THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

The office in the sun

First morning at The Perantzada Hotel, Vathi, Ithaca, Greece. We are here for 7 days simply because the deal was irresistible – it will probably be less expensive for me to live here for a week than in Hale, Cheshire! And, in spite of managing to leave my iPhone locked inside HSBC on the evening of our departure (so no phone calls please), it was always our intention that this would be a working week. The beauty of the internet (which didn’t exist here in the beautiful Greek Islands 8 years ago) is that we CAN run our businesses (that’s Annie as well) from the poolside lounge. And then call it a draw every afternoon and evening – time to swim, sunbathe, read the trusty Kindle, siesta, chat about the rest of our lives and enjoy the local food and wine at remarkably low prices. Last night, under the stars in the lovely Sirens restaurant in the centre of town, we slowly enjoyed two great courses and 1.5 litres of good wine for 40 euros. There has been a sea-change in the way I have looked at time management this year (and since working with Al Kwong Hing). I used to be an advocate of The Strategic Coach Entrepreneurial Time System – the free days, the days on which to focus on production/performance and the preparatory days. I allocated time every August to plan the next year’s calendar – coloured stickers on a Sasco wall chart – and I will still be doing that out here over the next week – because my 12 “vacation” weeks are as critically important as they have been for 16 years now. But not so much emphasis now on days prioritised for one function – a more homogenised approach to time management. Al and I have huge admiration for the work of Strategic Coach – and yet Al pointed out to me that he sees no distinction in his life between work and play. This is a man who will visit the Napa Valley in California, rise at 04:00 and work at his Mac for 4 hours, connecting with his Canadian and UK business partners, before joining his family for breakfast and a day of play. I’ve watched him carefully for a year now – and realised that his approach to life is essential if BKH is to build a sizeable UK business that is focused on quality of relationships and not just quantity of profit. A lot of the excellent Strategic Coach material served me very well as a solo-preneur, especially around time. But now I’m part of a growing team of 10 people, a different approach is called for – and this “blended” lifestyle is working very well. Not so easy for a dentist, of course – you cannot ask your patients to fly over the Greece for their treatment. Consider, though, a scenario in which the management of your practice is taken care of whilst you are away – and, of course, there are fee-earners at work whilst you are sunbathing or investing time in your kids. I suppose what I’m thinking (and forgive the advert) is that if you would like more stress-free holidays, holidays where you know it “will all still be there when I get back” – you could give BKH a call. You see, when people asked me 6 months ago at BKH “what exactly do you do?”, I used to take ages to explain it. Now my answer is: “At BKH we know how to run great dental businesses – would you like us to help you run yours?”

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