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‘You’re at the top of your game’, I told a Client when he asked me what changes he needed to make to his practice, ‘so ask yourself this. How do you want to reflect this in the way your practice is run and how it is perceived by your patients?’

It’s really a question I would recommend every Principal asks of himself or herself. And let me make it clear, I expect (and get) some very different answers. That’s because ‘one size fits all’ solutions simply do not work in dentistry. You have to work out your own objectives and priorities, focus on them and at least be considered in accepting the advice offered by ‘consultants’. The reason for mentioning ‘focus’ is that it’s easy to be tempted into dabbling with other ventures. This can happen if you’re doing well and want to expand your horizons or if you’re doing badly and want to find a more profitable venture. Either way I would recommend concentrating on your core business.

It’s become something of a cliché, I know, but keep in mind that you are competing for the consumers’ disposable income. Certainly, in some instances you are competing with other dentists, but more significantly you’re competing with many other retailers in the High Street and on line. Throwing money at the problem is absolutely not the answer, but you have to be prepared to invest in your patients’ experience in order to match them. I want to deal with the obvious (and less obvious) benefits of investing in your practice in my next column (July, same page), but in the meantime some thoughts that pick up from where I started this short piece. I know analogies can stretch credibility a bit, but think about your practice as a football club…….

Does it want to prosper in the Premier League? Survive in the Premier League? Battle against relegation every season?

Do you dream of playing in the Champions League or are you contented with enjoying life in a lower division?

There is no single, right answer. It’s what’s right for you. The important thing, wherever

you’re heading, is to plan how you’ll get there. And be happy in the process.

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