The four pillars of successon 26th March 2019
Introducing a new series of business articles, Dr Kalpesh Bohara and Dr Raha Sepehrara explain how their success is based on four key pillars
When we bought our first practice we had this vision of having financial freedom early, a great work life balance, an easy life. We saw many other people doing it, therefore how hard could it be?
How naive were we? The reality was far from the truth. The reality was: constant worry, constant pressure and lots to learn about really quickly. A lot of new practice owners at the start of their journey try do everything! We know we did.
We put out fires. We stay up late. We put out more fires.
We neglect family time. We work weekends and maybe holidays. We do not get enough sleep. We put out more fires.
We push harder. We work longer and harder. We run 20 short sprints, not a marathon. And the cycle continues…
A time for change
Six years into our journey of practice ownership and after building up to three practices, we knew something had to change. We were ‘the technicians’ as defined in The E-Myth book. We were in that role for quite a few years, working all hours and days, blood, sweat and tears. As the business grew this lifestyle was no longer sustainable, either our health or our relationships would have started suffering. Or simply we would burn out.
The majority of the times the business owner feels they must work harder, the owner is exhausted and continuously working harder to meet overheads and profitability. So we decided something had to change. We wanted sustained growth without us working like mad people and sacrificing our happiness and balance. We wanted operational efficiency. We wanted an amazing team. We wanted to free ourselves to allow us to do the work we loved and did best.
We understood our end-goal was to work on the business than in the business.
We had to be the ‘designers’ instead of the ‘doers’. This would ultimately allow us to take off time when we wanted without drastically affecting the profits. We did not want a simple lifestyle business, a business that we needed to sustain our lifestyle. We also wanted to future proof our financial situation to ensure that the practices did not constantly and fully rely on us, should we ever have to be absent from work for whatever reason.
Barriers and goals
As we started analysing our three practices in depth we realised we were coming up against the following barriers:
• The lack of accountability and responsibility in the staff and their difficulty in delegating
• The lack of operational systems in place to handle the communication barrier and the decision processes
• As you scale your business, the need to look at and analyse the factors such as overhead expenses that affect profit margins.
We also believed in documenting an insane goal and reverse engineering it step by step, making it a guide to your end goal.
Our goal was the following:
• to streamline our business so it ran like a well-oiled machine
• to have a highly efficient team
• to have continued growth and profitability
• to have the business not dependent on us!
Therefore we started breaking our business down into four key elements to allow us to free our time and able be to work on the practices and business rather than continuously in it (by amalgamating many of the business books I read).
1. PEOPLE. How to effectively lead people. Having a mission statement and core values which guide the staff and systems. Creating the right culture. The importance of accountability and responsibility. The ability to delegate effectively.
2. CASHFLOW. How this is essential for the life of the business. Without cashflow we do not have the oxygen and options.
3. STRATEGY. What are your goals? Your vision of your business?
4. EXECUTION. Implementing the goals to get to your vision. This is by having a small number of priorities, collecting regular data to help with tracking and setting regular meetings to keep a pulse on the business.
We will cover each pillar in a separate article.
Dr Kalpesh Bohara and Dr Raha Sepehrara are founders and owners of the Dental Suite Practices, a group of private practices situated in the East Midlands, in Loughborough, Leicester and Nottingham. They started with a single-handed practice with three team members and expanded to three locations and 30 staff.
Kalpesh spends his clinical time mainly concentrating on implant dentistry, complex restorative treatment and treatment of phobic patients. He is also mentor and coach to his dental associates as well as other dental colleagues.
Raha’s main clinical interest is orthodontics. Her practice has been limited to orthodontics for over seven years and she has also obtained an MSc in orthodontics from Warwick.
Raha and Kalpesh also provide personal and business coaching, as well as mentoring for dentists and entrepreneurs.