It all started 10 years ago…


No – not Bridge2Aid (although I’ll soon be singing along).

On 17th September 2004 I wrote and published my first ever blog post.

10 years ago.

2,408 posts on “the life and times of Chris Barrow” and “the business of dentistry”.

6,547 genuine comments from real people – many supportive and some highly critical.

26,735 spammy comments from computers and nut-cases.

Quite a few costume changes by yours truly:

  • The Dental Business School
  • The Million Dollar Coaching Programme
  • CoachBarrow
  • The Dental Business Club
  • BKH
  • 7connections

I only wish I could run a word-count.

(Does anyone know how to do that?).

On behalf of my blog, I would like to say a few “thanks you’s”.

  • Kimberly Black for your talented, and loving help back-stage during the formative years
  • The late Thomas Leonard for inspiring me to become a coach, Marlene Panet-Raymond, Susan Austin and Andrea Lee for helping me realise that coaching could be a real business
  • The Team at ApexHub for similar help in recent years
  • The aforementioned and, at different times, Dental Focus and DDL who have had the unenviable job of migrating all those posts from one site to another
  • WordPress, who have provided a secure a reliable platform throughout
  • My family, friends, enemies, suppliers, strategic alliance partners, colleagues, clients who have been the cast and have made my job as a blogger so simple
  • The businesses who have delighted or dismayed me
  • The authors who have educated me
  • The hardware manufacturers and software developers who have made the whole process of journalling easier every year
  • My personal coach, Michael Myerscough, who has talked me off quite a few window ledges over the years and taught me to accept myself as the perfect imperfectionist
  • Annie Bradley, for unconditionally creating the perfectly imperfect space in which I can be me and be loved

Eulogy over – here’s to many more years of being a scurvy elephant.

Oh – and just out of curiosity – here is what I wrote all those years ago:


We have just finished the first day of our Coaching Success Forum and I’m taking an hour’s break before a bonus evening session.

What a day – CB live and uncut plus existing coaches sharing how they have applied the material in the Million Dollar Coach Programme to their own practices – with successful results.

It has been so interesting to hear other people share their stories – the delegates have gained enormously.

I have enjoyed the experience immensely and we still have another 2 days to enjoy.

Testimonial : Artisan


What is your number one reason for signing up to Artisan?

Having been using magic box since it’s start up and seeing the interest and the leads that it generated, it was quickly apparent that we needed to initially make sure that prospective patients could find details and information about the promoted treatment. This all needed to come from the multiple sources of marketing into one place. These enquires then needed to be followed up systematically and automatically so we can ensure the enquires are always fully fulfilled. Also, the need to develop a email database with patients who are interested in treatments we offer, so that when a promotion is applicable to them that they know about it and are quickly engaged into it.

What is your number one goal for this service?

Main goal is to turn the leads generated by marketing into appointments with our TCO and then convert these into paid for appointments and treatments by the dentist.

 Give one reason why other dental professionals should consider using this service?

If you find that your current system dealing with emails is simply reply to an email enquiry but are frustrated and concerned that there is then no follow up, or that your system then couldn’t reengage with that person in months to come, then Artisan is something to consider. It is the final link on the loop of marketing to raise enquires but then dealing with those enquiries in a simple, staged approach, all automatically and using very little ‘working hours’.
Geraint Buse. Marquess Dental, Anglesey.

Letters From A Perfect Imperfectionist: I Want An Apple Watch

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I don’t need one.

I just want one.

Having watched Jony Ive’s preposterous introductory video (surely the most impressive piece of voice-over garbage created in the history of marketing), I still want an Apple Watch.

I have a watch – in fact I have more than one watch.

My beloved Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean cost me a lot of money, quite a few years ago and was my ultimate statement (to myself) about how successful I thought I was (in the days when such tokens and symbols were more important to me).

I haven’t yet descended to 2000 feet below sea level to see if it stays water-tight and keeps working – that wasn’t why I bought it.

My Omega is the kind of watch that you expect to leave to your eldest son when your time runs out.

It does make me feel a little bit like Daniel Craig/James Bond every now and then.

I notice from the Omega web site that the current price is double what I paid 10 years ago.

Clearly, experiences are recession proof.

My Garmin watch can track my running routes using in-built GPS tracking.

I used to have a few other fashion watches but the Omega blew them all away and I never thought I would want another watch.

But now I do.

My eyesight nowadays is probably too weak to see some of what will be on that screen (and I’ll most likely have to wear the smaller screen because I have thin wrists).

An Apple watch won’t do anything that I can’t already do with my iPhone 5s (that’s another story), my iPad Mini Retina Display and my Macbook Air – oh and my watch.

But I still want one. Probably an Apple Watch Sport – because that will make me feel sporty.

That’s the power of Tribes.

Don’t tell me you don’t feel the same way – about something.


Ask Yourself : What Are The Characteristics Of A Good Leader?

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Back in August we published a mini slide presentation on “The Performance/Behaviour Matrix” – click here to view presentation.

The feedback has been very positive and using the matrix to “score” team members, then following the format of The Personal Progress Interview (PPI) has generated a number of interesting email threads.

I am constantly asked about “leadership” – by managers as well as owners – and what the characteristics of a good leader are?

Much has been said – and the vintage Chris Barrow answer has always been that a good leader:

- Is the custodian of the vision for the future direction of the business (and shares that evolving vision) 

- Is the example of the standards required by virtue of their own performance and behaviour 

- Is an effective delegator, focusing on their own unique ability 80% of the time and leading their managers 20% of the time 

So, in answer to the question “how do I lead my team?” it is necessary to display the attributes mentioned above AND listen, listen, listen to what your team are telling you, via the PPI’s that you hold with them.

A good business manager will hold PPI’s with team members every quarter.

A good Clinical Director (yes – that’s you) will hold PPI’s with all fee-earners every quarter.

A good Principal will hold PPI’s with all managers every quarter.

Performance/Behaviour Scores on the doors and PPI’s.

The best teams I have worked with over the last 25 years in dentistry have followed these principles AND added a good social element to their business journey.

p.s. bad apples and well poisoners are ALWAYS extracted at the earliest opportunity – it only takes one to bring the whole system crashing down. Zero tolerance.

Take the test – 7 steps to predict your future business growth

3d shiny golden number 7

I’m going to talk to you about growth in your business over the next 5 years.

But bear with me.

Before I do that – I have to talk about sales talk for a minute.

You see, sales talk is easy – for the people who find it easy to do sales talk.

They are people who have been born and raised (in my experience) in an environment where they have had to learn how to communicate well either to survive or get where they wanted to go

Often against the odds.

They have “the gift of the gab”. They could “sell fridges to Eskimos.”

I think I might be one of them.

We ‘sales talk tribesmen’ are amazing at selling stuff – because we use language, like art, to persuade our family, friends, colleagues, suppliers and clients.

We seldom talk about products – we tell stories that evoke huge emotional responses – because we know that people don’t buy products, they buy outcomes.

We can be a nightmare when we own our own businesses – because we are so good at sales talk that we have ideas and create what are known (in the lean-start up movement) as “unfalsifiable hypotheses”.

“This will work – its a sure fire, guaranteed, gold-plated winner – and this is why.”

And our audience (who aren’t good at sales talk but great at listening) believe us and do it.

Then, in the cold light of day, we discover whether the idea was good or not.

It creates high highs and low lows in our lives and a roller coaster ride for everyone else.




OK – thanks for listening so far – enough of that – and let me get back to you and your business growth.

I could give you some sales talk about Artisan – the brand new, innovative, unique to UK dentistry, amazing, wonderful, powerful, beautiful service that we are currently introducing to our existing clients – so that they can grow their new business acquisition by 400% over the next 36 months.

But that’s just sales talk (and I’m dangerously good at that).

So I’m not going to ask you to listen to my sales talk.

I’m going to ask you to find out for yourself how Artisan can help your business grow.

We have created a 7-step OPPORTUNITY ANALYSER that will hand-hold you through self-assessment exercises and allow you to calculate for yourself, how much you can grow your business.

No salesperson will visit, there will be no phone calls from 7connections to try and sell you anything, it won’t cost you any money – just a little of your time (in private and maybe with some of your team) to answer a series of questions, make a few calculations and work out your own magic number for growth.

You can calculate your own ROI (return on investment) and determine wether Artisan can grow your business by 0%, 10%, 100% or 400%.

Find out which of these is closest to your future potential – and how to go about unlocking that potential.

If, at the end of that, you want to talk to us – we will listen (and we hope that, by that time, you won’t need any of our sales talk – phew).

If not – fair enough.

The GUARANTEE is that after taking part in this mini-series we will not call you – the only option is that you call us.

You have a free and unique marketing analysis to gain and absolutely nothing to lose.

Artisan – the future of marketing – today. (sales talk not included)


Click here


Industry Alert : Dental Training Group UK with Patricia Rawsthorne



After 42 years in the dental industry and the eleven years as Professional Educator for the Oral Health Division of a large company, I have decided to start my own training company for Dental Nurses here in the UK – Dental Training Group (

As a qualified Dental Nurse, Oral Health Educator, Dental Radiographer, Healthcare Mentor and Smoking Cessation advisor, I feel I have all of the necessary skills and qualifications to help dental nurses increase their own skill set and build their competency in extended dental duties.

However, it is surprising how many dentists do not invest in the training of their nursing staff, leaving them feeling undervalued and limited in their role. Dentists and nurses will subscribe to online CPD focused on the nursing staff which is great in most cases, but it cannot replace the interaction and sharing of knowledge of like-minded people on workshop type courses.

Never before have Dental Nurses had such ‘Scope of Practice’ and by taking advantage of relevant and cost effective courses, Dental Nurses can become an efficient, involved, financial asset to their practice whilst also ensuring the long term health and well-being of the patient.

An empty chair in a practice for even half a day a week is lost profit for the practice, so it is beneficial to have your nurse able to utilise that chair by carrying out say, fluoride varnish application, or take impressions for bleaching trays or mouth guards. Or what about OHI and recommendation of the correct products to use which possibly can be bought from the surgery before the patient leaves? The possibilities are many!

I am excited about starting this business as I know that every person I train will get THE best training they could possibly receive from a highly qualified and passionate individual person – ME!

For more information, email Patricia Rawsthorne at or visit

Industry alert: Bridge2Aid’s 10 year Birthday BASH!


This year is a very special year for the Bridge2Aid family, as they celebrate 10 years of their dental volunteer programme!

They plan to celebrate in style with an event just for you – their volunteers, fundraisers, donors and supporters – you’re all invited to join them, including friends and family.

10 years on, you’ve helped them successfully train 315 Health Workers, get over 25,000 people out of pain during DVP, and provided sustainable access to emergency dental care to 3.1 million people in East Africa, who otherwise faced a lifetime of suffering.

Taking place at the stunning Wembley stadium, their 10 year Birthday BASH! will take place on Saturday October 4th 2014, from 6:30pm.

Tickets are £95 per person and include a tour of the magnificent grounds.

To discuss sponsorship opportunities or to book tickets, please call 0845 8509877 or email

Click here to view the event flyer for more information, or to visit the website, click here.

Industry Alert : Digital Smile Design Course



If you follow us on social media you’ll know that we’ve been excited about Digital Smile Design for some time now. And that’s why we’re extremely pleased to announce that the first hands-on DSD course to be held in Europe – coming to Luxembourg this September – is now taking bookings.

We think that Digital Smile Design could be the next big thing in dentistry and so believe that this is an opportunity not to be missed!


To book your place or for more information, please contact Violeta Claus at

See below for the course agenda. We hope to see you there!


Digital Smile Design Workflow

Course by Livio Yoshinaga

Location : Luxembourg

19th – 21st of September 2014

First day
19th of September

Introduction DSD concept
Photo and video concept
Full protocol and design – DSD live

Second day
20th of September

Hands-on DSD
Wax-up stage
Live mock-up session
Final patient presentation

Third day
21st of September

Designing the patient’s 1st visit
Hands-on studio photography
Hands-on video
Digital panel concept
First visit slide design
Visual planning
SKYN Concept
Protocol briefing
CAD-CAM Anterior Aesthetics



The Business Success Factory Podcast (Shorter Version)

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Did you listen to The Business Success Factory podcast with Nicola Cairncross that we posted last month?

We have a shorter version of the original podcast interview!

Nicola has edited it for her separate podcast, Triple-M Blueprint, to feature the success highlights to help listeners with their business Mind, Money and Marketing.


The Triple-M Blueprint episode can be found on:-

- The blog

- iTunes


(Duration : 36:47)

The Performance/Behaviour Matrix


Leading people is one of the hardest responsibilities for owners and managers and the “appraisal” system has a lot of negative press attached to it.

The presentation below gives you a rapid solution to the problem.

Click here to view the presentation!

Hold a conversation with every team member at least once a quarter.

Follow the sequence of questions on the third slide and listen carefully to the feedback you get and the response to the feedback that you give.

Use the matrix on slide 2.

Deliver one of the 4 outcomes:

Promotion – let’s talk about how you can contribute more and what’s in it for you;

Training –  let’s show you how to do the job better

Coaching –  let’s work on your attitude and move you up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Deletion – goodbye, its time for you to go