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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Getting organised

Back in Cornwall this morning for the first time in 8 days – why is it that the mail just accumulates and we have to invest (in my case) 90/120 minutes in just getting organised? I have to admit to obsessiveness in this department – I walked into my home office last night to find a pile of unopened envelopes, jiffy bags containing ordered books and spare parts for my garden strimmer (!), a box full of old bits of Dental Business School technology and papers (delivered whilst I was away by Bonnie), subscription magazines and computer disks. All of this to add to the paperwork and technology and “stuff” that came back with me. My desk looked as if I had been away for months, not days. I have a routine:

  1. open all envelopes, throw envelopes away, make a pile of paper;

  2. place each individual item of mail into it’s own clear plastic folder (oh – I love clear plastic folders);

  3. add each task to my “to do” list;

  4. prioritise the list – A+ (must be done today), A (must be done very soon), B (can be done when ready), C (when I have everything else done);

  5. clear away books, magazines and other stuff into appropriate places.

I would rather invest a couple of hours in this process at the start of two desk days.

Last night my desk was a disaster area – now, at 7.30am, it is neat and tidy and my work is ready to start.

As soon as I’ve finished this post, it will be a shower and dressed, breakfast and then back here to start “doing things”.

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To add even more potential clutter – I called into IDH yesterday to pick up a new IBM Thinkpad, Blackberry and business cards. A Blackberry! OMG. I did explain to the HR department that I have a perfectly operative Sony Vaio and that my new 3G iphone is the second best bit of technology in my life at the moment (after my flip video) – but to no avail. I have both Thinkpad and Blackberry on the futon behind me, still in their packing – and I’m not sure when they will emerge. My official start date at IDH is 1st October – and so I’m “playing with it” at the moment, as well as completing some Breathe Business projects and spending a little time nurturing myself before the new challenge kicks off. Having said that, I already have a target list of 11 practices who have expressed an interest in learning about “Newco” – people who have made themselves known through this blog, through email or direct contact. We are evolving a process for acquisition from a blank sheet. At the moment, IDH have very robust acquisition systems and people – but they are focused on the NHS division and the criteria for private purchases will be fundamentally different. The two acquisitions managers are extremely busy in the NHS division – and so we need to recruit the person I mentioned a few blog posts ago – and I’m hoping to arrange a few initial interviews in the next week or so, following a good response to my post. It would be so easy to leap into my car and visit the 11 practices in question – but that would eat time and would not be a leadership or management system – so I’ll wait to find who becomes the first “team Newco” member and then work closely with them. Part of the fun of this is the freedom that David and the Executive Directors are giving me to “invent” this new division – that’s the environment in which I work best. During my 6-hour drive from Manchester to Cornwall yesterday, I managed to touch base with lots of people – hooray for hands-free and Bluetooth – and I’m hearing that my comments in the video-blog yesterday about “what credit crunch?” seem to be borne out by those practices who are focused on the 50+ demographic. The spenders are the baby-boomers – and they are still spending on smile makeovers and “whiter, straighter teeth”. Its essential, however, that you maximise your marketing this month – to create the momentum that will carry you through to the end of the year and beyond. Friday next week I will be presenting the marketing special in London with James Goolnik of Bow Lane Dental Group and Ian Scott of Base Creative. I saw James’ presentation on Monday and he has done a fantastic job – it will be a cracking day. For now – off for a lovely hot shower – a cappuccino – and then on with two very busy business development and administration days.

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