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a blog by Chris Barrow

The danger of being busy

Approaching the Easter weekend, I was in conversation with Sonya Hamill this morning and reminded of an old statement:

I’m too busy earning a living to make any money

There are times when you are, as Michael Gerber would say, “doing it, doing it, doing it” – and for a successful dentist that might mean an appointment book bursting at the seams, unfinished treatment plans piling up, strategic and team issues left unresolved – for a business coach endless emails, phone calls, practice visits, writing assignments and speaking gigs. I’m going to admit that, not only am I having that conversation with my clients – but “guilty as charged” with a level of busy-ness that seems unprecedented in recent years. There have been times in the last few weeks when I have felt overwhelmed by “all that there is to do” – and have listened to clients and colleagues tell me the same. Interestingly, the conversation I’m NOT having is “oh my God, the recession is killing us and the business is failing” – maybe those people call somebody else and not me? The danger is that you appear so busy that you become unattractive to potential new clients. The patient who is all excited about their new Cerec crown is told that the first available appointment is in July. The dentist who finally refers the first patient to a specialist complains about how difficult it is to get hold of anybody at the referral practice. I remember a dentist who 2 years ago told me that he had decided against hiring me as a coach because at The Showcase he saw me constantly dashing from one meeting to another with a mobile phone continually glued to my ear. He never came back. To make matters even worse (!) I have genuinely never known a time in my 13 years in dentistry when there have been so many good business ideas around. Confidentiality precludes a detailed explanation – but I keep meeting people in UK dentistry who have some fantastic ideas about product development, support services and business models for the 21st Century dental practice. I’m beginning to recall that recession is an incubator for innovation. The concern is that whilst we are all running around frantically earning a living, we may miss some of the innovative opportunities to make some money – wealth that is – capital not income. Solution? Well I’m ashamed to admit that I heard the solution in 1993. Dan Sullivan, The Strategic Coach, The Entrepreneurial Time System. It’s all there. And I’ll be giving some serious thought to that material over the Easter weekend. Enjoy the break.

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