If you talk to enough practice owners about how their businesses are performing, you start to notice anomalies.
For example, you spot that the ones who are struggling with their business typically work just as hard as the ones who are seeing their turnover and profit grow.
That doesn’t make sense, does it? The traditional school of thought has always been that the harder you work – the more hours you put in – the better results you get.
Activity for progress
The first time I noticed this, I dug a little deeper and realised that practice owners whose hard work is getting them nowhere fast are often confusing activity for progress. They are working on the wrong things, and so get frustrated and demotivated when those things don’t work.
The practice owner who works hard on the perfect new client generation advert, but then puts it in the wrong place.
Or the website where the practice owner has spent thousands of pounds and many hours of meetings getting the design right, but then inserts the same generic dreary text seen on every other dentist’s website.
Or the practice owner who spends hours writing a new reminder letter from scratch, tries it with 25 clients, and then bins it because in their opinion ‘it doesn’t work’. And returns to the tired old one they’ve been using for a decade.
Do something differently
Making key marketing decisions on gut feeling can be dangerous when split testing allows you a scientific way to measure and improve any piece of marketing.
If you’re working hard but not seeing results, you really need to stop and do something differently.
Here’s a five-step strategy to make sure that every hour you spend working on your business is productive.
1. Set the right goals
If you don’t know what you’re working towards, how can you know what to invest your time in? The leaders of successful practices know exactly what they want and remind themselves every day that their main priority at work is not spending time in the treatment room… it’s pulling the business towards its big goal.
2. Develop the right strategy
A goal without a plan is just a dream. So develop a strategy and start working it. Don’t worry if you’ve got the right or wrong strategy; all strategies evolve over time, especially as you learn more about your goal.
3. Use the right balance of resources
You have three resources available to you: time, energy and cash. Make sure you use them in the right balance. Your time is the most precious resource and the most finite. Your energy will start to run out earlier and earlier each day as you get older. Use whatever cash you have available to make up for lack of time and energy.
4. Grow the right team
Your staff are one of the key factors that will help you succeed or fail in growing your business. If they’re the wrong people, they have to go. Hire an aggressive HR expert and adopt a policy of ‘hire slowly, fire quickly’.
Traditionally this has meant ‘dead on arrival’ – which is exactly what you will be if you try to do everything in your practice yourself. Instead, you should delegate, outsource, automate. Many of the tasks you currently do, someone else can do them for you, freeing you up to focus on the bigger things.
I’m not suggesting you should work less. That isn’t the answer. I’m just saying if you’re going to work hard, then work hard on the right things.