THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

I’ve still not made it through the door at The Showcase

The whole working day on Thursday was spent in my hotel.The morning on-line and on the phone.

The afternoon in a meeting with my fellow “plotters” in our Producer Group project.

We began our conversation at 12.30pm and ended at 5.00pm, after considering issues around equity, seed capital, services to be provided, pilot practices and next steps.

John Barry and I have been “around the vision roundabout” (as I call it) enough times now – we know we have a good idea and it’s time for some action – so we are each to approach 3 of the practices we serve in our respective day jobs and ask them to help us pilot systems.

At last – some action I can get my teeth into.

Dinner last night was something I was not looking forward to – I’m not a good social networker and wanted nothing more than a quiet meal in my room and an early night.

But duty called and I hauled myself downstairs at 8.00pm (avoiding the casino laid on by Braemar Finance!) and walked over to a nearby restaurant, the Nakhon Thai Waterfront

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absolutley inspirational – environment, food, customer service and a quite wonderful solo vocalist and guitar player who enthralled our table with chill-out music and some popular oldies.

On the customer service front – one of our party, accountant Alan McLeod, explained to the waitress when we arrived that he had an allergy to cornflour. A few moments later, the chef and manager came over to the table and engaged him in a deep and detailed conversation about which foods on their menu were suitable – they helped Alan choose his courses – it was all “no problem, leave it with us, we’ll get it sorted.

It was good to dine with Dr. Lester Ellman, Chairman of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee – he was good company and, as a fellow Mancunian, we shared some thoughts about how the city has developed. It was also good to see that he is helping develop a business coaching practice with colleagues from the management consultancy profession – competition stimulates demand!

My biggest lesson of the day was in conversation with Dr. Asif Syed on the appeal of The Dental Business School to the 70% of graduates from dental school who are now Asian – and will influence the market going forward.

Asif observed that the majority of my DBS clients are WASP – white, anglo-saxon, protestant – and there are few women (even though the majority of dental graduates are female) and few Asians (there are some but he’s correct).

He further suggested that my delivery style is the reason – that what I do from the front of the room is convince them that they are stupid – and then offer solutions.

You know – he is absolutley right – when I present at dental gigs I bring the house down by making fun of “the boss” in front of his/her team and then showing them how to survive their own lives of quiet dental desperation – that’s my gig.

The Asians, says Asif, will not respond to that because their culture is one of success – and what they want is to be told that they are clever – but that we will take “all the crap” off their desks and let them get on being clever, selling funky dentistry and investing in property/going on exotic holidays/buying cars/doing the things Asian entrepreneurs like to do.

This conversation really made me stop and think (that doesn’t happen often but Asif knows me well).

So in 5 years, if the target clients of DBS are Asian (mainly women?) practice owners – how does that affect my business plans.

A real thinking person’s day – and a fabulous evening out, just when I wasn’t expecting it.

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