THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Scotland the passionate

Friday evening and a 4-hour wait for my flight from Edinburgh to Exeter and then a late drive home to Falmouth. A chance to reflect on an inspirational trip north of the Border and some new friends. Wednesday was a delight – to meet with Willie and Xandra Maceachan and the team at the newly opened satellite clinic of The Polwarth Group in Craiglockhart. I can recall driving past Oddbins over a year ago in Willie’s Discovery and he mentioning that the off-licence was closing down and the site available. We chatted about the viability of his third clinic. A year of planning and execution produced an opening last week and 10 new patient consultations in the first 7 days – purely from “walk-in” enquiries – we haven’t even started the marketing proper. The interior of this 1-surgery satellite (there is room for more) has been completed to a concierge standard and entirely “on brand” – I am proud to see an idea take shape and become a reality. Along the way a recession occurred – and the owners and team haven’t blinked – they have just continued with the effort and energy needed to birth a new clinic. I also have to thank the Maceachan clan for making me feel like one of the family during my stay at their home – a lovely change from endless hotel rooms. Equally inspiring have been the last 2 days with the regional and area management team for IDH in Scotland. On Thursday morning I arrived at IDH’s Frederick Street practice in Central Edinburgh and was immediately made very welcome by the team, even though I surprised them by staggering up the stairs and through the door with my suitcase 45 minutes early. Matt arrived shortly afterwards and it has been an absolute pleasure for us to “shoot the breeze” with Angela, Bev, Laura and Trudi in Edinburgh and then over in Prestwick this morning. We have met with two teams of staff and one team of clinicians and I’m delighted to say that they have been open-minded and committed to raising the bar on clinical care, branding and customer service. I was rather tickled that the Edinburgh team had received a flyer from Practice Plan a few days beforehand and were expecting “that man on the brochure” to arrive – fame at last. Can I also take this opportunity to thank Yann and Gilly Maidment and the team at Stafford Street Dental, who welcomed my IDH team for a lunchtime tour of their premises and shared Welcome Packs, Referral Business Cards and their enthusiasm for concierge class dentistry. Who would have thought it possible – an independent opening their doors to a nearby corporate to share ideas and vision? The IDH teams we have listened to are just as proud and ambitious as the independent teams I am used to – you have no idea how energising that is! The lesson to be learned is that some of the hyperbole out there in the profession about “the corporates” is based on gossip or isolated experience and not facts. I find it fascinating that Angela, our fire-cracker regional manager in Scotland is only the third person I have met in 12 years of dental consultancy who actually has an MBA! In the last 2 days we have set the scene for a complete programme of business development for over 20 practices in Scotland – and I cannot wait to get started on the work. A superb journey and a warming way to end a week. I haven’t enjoyed my professional life this much for over 5 years.

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