return and would anger the Senate, but he knew it was the only way to claim Europe and lead Rome to greater power and glory. You need to know going in that you, too, will have your point of no return, and be ready to take the leap! It may be uncomfortable, and you may even encounter resistance, but you can’t go in lukewarm. Be ready to be bold.
  3. Build an Empire – Speaking of Rome, you want to think in terms of building an empire. Rome did not build an empire by hiring staff who “seemed qualified.” They forged their people and built their leaders from the ground up. Staffing is the single most important factor in building a sustainable business. You can’t be everywhere and you can’t watch everyone, so you have to find and build staff whose leadership qualities can be relied upon to further your guiding principles with every decision.
  4. Do Your Due Diligence and Do It in Depth – My fence-guy had his tape-measure and you need appropriate due diligence. You can’t have a clear picture of what you want to build until you know your worth and market value. For clinicians this is not always an intuitive process, but it cannot be skipped!

Are You Ready?

Are you a budding Dentrepreneur®? Do you desire to own more than one location? Desire to acquire and/or merge into your main location, to scale more into a Hybrid interdisciplinary model with specialty? We can tap into your dream and help you make it a reality!

Whether you are a new graduate who needs mentoring, or a second clinician who wants to be ready with an EXIT strategy (with market research evidence to help you make your decisions), we have impacted and transformed many dentists’ lives and practices.

Become a Dentrepreneur® through our Know-Grow-Scale and Know Grow Exit approach for successful practice growth and transition. Stay connected and call today at (470) 344-5990 for a conversation about your business. We’ll help you figure out what needs to be done to get the ball rolling!

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