Dental Practice Accelerator: the business guru

Dr Sandeep Kumar shares his thoughts about the challenges that Dental Practice Accelerator winner Hannan Saleem and his practice face and provides his insights and recommendations for their success.

Sandeep Kumar – the business guru

Dr Sandeep Kumar can only be described as a trailblazer in the world of Invisalign. He is one of Europe’s leading Invisalign Diamond Apex Providers and has created more than 6,000 beautiful new smiles with Invisalign in his private clinics.

Founder of three successful private clinic brands – MiSmile, Smile Stylist and Smmmile, the MiSmile Network and a unique ‘Mastering your Invisalign Business’ initiative, Sandeep also shares his thoughts and opinions with the wider industry and can often be found on stage speaking and training others on the opportunities Invisalign can harness.

Despite Hannan not being from a dental background, I’m confident that if he surrounds himself with the right people, and embraces our mentorship, his ambition and attitude will help him realise his goals.

There are some core recommendations that I believe Hannan needs to take on board…

1. Learn from others but carve your own path

The first recommendation is for Hannan to accept that while he can learn from myself and the other mentors, he really needs to take a step back and consider how best to take those learnings and apply them to his own business. A copy-paste approach just doesn’t work. Each practice has its own unique challenges – varying demographics, local competition and USPs and these all need to be considered to drive successful change. Listening and learning, but then adapting is key.

2. Invest in your team

It’s a cliche, but the bigger your dream, the more important your team. Hannan needs to make sure he’s got the right team members in the right roles to really drive the business forward. The team need to understand and share Hannan’s goal – if they don’t, success will be hard to deliver. Regular huddles, honest and open communication, and transparency with commercials will all help to keep the team motivated.

3. Be a customer in your own business

For Hannan to really appreciate how his patients see his practice, he needs to see it with his own eyes. I suggest that Hannan take a couple of hours one day to just sit in his own waiting room and observe. How long does the phone to take to get answered? How are patients greeted? What is the general vibe and feeling within the practice. Understanding firsthand what it is like to be a patient will truly help to deliver the best possible patient experience.

4. Digital is now, not the future

It’s all too easy to think a truly digital world is still in the future. But its not – it’s now. It’s important that Hannan considers his patients and their everyday life. Digitising processes and making interactions with the practice as seamless as possible will all contribute to patient experience. Key areas to consider are investing in a really easy-to-use website that is optimised for mobile, implementing online booking, using a digital lead follow-up tool like DenGro to nurture and remind patients, as well as using digital tools to enhance the patient journey.

The iTero scanner also comes into play here, and used correctly it not only supports the clinical aspect of the patient journey, it also works as an invaluable communication and conversion tool.

5. World class basics

Above all, getting the absolute basics of customer service right will really stand Hannan and his team in good stead. Taking a lead from other service-led industries; hotels, restaurants and high-end spas will soon help the practice to stand out.

Greeting patients by their first name, responding to new patient enquiries as soon as possible and being genuinely interested in your patients are all critical everyday basics. Sweating the small stuff really does make a difference.

Common challenges

Many practices who are trying to scale will encounter the same common problems, and Hannan and his team need to address these too…

Lack of clarity on the bigger goal/ambition

I work with a lot of principals and practice owners who have forgotten one critical element of their long-term business plan – actually defining what they want to achieve. This might be a revenue goal, or a profit target or it might be as simple as a new patient target. Without that clear goal, it will be impossible to define an action plan to drive success.

An unmotivated team

All too often I see a principal or practice owner excited about their vision, but despondent because their team aren’t helping them to drive forward. Unpacking this usually reveals one thing – that the team are unaware of the vision.

They’re unaware of their role in helping to make this happen, or more brutally, they don’t know ‘what’s in it for them’. It’s really important to remember you can’t do this on your own and having a motivated team will be critical for success.

Working in the business, not on the business

Scaling a business takes time, and focus. I strongly advise practice owners and principals to carve out time to work on their business. This might mean reducing their clinical hours, or simply blocking out time on a regular basis for uninterrupted thinking time. Without this, realising scale is near impossible.

An exciting future

Despite the challenges that Hannan faces, I’m confident there is a huge opportunity for him and his team to deliver great things. Defining his goal, starting with the basics and including his team on his journey will all help to drive the business forward. I’m excited to support Hannan and can’t wait to see where he reaches.

Sandeep’s top tips

Learn from others but carve your own path to success

The bigger your dream, the more important your team

Be a customer in your own business

Digital is now, not the future

Remember the world class basics

Take time to work on the business, not just in the business.

If you would like to accelerate your practice and clinical growth, Align Technology can help you get to the next level, leveraging the Invisalign system, Itero intraoral scanners, and the Align Digital Platform. For more information about its education and growth support programmes visit www.invisalign.co.uk/gp/become-a-provider.

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