Our partnership with Caroline Bell began very early on at the ‘kitchen table and ideas’ phase of developing her business. I interviewed her recently as part of some research we are carrying out for a forthcoming project. Here is an extract from the interview that we think you may find useful.
Tell me a bit about yourself and why you set up Moreton Dental
Well, I have been quite open on my Blog about how we got here and I have found that patients find it interesting to see that their dentist is human! The journey began when I first saw the opportunity to convert what was then an old doctors surgery, into a dental practice. We worked 18 hours a day for months, and that was after what seemed like years just to get hold of the keys to the front door!
I had clear ideas about the practice right from when I first saw the building, not only how it might look but also the patients and team that I wanted to attract.
So how is it working out?
Well, we’ve created exactly what I had in mind. We have now installed our second surgery and there are plans for two more. I have managed to attract a great team that support me and most importantly share my passion for looking after our patients in a way that doesn’t need to be written down or forced upon them. It really helps when you have a team that seem to just ‘get it’ but that takes some doing.
But you have had challenges along the way?
Of course, buckets of them as you know Kevin! With hindsight I can see that many of them were anticipated before they happened, right at the planning stage in our work with Rose & Co. What has also helped me though has been the one to one support when needed, even if it’s only just to have a third party to bounce off ideas. I have also been on a pretty steep learning curve in terms of developing my understanding of the business aspects of opening a dental practice; finances, leadership, recruitment and marketing. I think this personal development is just as important as learning new clinical skills.
Why did you contact Rose & Co?
I knew that I had gaps in my knowledge about setting up and running a business and even though I expected these gaps could have been filled by reading enough books and articles on the internet (we all have access to the same online resources after all) I also know that there is a big difference between all the theories and ‘top tips’ and what it’s really like owning a dental practice.
What have you learned about yourself and your business since we began working together?
…(laughs) well, apart from not taking it all too seriously? I have had to make a few sacrifices, there have been times when I would have preferred to have just been out on my horse and nobody said it would be easy, but I think learning to trust myself has been important. One of the things that you really made clear from day one has been to run and lead my business as I want it to be, to do the things and put things in place today that will be habitual when they are really needed.
What do you mean by that?
We are a relatively small team at the moment, I can do lots of things in my head with the business but I have got into the habit from day one of having the structures, the systems, the plans and everything else that a more established business has to have. I think this has stopped me from missing things.
What is your Value Proposition and why is it important?
It’s the DNA of Moreton and shapes everything that we do. It’s integral to the environment where the team just ‘get it’ as I said. We are all clear on what Moreton is about, what makes is different, why our patients keep coming back and what we want to be known for in the community. You helped us get clear on this.
What have you learned from meeting with other Rose & Co clients at Club Connect?
Perspective mainly. Different ideas and experiences from the group. It’s time out to think but in an organised way. There’s some accountability too!
We will continue to grow. I would like to see surgery three in next and I need build the team so that some responsibilities are gradually pushed down.
And finally, what would you say to anybody thinking of setting up a practice or buying into one?
Step back, think about it, plan ahead and then just do it anyway!
Wise words from Caroline, if you would like to have a chat about any of the matters covered in this interview please get in touch, we would be glad to help you develop your dental practice, dental brand, and of course, your dental business leadership skills.