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a blog by Chris Barrow

PrivateVT – protecting your future

On Monday night (23rd January) I attended a meeting of the Heart Your Smile committee down at the lovely Caffe Caldesi in Marylebone. Expecting to meet “the usual suspects” we were delighted when Seema Sharma arrived with a group of 4 students from Guys in tow. They introduced themselves as leaders in their student community and the old-timers around the table listened with increasing appreciation of the work the students are doing to advance the reputation of dentistry in their local urban communities. From mobilising the student body to educating local schoolchildren, they have a full curriculum of activities and a well-populated social media tribe. Their enthusiasm was infectious and lit up the room. Contrast this, if you will, with the “conversations” that take place in “grown-up” dentistry: In the professional domain:

  1. CQC

  2. OFT

  3. Recession

  4. Competition

  5. Redundancy

  6. Succession

In the public domain:

  1. Ferrari-driving celebrity dentists

  2. Over-prescribing

  3. Lack of consistency

  4. Whitening confusion

  5. Short-termism in treatment modalities

  6. Pricing

It is very easy to take a gloomy outlook – and that is precisely why James Goolnik and the founders of Heart Your Smile have created a campaign that intends to bring a positive message about UK dentistry to both the profession and the public. Which brings me nicely to a look at the role or PrivateVT in the future of UK dentistry. To begin – my company, BKH Holdings, has invested in PrivateVT – and so I have a vested interest in the success of the venture – I’m biased – and you will have to take that into account as you read. Nonetheless – think about the commitment required by private principals:

  1. an investment of £15,000 in the year-long programme of e-learning, residential courses and training delivered by a growing panel of expert trainers

  2. a further investment of £32,000 in a year’s income for the VT

  3. time allocated to mentor the VT

  4. a target production of £120,000 gross from the VT in the same year

And think about the benefits of joining this new tribe of forward-thinking private principals:

  1. a VT who has been interviewed, vetted and chosen by the practice principal

  2. a VT who is open-minded, keen to learn and grateful for the place in a private practice on the VT Plus scheme

  3. a VT who will have had a track-record of achievement at dental school and in FD1

  4. a VT who will be benefiting from training and coaching from some of the best of breed in the clinical and non-clinical community

  5. a VT who will be groomed in high quality clinical skills

  6. a VT who will evolve great communication skills chair side

  7. a VT who will learn how to ethically sell treatment

  8. a VT who sees themselves as an integral part of the team

  9. a VT who will go forward to advanced courses as an associate

  10. a VT who will be interested to attend conferences and take part in emerging trade associations

  11. a VT who will understand the role of the internet and social media in business and in life

  12. a VT who will not live in the past but who will invent the future

  13. a VT who may well be interested in succession planning

Which brings me to one of my favourite points about PrivateVT – the opportunity to grow your own purchaser. Look at what happens in larger professional practices. The older partners have shares. The younger partners forego income in order to build up capital accounts. In time, the older partners retire and are paid out (sometimes in stages) by withdrawal from capital account. Then the younger partners step in to become older partners – and the cycle continues. No mad valuation formulas, no corporates marching in and changing everything to the dismay of those left behind. No haggling on price – formulas are agreed at outset. No new faces suddenly taking the reigns – consistency all the way through. It’s like an escalator, with VTs becoming associates, then junior partners, then senior partners – over timescales measured in decades and not years. Creating consistency, good brand standards and long-term security for team members, patients, suppliers and owners. A dental practice model that can only appeal to the public and to the regulators. Why wouldn’t you do that? PrivateVT takes the passion, the enthusiasm and the optimism shown by the 4 students at Monday night’s meeting – and bottles it for your future. Take a look now – there are only 20 places available for 2012-13. PrivateVT

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