We have the unpleasant smell of the farmyard to thank that Martin Wanendeya didn’t follow his early dream of becoming a vet.
But the animals’ loss is dentistry’s gain: Since graduating from Bristol in 1995, Martin’s gone on to found one of the most recognised brands in dentistry and build a name as one of the most skilled implantologists in practice today.
This week, Martin chats to Payman and Prav about his early days in Uganda, the shift in mindset it takes to become a leader in the field and how he came to set up the legendary Ten Dental with business partner Nikhil Sisodia.
“Of course, there was fear…But sometimes if you have good fear, it’s going to make you work harder, plan better, prepare more, do all that stuff so that at the time you open, you’ve done everything you can. And hopefully, it will then be a success.” – Martin Wanendeya
In This Episode
01.38 – Backstory
16.16 – The dentistry decision
19.15 – Dental school
24.34 – Boarding school
28.01 – Early work, mentors and first implants
31.37 – Into private practice
34.14 – Meeting Nikhil Sisodia
37.00 – Shopfronts and squats
39.14 – Marketing
42.10 – Ownership and mindset shifts
52.22 – Partnerships
01.00.56 – Practice expansion
01.05.12 – Super associates
01.09.16 – Mastering implants
01.11.45 – On race
01.16.00 – Black box thinking
01.25.09 – Reputation and exclusivity
01.31.41 – What it takes to reach the top
01.37.01 – Referrals and relationships
01.41.06 – Last days and legacy
01.43.54 – Fantasy dinner party
About Martin Wanendeya
Martin graduated from Bristol University in 1995. He completed the Royal College of Surgeons’ diploma in implant dentistry at advanced level and was later invited to become a tutor at the college.
He is a member of the Association of Dental Implantology, the International Team in Implantology, the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the British Dental Association.
He is the co-founder of London’s award-winning Ten Dental + Facial clinic and is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading implantologists.
[00:00:00] For me, it’s the ability to plan to work out what you’re going to do when you see the patient. Because to me, you’re not going to however good your hands are, have a good just all the other things that are. Unless the person says yes to going ahead, it’s not going to happen. So for me, I think it’s the planning and then the trying to explain it in layman’s terms to the to the patient so that they go ahead, then all the other stuff will come later. You know, all the other stuff will come later. But I think to me it’s the planning part of it is the working out, being able to work out the simple to the moderate, the complex, just the fact that part of it, I think to me is key.
[00:00:47] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[00:01:05] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Martin Whalen down to the podcast. Martin I’ve known for years and years and years working with them for years. I know Prav works with them to super cool cat implant ologist teacher principle of a multiple award winning practises and examine them. Is that right?
[00:01:25] In some respects, yes. Yeah.
[00:01:27] Lovely to have you, buddy.
[00:01:29] Pleasure to be here. Finally. Yeah.
[00:01:31] Welcome, Martin. Welcome.
[00:01:33] Thanks, Brian. Thanks. Bye.
[00:01:35] Martin, you grew up in Uganda.
[00:01:38] Tell me about your childhood. Was it was it was it like a privileged upbringing by Ugandan standards or not?
[00:01:44] I think when I look back at it, it relative to many other people around me, definitely 100% because of where my parents managed to, you know, my parents basically managed to work their way up to be able to educate us. So we had a nice house. We have still my mom still lives there. Most gardened, you know, got to do lots of things. So in general, I’d say yes compared to many other people, but we lived alongside many people who didn’t have as much. So it was made really, really clear. I don’t know if you’ve grown up anywhere in the Third World or in the developing world, but when you grow up, it’s really, really clear the kind of the the haves and have nots. So I was always very aware of it and very pleased that my parents were able to provide that for me and for my brothers and sisters.
[00:02:30] What did your parents do?
[00:02:32] Dad not with us, but he was an MP politician and Mum ran her own businesses for a while or ran businesses with my dad and also worked with things like the World Bank, etc.. So she has a really some really quite, really, quite interesting career actually did lots of very, very interesting things. And I was a woman in the sixties, seventies and eighties and you know, in Uganda at a time when society was, I think, a lot more male dominated, you know, she managed to break through. I think one of the interesting things she did is microfinance. So helping kind of young helping female farmers, kind of rural women get access to money and loans so that they could develop themselves.
[00:03:13] And you must have, as your dad is an MP, with all the political turmoil that Uganda’s been through, you must have seen some things.
[00:03:22] Yes, I.
[00:03:23] Think he must’ve seen something.
[00:03:25] I think everyone that grew up in Uganda at that time, so saw some things because I mean, interesting. We’re part of a generation. If I look at my kind of counterparts, a lot of us have left Uganda and live abroad. If I look at the generation ten years younger, my nieces, nephews, cousins, they’ve all stayed and they’ve all stayed because they enjoyed much more stability than we do. Because at the time, you know, I grew up in Uganda, say I won’t remember it, but, you know, Idi Amin came in and we had to leave. We lived in Kenya as refugees. Parents had to kind of abandon the house, pack everything to a car, drive us across the border, you know, move to a different country. Had to suddenly make a life in Kenya with the help of friends and family. Then a certain age, we packed everything back up and drove back to kind of Uganda, which, you know, it was where we’re from. And suddenly it was kind of we had just been through a civil war. So there was potholes in the road. You couldn’t get basic goods. I remember you couldn’t get margarine, you couldn’t get sugar. Then one week you could get margarine, but you couldn’t get something else. So I just remember growing up with that in and around that time and just, you know, also security was an issue at that time, you know. And so we lived through that bit. And then from that bit, then, you know, there was another, you know, there were some elections where my dad was involved or mum was involved, interestingly, on different parties, which was, you know, you know, at the time my dad carried on with the politics, my mum didn’t and went more into kind of the sort of stuff with the World Bank and, you know, more of a kind of corporate style life in Uganda. And so witnessing.
[00:04:59] What your dad left leaning and your mum right leaning.
[00:05:02] Didn’t really work like that. You know, parties here are left and right parties. There are probably allegiances between different tribal groups or, you know, so, you know, for instance, there was Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party. They I couldn’t tell you what the differences were between their policies, but you could say that this guy is from this tribe and supports this this other guy’s from this tribe and supports that. So it doesn’t really work like that. And so yeah, and I watch my dad kind of deal with politics, which is, I don’t know, it’s not a life for me. It’s not something I would have chosen to do. But, you know, trying to get things done, trying to improve the life of the people around him, coming across issues, political issues, corruption, you know, people with their own agendas, you know. So yeah, and I watch that and I decided I didn’t want to do politics.
[00:05:57] Politics as we. Think of it here, like media attention or is it different?
[00:06:03] Interestingly, he got quite a lot of media attention because he would always he always would write he would always write columns and express his views in that. So he was actually reasonably well known for these columns. Whatever, you know, in there. But there wasn’t the same sort of you. No, not not in the same way as here. So it wasn’t like you were papped or followed around in any way, shape or form. And also because many lots of other people were involved in of our friends and family, were involved in life at that sort of level with politics or with kind of government jobs or base or, you know. So it wasn’t unusual in terms of where we were.
[00:06:42] Reminds me of the stories my dad used to tell me of when he was in Africa as well, and similar sort of thing that they they had to flee and they left with nothing, right? They have nothing, but they left with nothing and came here in the in the late seventies. But back to your margarine and that sort of story, I remember my dad used to say to me that, you know, when my granddad had had a good day at work, he’d bring home some margarine and jam and that would be it, you know, that would be a treat for the whole family. And it’s really interesting to, you know, the I guess the picture he used to paint because my grandfather was a shoemaker, so he used to make shoes, shoes by hand in a place called Tarboro. I don’t know if you if you know where that is, but south of Uganda and Mwanza.
[00:07:32] And remember, he used to say they used to sit on this step. And, you know, when my granddad came home and he’d sold sold enough shoes that he could he could get a loaf of bread, some margarine and some jam, and they had jam sandwiches and that would be the equivalent of a luxury meal for that. And then and then came over here in the late seventies. So when did you you come over here, Martin?
[00:07:57] I came over in 1985, so I kind of came to to go to school, you know, because I was at school, I was at sort of a boarding school in Kenya, in the highlands of Kenya. And that was a very nice place to be. I really enjoyed my time there. And when I left there, I you know, my parents decided, you know, at the time, where were we, 1985. So there just been a civil war we’re just gone through. And I remember at the time being sat outside our house, which is in Uganda, which is overlooking a valley when you overlook the valley. I remember I sat there with my dad and his neighbour and you know, they were having a beer. And this was the time when Museveni’s troops were taking over, you know, the Civil War was coming to a kind of a conclusion and watching kind of smoke and bombs in a column of troops walking through the middle of the valley and, you know, and then trying to leave the country at the time to go to school, you know, multiple checkpoints at the time where there’s a lot of child soldiers, they are called Dogo. So they’re kind of young kids, you know, ten, 12, 13, holding, you know, AK 47 kind of questioning you and, you know, getting away from that environment and, you know, kind of happy to get to the airport and then onto the plane. And then arriving in somewhere had never been never left East Africa. You know, I’ve been to Uganda and Kenya, never been to the UK and then suddenly, boom, you’re plonked into north London. There you go.
[00:09:22] What was your first impression?
[00:09:25] First impression was just, I think. Slightly confused, and I think they would just seem to be so much stuff. You know, the shops seem to be full of all this stuff and, you know, you couldn’t figure out how society works. You know, you’re just trying to get around your go on the tube. You’d come up here, you know, it hadn’t seen an underground or overground, you know, public bus in those ways. So just getting your head around all of that stuff, you know, for about a week. And then then going to a school which was a boarding school and then, you know, at that point in time that that was the real shock. Suddenly you’re faced with kind of kids your age who come from a completely, you know, completely different background, North London, you know, other people from Greek or Asian backgrounds. And, you know, suddenly you’re trying to get your head around all of this change. So I think it probably took me a good six months to start to understand how things work and to understand how people work. Because I think I grew up probably slightly naive and friendly with everyone that came around and then, you know, people with different agendas and, you know, and ways in which they worked and operated and what was an acceptable joke and not what was funny, what was not, you know, all of that stuff. You’re trying to get to grips with the 30 year old. So. Confused, confused, not understanding. Grateful, I think for the opportunity. Grateful to be away because of what I just left and what I left behind. And I thought, you know, I’ve got to make the most of this, whatever, you know, whatever happens.
[00:10:57] And where did you slot in in your class, so to speak. So. 13 year old new kid. Welcome, Martin, into this class. He’s just come over. Where did you slot in both, let’s say socially and then also curiously academically as well. You’ve come from a different system straight into this system. Like, were you sort of did you did you have to sort of learn that or were you way ahead of the class where you’re just thinking, right, this is.
[00:11:26] This is these high in Kenyan boarding schools? From what I’ve.
[00:11:29] Seen, people I mean, to be honest, I mean, one of the things is I would say that, okay, I’ll start off with the socially I was I was lucky that there was two other boys who were from from Africa. So we immediately kind of one one from Sierra Leone. Okay, fine. Okay. You can understand what I’m talking you understand the jokes and everything else. So that that really helped. And I think. B And so first you kind of like a little group. You’re probably a curiosity to everyone. And I won’t forget you. And I had a very strong African accident. Everyone was always kind of mimicking me, copying me just to kind of say a word, you know, that sort of thing. You know, you had to go through the change of, you know, you learnt to speak differently just because you were, you know, every word you said, everyone in the class would suddenly kind of burst out laughing or whatever. So there was all of that. So you were kind of curious outsider, you know, for a lot of these things. But what really, really hugely help was sport, actually, because I loved playing sports, I was reasonably good at it.
[00:12:32] And, you know, a lot of those barriers were broken down for me once, you know, you started playing an a rugby hockey athletics suddenly like, okay, okay, we’ve got a common thing here now and okay, we can get to grips with you now that, you know, if you’re on our team, you’re okay at the sport, you know, what about academically, academically? I’d say average maybe above slightly above average in that, but always prepared to do the work. You know, that’s one of the things so slightly above average in terms of that. But you know, it’s one of the things where I’d gone from a small school, whereas at the top of that school to come into a bigger school where suddenly, you know, the standards are were higher because there was more kids and more bright kids. And I think what I couldn’t ever really understand was the people who didn’t put the effort and the work in. So from my perspective, I think average to above average, slightly higher than average is where I put myself.
[00:13:32] I feel like with immigration, it kind of takes ten years from when you arrive to feel at home, because in the first five years you definitely don’t feel I mean, like you said, you don’t know the system, you don’t know people, you don’t know anything. Right? Okay. You start to learn that. But also in the first five years, you no longer fit back at home anymore. It’s this sort of weird moment, you know, where you’re half there and half your one foot in each camp sort of thing. I see it with our staff as well. They come from all the different places they come from. But then after ten years, which in your terms would have been the end of dental school? I feel like people people have this feeling of, okay, now this is home, you know, that probably you feel like you belong. Did you were you accelerated in that sense or did you feel like it took that long or.
[00:14:26] I think I think I think you’re really right, because I would agree that I’d agree with you entirely, because one of the things I think I. I realise it’s when you actually got through the first winter without moaning like hell about it. I hated winter. I hated, you know, every time we’d be like, why? Why does this happen? You know, freezing cold, you know, your fingers are cold or thumb. You don’t know how to dress the first winter as well. You’re not being gloves, you’re not putting layers. So all that stuff is going on. So and that was one of the things. But I think there’s always an element I think of you end up being neither, but both is is what I would say. You end up being I’m neither Ugandan nor British, but I’m both Ugandan and British. And you’re kind of a curiosity in you know, you’re slightly different in both places rather than a native of both. But I’d say in terms of it did it did take ten years. And it also, I think, making the real lifelong friends and the people who you’ve attached to and finding the people who kind of understood that you came from a really different background and sometimes you wouldn’t get the joke, that reference a 1960s cartoon that was on TV, you know, that when there were kids, you know, you just sat there going, What? I don’t understand. So it took a little while to get to that point. And I think the other thing was also, when you’re part of a cultural shift, that happens. So when you’re part of, you know, for instance, you know, the eighties or the nineties, when that change happens, you’re part of that. You’re there at the beginning, you’re there in the middle, you’re there. Then you then have a common kind of thing with everyone that you can then link with. And I think that’s probably the time. I think.
[00:16:09] Something like Live Aid or something like the shift in the way people.
[00:16:14] Think. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:16:16] When did you think I want to be a dentist? Was that early or was that, you know, were you one of those didn’t know what you wanted to do?
[00:16:25] Well, it was quite a good story because I always kind of knew because my dad and mum worked in offices and what they would call the office is not, say, an office that you get here in the UK. I remember my dad had the room he was in, he had a secretary, it was in front of him and the same with my mum. She had another office in a different part of town. So whenever you go in you would arrive and they’d say, okay, you speak to the secretary, the secretary put it down, would knock, walk in next door, speak to him, he’d be on the phone, he’d be dictating a letter. And that’s what I thought office work involved. So I thought actually that that seems quite boring. I don’t want to be sat here just, you know, sending the secretary in and out and dictating letters and doing whatever. So I thought, I don’t want an office job. So then it’s also part of that kind of at the time there was, you know, let’s call it five choices. You’re a doctor, a dentist, an engineer, a medick, you know, you know the story. You know, you come from that sort of background. You have to come out. You have to do something. So out of those choices, I thought, right, I’m more interested in the medical staff things. So in the medical setting, I thought, okay, let me have a look at all of these things. So at one point I kind of run around and said to my mum, Oh, look, I’m interested in in anything medical.
[00:17:38] What do you think I might be interested in veterinary science? So they said, okay, alright, if you’re interested in veterinary science, I’ll take you along. So at the time she had a farm, a pig farm, this was maybe an hour outside of Kampala. So I said, okay, I’m interested, I’m going to come along. So I went along to the pig farm and I’ll never forget the day they opened the silo and you kind of walk in and there’s the smell of all of those pigs. It took about five, 9 seconds for me to realise that I didn’t want to work in that environment and I was I was not going to be a vet because the reality of what a vet evolved suddenly dawned on me. So then I thought, okay, maybe I want to be a doctor and do medicine. I went along and I kind of spoke to my sister, my older sister. She, she, she’s a medick and she at the time she was considering it and she kind of said, well, if you’re going to do this, you need to be really dedicated. You need to really want to be a doctor. It needs to be a drive and a passion. Unless you feel that maybe, you know, don’t do it. I thought, no, I don’t really have that passion. I don’t really kind of have this urge when you see people to kind of fix them and make them better, not not in the medical way.
[00:18:46] So I thought, no, no, that’s not what I wanted. And then I thought, okay, let’s have a look at dentistry. And my uncle, Uncle Martin, Alec, who was he’s a dentist and kind of went along to see him at work one day. And when I went along to see him, I thought, I see this. I like this environment environment’s quite nice, you know, he’s doing something that’s not an office that’s kind of medical based and it seemed quite nice. He had quite a nice car as well, quite nice house as well. I thought, okay, out of the three of these, this seems, you know, the one that I’m most interested in. And I talked to him a little bit. I also went and did another bit of work experience in Kampala. At the end of that I thought, okay, now this is it. And this was probably, I think when it wasn’t early, it was probably maybe 15, 16 when you’ve got to make those choices. I was always going to go down the science route, but. When you have to make the choices that are going to then lead to the next thing. So at that point, I’m as I can. I’m quite happy with this. I’m quite happy with dentistry. This looks like a good part. I think I can get into this. And that’s where it began.
[00:19:47] And where’d you study?
[00:19:50] Oh, yeah, of course. Which year was.
[00:19:53] That? 85. 85 to 90.
[00:19:58] And what’s what sort of a dental student were you, Martin? We were really geeky. Had in the box kind of guy. Or were you a bit of a party animal?
[00:20:06] No, I think I think what I would say is that I realised fairly early in dental school, having talked to people, that whether you got 51% or 99%, you got the same degree. Right. So suddenly, you know, A-levels, it’s ABCD, everything else is graded but here and they explained that one person might get the distinction and there might be a merit somewhere, but the rest of you will get a straight pass. So at this point I thought, well, actually, you know, I’ve worked my way up to here. I’ve worked my way through the A-levels and, you know, secondary school, etc.. And I thought, okay, that’s as long as I get to the point where I pass. That’s the important part and as long as I take the most important thing. So I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly geeky or academic. Bristol at the time was a really good city to be in. There was loads of really interesting kind of music happening. There was loads of really interesting kind of. There was a very interesting art scene going on. I also was working one evening. I had holiday jobs. I was also working one evening at a bar. And at this bar, you know, I ran this bar where people would come down and deejay on a Thursday night, etc. and we met. Tricky massive attack, you know, just Portishead. Okay. So all of that time that was all going on around the time. So amazing. Yeah. So, you know, I think the Friday morning period was probably the one which I think we attended because I used to work every Thursday evening at this bar and it was you’d work, I’d get free food, I’d get some free beer as well. So Friday morning period sessions were probably my worst attended of anything, you know.
[00:21:46] Did you find you were hanging out more with dentists or not? Like, were you more with the townies or were you more with non dentist lawyer types or whatever?
[00:21:55] I think I think it was probably not really with dentists because I had interests. So, you know, interest in all of the other things going on and it was just the people who happened to be there and they happened to be on a variety of different degrees, etc. Lots of people who lived in Bristol who I met through working, you know, because I had a job where people come, Oh yeah, you’re the guy from Cosey. So yeah. So you just met people who lived in Bristol and lived in and around Bristol. So I ended up, I think probably sadly, a lot of my social life wasn’t around a lot of dentists, it was around lots of other people. But everyone who shared a kind of common interest in the things I was into, really.
[00:22:34] Did you not consider staying there? Because once, once you were in that position that you’ve just described, that’s almost like a level of acceptance here that you hadn’t had when you went to boarding school. And, you know, early on and what I was said about the sort of the ten year thing was probably starting to happen. Once you become once you become the guy having a night and people recognise you and all that, I’d imagine you’d start thinking, Well, maybe I should make my life here. Did that cross your mind or not?
[00:23:03] I don’t think it did, because.
[00:23:04] Were you always going to come back?
[00:23:06] My family was all in London, you know. Family was all in London and friends were all in London. You know, when you did a five year degree, everyone sort of three years in, picked up and moved to London. So when they moved to London, you know, there was a whole thing waiting in London. Once in my head, once I got there, it was it was all there. And also so so that probably drove a lot of my decision to kind of leave and move, you know, sister, brother, you know, aunt, uncle, cousin, all in London. So I would have felt slightly at a limb there.
[00:23:40] And have you always been in the same part of London?
[00:23:42] No, no, no. School, North London and Goldsmith School, as it did. Mill Hill. Oh, Mill Hill. Yeah.
[00:23:50] I broke my arm there once to one of those Camp Beaumont things.
[00:23:54] Yeah, that was the Belmont down the road.
[00:23:57] No, no, it was Mill Hill. It was New.
[00:23:58] York. Okay. All right. That patch, after you there.
[00:24:05] It was a nice school. Lots of fields, grounds and all that.
[00:24:08] Yeah. Yeah. Honestly, really? Really. Apart from when it was cold. Very nice school. No.
[00:24:14] You didn’t. You didn’t see it. Did you see him often? He went there?
[00:24:17] No, no, I didn’t.
[00:24:19] Same sort of time as well.
[00:24:21] No, it depends. There was a real distinction in there, boys and boarders. So if there was a day, boy, I probably would have known if it was a boarder because you all hung around in the evenings, the weekends and all the other stuff. Then we would have known one another.
[00:24:34] What’s what’s your view on boarding school in general? Because you’ve spent most of your life in boarding school, your childhood life. What do you think about it? Do you have kids?
[00:24:42] Do you to.
[00:24:44] Persuade them to.
[00:24:45] Go? Younger one goes. Older one doesn’t. Interestingly.
[00:24:50] So what’s your view on it?
[00:24:52] I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I remember the first time I went stage seven. Bear in mind, I’m done before of five. So my older sister had gone to this place. Rather had gone to this place. Sister above me had gone to this place. And so suddenly when it says, are you going to go to that place? You know, basically half your family, more than half your family there, most of your families there. So and when you’re there, you know, having the time to spend with your friends the whole time, you know, what you do lose is probably is the time with your parents. But at the time, you know, as I said, Uganda was difficult. So actually being away from that in some way, nice and idyllic, especially the first boarding school, it was the highlands of Kenya. So no mosquitos. The temperature is such that it’s like a warm summer’s day every day. And it just it just it stays in those boundaries. And so, you know, with loads of facilities, you know, lots and lots of space. So I really enjoyed that, you know, playing sport, eating well, having fun. I enjoyed that. Boarding school here was a slightly different thing because I think you then ended up in a different a different headspace. There was a lot more boys growing up. It was a boys and boys in there up until, say, 15, and then girls in sixth form. So very, very different experience. But nonetheless, I still enjoyed the time I spent with the people that I knew from that and also having the time to really spend on on I think on sport as well, which I really enjoyed.
[00:26:25] And so what? Martin What about your kids? You’ve got one in and one not just talk to me about the thought process, decision making process. I mean, it’s it’s 180 degrees from what I would do. And I’m not sort of saying, you know, one way or the other, whatever is it’s just my personal thing. But curious just to learn sort of your your view on that and then also why one in and one not?
[00:26:52] I think why one in one or not? I think it’s because of how they are as people if I’m on it. So the older one wouldn’t like know when we spoke about it, you said, no, you wouldn’t like to go the younger one, particularly because of, you know, the school when we’re looking for schools for and we were looking for a particular type of school that would suit him and suit his needs. And actually, the school that happened to suit his needs was not round the corner from us. It was not in south east London. It was an hour and a half away. And it did have you know, it was a boarding school. So we went along, had a look. He kind of spent a couple of nights there, came back. He said I said, how is it? He said, I had a great time, really enjoyed it. Would you be happy to do that? Yeah. And since then, he really enjoys it. You know, he comes back. How was your week? He goes weekly. So it’s not like you send him off and then see, mine was at the end of term. So every Monday you get dropped, every Friday you get picked up. So every weekend we see one another. So it’s not you know.
[00:27:54] It’s not months on end. So, you know, catching up on the weekends and stuff. Yeah. Having that family time, right.
[00:28:00] Yeah. Yeah.
[00:28:01] Well tell me about your tell me about your early jobs. You’re, you know, your early mentors. When was the first time you saw an implant?
[00:28:10] Oh, my God. An implant would have been. That would have been probably a very. Probably been 1990. So 95. Probably about three or four years in. And it was actually it was first first corporate job. The first time I saw an implant being placed. Yeah, actually I remember once my first job I had was I had this weird pathway where I finished, I finished dental school. I couldn’t go into vet directly because I didn’t have a British passport, so I had to apply for British passport and residency and all these things. So this meant that I missed the kind of vet cycle and I had to spend six months out. I worked as a waiter for those six months, which was with a dental degree, which was always very interesting because when people would say that to you, your fellow waiters, Oh, what do you do? You don’t want to know. You won’t be doing what do you? So that was always quite an interesting conversation. So when I started, I then the only the job I could get was being an assistant and that while I was an assistant I was at a practise in Hays and getting Lane sort of travelling out. And there there was a patient that came in and this patient had had an implant and everyone was like, Oh, they’ve got an implant, they’ve got an implant. Everyone was kind of gathering around it, you know, looking at it with, with great. Oh, and I happen to, they happen to be coming in to see me, you know, just by instant.
[00:29:36] That’s the first time I came across one. But in terms of early mentors, I’d probably say, you know, the first guy who took me on for BT because it was taught here early and that was he was based in Croydon, sort of in Crawley. And when I worked for him it was quite interesting. He took me on when I did the kind of VTE rounds and in doing the vet rounds I thought that after six months of working as an assistant, knowing the game working, you know, I knew what to do. I’d had to kind of self taught. I didn’t have, you know, a vet mentor at that time and I thought I’d be the most valuable vet on earth to anyone because I could hit the ground running and obviously make my train a lot of money. But the the guy who took a punt and I got one offer was was Tiger Ali. But I was very lucky because he was trained in dental practise. So that made him really, really kind of interesting to work alongside. We also worked in a really high needs area, so what I didn’t realise at the time was, you know, with his guidance we’re actually ending up as ending up doing what you call rehabs now, you know, full mouth of crowns and root canals and bridges, you know, with the odd, you know, partial denture attached to it. So that was. Yes, yeah. Yeah. That’s when the prior approval days, you know. Yeah. You could you could.
[00:30:55] Over £200 in my day. It was something ridiculous.
[00:31:00] At the time it was something like £800 and they dropped it. During my time it was, it was a reasonable amount you could do on the NHS and so, you know, working in his practise he obviously helped me with treatment, planning, putting these things together. It wasn’t just, you know, and in some ways I saw what it was like not to be a single tooth dentist, you know, through working alongside him. So that was probably the earliest mental beat and I ended up staying there for probably another sort of 18 months afterwards. So that’s driving from Battersea down to Crawley every day and back, you know, and. But he was one of the earliest.
[00:31:37] When did private dentistry come on the scene for you, Martin? Obviously, the transition from where you were there to to the level at which you operate now. When was it that you first got into sort of what you considered to be a sort of a higher end of private industry?
[00:31:52] It was a little bit of a battle to get into private, private dentistry. So from that job, I kind of worked somewhere else. That was the Waterfall Dental practise, and when I worked there, as I was working there, that was quite an interesting job because at the time it was private if you’re an adult or an NHS, if you’re exempt. And that worked really well. Did that for a bit, but then the whole practise change, it became massively NHS and then I ended up hunting around for different jobs and there always mixed jobs. But the mixed jobs I think in some ways were. I always felt I wanted to do more. And at every point I think you’re hampered by like a list of NHS patients. And I ended up, ended up, you know, at a certain point moving to James Hull. So I was kind of working one day in my practise and this and I got a call saying, Oh, you’ve been headhunted. And this was the promise, the big promise of kind of private dentistry that I’d wanted, because at the time I’d say it was mixed. And I think mixed is very different to what I do now and the sort of work we do now. So when I went along there, you know, that was promised as fully private, etc. and it wasn’t. And it’s, it’s a, it’s a problem. I had I’ve been chasing this private job all the way and I hadn’t been able to, to actually find it.
[00:33:06] So in some ways the private job came when I realised I was going to have to create it for myself really. And that’s when I started, you know, looking for premises, looking to start squat. This was maybe sort of, let’s call it mid 2000 to 2003 to around that sort of time. And then Nick and I hooked up and, you know, started ten dental at the time. I remember us considering taking on an NHS contract, but they were changing the contract at the time to, you know, from fee per item to this other thing which we didn’t know. So we just thought, you know, let’s open and see how we get on privately. And then that’s when that part of it began. And then once I started that, I realised that I was really going to have to level up and scale up a lot. And that’s when I started doing a lot more courses, and that’s probably when BCD came along, when I kind of met you guys at courses and things like that, that was the first time. So I’d say the other time I was doing the work, but not necessarily with the same foundation. And that came by, I think of course with Paul Tipton actually was I did his kind of year long restorative course that worked really well for me.
[00:34:14] Same as Kailash and Martin. How did you and Nick meet? It’s always interesting to learn how business partners got together, you know, were you buddies beforehand? What was the story? And then and then you decided to obviously, you know, settle your business together.
[00:34:30] Nice and easy. First day of dental school.
[00:34:35] Me and Sanjay met. First day of dental school, too.
[00:34:38] First day of dental school, same year, you know, birthday, two weeks apart. He’s two, two weeks older, you know, same year. And I think when we really probably became, I’d say, you know, really kind of bonded was when we did our elective together. When we went to the States, we went to Harvard and spent some time together there. That’s when we really kind of bonded and got it together. So from there we’d known each other and have drifted in and out. But when it came to starting a business, you know, I’ve said, you know, that’s when we hooked back up again and said, actually, we’re probably at a similar stage in life, about to have child wanting to work privately. You know, our current practise is not giving us what we want. So we’re going to have to create the job, the environment, the equipment, all of that. We’re going to have to do this ourselves because it’s what we want is not out there being offered to us or wasn’t being offered to me at least.
[00:35:33] But was it was was like while you were at dental school, was this some kind of dream that you both concocted up together and sort of said one day, or was it that you’d both gone in your separate directions and then you’d you’d stayed in touch, reconnected and said, let’s do this?
[00:35:49] Yeah, we’d completely gone the other way. And the time that I kind of, you know, it wasn’t a plan or a thing that we plan in any way, shape or form. And it’s actually when I was working for James, you know, the job, I told you where we got headhunted and they used to have this big kind of meetings and bashes and whatever. And at one point I bump into Nick and I’m in the practise, which is, you know, which I’m struggling to get a single bit of of whitening out of the patients. And here was in the Soho flagship, you know, so he was in this side of it actually. So that’s when we met up again and had a chat and, you know, rekindled kind of the friendship at that point in time.
[00:36:30] And so was that first practise that you said 2004, 2005, was that what we now know is ten dental?
[00:36:36] Clapham Yes, yeah, it’s, it’s the old premises, so it’s around the corner, it’s on the pavement then the pavement, dental health.
[00:36:43] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so shopfront. That was the shopfront too.
[00:36:46] Yeah it was.
[00:36:47] So that was back then. That was quite quiet. I suppose you’d been in JD and seen shopfronts. Was that was that something to you? Because that was that wasn’t very common to have shot. But was it squat as well?
[00:36:59] Yeah, it was.
[00:37:00] It was a shopfront with a squat. Did you not worry about the risks and the costs?
[00:37:06] Of course. Of course. You know. Yes, we were.
[00:37:11] Sometimes. Sometimes you don’t like. What you don’t know is important, isn’t it? That you can. Just like if you told me what I had to go through with Enlightened, I would definitely wouldn’t have done that. I mean, and that’s a cliche, but definitely not.
[00:37:28] Well, was there an element of that? Sometimes, you know, you’re already swimming. You know, you can’t get out of the water. That’s it. You just have only one way to go. But but I think where that came from, you know, you talk about the shopfront there was I’ve always been really interested in design and graphics and I’ve always I think at around the time there were a few people doing kind of spa type, dental type things, and I had a look at them and I thought, they haven’t done that in the way. And I had friends who were graphic designers and people who did branding and marketing. And I thought, you know, with Nick and I thought, let’s put something together that’s very different so that if you’re walking along the road and, you know, we had leaves and we had kind of a whole kind of the photographs of kind of trees and plants and a whole kind of natural look going on. But with that premise, we just thought if we have something that’s so interesting to look at and doesn’t look like a dentist and feels very different, then we thought it would work and there wasn’t a dentist along that high street. I knew the area really well. I’d worked in around the area. I’d walked up and down there and I just it yes, of course there was the fair and that there always would be the fair. But I think some way, some of the times if you have a good fair, because what that’s going to do, it’s going to make you work harder, plan better, prepare more, you know, do all that stuff so that, you know, at the time you open, you’ve done everything you can. And hopefully it will then be a success. But there weren’t that many shop fronts in that day. You’re right. There weren’t and there weren’t that many designed like that in that at that time. So that’s something that we really, really enjoyed doing and putting together and still do.
[00:39:14] First marketing campaign back in the day. Was it the shop window? Was it was it the fact that it was it was something that sort of piqued people’s curiosity where they just started walking in because of the way it was designed and set up. Or did you have some campaigns set up back in the day to.
[00:39:32] Well, what I remember was the time I looked at the amount of rent, and I had a friend of mine, Neil, who was fortunate. He worked in kind of small business stuff. And when I was looking through stuff, he would talk to me and explain different things when I said, Oh, this is so expensive. He said, Think of this as your marketing budget. Think of your shopfront as your marketing budget. Make sure it looks really nice. And that way people walk in. So that was the that was the first thing was again, having a nice shopfront, having a good receptionist on the front and name was Hayley. She was she was brilliant. Having her on the front then I think around that sort of time is when Google was kicking off. And around that time you could load up with your credit card because Google Pay pay per click was quite simple at the time, wasn’t it? It was Google AdWords. So I remember entering the thing, looking at the area, putting in some keywords. It had some suggestions as to what you could do, put my budget on there and basically put the Google keywords budget and then sat there with the email address and went, Oh, someone’s booked. And I think at the time it was, it was you think about what was then and what is now. What was then was so empty. You just put something up saying, we’re a cosmetic dentist on Google. People are, Oh my God, there is a cosmetic dentist. I’m going to go there. Whereas now it’s a very, very different thing. It’s much more complicated. So was that was.
[00:40:53] That the positioning from the get go cosmetic dentist as opposed to sort of family or general or specialist or.
[00:41:01] I think it started off as Nick and I doing all of the dentistry and, you know, and then gradually after a while, you know, one of our team members are hygienist. Just Oh, look, I know you guys don’t really you know, you don’t love Bender, a friend of mine, and then the dentist would would you be interested in talking to him? So we talked to him then he had a friend who was a periodontist, so we talked to him and then we were getting into doing implants at the time. So we thought, okay, now there’s a periodontist, there’s an end of dentist, there’s a couple of guys doing implants. Oh, we might be called a referral centre. So, you know, we’re a referral centre now and then. So there wasn’t a plan to do that and it didn’t. But it just I think it was more every time you tried to see what the public wanted. At the time it was the age of veneers when everyone wanted us, you know, same day, smile, smile. So there was a lot of people looking for that sort of treatment. You know, after a while that sort of faded and people started looking for another thing. So a lot of it sometimes is driven by trends in the marketplace, especially if what you’re trying to do is keep your kind of young business going, you’re going to do whatever. So that’s how that part evolved.
[00:42:10] How do you take to being a business owner? Compared to a worker and someone who works in a business. And you to take to that naturally. I mean, what kind of what kind of a boss are you? For a start.
[00:42:25] I think it would depend on who you ask. Different people would have different things. I think what I would say is I probably I would like to the type of boss I’d like to be the sort of boss who actually when you come in, you’re going to have a good time at work. We’re going to have a laugh. And if you do your work, you do your bit, actually, you’ll find that in a certain respects I will be happy, happy go lucky joke around with you, you know, talk to be interested in you. But it’s when people cross that boundary and they start trying to they perceive your your friendliness as weakness and try and take advantage of that. That’s it. Then then a different person kind of comes out at that time. But I, you know, I like to prefer to be the first type because that’s much easier in terms of taking to business. I that’s when I learn how to use Excel. I just had to spend the time sat there going through crunching the numbers. It just took a lot of time and you know, you learn different skills at different times. And I remember just going through having to learn that, sit through, learning all this new stuff. I didn’t mind it. And I think at the time I met you guys, I was probably doing a lot more of the the kind of, let’s call it the back office stuff within the practise than I am now. I was doing a lot more of that and of paying the wages, doing this, uploading that, figuring out how to use the software, big change. But I think a lot of it’s funny because it happened so long ago. I’m so used to it. It’s almost like a frog in water. I’ve been in the water so long, whatever the temperature forgotten what it was like before I jumped in. You know, it’s been that long.
[00:44:01] It’s interesting during that transition, Martin, I think I think we all go through it right where you where you’re the bookkeeper or the guy who pays the bills and all the rest of it. And for you, you know, I’ve seen ten Dental go from certainly from the early days of what it what it was to what it is now. Right. And fortunately, you know, we’ve we’ve had the opportunity to sit down and look at your business together. And, you know, I’m privy to information where I can see that it’s a roaring success, you know, from the patients who were coming in and having the type of treatment that you share on social media. That obviously looks incredibly beautiful to all of those referring dentists, trusting you with their work, something had to happen mindset wise or mentally for you to shift from becoming, you know, that, shall we say, that small business mentality to I pay all the bills and I see all the receipts and that. So you just sort of say, right, I’m now running, you know, from where you were then to where you are today, what would you attribute sort of the biggest mindset shift, not like tasks or whatever, but just mentally for you to be able to say, right, okay, I’m going from first to fifth gear or whatever that is. And this is the reason why.
[00:45:22] I think a lot from my point of view, it’s probably been driven a lot by, I think, family and responsibility. So first practise, first child needed to step up, pay the bills, look after the family, do all of that stuff. Second practise, interestingly, you know, second child realising that there’s going to be a lot more needed. And I think at the time it’s one of those things where when you once you make the decision to do it and you make the decision that you’re going to go for it, I’m I’m fairly determined once I start something to kind of complete it and to keep going with it. And it also comes from, I don’t know, seeing parents, seeing family members. So sister, mother, fathers seeing, you know, in general what everyone else has had to do and realising that actually in some ways, you’re just going to have to get on with the work, you’re going to have to put the time in. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices to get there. And it’s, you know, in order to to make those steps and to do it. So I think part of that also comes from, you know, playing sports as well. You know, when you see the benefit of kind of hard work and you see it work for that work, work for it, and you achieve it. So it makes the hard stage of that a little bit easier if you kind of know that there’s an end site. And it also helps when you get the rewards, you know, you get the recognition, you get your first referral, your first kind of happy patient, your first Google review, your first rehab. And, you know, all of those things reinforce it and just give you the energy and the strength to carry on and to keep going.
[00:46:55] But just in terms of the shift in so so for me, for example, the hardest part, the thing I struggle with is the letting go a bit, right? Is I can be a bit of a control freak, but every time I’ve let go in my own businesses, it’s, it’s resulted in, in really positive things happening. Right. In terms of. Performance or team performing better and whatnot, but I struggled to let go and my mindset shift. I think it was a moment where I was, you know, I was being coached by, I think, Dan Sullivan at the time. And it was he said these words which which I’ll never forget is not the how, but it’s the who. Right? And the moment that sort of became clear in my mind, I didn’t really need to know how these things all happen. I just needed to find somebody who could do that thing right, who’s my guy, who can sort the the finances out from from that that side of things. Right. And it’s a bit like I heard a story about Zuckerberg one day who say walked into Facebook’s offices and said, today, guys, we’re going to focus on messaging. It’s all about messaging today. Right. And so for you, there must have been some kind of mindset shift to where you’ve just described that hard graft from your parents, from sports and everything. And I’m not saying the amount of graft has changed, but something must have happened for you to let go of those things.
[00:48:23] I think a part of it comes for I’d say there’s a couple of things. The first is when I, for instance, we talk about paying the bills and understanding how that side of it works. Once I understand how something works and then happy to let it go once I’m sure I’ve gone into it, I’ve looked at it, I’ve gone through the nitty gritty. I spent hours with the Google sheet looking at how this thing works and understood it once. Once I’ve understood it, I’m then happy to kind of happy to step back and let it go. And it also is easier because there’s two partners, because within the two partners what we do is we try and split that. So some parts are Nick does it and in some ways he will let me know he’s done it and that’s fine. Other parts, he will give me the same free rein. So having two partners also helps. And I think the other bit that helps is also having two people check every decision because we’ve done some things that you would look back and go, that wasn’t a great decision. But actually if two of you have made a bad decision, if there’s two of you looking at everything, that makes it a little bit easier in terms of, you know, you hope that someone if you come in with come in with something really dark, Nick is going to go, look, actually, that’s not going to work.
[00:49:34] We’re not going to do that. I’m saying now, you know, I’m pulling my veto on that one. So but it did take a while to let go. And I think a part of it has also been finding the right people. You know, once you find the right people that you can let go to, that makes it easier. And there are certain things which I still struggle to let go because I’m not sure, you know, if I’ve managed to train people in the right way to get them to do it. But once you find the right people and I think that’s very liberating. You know, some people that work in the team that you say, you know, you give them a five line email and it’s done and there’s other people with who need a little bit more guidance. So the right people has been key. And if I could find more, you know, it’s one of those things that you could find more of the right people to take different things then that that would help but. In essence, I think that there’s some things I don’t still let go of, which maybe I should.
[00:50:32] One of those things, Martin.
[00:50:36] Some of the. I think there’s some of the things like, for instance, some of there’s some tasks I do which. For instance, that there’s things I do with to do with my own admin that someone else could quite easily do. You know, there’s the expense out here where I’m really sure if I’ve trained the right person, they could do half of this stuff, you know? So it’s things like that. It’s things like that. And I think that would be one of my aims is to actually kind of slowly, you know, find the who to relieve me of those and give me more time to do the things that I enjoy.
[00:51:12] And what in terms of you and Nick, what’s the balance? Do you both have your own zones of genius where you’re better at one thing than him? Or do you split your responsibilities up in certain directions where you say, All right, I’m going to one marketing, Nick, you’re going to own HR or whatever. How do you work together as a as partners? It’s a little.
[00:51:33] Bit like that where, you know, there’s there’s five or six duties that are in terms of management that we have to do. He’s got two. I’ve got one and a half. And then there’s other things that we have to talk about and work out. So that’s how we try and we try and stay away, not always successfully from each other’s different zones, but, you know, there’s always going to be a bit of overspill that’s that’s worked for us so far. And we’ve had times where what’s interesting, we’ve had times where we’ve done the other jobs, you know. So he’s done one bit and I’ve done the other side of it. And then we’ve come back to a point where, you know, it’s over. Yeah. So you kind of understand what they’re going through. You know, if you’ve done that job and you’ve done that role, you know, you have a lot more sympathy because, you know, you realise what it involves. So that that’s that’s how we do that part.
[00:52:22] You have clashed. Have you ever sort of come to a sort of headway thing? I totally disagree with with what you’re saying and vice versa. And have you dealt with that?
[00:52:32] Yeah, we have. We have. And I think it’s you know, he always said it. And I think that having a partnership is almost like having a marriage. You know, it is. It is. It’s a long term relationship that you’re in and you’re going to be in and you’re committed to. And there’s bits of paper and everything else around it. So the times where it’s been difficult, you know, I think we’ve you know, my partner’s been an apology is needed. I’ve had to give it at times. Maybe he’s he’s had to say that part or it’s part. But we have clashed. And I think there’s times when because we know each other so well, I think when I see that he’s getting to a red line, I’ll back off because I realise, okay, we don’t need to cross that and fight our way and bash and he probably does the same to me and maybe you approach the same subject in a different way or in a common area. You know, if it’s a decision like that you’ll have to provide some kind of, you know, if it’s like, I want to do this, you’ll have to persuade me, not just by your words. You’ll have to go and do a little bit more work around that to demonstrate that actually it is a good idea or it’s not. But generally we’ve been lucky because I think a lot of times we’ve been aligned in terms of our approach and what we’ve wanted and how we’ve wanted to approach things, you know, from when we started. And there are times when, you know, you have you have to lose. Sometimes in a partnership you have to lose, you have to lose some arguments. You have to kind of give in. You know, you have to that’s it. And he feels strongly about something. I disagree. He feels that strongly. You know, I’ll have to say okay on this one. Let’s see how it turns out.
[00:54:11] Prav you’re in loads of partnerships. Yeah. And I’m in I’m in a partnership. And it’s interesting one because you have to have complementary skills, you have to be opposites in many ways. And yet on some base principle things, you have to be fully aligned.
[00:54:29] Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah.
[00:54:31] And, and one the one that I find the most important to be aligned on, I think a couple, one is like how, how do you treat people that I think that’s really important because it can really great in a partnership if if the company is treating people differently to the way you as one of the owners would treat people. That’s cool. I think another one’s risk profile. And it’s there’s no right or wrong in risk profile, you know? I mean, one person can want to take big risks for big returns. Another another one could be more measured and some but those that does need to be aligned. Whereas, I mean, it’s really important with partnerships that you’ve got opposing skills. As well. You know, it’s like I was talking to Prav earlier that there are there are things that Sarge takes care of that I would never have a hope in hell of.
[00:55:27] Taking care of.
[00:55:29] Different types of people.
[00:55:31] Yeah. Would you? Vice versa and vice versa. Pay for you, right? You know, there’s stuff that’s. Yeah.
[00:55:36] Yeah. Essentially, like people.
[00:55:43] What do you think? What do you think about that? I mean.
[00:55:46] To me. I think that’s true. I think, you know, I think you’ve got to have your basic goals aligned. You know, what are we doing? Why are we doing this? What’s our direction? You might have different ways of approaching how you get there, different pathways of doing it. And that’s probably where the difference happens, you know? And in terms of the letting go bit that’s hard is I wouldn’t do it that way, but you are doing it that way and he probably has a ton of stuff in that way. So I would never do it that way. But just just, you know, I’ll ask you how it went at the end. So that’s the part of letting go. But I do think there’s different bits that, that, that and I think in order to keep ourselves in different silos, we try and stay away from the other person things. But interesting I think over the years you end up a little bit more aligned because you learn from each other. You know, some aspects I’ve watched and I’ve said, okay, that’s, that’s interesting that work, that’s interesting that and actually some things are no he’s better at. So I’ll say, look, I know you’re really good at this. This is what I’m trying to do. How would you go about it? Right. So that’s that’s the easy way to do it. And then he’ll say this. If you follow that, generally, it will work out better than if I went into it my way. So that’s where I think you try when you have something that you know, the other person has very good skills at and is very good at, ask them first. So this is what I need to do. How would you go about it and listen and then see how that works out?
[00:57:10] Prav. Kim, you’ve got you’ve got your main businesses, not a partnership. Yeah, but you other ones are partnerships. Correct. What’s your thought?
[00:57:20] So I think I’ll reiterate what Martin said earlier, which is the general direction in the vision in which you’re all going in. Right. And if that isn’t aligned, I think you need to pull everyone in that direction or be pulled in that direction, especially when there’s multiple partners. You know, there’s a business I’m involved in where there’s I think there’s more than five people involved. Right. We are all pulling in in the same direction. We all want the same goal. We’ve got we’ve got the same, shall we say, exit strategy in mind. However, however you put that right, we have definitely got differences of opinion of how we’re going to get there. Without question. Right. But like you said, Payman, I think we’re all very, very much aligned as human beings and not not just how we treat our team members, but what’s really important is how we are with our families. And I think if I was to look at all our partners and how they are all with their their children, their partners and whatnot, we’re very, very much aligned in the way we list and conduct ourselves. And I’m not saying that that’s that’s important for business, but it can help. And then, yeah, in terms of how you treat your staff and whatnot, but I think in terms of having the skill sets, complementary skill sets 100%, otherwise you may be just fighting for the same job, right? Or you may you’re both sort of aces down one thing and perhaps you can just split that duty.
[00:58:55] But every partnership that I’ve been involved with, I’ve definitely had a skill set that’s complementary to the rest of my team. And the rest of the team have definitely had skill sets where I couldn’t touch it, not not in a million years. And and that’s worked really, really well. But the one piece of advice someone comes to me and goes, Hey, I’m thinking of going into business with my best buddy. There’s a book called the Partnership Charter. It is a wonderful book. It’s a really old book and you don’t even need to read the book, flick to the back pages, and there is a contract in the back of that partnership charter. And whether you choose to use that contract or not, it’s up to you. But there are some probing questions in that partnership charter where it explains all the uncomfortable conversations to have with that person before you jump into bed with them. Right. Some examples. It’s really all right. What happens if you and Carla got divorced tomorrow? What’s going to happen to your shares? Okay. What happens if you die tomorrow? Payman, I don’t want to deal with your wife.
[01:00:07] I agree. All of that from the beginning, huh?
[01:00:09] Agree. All of that from the beginning. Right. Because the whole the whole purpose of this contract is it makes us think about the uncomfortable stuff. Hopefully it never happens and we get that stuff out of the way so we can focus on what did we have at the beginning, the vision. Yeah. And so that book, I don’t know how old it is, but the language is old and it is an old book. But, but forget about reading the book, but that contracts at the end. It’s beautiful and it makes for a it makes for a very engaging and probing conversation between partners. And you learn a lot about each other during those conversations as well, like what their responses would be to those those type of questions. So that’s that’s my piece on partnerships.
[01:00:56] Martin Tell me about moving from one practise to multiple practises when you start, for instance. That that’s a good question, isn’t it? When you started out with Nick, was your stated goal to have multiple practises?
[01:01:09] No, no. Our stated goal was my. We did. I suppose we didn’t really. We just wanted somewhere that we could practise dentistry the way that we wanted with the equipment we wanted, with the, you know, with the environment that we wanted. That’s where, you know, that, that’s really where that started. Then I think the second practise came along because we were sat, they were very busy in the one practise as well as being very busy in the one practise. We kept noticing that a lot of our patients would move from Klapa to Ballan, so you’d be, say, a renter in Clapham and you kind of you’d be in your shared household and then at a certain point you would meet boy meets girl, then you’d buy a house in Balham, and then you’d have a family home. So that kept coming from Balam to Clapham and we figured, I think there’s an opportunity there and we kind of went along and found a building and when we found this building we had to kind of do all this stuff very quickly to suddenly decide we’re going to do it. So it happened really quite quickly from us thinking about it to it actually being okay, you have to do it now and huge amount of time to think about that.
[01:02:22] Another squat.
[01:02:23] Another squat. Yep, another squat. And that that was I think in some ways it was a really, really hard build with digging down with basements, with mud, with, you know, all sorts of things like that that made it complex. But on the other hand, it it we kind of peaked out where we were. And I think the other thing that happened is I think it also we were both in the same place, both there at the same time, and actually we could both do more. We’re also doing a lot of you know, you talk about partnerships, you talk about, you know, having different skills. But one of the things that’s probably unusual is we’re both doing the same sort of work. We’re both in Scientologists, both partners are in ontologies, where he was a orthodontist and as an implant ologist, there’d be a lot less clash right here as a cosmetic dentist. So I think we thought, well, we just we need more space. And rather than have more space here, let’s have space down the road in Balham. And so that was the thinking behind behind starting that. And we also had a group of we’re very lucky because we had a group of great young dentists that were working alongside me. Ojo Your hand is badly on, you know, I think Shiraz was Shiraz was a little bit later, but he was about to come along. So we had this group of really talented young dancers. We didn’t have enough space to do all the work, so it helped that we’re able to kind of move somewhere else, open up, have a little bit more space. And also, I think all the mistakes you make building your first practise, you know, you don’t make those mistakes building the second you make different mistakes instead.
[01:03:52] So was it simpler, though, to transplant the systems over that? Much more confident the second time?
[01:03:59] Right. And we had a great practise manager at the time that was really, really, you know, that was really useful in that. So yeah, you know, you talk about letting go, having someone that was able to really, really help with that was really, really handy. So again, once you had everything in place and also it was down the road so it didn’t feel like it was too far, you could get there in 15 minutes and back. So it wasn’t like, you know, I know people who’ve got one practise in Scotland and the other one in Cornwall. It wasn’t anything like that, you know.
[01:04:27] What year was that? Was that four or five years after you started the first one?
[01:04:30] That was that would have been 2008, 2009. So for four or five years. Yeah. Yeah.
[01:04:39] And then the third one was then.
[01:04:41] One was a purchase. Someone who was a basically was a referring dentist. They wanted to sell. We had just bought then it just started the second and they said, actually, you guys are looking like you are going to expand. And at the time we’re thinking about expanding and multiples and doing more practises and it just it’s probably an opportunity that arrived rather than we went looking for. So that was quite a that that was how the third practise came along.
[01:05:12] I mean, tell me. So you mentioned a few of the names of the people who’d worked there. And, you know, there’s quite a lot of associate super associates, people who’ve gone on to do greater things who’ve come out of that little camp of yours. And I’m sure you know, in the future there will be. Actually, I know one of your Jessica who who who started became an Army bomb maker, but she was a dental student and already putting out wonderful work. You know, do you guys have like a formal way that you’re training the associates or is it just that you love teaching? We love how sharing knowledge. Why is it your associates all go on to do such wonderful things?
[01:05:57] I. I would say ask them. One of the nicest things, I think when Shiraz left, he kind of gave a very nice speech on social media about what had happened. But I think what it comes down to in some ways is, you know, I’m Maya’s my own worst critic when it comes to what something looks like. Is it right? Is it good enough? Nick’s also his own worst critic. So when, you know, once you get past that, I think what we try and do is try and instil a sense of, you know, what it looks like to do work like that. And, you know, one of the things is in going to conferences, going things like BCD for years, going to barge, you know, travelling abroad and seeing some of the work that people do. You see things and once you see something at a certain standard, when someone comes up to you said, Oh, look, this is the work I’ve done today, what do you think? And that’s really the moment where I think the change starts and the people who are able to kind of gain from it, the most of the people who are able to listen to what you say, take on board the hopefully constructive kind of criticism and feedback you give them. What helps sometimes is you’ll have maybe a case that you’ve treated in the past that’s like that. So you can show them saying that This is what I did, this is what you do, this is how this works. And then the next time you have that, before you start on the day, come in and see me. Let’s talk through it before you start. When you’ve got the professionals on really important, come and talk to me with the provisionals on and I’ll say No, you need a bit more there or a bit less there or a bit more there. And that’s it’s just a gradual process, a gradual, iterative process of continually, I think, learning to show your work to other people and accepting the feedback when it comes and then changing it and then doing it again and then doing it again.
[01:07:39] Instilling that culture. I mean, I speak to associates. They say, my, my boss doesn’t ever say one word to me. Susie, it’s very I’ve been I’ve worked in a practise myself where, you know, literally we just like we happen to be in the same building.
[01:07:55] But, but.
[01:07:56] But there was no discussion on cases, nothing. I mean, just like, you know, that culture of of of teaching. Within a practise, you know, unless you’re telling me, you know, it just comes. So it just just came naturally and it just it just evolved by itself.
[01:08:12] Yeah, because we we both, you know, we both did study clubs. We both have taught and trained. And and I think you probably pick certain things up. And I think one of the things that’s probably been the thing that’s helped is understanding different people’s learning styles. You know, some people, they just, you know, you have to be really gentle and talk around it and kind of get to the point, gradually show loads of evidence around that go online. Other people don’t get it that way and you have to be really quite forceful to get the point across. And then they’ll go, Oh, okay, fine. But as long as you get to that point where something clicks in their head, then it helps. And I think it’s also a lot of people, you need to see it to understand what you’re trying to do. Unless you’ve seen it and you can see it, then it’s really hard to get up to that level. So that’s where I think there’s been a huge advantage of travelling, seeing, you know, courses and also, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, we’ve been doing this a little while so, you know, picking up hints and tips from different people at different times.
[01:09:16] I seen some of your presentations, Martin. You know, you’ve got a definite style, you know, very beautiful sort of looking slides and things that you make. And this question of teaching and I guess it kind of goes hand in hand with the question of sort of super excelling at something in order to be considered a teacher at it. I mean, some people will not touch implants, others will restore them, others will start placing them. Others will do loads of them. Others will do grafts, others will do sinuses. You’ve taken implant ology, you know all the way. You do continue to take it pushing further and further and further. What is it in you that makes you that cat?
[01:10:02] It’s very kind of you to say, first of all, pay. Well, now, that’s much appreciated because you’ve seen this, you know, for many, many years. I think a part of it comes from I would say. You know, before I left. So age 13, leaving Uganda. Last talk with my mum, you know, she was sending me off to a foreign land and she kind of said, look, you’re just going to have to be much, much better in order to get the same place. You know, you just have to accept it. You’re going to have to be much better. You’re going to have to work harder. You’re going to be much better that that’s just the truth because you’re going to look different. You’re going to talk different. You know, that’s not you know, it’s not your country. You’re going to so you have to if you accept that as the baseline, that you’re going to have to be better, that sets the tone for what you have to do. And I think that that’s probably the driver. It’s that understanding that actually you’re just going to have to work a little bit harder. And what you get out of that at the end is actually the stuff that you talk about, you know, that that comes through the iteration, the process. I’ve talked about iterating better and better and better. You know, keep going, keep going, keep going. And within that, you see someone else who’s very good and you think, I want to get to that. That was an awesome case. And and so it as much as you see that there’s still things I look at and I think, how did he do that? How do I get to that point where I’m doing that regularly, you know, and achieving those results regularly? So there’s still the drive in there to do more and to get better. But it does come from from that. I think that acceptance that you’re just going to have to do more. You know, you’re going to have to do more. You’re going to look different to many other people you meet.
[01:11:45] Well around that subject of race, I guess. Do you think we’re now past that? I mean, we just had the Black Lives Matter thing recently. It wasn’t long ago. And for me, it was that whole moment in in social history, if you like. It was almost like I feel like, you know, these days things are a lot better and so forth. But in that moment, the polarisation of different people’s thoughts kind of came out that things that I thought that were gone then came out in that moment. Well, tell me your views on the evolution of what it’s what it is to be a black man in Britain. I mean, when you first walked in, when he first came compared to now, you know, highly respected surgeon. And do you do you still feel it now? And and, you know, your thoughts around this was okay.
[01:12:40] I mean, I’d say the what I remember first coming and, you know, people would shout kind of insults at you, things out of cars, vans, you know, just randomly, randomly. And also, you know, when you’re playing sports, people would call you names and do things like that. That part of it I don’t experience anymore. But what in some ways what sometimes feels like I don’t know my experience of it. It’s probably been very different to most. It’s been very different to most black men because I’ve come from a privileged background, I’ve got an education, I have a degree. You know, I talk in a way that will be very different to many people that they may have met. So within all of that, my experience is probably slightly different. But I think, you know, when Black Lives Matter and everything with George Floyd kicked off, what you realise is, you know, you may have succeeded or have got to a certain point or have got beyond a certain point, but there’s still many other people underneath you. And as part of it we did this quite interesting kind of webinar and talk with the at the time it was the HDCP What’s now the CG. They started the whole project and as part of that, different people submitted what had happened to them and talked about that. And you talk about things like for instance, if as an example, if I’m walking along the road, people will still sometimes be wary that there’s a large black man walking beside. They won’t think of this as the implant. That’s what they’ll see.
[01:14:15] They won’t think that way. I don’t think. Or aren’t you the implant ologist who did this? That and they. Aren’t you the guy who was on that website and I’m paying Prav. You know, you just said so. You know, people’s perceptions until they know you are always probably going to be in some ways slightly negative. Having said that, you always have an opportunity when you meet people and you talk to them and you engage with them and you break down their barriers and you show them nice work. And you, you know, they might have perceptions that you you’ve always got a chance to get in there and break those up and really challenge their thought process by not behaving or being what they thought you might be. And that means that if they can broaden their view of what a black man is like by you being very different to other people you’ve met or being in places I haven’t met, then that will make them think twice. The next time a large black man is walking beside him, we might just. Just be going home, you know, to his family, you know, to do whatever. So breaking those things down, I think, is a constant battle. And in some ways, it’s it’s something that I noticed probably a lot of a lot more people have become aware of it. And there’s still things that happen to do with it. But I think I’m fortunate in terms of my position is fairly privileged, but it will obviously still affect me in certain ways.
[01:15:36] You get dental students, younger dentists. Of colour kind of contacting you and saying, you know, you’ve you’ve been an inspiration to me. Does that happen? That must happen.
[01:15:48] That and that’s that’s very kind when people do that. And I always you know, if anyone’s listening, I always you know, I always reply. I always reply.
[01:15:57] And thus.
[01:16:00] Martin Just sort of during this whole journey of, say, building your business, getting to where you are today from where you started. We talked about earlier on what have been your. Darkest moments where things really hit rock bottom. Whether it was a combination of sort of family work and everything all coming tumbling down at once. You know, nothing ever happens at the right time, does it? When when stuff goes wrong but never is a right. Can you think of a of a time where where you were you had hit rock bottom in all of this. And and what was that?
[01:16:38] Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean. Oh, the one I’ll pick is, there was, there was a time where financially it was difficult not not necessarily because of what was going on at work, but because of decisions I’d taken outside of work. And when you are really kind of properly watching the pennies at home and then you’ve got people at work who may not be, you know, it’s not their business, it’s not. And during those times I was going through, I think, quite a hard kind of personal financial time because of decisions not related to work. Work was going fine. It wasn’t to do with that, but that that was and it’s not something that I wanted to share at the time because then, you know, it’s not anyone’s business. But that that was that was quite hard. And I think during that time losing it was around that time that I lost my dad. So, you know, there’s certain times when, you know, there’s no joy in the world and there’s, you know, there’s nothing to look forward to. So the darkest times have come when work is in. And interestingly, around that time, it’s the work that probably kept me sane, you know, just the going in doing that something to occupy because you kind of knew it would pass, but you just had to go through this. You had to go through this six month period where it was just going to be hard. It was just going to be tight, it’s just going to be tough. But actually having you know, that was one of the things that was probably just kind of kept things level for a while.
[01:18:11] We’re in the we’re in the dark zone of the podcast now, so I’ll continue. What would you say of your biggest mistakes? Well, you know, some of some mistakes that you’ve made. I want I want to hear both from a business perspective and definitely from a clinical perspective in a mistake someone else can learn from.
[01:18:32] From a business perspective, I think there are times when we’ve probably tried too much at the same time without the right team in place. And there was a time we were trying to start a facial aesthetics practise and keep the dental practise going with just built this this fantastic new practise that we had in Clapham and there was just too much going on that was just too much. And I just at that time it was, it was just, just difficult. It was just difficult at work, difficult on all sorts of things you built in your practise, all the stuff to do with that. You’re trying to start a business in an area that we didn’t know at the time, I didn’t know very much about. And that was I would say when we look back at that and how, you know, I think Nick Nick was instrumental in extricating us from that, how we got out of that. That was important, you know, at the time. Clinically. I would say the one the one that I think still kind of haunts me today is I went on I went on a kind of course where there was an observation element to someone working. And when they did that, they used a type of a type of kind of synthetic block graft, which was, you know, I’d done BLOCK Cross before I’d done them, where you take part of someone’s jaw, you know, and you kind of trim it up and you put it themselves very comfortable with that part of it. But sometimes it’s this great synthetic. You know, there’s this great synthetic block. And I thought, okay, I had a guy who came in, he was petrified of the procedure. And I said, okay, tell you what, instead of doing it the way I’m used to, I’ll use this this other way of doing it.
[01:20:13] And it was like, okay, fine. And I did the procedure. It all went really well. And I was thinking, Oh, this is great. That’s a really nice, easy way to do it. But the issue happened because, you know, what I didn’t fully appreciate was when you use the material, the material behaved very, very differently to what I was used to. So instead of going back to try and put the implant in, in normally three or four months, you’re supposed to go back in in about six or nine months. And I was very just routine implant placement. Put the implant in. I thought, Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s all worked out nice and easy. You know, I’m the donor and everything else. And then it just started to fall apart, you know, because the material wasn’t ready. I lifted a flap, it wasn’t fully integrated. And over the course of a few months, gradually bits of this just came apart and came out. And he was the guy was incredibly patient with me. I’ll be forever grateful to him, but literally just picked it apart and in the end had to take the implant out and just do it again and start again and do it properly. And not. Not properly, but but do it with that conventionally. Yeah, but it was an understanding that, you know, if you’ve got a thing that you know, works, you know, you have to think very carefully before changing it and you have to understand what you’re changing. And at the time, I don’t think I gave enough consideration to what I was changing and.
[01:21:41] So was was there any form of complaint or.
[01:21:44] Incredibly, fortunately, no. I think that with all of these things, the first thing was, you know, and again, I’ve got to thank someone called Nigel Jones. You know what? If I you know well, as you talk about influences, I’ve got to thank him for this. Just take money off the table. We’re going to fix it. Don’t worry about the cost. Everything’s going to be fixed. Everything’s taken care of. Just, you know, that’s it. So that was the first thing to happen. I think once you take that off and you fix it, that that deals with a lot of it, you know, because someone’s going to have to fix it. And these and in some ways, if it said at the time, I don’t want you to do it, I want someone else to do it. I would have happily paid someone else to do it and said, Right, there you go, go see them. So it’s ready to take the money off the table so that the person gets the treatment they deserve.
[01:22:29] The level of work you’re doing. There must be complications. I mean, there must be there must be a case where, you know, you feel like. Not not, not, not. I’m not saying that you let the patient down, but where the patient felt that, you know, something wasn’t done right. And how you handle that situation.
[01:22:51] I would say that.
[01:22:52] Because the last example you gave, obviously, from a management perspective, that was a massive success.
[01:22:59] Well, no, but it’s double the amount of time, loads of procedures.
[01:23:03] You managed the guy and you managed the situation well. But can you think of one where you didn’t manage the situation quite as optimally as. This one.
[01:23:15] I think interestingly, it’s probably it’s been the ones where it’s most of those things have come where generally at a certain level you reach the point where you can can you when you get a complication, you can manage it. You know, I’ll get complications. Everyone will get complications, but you know what they are and you can manage it and you can get around that and you can do it again or do something else. And you’ve got a way around it when you know you to extricate yourself. But I’ve found that the times when people haven’t wanted to be managed and potentially when there’s money involved and they feel that, you know, it costs too much, why I’ve had to come so many times. So generally those times have been when it’s been about, you know, no money, really what it’s come down to people wanting money and that’s that I think that’s a sad thing. But in terms of. I think. I think you’re making me worried now. I’m knocking on wood over here at the moment, but I think a part of it comes down to, I think, the conversations you have with the patients and we’re a lot more of the issues come is not necessarily in the patient complaining. It’s the patient having an unrealistic expectation of what you can do and you not realising at the beginning that you’re dealing with someone who you’re never going to 100% get it right. Whatever you do in their mouth and you realise this once you’ve done, you know, removed tears, removed implants, rebuilt bone, rebuilt soft tissue, you go, Da, it looks fantastic. I go, I don’t like that little bit. So the majority of what I’m trying to do now is trying to find those people. And when I do just really, you know, in some ways saying no, saying no.
[01:25:09] When when you get referred to patient, in a way, the referring dentist has presold your expertise and your level of knowledge and skills. But when you see a patient who hasn’t been referred to as the patient, a person. How’d you get over to him? You know, you’re you and you’re not. You know what I mean? I bet you charge more than the average. Do you charge more than the average implant? I hope so.
[01:25:39] I should put the fees up after that.
[01:25:41] Well, you’ve got you’ve got I mean, I was having the same chat with Basil Mizrahi and he was saying he takes it takes him three examinations. Before he works the patient out in the patient, works him out and so forth. But, you know, if I sent someone to Basil or I’ll tell them a massive story about how he’s one of the best in the world and all of this. Whereas if a patient walks off the street or a word of mouth referral comes in. These ought to know your Martin weren’t there is just you’re the dentist. Do you have a way of confidence about you or do you tell a story or do you showcases or what you do?
[01:26:16] I think it’s a combination of all of those things. The first thing I think is sometimes your body language and the language you use with someone, and if someone walks in and you go, Oh my God, this is really complicated, everything’s going to go wrong. I’m going to tell you about 15 different complications before I talk. Whereas if you say, of course I can sort you out, this is no problem. I’ve done this before and you begin the conversation with that because that comes from having done it many times, having spotted the issues. If you begin like that, that’s the first thing that people are reading your language the whole time. You know, they’re reading your body language. They’re reading how you’re talking to your nurse. How, how how does your nurse know what you’re doing when you say, I want an X, x, x and Y? Does she spring up and immediately get it or look at you confused? All of that stuff that’s going on is, I think, hugely important. And I think the other thing is, you know, if they really I’ll generally showcases and I’ve generally got a case like you very similar to you. Sometimes I’ll have a case like you with a video from the person stating, you know how happy they are and everything else. So that actually you’ve not only got the teeth, you’ve got the person who’s happy to give a little video to say how happy they are and what happened and how it how it went through. And I think the other thing is, you know, the other part of that is I think the team around you and I say that because if when they answer the phone so I’d like to get an implant, please, I go, oh, you know, you’re going to see Nick or Martin are. They’re really good at what they do once they start the team, build you up, you know, when they’re then the treatment coordinator on the way out, you know, they, they, they help with all of those things. So making sure you’ve got that team around that believe in you and are prepared to kind of help.
[01:27:56] And training them to say those things. Right.
[01:27:59] Well, I hope they come naturally in some way, shape or form, but part of it is you do talk to them and a part of it, you know, probably the most important thing is in some ways when you when I started this is making sure the team had confidence that I could deliver. And once the team have confidence that you can deliver it, they can then do that other part that maybe the referring this dentist was going to do for you by saying authenticity. They’re right. Yeah. You really want this guy to your implant?
[01:28:24] Honestly, I have teachers teaches this to receptionists all the time, but I do. Regarding whitening, you know, it’s almost like that vanilla ice cream in Marks and Spencers and vanilla ice cream as it’s madagascan vanilla.
[01:28:42] You know.
[01:28:44] Do you do white.
[01:28:45] With the little with the little black vanilla flakes like little.
[01:28:51] Little pods make. Yeah.
[01:28:53] Do you do whitening. We’re a regional centre of excellence for whitening. You know that, that, that, that thing. So yes we do or no we do.
[01:29:03] Followed by a price.
[01:29:05] Yeah. Yeah.
[01:29:07] It’s it’s interesting that that whole topic. Right, because you know Martin, you’ve been doing this for years, so it comes naturally to you and you talk about how you present yourself your body language, you know, a lot of. Telling everyone I am. Martin And this is who I am and this is my experience comes from the confidence that you project and the way you speak and that that comes with time. But when when you’ve got other people doing your job for you, I TCO or you receptionist you always believe that whatever they say to a patient needs to be memorable. And that is the most important part of any training that I give or anything that I say to a CEO or someone on the phone. Right. Make that conversation memorable. And what do I mean by that? That patient was probably going to ring another three or four practises. And my goal is if they ring my practise, I want my conversation to be memorable and memorable for the right things. Do you do dental implants? Yes, of course we do. They’re £3,000 and we use a stromal implant called. Do you do dental implants? Yes, of course we do. And you’ll be glad to know you’ve arrived in the safest possible hands, because Martin not only teaches other dentists how to do and place dental implants, he’s got decades of experience doing this. And it’d be like, and I’d be delighted to invite you into the practise to come in and meet Martin to see what he can do for you, give you an idea of the cost, and we’ll be able to spread you, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[01:30:46] Right. About how much you charge for reception. Well.
[01:30:53] I say to Prav, where did you learn this stuff? Like in the corner shop, mate.
[01:31:00] But honestly, the only thing is. The only thing is I just digress, right? It just has to be memorable, right? And it has to be one element better than the guy they’re ringing next door. Right. And the beauty about your practise, Martin, is you’ve got lots of memorable stuff to share, right? You’ve got the USP, you’ve got you’ve served the time, you’ve got the credentials, you produce the beautiful work. You can invite them to read your Google reviews and see your Instagram before and afters and all the rest of it use it. And I think I think that’s where a lot of practises let themselves down.
[01:31:41] Martin If you had to distil and it’s a ridiculous question, but just humour me. If you had to distil the skill of what it takes to be a top implant ologist. What would you say? So I asked this question of Andrew Dawood and he said, spatial awareness. I asked him for a hand. He said, Access. Access. Make sure you’ve got plenty of access. Niklas said something about suturing.
[01:32:15] I would say with me, it’s. To me, it’s the ability to plan, you know, to to kind of to work out what you’re going to do when you see the patient and then try to. Because to me, you’re not going to however good your hands are, have a good just all the other things that are. Unless the person says yes to going ahead, it’s not going to happen. So for me, I think it’s the planning and then the trying to explain it in layman’s terms to the to the patient so that they go ahead, then all the other stuff will come later, you know, all the other stuff will come later. But I think to me it’s the planning part of it is the working out, being able to work out the simple to the moderate, the complex. Just that part of it, I think to me is key. Or it’s maybe it’s the part I focus on in the part I enjoy more, you know?
[01:33:09] Yeah. I mean, talking to so many implants, just, you know, I’ve never put an implant in myself, but the planning seems like it’s the key. Key part of the thing. What’s what’s the most complex one you’ve done? I mean, do you do the schematics and things as well?
[01:33:25] I wouldn’t. That happens. I call Guy McClellan and he comes in and he puts them in the cheek. The most the most complex ones then end up probably there was a lady who I’ve treated and she ends up, you know, featuring on on some of my presentations where she hadn’t had teeth for so long. The top and bottom teeth had completely collapsed in and out. And she had just very poor access, no bone anywhere. But I think with her it was it was because, again, through just breaking down her case step by step. And also she was very fortunate because I saw her pre lockdown. So all the way through lockdown when I had nothing to do, I got to sit here, you know, and you know, one of the things that was work out.
[01:34:14] How I was going to get how I was going to do this. And that’s the way I realised actually if you do this, that and the other, you can do this. And then suddenly there’s a way. There was certainly a way to do this case. There was a way and I thought, right, bang, okay, we can do this. And then once you’ve figured that out and you’ve kind of gone through the steps and stages, but what was nice was being able to take it from that to something that is I don’t know if, you know, it’s called an PFP one restorations where the teeth are coming out of the gums everywhere. And you know, when she bites from having nothing to bite on, everything collapsed to everything kind of interdigital ing nicely. That was probably, I think, the most complex, complicated one that that was a really tough day in the office, you know, because it was top and bottom, both complex in different ways, lots of things up in the air. And I had one shot because she’s so nervous. It was like I had one shot to get it right.
[01:35:02] So did you do course on that as well? Right.
[01:35:05] Yeah, we do. We do. Which has been that’s that that came about because I called online actually and called Paolo Cavallo and we realised that we’re doing very similar treatment, which is this thing whereby you get people when you do full arches rather than doing them with the pink and white, which I do do and is appropriate in some cases. It’s not anything against that. But you could do an all white solution. So we figured out, you know, after figured out how a way in which I could do this consistently and started doing it consistently and came across him and he was doing that. And so when we met he came across to the UK when I was doing a course and at the end of the course I said, I think we should start to teach this and train this. So we’re him. And with Nick we then do this course over two days and it’s quite it’s quite good because we’re now getting to the point where we get people coming in from from the States, from Vietnam, from Romania, as well as from the UK. You know, to come and learn this and you know, it’s.
[01:36:01] Something who’s a candidate for that course, someone who’s already very experienced?
[01:36:04] No, no, not necessarily very expensive. If you’re doing some sort of immediate loading of implants of one or two implants, that’s probably the entry level that will take you. If you come in and you just start an implant ology, then I would say to you, there’s many other places you should go first rather than than coming on this because you need to learn some other stuff. Because if we start with you, after the first 2 hours of the first day, you’re going to really be struggling to take on everything that’s there. So if you’re an implant ologist that’s doing immediate implants and you want to find a different way of doing full arches, that’s one type of person. If on the other hand, you’re doing full arches and you want to find a different way of doing it, that doesn’t involve removing bone, because sometimes you feel that actually there’s a niggling doubt that you could have done this another way rather than pick up a big bear and chop all the bone away, then, then we’ve got a way of showing you how to do it consistently. That’s what the course involves.
[01:37:01] And what about referral practise? What would you say the sort of the cornerstones of a successful referral practise? Because I remember when I was a dentist, there were some people referring to them as an absolute pleasure, and they would sort of do the work, of course, but build you up back and stay in touch and you could call them any time and all of this. And I imagine as as your referral business grows and you’ve got large number of referrals, it’s much harder to keep that number of people happy. I mean, you’re known for being one of the sort of major sort of referral centre. Did you win a prise for it.
[01:37:42] I can’t remember the prise for that practise. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[01:37:46] So give us some. If someone wants to go shift their practise a bit more in that direction, where do they start getting the first referral and then how do they sort of we call it in marketing, we call it farm. How do they how do they keep those people happy?
[01:38:02] I’d say, you know, you know, there’s that I’ve forgotten what the book is, where they talk about your first follower being the most important person they come across. So there’s always, you know, I’ve still still got mine. I still remember him daily and I’m still in touch with him. And but the first person he said, right, I’m going to trust you, I’m going to refer to you. But it once you’ve got that in that person, you learn. I think it’s about relationships with the different people. You’ve got to be prepared to give as much as you take. And I think sometimes it involves people want different things, so some people want you just to do everything. You know, there’s the patient, you do everything. Other people want to restore the implant. So fine, that’s brilliant. We can help you with that. We’ve got a course. We’ve got a way in which we’re going to take you through that other people want to do some simple surgery, but for you to do the complex surgery, so you’ll do the sinus graft or the block graft for them and they’ll put in the implant and restore it. And other people want you to help them as they begin their journey and, you know, doing implants or slightly more complicated implants. So I think it’s about making sure with each of the people you work with, certainly from the implant side, that they’re getting something from the relationship and you’re prepared to give it if they want it.
[01:39:12] So it’s having that it’s a two way thing because as I say to people when we meet them, it’s a referral is a referral relationship. You’re going to have my number, you’re going to call me on WhatsApp, you’re going to sometimes say, Can you help me? This has happened. And you’ll find that. I’ll say, Right, fine, send your patient along, we’ll put them in. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it is the relationship is the individual relationships you have with people. And, you know, I know it’s, you know, there’s many people that are referring to ten Dental some of them really enjoy referring to, for instance, our and the dentist or our periodontist or some people work with just neck. Some people work because just maybe some people don’t mind who the patient goes to. But what we try and do is very regularly and pandemic has stopped that have referred evenings very regularly have I think you you you’re supposed to come ten does TED pay you’re supposed to you’ve done what you’ve done you’ve done you’ve done one of our ten does Ted haven’t you.
[01:40:04] You have a Ted one. I’ve been before but I.
[01:40:06] Haven’t Ted one. I think those sort of things really are useful because actually, you know, you’re, you’re a name on a sheet, you’re a voice on a on a podcast, but actually you’re a person as well. And, you know, you have good days, bad days, good things, bad things. And then really understanding that it, you know, you’re really there to help and support them in whatever way they choose to use your referral services.
[01:40:32] By the way, I hope you I hope you’re paying your money to the TED Foundation. We’ll cut that one.
[01:40:45] Out slightly differently. Ted? You know, this is the Irish spelling.
[01:40:57] We’ve got to take it to an end now so we could end it with our usual questions. Shall I start privately with you?
[01:41:06] I’ll start yours are happier questions pay. Usually, usually happy questions. Let’s end on a positive. Well, it’s all positive. But hey, Martin, imagine it was your your your last day on the planet and you’re surrounded by your loved ones and children, and you had to give them three pieces of wisdom for life. What would they be?
[01:41:32] I think the first would be to be kind and to treat other people the way that you would want to be treated. Because I think if you just if you follow that thought process and that doctrine and you use that with some of your interactions with people, that that really helps you in lots of ways. I’d say just be kind and treat people the way you would want to be treated yourself in all sorts of circumstances. The other part is, I’d say to be a combination because I heard this iteration, this really, really struck a note to be humble but be confident, to be understand where you’ve come from, understand your luck in life. Understand your privilege. Understand your benefit. And be humble enough to appreciate that. And when you meet people and they help you to recognise that actually there’s a few people I should name checked on this podcast, but I will do it when I put a little political thing on it. And you know, I do appreciate those people, but also be confident in your own ability so that you know that that will give you enough drive to get through some of the tougher and harder time. So that combination of things I think is quite important. And I think the other part is enjoy the ride, enjoy your time at work, enjoy your time with friends, you know, enjoy it, enjoy it. You know, just someone who tends to, I think, worry less and kind of I’m an eternal I’m an optimist. I’m not sure an optimist. So I think just just try and enjoy wherever you are. Enjoy is not always going to be amazing. It’s not always going to be good. But just try and enjoy your life and enjoy the ride. Beautiful.
[01:43:15] Martin How would you like to be remembered? Martin was and then complete the sentence.
[01:43:19] No. That’s a hard one. I thought about this because I knew this was coming, but.
[01:43:33] The lovely ontology.
[01:43:36] That. I think someone who gave to others and made the most of his opportunities at the same time.
[01:43:47] Lovely. Beautiful.
[01:43:50] And my final question.
[01:43:52] Mm hmm.
[01:43:53] You might not have you might not have heard this one if you haven’t heard the latest episode. That fantasy dinner party.
[01:44:00] Oh, okay.
[01:44:02] Three guests. Three dead or alive?
[01:44:05] Only three. Yeah. I’m gonna fuck you. I’d have to go with Martin Luther King. Namesake. Lots. You know, just too much to talk about. But he would be in there. The other person probably put it in place so he would, you know, lots of political discourse. Interesting conversation. Fela Kuti, you know who Fela Kuti was? Fela Kuti was an African musician who put African music on the map, Afrobeat. He invented a type of music. He was absolutely fearless in terms of his approach to life in front of just massive intimidation with the Nigerian government. Just, you know, just once once you read I mean, his funeral was a state occasion that was not a state occasion. So just just he was unconventional. He married 29 wives at the same it just just when you read about it is just I.
[01:45:05] Just Fela Kuti with.
[01:45:05] Ak Kuti. Fela Kuti. He would he would be in there. So I’d put him in. Then the other person I put in, because I’m always very interested in that would be a guy called Chris Ofili is he’s an he’s an artist. I came across him when he did the paintings, which were kind of a combination of blaxploitation with elephant dung and everything else. So I’d put him in because I think that would be a very, very interesting evening with those interesting party.
[01:45:37] Amazing man. Thank you so much for doing this. But it’s been a wonderful conversation, so much to learn from that. And, you know, I’m really glad we got this down. They’d be chasing you for such a long time for this.
[01:45:49] Really, really.
[01:45:50] Happy. We had this conversation.
[01:45:52] Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. I know it’s been a while to kind of get this nailed down. It’s been a pleasure talking to you guys. And yeah, you know, you’re doing great work with this podcast. I really enjoy listening and hopefully people will pick something up and, you know, enjoy this one in some way, shape for sure.
[01:46:09] Thanks a lot. Thanks, Martin.
[01:46:11] Thank you.
[01:46:13] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.
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