What Tesla, Pareto and the 4% rule can tell us about the independent sector

1st March 1893 and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri.

Little did he know what change he was unleashing upon the world (or that he would have a car named after him so many years later). 

It’s the 60th day of the year (only 305 to go) and, by now, you should have discarded those New Year resolutions and settled back in to your normal habits. 

Or did you?

Last night’s Campbell Academy Peer Review was surprisingly well attended, given that a blizzard raged outside whilst I raged inside the Brewhouse and Kitchen on Nottingham’s Trent Bridge.

I respectfully suggest that attendance says a lot about the Academy’s pulling power and not mine (thank you) but it was also a delight to welcome some new and old friends from the Year-Long Business Course run by The Academy. They had just completed day #1 of the course and, as if to finish off their battered brains, an evening of me commenting on dentistry UK 2018 was an additional burden.

Rant I did – all completely off the record (or else it doesn’t work) – and we had a good old trip through the list of doom I published in yesterday’s blog and then moved on to discuss reasons to be confident in the independent sector – of which there are plenty.

I’m beginning to accept that there is a double-Pareto effect visible in practice ownership.

  • There’s an 80/20 in dental business – the top 20% doing 80% of things efficiently (things right);
  • There’s another fractal 80/20 amongst the top 20% – with 20% of them doing things effectively (the right things right).

Perhaps only 4% of independently owned practices are absolutely nailing it, which is great for people like me and Academies like Colin’s.

Not so great for the private corporates who all tell us that “we are going to buy 200 practices in the next 10 years”.

Oh no you’re not – there aren’t enough to go around unless you dilute your quality requirements – or get over that “not invented here syndrome” and invite people like me to come in and work with your members.

It’s not that I’m keen to get hired by corporates to do coaching – genuinely I’m not, as I prefer the immediacy of owner-manager clients. There is however an interesting paradox when post-acquisition practices are no longer showing up at gigs organised by the Barrows, the Latters, the Scotts, the Hortons, the Stuarts and all the other trainers and consultants around.

That, of course, creates an edge for those who choose to retain their ownership – the fact that you can take all of our courses, hire us and stay ahead of the game.

I love working with the 4%’ers and with those who are 20%’ers and aspire to become 4%’ers.

Long may that continue.

So – here I am at 06:15, freezing on Nottingham station and hoping that I can get back to Manchester in time to catch a 14:40 flight to Milan and start working with an outstanding Italian clinic – so far, they look very much like a top 20%’er. By Saturday I’ll know what has to happen to get them in the 4% bracket.

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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “What Tesla, Pareto and the 4% rule can tell us about the independent sector”

  1. I didn’t really make any new year resolutions, or if I did, I made them last September and sort of had them up and running in February 2018. The running is not 100% yet, but it’s a million percent more than it was in October.

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