Implantologist Katie Blake couldn’t have picked a better time to purchase her first practice.

Shortly after buying Cairn Brae dental practice in Witham, Essex, Katie and her husband Alex had their first child just in time for the COVID pandemic.

She sits down to chat with Payman about her implant journey, training with Malo in Portugal, life as a new mum and practice owner, and much more.



In This Episode

01.51 – Backstory

09.59 – Women in dentistry

14.05 – Surgery and implants

20.30 – Practice ownership & NHS to private

25.58 – Vision and processes

40.10 – Implant journey and inspiration

43.21- Building happy teams

47.16 – Blackbox thinking

56.38 – Finding associates

01.03.36 – Working within your competency

01.05.15 – Future plans

01.08.36 – Fantasy dinner party

01.10.41 – Last days and legacy


About Katie Blake

Katie Blake graduated from St Bartholomew and the Royal London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

She has completed training in implant dentistry with the Eastman Institute and gained the MFDS in dental surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

Katie is the principal dentist at Cairn Brae Dental Practice in Witham, Essex.

[00:00:00] One of my favourite things which I don’t often see, because normally I must admit I’m out the door to get the kids from nursery at 5 to 6. But I happened tonight because I was, you know, staying around to speak to you guys. Was that all of the staff? Not all of the staff, but at least five members of staff, they park about two minute walk from the practice in a car park, which we rent some spaces. They all got changed, sat in reception and they wait for each other. The five people who are in that day parking together to make that two minute walk together and they could be rushing to get off. But, you know, five or six, you know, and I just thought, that’s so nice to see that, because they could go one by one by one, but they all wait and then they all walk over together.

[00:00:39] I was like.

[00:00:40] That actually kind of shows that it’s not that there’s a social, it’s not that the boss is buying drinks. It’s it’s nothing.

[00:00:45] It’s just that the family have that. That’s what they do.

[00:00:54] 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.

[00:01:11] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Katie Blake onto the podcast. Katie is a practice owner implant ologist, which is really the reason I wanted her on the show today, because if they get enough, enough ladies going in to implant ology and figure out what it was about her that got her into it. Mother of two young kids. And when I went over to the practice in Witham, I just got a general feeling that this lady, whatever she takes on, is going to be a massive success at it. I mean, every question I asked the answers were all brilliant, better than I would I would have normally expected. And just a great pleasure to have you on the on the pod. Katie, how you doing?

[00:01:50] Thank you. Good evening.

[00:01:51] Welcome. So, Katie, this this podcast kind of like your life and times and so let’s start there. Where were you born and what kind of childhood did you.

[00:02:02] Yeah, I grew up actually not far from where I am based now. So over in Suffolk, pretty normal upbringing, lived in the country, nice house, pretty good school, then ended up studying up at Barts in London for dentistry, toyed with a few careers engineering, veterinary, something like that, but ended up with dentistry as my first choice and it kind of went from there, I guess.

[00:02:26] Why dentistry?

[00:02:27] Well, one of my dad’s best friends, who was our family dentist growing up, really good guy, very enthusiastic about his life, his patients and that work life balance, which I’m sure a lot of dentists have at the forefront of their minds at the moment, is getting that balance right. And he was very enthusiastic about someone in our family going into that. He tried my sister and she devoted over to medicine and then had a go at my brother and he ended up in sales. And I guess third time he tried me and I said, okay, sounds great. So did the classic work experience. But I think at any point in your dentistry career, it’s really about finding somebody who can inspire you, who likes their job, and meeting that person at that key point, whether it’s as a 15 year old, making your GCSE going into GCSE as A-levels or whether it’s later on in your career, I guess people call it a sliding door moment, get get the right connection at the right time, and that can just send your whole life in a different direction, essentially.

[00:03:31] What was it about this person that inspired you that sort of changed that direction for you? Was there a moment or was it something sad or something that you observed or.

[00:03:43] I think, yeah, probably more the the key ethics in in their practice, the enthusiasm. And like I said, I’ve always known that there needs to be this work life balance. And he certainly demonstrated that that was possible. There’s definitely an entrepreneurial background in my family and I guess all these kind of factors tied in together to make dentistry seem, and I still think it is a great option for bringing those aspects in together. I think there was negatives playing against the other career options at that point. You know, I love animals. I would love to be a veterinary surgeon, but I think there’s things about it that wouldn’t have suited me. So I think I’m in the right place.

[00:04:30] When you grew up in Ipswich.

[00:04:33] Yeah, exactly. So yeah, only about 40 miles from where I am now. But good thing about that, it’s just such a lots of friends and friends and family. My husband grew up not far who would sit for them together. Just took about a decade before we dated. So, you know.

[00:04:48] It’s a slow burner. What was.

[00:04:50] It like? What was it like arriving in London to study after growing up in Ipswich? I guess you’d been to London several times.

[00:04:58] Well, London.

[00:04:59] East London, you know, it’s kind.

[00:05:01] Can be a bit of a.

[00:05:04] Shock. It’s actually, I think, you know, alluding to being a.

[00:05:08] Third child again, I drove myself to university with my big brother who lived down the road. He’d just graduated from city uni and then he helped me unpack and parked the car by his flat. So I think there’s always been a fairly strong level of independence in my life, so I guess that kind of made it less of a scary step than it might have been for others.

[00:05:28] You know why, Katie? Did your parents encourage that somehow?

[00:05:33] Yeah, for sure. So grandparents and things, they have always travelled the world. Both my parents lived abroad when they were younger. We were very much kicked into being independent through travel and things from a young age. Age 16, I went out to Japan on a youth exchange program for the summer and we went and stayed in people’s houses and my Japanese.

[00:05:54] Is virtually.

[00:05:56] Non-existent as it was then. But really you can learn like we will find with patients who we don’t have the same first language with. You don’t need to speak the same language to. Communicate with people. I can’t remember the statistic. I’m sure one of you guys know.

[00:06:08] What’s the how much is nonverbal? Yeah. How much is.

[00:06:13] It?

[00:06:13] It’s an actual amount. Is it?

[00:06:15] It’s a lot.

[00:06:17] So. So, you know, I think going.

[00:06:21] Through experiences like that, great experiences when you’re younger, suddenly means, you know, turning up at university, you know, an hour’s train drive from where you live, you know, not maybe as intimidating as some sort of country bumpkins might find it.

[00:06:36] And what was uni like for you, Katie?

[00:06:39] Yeah.

[00:06:40] Uni’s great. I played a lot of sport, which I’ve always loved. It’s a great way to meet people, play clubs, club hockey, know it’s great, it’s great uni, lots of good education, not campus uni which you know, young people looking at universities. I think that would be really the only negative I can think of to to study at a London university. But it was great fun. You know, you can’t fault it. Whoever wants to university to work hard, play hard, I think is how we got through most.

[00:07:09] Of our dental dental degree.

[00:07:12] What about when you qualified, Casey? What was it when was your what was your first job?

[00:07:17] So I ended up down in.

[00:07:20] Fulham.

[00:07:20] For feet with a paediatric, one of the paediatric tutors from university. Just thought I’d try the other side of London for a bit. It’s really great. He taught me great key messages to deliver, which really said today to to kids. I then went on to Kings and did Max. Max, which was an induction of fire, I guess, is how I describe it.

[00:07:44] Great experience, you know, being chucked it as a.

[00:07:47] As a dentist alongside half the team, being doctors and nobody nobody else in the hospital knows.

[00:07:53] What you are.

[00:07:54] Means. You really just have to learn on your feet, which I think.

[00:07:57] Did you enjoy?

[00:07:58] You enjoy, Max?

[00:07:59] Max absolutely loved it. Yeah, loved it. And it was it was a strong consideration. But I think this draws back to what I said already in terms of that work life balance, you know, and and I don’t know how doctors do it. I have a lot of friends, obviously, from uni who are doctors. I’m sure you guys do as well.

[00:08:19] Probably as a.

[00:08:19] Doctor, you just work all hours. Why?

[00:08:26] That’s why he’s no longer a doctor.

[00:08:28] No, never done it. Never done an honest day’s work in my life. But yeah, a lot of my friends who I was at uni with as well. Right, is the work life balance is non-existent. You’re right. Yeah. I don’t know how they do it, but I guess you know what? It’s because we know a different life, right? We don’t know any different and and that’s all they, they normalise with. Right. So yeah. Yeah. It’s, it’s easier to make that statement when we’re on the other end and you have and we’ll talk about work life balance later, Katie, because obviously we’ve had discussions where you took a bit of time out of your own practice and your situation allowed you to step out of dentistry, step out of your business. Yeah. Go and have a kid come back and start smashing metal rods in people’s heads again. And you know what I was I was quite impressed with because obviously, you know, I’ve got four kids. I’ve worked with numerous associates, some who have taken longer time out of dentistry. But you were very clear. You was like, okay, so Prav, we’re going to we’re going to tailor the implant campaigns down because I’m going to place my last implant on this day. Then I’m going to have X number of weeks off and then we’ll just it and then I’ll start doing some simple cases and then and then I’ll go straight in.

[00:09:52] Yeah. I mean, what’s stopping you? Save your baby.

[00:09:55] People being babies for centuries all over the world.

[00:09:59] And do you do you think do you think it’s harder for women to do dentistry?

[00:10:04] I think well, I listen to one of your other podcasts. I forgotten the lady’s name. Who was you were just discussing.

[00:10:11] A lot about about women.

[00:10:12] In dentistry. Forgive me for not remembering. And and I think, you know, like you said, that it’s a great career choice for women. You’ve got that flexibility, you know, to be in and out you trousers and things like that. I think the only difficulty somehow is when everybody tries to do everything, you know. And of course, I feel the pressure is the same as anyone else. You know, owning a business, having kids, you know, some something’s got to give somewhere. But children are resourceful things, aren’t they? They just get on with it. I think my opinion is that sometimes we’re all a bit too led by children and they just have to get on with it. But you know, they’re only little, so we’ll see how they turn out.

[00:10:53] Yeah.

[00:10:53] I mean, it’s an interesting point, isn’t it, to be led by your children or to lead your children in different directions. But there must be a tension, right, between the amount of time you’re spending with them and the amount of time you’re spending at work. And do you do you feel that you don’t feel like others do the guilt and all of that?

[00:11:13] Yeah, I think it is sometimes stressful. I’d say the thing that does often give is having any time for yourself, which I know is is a challenge. You know, there’s obviously been a lot on social media in the news and stuff recently about this kind of, you know, burnout stresses, mental health and all of this. I think it’s a really interesting point I’m very good at. I personally think compartmentalising things so I can go home and not think about work for a whole evening, you know, which can be a negative, I guess can be a positive. But it does mean that for me, at least when I’m not at work, I feel I don’t really get too involved. Not like I do occasionally wake up early and think about it, but I don’t struggle to get sleep at night, you know? So whether that’s a good or bad thing, it probably is what allows me to be very busy at work and then go home and be a mother and there isn’t much crossover between the two. I’ve got a great team at work, makes a big difference. You know, occasionally I can think of even a couple of weeks ago my husband was away skiing in February. Very important to go skiing even with a newborn baby. Home and I had a late patient. And so I sent the treatment coordinator to go and pick up the kids from nursery down the road and she brought them back to work.

[00:12:25] Because I.

[00:12:26] Can get there. So I think everything. You can’t do it all by yourself, can you? So, so having that, that support team, whether it’s for childcare, for the house, for the business, it’s, you know, it’s a team.

[00:12:40] Effort.

[00:12:41] Okay, Katie, your husband’s your right hand man, not just in life, but in your business as well. Right. So just before we get into that, you mentioned you met at sixth form.

[00:12:54] Yeah.

[00:12:54] Ten years later, you got together. Just just how did that just tell us about that? That I’m just curious.

[00:13:04] Maybe just a slow burner. I think I in a big.

[00:13:06] Group of friends, you know, and I think it’s a case of. Right, right person. Different time, right person, right time, everybody. Sometimes you think what would life have been like if you’ve recognised age 18, whatever? We met over 14, you know, but actually all your experiences make you the person that you are. So, so we got there in the end, you know.

[00:13:30] And yeah.

[00:13:32] So did did you have a ten year gap or were you in touch with each other?

[00:13:35] We were in touch, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, we’re still friends over the same group of friends. Yeah. Oh, cool. So, so, so yeah. We’ve, we’ve essentially grown up together, but, you know, it means you know each other, each other’s families. So bizarrely, my parents didn’t actually realise his first name for about the first two years that we were dating because we all call them by surname, which is Blake.

[00:13:58] And they realised it wasn’t two years into the relationship because they never had anything else.

[00:14:05] Blake. Blake So Katie, how far did you go in or surgery? Did you just do the one little house job or did you take it further?

[00:14:14] No, just the one house job. Yeah. And then a moment of clarity that although.

[00:14:18] I loved the job, I needed a life.

[00:14:20] So I actually tapped out of London and went down to Cornwall and did a few locum jobs, took a bit of time out. You know.

[00:14:27] Having done London and.

[00:14:30] London for seven years, you know, I wanted to go get a bit of bit of headspace, which is a great thing to do.

[00:14:36] You know.

[00:14:36] Lovely area bit, the back and beyond. So I thought I’d come back up for work where I came from.

[00:14:42] But then, so your oral surgery job didn’t particularly help with being a implant surgeon. You didn’t you hadn’t had enough experience of cutting people.

[00:14:51] And I think.

[00:14:53] Was it one of those jobs that you did jump in and take wisdom teeth out and all that.

[00:14:58] A bit? Yes, I think that the most important thing and why I would still always say to new graduates that doing a job like that is great is after you’ve been the on call person for a trauma centre in London.

[00:15:12] And your first person.

[00:15:14] Nothing fazes you. You know, so and I distinctly remember my last day on the job being on call and being called to the neuro ICU and they’d hit something was doing a tracheostomy. And I was the person they called to stop to stop the bleeding out of a hole in the neck. So having having had that as your kind of you are the person that they call for those sort of issues, really, you know, teeth are just teeth.

[00:15:42] Which, you know.

[00:15:44] So.

[00:15:45] I think can.

[00:15:45] Put things into perspective a bit. Not saying that it could make people blasé because I think there’s obviously we all know there’s risks of everything, but it certainly makes you think, okay.

[00:15:56] You know, it’s going to be okay.

[00:16:00] So then you decided you’re not going to go down that path and then what’s a general practice became a goal.

[00:16:07] Yeah. General practice. I was in a busy NHS practice in Essex, called off an old union, said, Can I have a job? And they said, Yeah, there you go. Which in that is a practice. You know, in retrospect, at the time I thought, wow, I must, you know, they really, you know, really good friends. In retrospect, I think if someone like me called me up now and said, Can I have a job? I would say yes. So I can.

[00:16:33] See see.

[00:16:34] Where it’s where, where they were coming from. So did a bit of that and then went up and did death tells in part course at UCL and it carried on from there really which is a great, a great foundation interest and course taught me a lot, exposed me to a lot of interesting lectures and things like that and was a pretty robust course. I found it robust, let’s put it that way.

[00:17:01] Take us through the decision making process. Because, look, the vast majority of men and women, by the way, don’t go to implants. What is about you that made you want to go that way? Did you decided from the beginning that you would be doing implants? Was there a particular patient, a conversation, someone you spoke to, a mentor? Like what? What made you make that call to go on Deaf Patel’s course, where so many people don’t like me as a dentist? I’d never even considered it for a second.

[00:17:30] Yeah. I think for me it was being in the right place at the right time with the practice principle at the time was quite enthusiastic about implants and supportive of somebody who wanted to do that.

[00:17:43] Was he placing himself being.

[00:17:46] Yes. So you were watching.

[00:17:47] Somewhere where your boss sent messages through. Oh, I’m just about to do this. Do you want to come and watch? And the answer is always yes. Go and have a look, see what they’re doing. So, you know, not an academic high flying guy, but just, you know, a decent dentist placing decent implants, you know, that I think is important. Obviously, that or surgery experience has always been really interesting, which I think actually stems from going out on a few charity projects. I’ve done a few over the years, sort of bridge to aid a few other of the Ugandan projects and Europe, Central America, things like that. So the doctors in the surgery had come from a few of those experiences over the years as well. So for me it seemed like a natural step. You know, how can you make.

[00:18:31] Or some.

[00:18:32] Kind of surgery sit in with general practice? I think for me that was the obvious way to go and looking around at courses, probably I should think still at that time. Definitely. You know, UCL is one of the reputable ones as far as I was concerned.

[00:18:47] Anyway.

[00:18:49] Let’s get back to implants a bit later. Tell me about the charity work. How did that come about and what’s the feeling of it? Do you feel helpless when you’re out there? There’s so much a mountain of work that needs doing and.

[00:19:01] Well, yeah, I think.

[00:19:03] Probably quite.

[00:19:05] Naively, maybe I think I went between like the second and third year of I think second and third year of uni. Out with Christian relief Uganda they called and that was just by chance finding them online I think I think always the heart’s always in the right place of all of these charities. They are trying to help where they can. Subsequently, having volunteered with British Trade, I know they’ve had a little bit of a change in the direction of the charity, I think, in the last year or so and caught up with them fairly recently. But I think anything like that, the idea is always, isn’t it, to train the people out there, you know, because there’s only so much that you can impact as a single dentist going out to the country and pulling out teeth for three weeks. Yes, you help some people, but where’s the long lasting help? So I think for me it was a good experience. It certainly made me realise how lucky we are with the provisions and things we have in the UK and the practical side of getting out there and getting on with clinical stuff compared to the limited clinical experience any undergraduate degree.

[00:20:09] Can can.

[00:20:10] Give you probably they gave me a leg up. You know, you get back to union, you can put up teeth better than the other fourth year student. So you get given the harder ones and you get given the harder ones and it carries on from there. So I guess that spirit of adventure instilled in me as a as a teenager probably. Maybe do that. Maybe do that. You know how life goes on.

[00:20:30] And Katie, you mentioned earlier when you were younger, sort of being an entrepreneur or businesswoman and was kind of like destined for you. It was it was in the blood for from a young age. When when did you decide that? Right. I’m going to be a practice owner. And what was your journey from where you were sort of in your journey? Learning to place implants, doing some work in your mates, practice and whatnot, and then and then moving into making that jump into practice ownership. And do you know what? It’s it’s a topic of conversation. You jump on Facebook and everyone’s opening in a squat, buying a practice, thinking of doing it, asking 101 questions. Just talk us through your journey and your thought process. Even before you you talked into being a business owner.

[00:21:17] Yes. So I was. Selling eggs at the end of the farm drive in age 12 on a business loan from my parents buying the chickens, I then have to pay back. So, you know, from that perspective.

[00:21:29] It’s all learning, isn’t it?

[00:21:32] The practice ownership part. I had a fairly strong idea of what area of the world I was going to live in. Family is very important to me. We still live next to my parents. You know, we had a bond. So for me, there was only a finite area and a finite size of practice, I guess, that that my budget could afford at that time. So essentially keeping an eye on the marketplace for, I think almost three years before this one came up. Half an hour drive from where you want to live, in my opinion. And you know, you have this much money. I want you to mix practice, wants to own the building. So really a combination of those things. We looked at a few, but I think it’s just waiting for the right for the right time, right time, right place.

[00:22:20] To cater you. Other criteria like right at the start mix practice have to own the building half an hour from home. To half an hour from home again. Yeah. Really easy that you just. You just want a smooth commute, right? And close to home. That makes sense. Yeah. And the mix practice and the.

[00:22:41] Building and.

[00:22:42] Owning the building. Yeah. What is it about owning the building?

[00:22:45] Well, this is something which I’m reconsidering. You know, if we do move to sue practices, would I do the same thing again? I don’t know if it’s naivety in business. I mean, it still kills me as it ever has when I’ve rented properties to think that you’re paying off someone else’s mortgage. And it’s basically the same thing with a lease. Oh, right. Yeah. So and I guess for me the, the other time I’m a is because of what a mixed practice. And the reason that was one of my criteria assessing when I.

[00:23:15] Bought.

[00:23:16] Would I buy a second mixed practice? I don’t know. I guess we’ll wait and see if.

[00:23:21] If, if what.

[00:23:22] The new NHS contract when it’s a whole different topic for debate. But you know would I think it does give a good security, it does give a solid patient base to somebody opening or taking over a practice. At least you know what you’ve got and you’ve got some patients to play with to start with, you know. So for me it was that.

[00:23:45] And what are your tips for converting NHS to private? So a lot of mixed practice owners will, will say actually I’ve got, I’ve got a, I’ve got a list of patients here that some of whom will convert straight across to private duty. Do you have any tips yourself in terms of converting any NHS patients to private?

[00:24:05] I think it all lies at making sure that you as a practice are making that patient feel valid, listening to them communication when they feel that they can trust you as a clinician. Yes, but the whole team, because the goal of any practice in my mind, practice ownership is to get to the point where you don’t have to work in the practice, you know, or at least at least the practice isn’t 100% reliant on you, but you’ve got to build the trust. You know, I don’t think it’s the same as sales techniques. I think it’s it’s a it’s a communication in a trust communication. And that will build a practice.

[00:24:44] Tenfold over all of.

[00:24:46] The marketing.

[00:24:47] And has has has the split from the NHS private split changed since you took over the practice and in if so, how.

[00:24:57] Yes. So we have very small NHS contract. Ace. We’ve had the practice coming up about two and a half years now. And in the last two and a half years, we’ve. Tripled the private coming through the practice. I think about five or six times the practice plan we have here. Now, some of that is covered. Yes. How much? I don’t know. I guess that will all come out in the wash in the next few years and we’ll find out. So I think it does help. I wouldn’t say we convert that many people because we don’t really try to to to flip the NHS over. But for me we get a lot of word of mouth, new people joining us and and mostly that’s through an experience a helping out. For me if a patient needs seeing that day they need seeing that day if it means, you know, I don’t have a hold out, I never have a whole life lunch, who does?

[00:25:51] You know, I help I have people.

[00:25:53] That you’ve got to care about people fundamentally. It’s a caring health care profession.

[00:25:56] You know.

[00:25:58] Perhaps you’ve never been there, although you’re more involved in in their business than than I’ve been. But when you go there does not feel like an NHS practice at all. Not one little bit, you know, the smiling people, the surprise and delight gifts calling patients before, before they even come. For the first time, there was some other amazing stuff. Little, little, little, little cupboard with with goodies for the patient that they just hand out whenever there’s a situation. And and very strong on the marketing side, which I guess you need to be in private practice. You do need that. But, but I’m quite interested in this sort of your vision. You, you seem to have a very sort of simple way of looking at things. And but I’m saying that with in I don’t mean simplistic. No, no, I mean simple. Did you have a vision for it when you when you came and saw the practice, are you thinking about buying it apart from it had those different criteria. Could you see that there were things that you could do better? And what were those things and how soon did you start changing things? Because it doesn’t make sense to day one stock going berserk. Changing things is that you don’t want to annoy you don’t want to disturb the patient base or the staff or anything. So what was that? What were the things that you saw about it that you thought there’s extra potential here? And then how long was it before you put stuff in place?

[00:27:25] Yeah, sure. I think a lot of things we have done and we’re not there by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll put my hands up and say, we don’t know all the answers. We’re just learning like anyone else is. We’ve spent a bit of time still going into other people’s practice. Whoever will have us to spend days with people, I try and do at least sort of two different practices a year. And it’s it’s it’s been really refreshing within the profession to call up people who we know or connect through other people and say, listen, can I come down to practice for an afternoon sitting with you doing clinic because you always learn from other people. I don’t know at all by any any stretch. So to have found that I think if you can come away from an afternoon with another clinician or another practice manager and pick up one tip that you then take back to your practice, you know, multiply that by hundreds of days, hundreds of tips, and that really does help a practice grow. I think when I took over the practice organically, we wanted to see where it goes. It was sort of still in parts, a little bit scruffy, but that has meant that it’s retained the sort of non-clinical family environment family feel to it. Lots of my patients now, the kids know the babies and all of this and it wouldn’t necessarily surprise them and hasn’t surprised them when they’ve come in for treatment. And there’s one of my babies in a pram asleep in the waiting room, which maybe isn’t the kind of slick London experience you’d get. But we’re not.

[00:28:49] In we’re not on Harley Street, you know, and I think when people know you as a.

[00:28:54] Person, they maybe trust you more, you know. So I think that that’s helped as to the vision, that’s something I have up here. We’re working with Mark Topley to try and get some of this stuff that’s in my head, my husband’s head down on paper so that we can kind of work on what it is that makes the practice what it is in order to help other staff recognise it. Get the message across on social media website as we expand, rebrand things like that. But I think you’re right that you don’t want to change everything at once. You don’t want to scare off that core of patients, you know, so and a lot of it we don’t see occasionally a patients say, oh.

[00:29:38] Looks a lot.

[00:29:39] Smarter than a few years ago and you have to pause and go, thank you.

[00:29:42] It’s very difficult for people.

[00:29:45] It’s very difficult to take praise, isn’t it?

[00:29:47] You know.

[00:29:48] So I think it’s very nice when you suddenly hear that recognition from a patient very, very different and able to accept that praise and think, oh, actually we have done a lot. I have a to do list as long as my arm. But actually to say, okay, well we’re getting there, you know, it’s two and a half years.

[00:30:05] Well, ten years is nothing. Yeah, it really is nothing at all.

[00:30:09] It’s.

[00:30:10] So considering that you’ve done a lot already, that’s that’s kind of the crux of my question, you know. You must have started pretty soon after buying it, making changes. Yeah. What were the first changes you made? I mean, what was what was glaringly obvious to you that needed changing at the beginning.

[00:30:29] Taking receptionists out of the back corner and put them up front so patients can see them when they’re walking through the door. Lovely receptionist she’s on maternity leave but comes by every month with her baby for lunch until she comes back, you know? And and everybody knows that. Everybody, like, say you’d walk in through the door and you have to look around a post into a back corner to find her. So why would you hide someone like that who’s who’s a great person in the back corner? So who pulled her out the back.

[00:30:54] Corner for the.

[00:30:56] Reception at the front? You know, it’s simple. Changes like that, I think, make a big difference. You know, refurbished, smart art, fresh coat of paint, even if you haven’t got the budget to, you know, if you haven’t got the budget to re plaster, don’t re plaster, but, you know, put some new lights.

[00:31:12] In the.

[00:31:13] Put a smelly thing into it doesn’t smell like a dentist. As soon as you walk in, it all builds to helping patients relax a little bit more, doesn’t it? Nobody really likes going to the dentist even. I don’t.

[00:31:24] Know.

[00:31:25] And from the treatment perspective, was that was that was there any implants being placed at that practice? Was there any Invisalign going on?

[00:31:32] There was no Invisalign. So we brought that in. Arturo, we brought in a CBC that there was some implants being placed, not any of the full.

[00:31:40] Mouth stuff, all.

[00:31:41] For type stuff I’m doing. It was sort of single implants, no marketing going on. So a few, what I would call relatively easy fixes have been done. The harder ones, the planning permission, the rear extension, they are still a work in progress, but we’re.

[00:31:57] Getting that.

[00:32:00] To Prav and I both know the area kind of a little bit from. We both worked with Andy Morpho for years and years and you look at Chelmsford, you think, Well, that’s a major hub, right? So there they will need all of this stuff. But, but I don’t know, maybe, I don’t know Witham very well. Yeah. So, but when I look at Sleepy Witham, yeah. And then I just don’t imagine that a town like that would have as much invisalign in it as, as you guys are obviously doing or enlightened or all on for or did you realise this anyway because you’re from the area or did you say, I’m going to be the one because it’s inevitably going to happen in a town like this or how? Tell me about that.

[00:32:43] I think. Well, I’ve never been to Western before. Bought practice here to tell you just drive past it on the A12 you know. Great has a train stop.

[00:32:51] Yeah yeah we did obviously.

[00:32:53] Look at the potential the new development.

[00:32:55] There there was a lot of housebuilding, there’s a lot of housebuilding going on.

[00:33:00] But in essence, a lot of people, particularly with more working from home, I think are moving slightly further out of London. And that’s I think is is giving either the new builds or the villages. You know, there’s some really nice areas around here, villages where all the houses are sort.

[00:33:17] Of tied.

[00:33:18] To 1.5 mil, you know, so so there is the money around here. And I know it’s not all about money, but you’ve got to have people who want to spend money to have a business 70.

[00:33:31] So I think that.

[00:33:31] There’s a wider draw. Yes, I think that’s the answer.

[00:33:36] Interesting. Prav What about your journey in marketing best practice. What did you do? What did you think? What did you how did you start?

[00:33:46] I think we well, I initially spoke to Alex, right. You’re at the house and I think you were having some challenges. It might have been with another agency or something like that. And and for me, with whatever practice it is, right. It’s just understanding the sales process. That’s the first thing. Because if you’ve got a terrible sales process, that doesn’t matter what marketing you’ve got going on, it’s not going to work. So understanding the sales process was really important and I think I believe I met your TCL stroke lead ninja at the time and it was clear to me that their sales process was good. The follow up systems, we had a couple of conversations around how that could be elevated a little bit and improved, and then we just kicked off with the basics, right? And when I speak to clinicians, you know, the first thing is, okay, you want me to market implants, know, the first question I ask is, Well, give me your clinical remit. What can you do? And the conversation with Katie was more about what she couldn’t do. There wasn’t very much so. So, you know, often to have that conversation, it’s a bit like, what are you are you are you a single implant, a multi implant, ones and twos or full arch and cases like everything. Send me everything.

[00:35:04] Right. So we so we kind of know what we can push, right? You can push the marketing that focuses on the identity patient focuses on the loose denture sufferer, all that sort of stuff. So that makes our life super easy, right? Because if we’re driving inquiries that come through and unfortunately either the clinic don’t have the ability to to service that from a clinical perspective, then then you’re struggling. And it’s the same with orthodontics, right? But you know, there’s there’s a lot of volume for children’s orthodontics and stuff like that, but we’d never dream of targeting that for a practice that focuses on, let’s say, invisalign or clear aligner treatment or whatever, unless it’s specialist service. So a big part of it is understanding the sales process. And then, you know, I think the benefit that you’ve got, Katie is having Alex there, who can keep an eye on things, who can respond quickly, who can monitor things. Do you see what I mean? And if things you know, if things are not quite going to plan or whatever, pick up the phone, reorder, adjust things, make some adjustments, and then away we go. And for you guys, I found that because your sales process was pretty robust, it’s is pretty straightforward. Generate the leads, they’ll convert and then away we go.

[00:36:22] But why is that? Most practices you go to or you work with, you’ve got to fix the sales process, the follow up and all that, I think. Katie, did you did you know this? Did you know this was key and you put that process in place or was it already in place when you bought the place or.

[00:36:37] It was not in place when we bought the place.

[00:36:39] I think there’s a lot a lot.

[00:36:41] Of things go on in the background. You know, a lot of different courses we’re sending. The TSOs just finished a course of Lord Horton, who does all of the course, stuff like that, even though she’s pretty confident at what she was doing already. So like I alluded to, already tweaked lots of things and suddenly it all comes together. Spend time on training so that it’s all the elements because they might not get it eco knows or the training they might get the girls second week at reception, you know. So I think you’ve got to make sure that everybody understands and everyone’s singing from the same same songbook, isn’t it?

[00:37:18] I think the thing is, though, Alex knows his onions, right? When it comes to processes and systems and stuff like that. And that’s that’s a massive plus, like having somebody in the business that knows their shit.

[00:37:31] What’s his background, what’s his what was Alex doing before he was doing this?

[00:37:35] So he did a maths degree. He taught maths head of department at a high school for nine, eight, nine years, something like that. The police for a year. Then I bought the practice, we bought the practice and and I suddenly thought, oh Christ. Luckily at the time he wasn’t decided that the police wasn’t for him. So we did a rapid, rapid conversion over into the practice just at the right time because.

[00:38:02] Because.

[00:38:03] As you said, Prav, there’s no chance I could be doing this by myself. I don’t know what I was thinking.

[00:38:07] Thinking I could.

[00:38:08] Which means that’s allowed. That’s freed me up to focus on the surgery, focus on the implants, and focus on the clinical side. He is non-clinical he knows a few dental words now, but that means anything.

[00:38:22] That’s not anything that’s not clinical.

[00:38:25] It goes to him both in terms of managing the staff, in terms.

[00:38:28] Of all of the.

[00:38:29] The marketing, the finances. There’s quite a clear delegation.

[00:38:35] On paper, though. That’s not a great background for what he’s doing. I mean, maths teacher and police expertise, did he did he do a lot of reading or going on courses or does he take a massive interest in businesses now? How does it work?

[00:38:49] Yes. So I think I think two things. One is that actually being in a managerial position within the teaching role meant that he didn’t know how to manage people. So I think the that side of things, yes, the massive business, I think actually do go quite hand in hand understanding the numbers. All of that he loves. And we actually he took advantage of the complete back catalogue of Chris Barrows stuff he put free online during COVID. So for most.

[00:39:18] People.

[00:39:19] Yeah, for most people, COVID was this lovely period of relaxation. We literally put our heads down for eight weeks, which couldn’t have come at a better time for us, to be honest with you. Would have the business got the business in the August, had a baby in September and COVID hit was it February, March and at that. So we suddenly we had our six month baby at home, which was fine, because that meant I got booked on maternity leave, in essence, and, and did half days of work and half days of childcare and got through.

[00:39:49] A real, real lot.

[00:39:50] Of vision for the business. So I think for us that worked that worked well and we learned on our feet what we don’t know, we ask. Lots of people will answer if you ask.

[00:40:00] And we do.

[00:40:02] It’s true. So tell me about the moving from single tooth implant. A couple of implants to full arch.

[00:40:10] Yeah.

[00:40:10] How long? How long did it take you to go from never having put an implant in to becoming an all on fall chick?

[00:40:18] Well, yeah, I think a couple of years. It’s. It’s the thing. Yeah, you just got to do the right job in the right place, you know?

[00:40:27] If you’ve got.

[00:40:28] I think if you’re in an environment with any aspect of dentistry, if you’re somewhere where you’ve got somebody who will help you, you can nip it and ask a quick question in the room next door. Then. Then I think you will naturally try.

[00:40:41] Things.

[00:40:41] Try things.

[00:40:42] More.

[00:40:43] We see it.

[00:40:43] But the course in UCL, the Dev Patel course, did that cover all four as well or not?

[00:40:48] No. So I went out and did some work at the Mala Clinic in Lisbon.

[00:40:53] Oh, did.

[00:40:54] You? And that opened my eyes.

[00:40:58] Yeah. So I thought, well, you want to.

[00:41:02] Learn about dentistry? Why not go to the people who invented oral? Four Kind of make sense in my mind. So went out there, looked at a lot of their processes. Yeah. And for.

[00:41:12] Me, the skyscraper.

[00:41:13] Thing.

[00:41:13] You don’t know it all by spending a few weeks at a place like that, but you can see an awful lot.

[00:41:19] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:41:21] What’s it like in there? Like, literally a 15 storey dental hospital. That’s what it looks like from the outside.

[00:41:28] Yeah. I can’t think about Florida.

[00:41:30] It’s like.

[00:41:31] It’s like floor 12 or something like that. Absolutely.

[00:41:35] I mean.

[00:41:37] They really have got their processes sorted. You know, patients do X, Y and Z. They’ve, you know, so I think, like I alluded to, you see different things. You take different things away. Their processes are.

[00:41:49] Phenomenal.

[00:41:50] So slick, you know, they just every little step is made to make the patient experience better in the clinical outcomes better, which is all we can try and do in dentistry is, is work against the, against the negatives. Keep things.

[00:42:04] Keep things high.

[00:42:06] Success rate as possible. And that’s what they do there, I think, in my limited experience.

[00:42:13] So clinically, who would you say are your sort of dental inspirations or mentors or even people you haven’t met before who’s really like, who do you look up to in dentistry?

[00:42:23] What I think obviously there are the Dev Patel’s and the public Mallory and things like this. You know, these are people who who are leading the industry as far as I can assess. Obviously, there’s a lot of people on social media and things like this nowadays. Very interesting. I follow people like some chart. I think what he’s doing is, is, is great. All of the AGI crowd when I was doing my implant diploma, I was with Wael Girgis, his Devonshire house practice over in Cambridge. His stuff is is really good. The ethics are just phenomenal. And again, that’s the type of place I haven’t been there for a few years now. But you go there, you see what they’re doing and you.

[00:43:02] Think, Oh, I like that.

[00:43:04] I wonder if we can just just work that into what we’re doing. So I think for me, it’s about having an open profession, you know, help each other out equally. I would say people want to come down to us and see what we’re doing. You know, everyone’s.

[00:43:17] More than welcome.

[00:43:18] I like having people around. I like talking clearly.

[00:43:21] So I recommend it. I recommend it. You’re going to get a bunch of people calling you now, you know that. But I recommend it because what I got from it was from I walked in from the outside, looked like an ordinary practice, quite charming, ordinary practice, you know, old building and all that. But when I went inside, extraordinary things going on in this ordinary town and and that if you could bottle that then then I’m sure. I’m sure people people will love to drink that sauce, that special sauce, because really, really a special feeling in that practice. And I remember at the end of the training for your team, I just turned round to you and said, I know this is going to be a massive success because sometimes you can just tell that you’re in front of people who are going to implement stuff. And the other lovely thing was how happy you were your team were, you know, because sometimes in that high stress environment of high turnover of patients or whatever it is, that sort of kindness can fall off, fall off the edge. And it felt like a family, you know, it felt like happy people who are happy to be there with each other. Do you work on that? Who works on that side of it or does that just come naturally?

[00:44:36] Well, I think it’s I’d hope not chance but put people in the right environment. Maybe it recruiting the right people. One of my favourite things which I don’t often see, because normally I must admit I’m out the door to get the kids from nursery at 5 to 6. But I happened tonight because I was, you know, staying around to speak to you guys. Was that all of the staff? Not all of the staff, but at least five members of staff, they park about two minute walk from the practice in a car park, which we rent some spaces. They all got changed, sat in reception and they wait for each other. The five people who were in that day parking together to make that two minute walk together and they could be rushing to get off. But, you know, five or six, you know, and I just thought, that’s so nice to see that, because they could go one by one by one, but they all wait and then they all walk over together. I was like, that actually kind of shows that it’s not that there’s a social, it’s not that the boss is buying drinks. It’s it’s nothing.

[00:45:29] It’s just that the family have that. That’s what they do.

[00:45:33] You know, which is so nice. And you can’t I think maybe you can build that. Maybe you can lead by example. I always say when we recruit or sometimes interview, I just don’t want bitchiness. It’s such a female dominated, you know, the risk of it being a bitchy environment with lots of nurses, lots of female dentists. I’m not saying guys can’t bitch, but you.

[00:45:54] Know, we’ve all worked in practices where that’s been the situation, right? I mean, you’ve never worked in a dental practice, but you’ve owned a few and intense practice. Sometimes you get this massive split where you’ve got two powerful women on either side of this split, and I’ve noticed it only worked in four practices, but like three of them, there was a situation going on. You’re absolutely right about that. Yeah. So you still you still no bitchiness from the outset?

[00:46:24] Well, I said to them, you know, and if there’s a problem, just call them in and get it over with.

[00:46:30] I’m not letting it fester.

[00:46:32] You know. So I know that.

[00:46:34] Style of leadership.

[00:46:36] If you can call it that, isn’t going to be for everyone. But I think hopefully it works. What can I say? We’re only a few years in. I’ll let you know in a decade how it’s gone.

[00:46:47] Who’s the good cop and who’s the bad cop?

[00:46:51] I’m the good.

[00:46:51] Cop until someone pushes me too far.

[00:46:53] And then maybe about once every six months, I get crossed.

[00:46:58] Did you have a word with Alex?

[00:47:00] Yeah, probably.

[00:47:02] Send in Special.

[00:47:03] Ops. Yeah, I mean, we’ve.

[00:47:08] Got a great team here, so hopefully that will continue to expand as we as we expand the practice.

[00:47:16] So we’ll talk about expansion plans and the future in a bit. But now I want to move on to the dark. Aside. Tell me about errors. Decision mistakes. Things you should have done. You didn’t do things you should’ve done sooner. Things you know, clinical mistakes as well. I’d love to hear about clinical errors. Someone who said at the end of the day, the trajectory of your your career has been quite, quite a steep trajectory. You know, you’re young. You must have made some mistakes along the way.

[00:47:48] Yeah. I mean, I think mistakes with patients.

[00:47:53] Happen.

[00:47:53] They happen to everyone is how they’re handled. I wouldn’t ever try and cover over a mistake. I think honesty goes a long way with patients and if things do go wrong, you.

[00:48:04] Know.

[00:48:05] Fess up to it and try your best to put it right. If you can’t put it right, then send them to someone who can. You know, I don’t see that things can be swept under the carpet, you know, and.

[00:48:15] It sort of.

[00:48:16] Alludes to what we just saying about staff management. You know, the style of my dentistry communication with patients may not be for everyone. Bizarrely, although I don’t think I’m a very empathetic person, I seem to have a lot of anxious patients because I say, Oh, you better get in the chair, you know, which.

[00:48:30] Somehow people seem to like when they’re nervous.

[00:48:33] That’s why. So I think for me, it’s, it’s you try your best to, to not have errors. If errors do happen, then then you’re upfront about them. I think with the business.

[00:48:46] I do, you know, why do you not want to discuss the actual errors?

[00:48:50] I think a few, I guess ones I can think of a kind of more the prostate context side of safer large cases. It’s marring that expectation with the patient. You know, they come in and their mouth looks a mess. You get something that you might think looks great in there, you know, a full arch rehabilitation, you know, all on for this case as a case, I’m currently on a full upper ceramic remake from scratch because she’s not happy with it, you know.

[00:49:18] So even though you are. Yeah.

[00:49:20] Well, she she was on the train, but she’s changed her mind now. So, you know, it’s it’s frustrating. Yes. Do you want to put it right? Yes. Does that mean that there’s no money in the case? Yes. But equally, I think it’s got to be it’s got to be right. You know, so and maybe that’s a communication thing, you know, that I’m happy that we will get there with that patient where we want to go. And probably by the end of it, she will be one of our biggest fans, you know, and probably will send us more patients after, you know, so it’ll all come back round keeping positive.

[00:49:54] I’m so interested in why. Why is it that you can stay so positive about that? And then you hear other people completely crippled by by complaint. What’s the difference?

[00:50:06] Yeah, I mean. I guess it’s taking a learning point from it isn’t it.

[00:50:11] That. Yeah.

[00:50:13] I think his one take.

[00:50:15] That did your best and you did your best.

[00:50:17] It’s really important isn’t it. You did your best, you know, whatever, whatever. Whether it was a communication breakdown or something else, you did your very best. You didn’t, you didn’t go out to make an error. Right. But some people some people are so crippled by it, crippled by being sued and being, you know, what’s your sort of vaccination to that problem?

[00:50:40] Yeah, isn’t it?

[00:50:42] I’ve always had my family look on the bright side. You know, I think flipping that from this patient has sent me a 20 page email with 15 photographs attached screenshots of the teeth from different angles that she doesn’t quite like the shape of that one canine tip. And now I’m going to have to spend 4 hours fixing it and another massive lab bill. It’s frustrating, you know, but the positive for me and I always look at a positive in a situation is that at least she’s telling me about it so I can at least resolve it. We’ve got communication lines.

[00:51:17] Open.

[00:51:18] And it’s a learning. It’s a learning for me. Off the back of that, we’ve then had a think at the practice. Okay, do we need to show patients more examples of final prosthesis? Prosthesis? Do we need to make sure that they’ve got that understanding? You know, a full arch on implants is not the same as teeth. You know, it’s the best that we can currently get to replace them. But it is not your own teeth. So this is leading to us rethinking our treatment coordinator at work to rethinking some of our consent process, you know, all of these factors. So for me, although there is negatives from a case like that, what can you take that’s positive? And let’s focus on that so that same thing doesn’t happen all over again, or at least you see them coming.

[00:52:05] Funny you should savour. You know, we do a lot, a lot of flashes in our clinic. So we do probably on a bad week. We’ll do four. On a good week we’ll do six. And I’ve been in on conversations with patients that that my business partners have been on. We’ve had a patient come in. Initially happy in the chair with his bridge and send it to a really good lab. Ashley Burns lab and patient comes back and goes, Do you know what? I’ve got all these, like, little shapes and characterisations and it goes it goes a little bit more lighter towards the end of my teeth. Right. So Mack sat there explaining to this patient that these look like real teeth. And what we’ve done is we’ve tried to replicate nature. The chap turns around and says, I want my temperature. Same shade from top to the bottom.

[00:53:05] Near the one completely clear.

[00:53:07] Right. That is what I want. And you know what? Give Ashley credit. Where where is due? We picked up the phone, spoke to Ashley and said, look, this isn’t our fault, but this is a concern that the patients expressed to us. He was happy on the day he’s come back and Ashley said to us, Mack, the use of premium lab and use a premium lab for a reason. We’re going to do this. We’re going to sort this out, and it’s not going to cost you anything and we’ll put it right. And then that gave us the confidence because we said to the patient we were going to put it right anyway, but we thought it’s going to cost us a few grand, right? The great thing was we had the back from the lab and we do a lot of these and it happens from time to time. And going back to, is there anything that you could have done differently?

[00:53:55] Well, funny you talk about that patient almost spot on with this one. It’s the same thing, right? My social media girl has a video of the patient crying with happiness when she first saw her bridge. Three months later, she’s back wanting a remake. So I don’t know what.

[00:54:12] You can do.

[00:54:13] No, I think you just you just got to take a view on it. And my lab techs remaking it with us for free as well.

[00:54:19] So.

[00:54:20] Yeah, so it happens. You know, it happens. And you sit back and you could kick yourself and like you said, maybe we should have shown them more pictures and this, that and the other. I think the outcome would have been the same. You can never predict that. Right. But we have because we’ve got such an extensive portfolio, we show them pictures on pictures, on pictures, on videos and pictures of previous patients. He will have been through exactly the same process. But you know what? Sometimes it’s their friends will say something, their relatives will say something to the then they’ll make a mental note of it. And then they’ll come back and they’ll explain there that even though they were happy. Yes. Sam down the road said, What’s going on with your teeth? I thought you’ve had them done. Maybe they don’t even look like you’ve had them done.

[00:55:09] We said, change. Change your friends, is what I said to someone.

[00:55:12] But apparently that wasn’t funny.

[00:55:15] It’s a feature of cosmetic dentistry that at the end of the day, it’s based on an issue of taste, you know, does the tooth hurt or not? That’s sort of a yes or a no sort of answer sort of thing. Right. Whereas, you know, it’s I think it’s like it’s sort of like cost of business and cosmetics in cosmetic dentistry that you’re going to have the odd patient like that. But I think, as Katie says, the way you handle that super important. But but I’m interested in the way you handle it internally yourself, your own head, where the next person might have thought, I’m not going to do any more of those. Whereas you look like the third person said, well, that happens. Let’s, let’s, let’s do it again. Let’s, let’s, let’s make it better. Let’s keep on going. And you just, you’ve got that practical, pragmatic way of looking at life. Katie It’s very interesting.

[00:55:59] And I don’t know where that comes.

[00:55:59] From.

[00:56:03] Did you say you would grow up on a farm?

[00:56:06] Yeah. We still live on a.

[00:56:07] Farm, so.

[00:56:09] I can see cows out of my bedroom.

[00:56:11] Window every morning. Yeah.

[00:56:14] That has something to do with it. You know, it keeps things real.

[00:56:17] Yeah. You’re not selling eggs anymore, though.

[00:56:20] Not selling eggs? No.

[00:56:21] We just have to raise my mom to get her.

[00:56:23] Out the hatch in the morning if you want eggs for breakfast. But, I mean.

[00:56:29] Like I said to my patients, implants is.

[00:56:31] Just.

[00:56:32] Just. Just like a bit of DIY is just a bit smaller, a bit cleaner and a bit more expensive. So.

[00:56:38] Can you tell me I met some of your associates. Tell me what you look for in an associate. And how. How can you tell if you’re getting that from an associate in the interview process and coming to work for you? And what’s it like working for you rather than working for someone else? Because I imagine, you know, like you were saying, to be surrounded by to have a boss who’s doing implants, that’s a massive advantage for someone who wants to get into implants. Right. So if an associate wants to eventually look at implants, maybe have that option open, it’d be amazing to work at your place right where someone’s doing loads of implants. Well, tell me about the associate story. How do you attract them? How do you keep them? How do you you know, what pisses you off about them, that sort of thing.

[00:57:21] I think I think the short.

[00:57:22] Answer is we’re still learning.

[00:57:24] Like I’ve alluded to in a lot of this. You know, I.

[00:57:26] Don’t pretend to know it all by any stretch. I’d say I’d say what I hope to deliver is a friendly, nurturing environment, enthusiasm and some experience, a willingness to share like people share with us in terms of getting people in and keeping people. I think recruitment is challenging. It’s something I hear from from everyone we speak to. You know, everyone’s really struggling with it. You know, the further you get out of London in the main city centres, I think the harder it gets as well. We are commutable just I’d say that that has been it.

[00:58:04] Wasn’t such a big train journey.

[00:58:05] Yeah. I guess, I guess that the thing for me is it’s, it’s that day in, day out and it’s building the long term, the long term associates into the practice. So recruitment is a challenge. And as to what you can tell if an interview I don’t know, we’ve had some luck. We’ve had we’ve had some some failures with associates even to date. So I think when we’ve got people we’ve been running a private VC equivalent for the last year is we’re aiming for people who are open to learning. You know, I don’t mind if people don’t know it yet. You only know what you don’t know. You don’t know what you don’t know. So I think I think for me, it’s having associates who are open to learning, open to sharing and and enthusiasm. I think the attitude has to be right for any associate. And I would base any interview or any associate more on that willingness to learn or willingness to want to learn from each other, from courses, to expand the attitude.

[00:59:04] Rather than the clinical.

[00:59:07] You know, you pay for them to go on courses sometimes, right.

[00:59:10] Yeah. That’s on our year programme. Yeah. Well I think it’s that thing.

[00:59:15] Of.

[00:59:16] Ideally want people who are going to be part of the practice long term so any courses that they go on will benefit the practice. I think you have to take a view on these things and hope that you build people up, you help them become the dentist that they want to be, and that enthusiasm, that love of dentistry will feed back into the practice and therefore grow the business. So so that’s that’s my aim with it, as I say, whether it will work also in a decade.

[00:59:42] But, you know, we talk to associates all the time, the love.

[00:59:44] And the passion.

[00:59:46] We get. We get associates on many Smile Makeover who are 100% sure that the principal is not going to buy the composite, 100% sure about it. And you think, well, you know, make a case or whatever, and then you get other associates coming and it’s almost like they’ve got carte blanche to buy whatever they want. And then I guess you’ve got your your, your, your higher level one. You actually paid for the courses. It’s rare. It’s rare.

[01:00:11] It’s not I mean, I wouldn’t say we go we go wild. I mean, ask my husband about the budget and he’ll tell me. But I think as long as people can justify.

[01:00:21] As long as people.

[01:00:21] Can justify what they need, why they want it, like you said, make a case for it then. Then we’ll we’ll do it, you know, because like I said, what’s what’s good for the associate, they’ve got a good attitude at work that will shine through. Nobody wants to see a grumpy dentist, nurse and receptionist, do they? I mean, so it’s getting that enthusiasm, enthusiasm, get that flowing through the practice and we hope off the back of that. Yeah.

[01:00:48] We’ll be good.

[01:00:49] Katie, you know, I think people underestimate being a local and what that means, you know, because if I was I think you yourself don’t realise that the way that you talk to your patients is such a natural way of talking to your patients because you know that community inside out, you know the type of people inside out. So, for instance, if I was you and I was hiring someone, then being a local would be for me the biggest the number one most important thing, because you can gauge the patients, you can understand the subtle cues when you’ve grown up in that in that community, whereas some hot shot from London comes there, doesn’t even get when the guy says, Oh, I work on such and such street or farm or whatever, has no idea what that means. Or I went to so-and-so school, has no idea what that means. And the subtle, the subtle, the subtle, the subtleties in communication are very, very local, you know, and we’ve come across this before where people say, Oh, I’ve filled up seven chairs for six weeks ahead and I just don’t know how I did it, you know? And they really don’t know how they did it. But, you know, they’ve taken care of people, but they’ve understood people and they’ve been understood by their patients. What do you think?

[01:02:09] Yeah, I completely agree. And I think that also ties into looking at location of of associates and thinking who is going to commit long term, you know, somebody who’s.

[01:02:20] From our perspective. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:02:23] You know, they may sick. Yes. But my ideal associate is somebody who is, like you said, embedded in the local, not the local local, but the wider community who is settled perhaps once the long term commitment, once those long term connections with patients to build a decent career.

[01:02:44] Do you have a chat with your associates about how much they cost and how much they need to make? Yes.

[01:02:51] Yes.

[01:02:52] Do they understand the numbers?

[01:02:55] Yes. And and that, interestingly, is something that I think isn’t taught at an undergraduate level and should be perhaps. I think dentists come out as self employed associates and have no idea about how to actually work work a business, because essentially they’re a small business within a business. So yes, we try and build a lot of that in we do targets. We do their weekly numbers in terms of NHS private looking at their costs, how do they compare with industry standards and make all of that information freely available to the to the individual so that they have an idea? Because when they’re earning, we’re earning. When they’re happy, we’re happy.

[01:03:36] And then we deal with your implant work when something’s gone wrong. Have you always bounced back from that or did you ever have a moment where you thought I shouldn’t? I’m not going to bother with this anymore because I think that’s how I would react. Know if I’m sure it doesn’t go the way I’m saying, because, you know, you build up you build up the complexity of the case. But it tends to be generally when things go wrong, they go badly wrong. And then I’m sure when you’re starting to put screws in bones, things go wrong more right. I mean, how do you how do you stay strong in that situation and not think, you know, I’ll just I’ll just keep it simpler rather than make it more complicated the way you have?

[01:04:19] Well, I think I aim to work within my expertise. I think you’re talking to Andy Moore on the podcast. He said the same thing. You know, I don’t dislike gayness. I think I’ve seen some. But you’ve got to be doing a decent number of cases in order to keep clinically competent within any part of dentistry. So so the bottom line for me is making sure that you you are happy with what you’re doing, you’re confident with what you’re doing, and sometimes putting your hands up and saying, listen, I can’t meet your expectations. You know, I can think of a case literally. She was ready. She was ready to commit. I thought I could get another surgeon in to help me do this. I go. And after a few consultations over the phone, I just thought, Do you know what? I can’t meet your expectations. You know, it’s not about money. It’s it’s about stress. And I refer to someone else in the end, which I rarely do.

[01:05:15] So what does the future hold for the practice or practices? Okay.

[01:05:21] We had.

[01:05:21] It depends if you’re.

[01:05:22] Asking me or my husband. Hey, I mean.

[01:05:27] I like to have a challenge every year or a figure every year. So. So so far I think we’ve gone sort of, you know, build a house, get married, buy a practice, have a baby covered, have another baby for surgery. Extension is the plan for end of this year. So next year, who knows? I’m building the looking to educational type thing we’ve got our first course loosely scheduled for is scheduled for September with Nova Bike running an in-house course, which would be the first one where we’re aiming to do based on GDP’s restorative dentistry stuff going how they can restore potentially implants stuff. We’re currently doing the rebrand of the practice, the new website and trying to launch maybe a some level of local referral stuff. A second site would be great. I’m keen to go now. I think my husband is the one in the background saying Hold up, let’s get this sorted first.

[01:06:27] So the little voice of reason on my shoulder. So I think this let’s give that give.

[01:06:34] That another year and then and then we’ll do it anyway and he’ll pick up the pieces.

[01:06:41] Katie was saying that she’s up for building something from scratch. Sounds amazing. It’s the right time for it. Katie, I think you should.

[01:06:50] Wow.

[01:06:53] I think you should. Oh, we would imagine. Have you ever been there? It’s a very quaint little place. I was. I was telling her you had put a Robbie Hughes here somewhere. You know, one of those wicked, massive warehouse conversion jobs. And it’s funny because we think Essex, us people don’t know the area very well. You think Essex where it’s all TOWIE and all that, but there’s this big bits of Essex that aren’t like that at all. Yeah. And much more quaint and sort of home counties than Witham is one of those. But I think it must be sort of spreading the TOWIE effect.

[01:07:31] Well, you know, you’re the.

[01:07:33] Whitening guy. So you tell us.

[01:07:35] What area of the UK does the most white teen? Liverpool.

[01:07:38] Liverpool and Manchester.

[01:07:40] Liverpool. All day long.

[01:07:43] Once in a while. The other side, Newcastle and Sunderland. Those areas, those areas that people want white teeth before they want a coat.

[01:07:50] You know. Yeah.

[01:07:56] We saw a lot.

[01:07:56] Of white to that, to Essex. Yeah.

[01:07:59] We see that bright shivering teeth mate.

[01:08:02] You know, the, the toilet toilet seat, white composite. We sell a lot of that up north and almost nothing down south. It’s been a real pleasure to have you.

[01:08:12] The corner of Essex.

[01:08:14] Yeah. You know, your social was quite nice as well, I think. What’s, what’s the page called? It’s not called Blakes yet because of your rebrand. Or is.

[01:08:25] It? It’s not so we’re not yet. Give us about three more weeks. So we’re in Canberra, which nobody can say or spell. But Katy, dentist is my Instagram, so.

[01:08:34] Katie’s just fun to connect through.

[01:08:36] That’s the best way to connect you dentist. Let’s get to the final questions. Let’s start with mine, because yours is more profound. Fancy dinner party, three guests. Dead or alive. Who do you have?

[01:08:53] Well, I’ve been toying with this question for the last week since you asked me, and one was a straight up easy answer, which was Arnold Schwarzenegger. I mean, what an inspirational.

[01:09:07] Guy. Hey.

[01:09:08] He’s come up before. He’s come up.

[01:09:10] Before. I know.

[01:09:13] He was one of mine.

[01:09:14] Oh, really? Yeah. Yeah.

[01:09:16] I mean.

[01:09:17] I think, you know. Yeah. Just. I mean.

[01:09:21] What can you say about him?

[01:09:22] I mean, I think just keep.

[01:09:23] Reinventing yourself with a new, amazing commitment to hard work and vision.

[01:09:27] You know, I think that’s that is easily the guy who you could pick.

[01:09:31] His brains apart. The other one, I’m slightly more random thought I actually had was Beatrix Potter. So the Peter Rabbit author just for her kind of passion and I guess playing a little bit on the kind of.

[01:09:46] Just.

[01:09:46] Because you’re female. She was in a different time. Yes. Are there still constraints to it nowadays? Yes. So I.

[01:09:53] Think.

[01:09:53] Again, it’s drawing on that passion, that ambition that not accepting what the norms of whatever time you’re in, hold you back, do what you want to do.

[01:10:04] She’s a small person, baby.

[01:10:06] David Attenborough.

[01:10:08] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s come up before, so.

[01:10:11] He’s come up before. I just think the danger is that Arnie’s going to eat Beatrix Potter.

[01:10:18] Yeah, I have considered that.

[01:10:22] I imagine she’s a small person. I don’t know why. I don’t know why, but interesting choice.

[01:10:26] I mean.

[01:10:26] I’m not going with maybe I could have three different dinner parties, you know, because I’m not sure that that would be necessarily the most cohesive group.

[01:10:32] Set I have to know.

[01:10:36] Let’s finish with perhaps.

[01:10:38] Yeah, a bit of fun.

[01:10:41] Katie, it’s your it’s your last day on the planet. You’re surrounded by your loved ones, and you need to leave them with three pieces of life advice, stroke, wisdom. What would they.

[01:10:56] Be? Well, I think a.

[01:10:58] Few you’ve already got the vibe of from talking. You know, positivity goes a long way, I think. Be positive, you know.

[01:11:06] Smile, laugh.

[01:11:07] It will get you a long way. Maybe not laughing at people, but, you know, positivity, really?

[01:11:13] Yeah.

[01:11:14] Positivity, I think really does breed positivity. So in any element of life, dentistry, I think keep that going and you can go a long way. And I think taking opportunities, you know, I.

[01:11:26] Think.

[01:11:27] You only regret the things you don’t do. You know, I very much say I’ll be fine and it drives everyone around me up the wall because I’ll just do stuff and then figure it out afterwards. So I think jump in, take the opportunity, seize the day, give it a go. And I guess the last.

[01:11:42] One.

[01:11:44] Maybe just be polite.

[01:11:45] You know.

[01:11:46] Dentistry, I think is a is a small world at the end of it, even outside of dentistry, everybody knows everyone. You know, somehow or another, you know, you don’t get anywhere. But by being.

[01:11:56] Rude, I think I think.

[01:11:59] Be polite, be nice and and the world is nice.

[01:12:01] Back to you on the whole.

[01:12:02] I love that. I love that. Thank you. It’s been a real pleasure. I feel like there’s a there’s a there’s a whole story of Katie Blake that’s going to play out now going forward because you’re so early in your in your you are you’re so early in your career and, you know, you just started. You just started. And so far, so good is all I can say to you. Because, you know, just like.

[01:12:27] I said, thank you.

[01:12:29] We’re going to come back and do this in a decade, as she keeps saying, ask me in a.

[01:12:33] Decade, after two decades, I’ll tell you. So I’ll come back in ten years.

[01:12:37] We’ll come back in ten years and finish the story off.

[01:12:39] Matt.

[01:12:42] It’s been a real pleasure. Katie, thank you so much for doing this.

[01:12:45] Thanks, guys.

[01:12:45] Thank you.

[01:12:46] Katie 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.

[01:13:04] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say. Because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.

[01:13:19] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.

[01:13:29] And don’t forget our six star rating.

Comments have been closed.
Website by The Fresh UK | © Dental Leader Podcast 2019