We’re pleased to welcome onto this week’s show a multi-practice owner, entrepreneur and family woman Zayba Sheikh.
Zayba’s eye for marketing and business has seen her rise to the top with practices in Fleet Street, Nottinghill and Manchester.
Hear Zayba cover social media presence, opening her first practice and supporting future dental stars.
“I’m obsessed with what I do, whether it’s healthy or not healthy, it’s an obsession. And sometimes the best people that are the most successful are the ones that are really weirdly obsessed with what they do.” – Zayba Sheikh
In This Episode
01.40 – Growing up in London
04:25 – The flexibility of dentistry
07.29 – Children and holistic practice
11.18 – Opening the first clinic
15:22 – Being a good motivator
22:52 – Life coaching
25:37 – A football analogy
28:20 – Hiring right
30:22 – Social media presence
32:49 – Brand recognition
38:55 – Supporting young dentists
43:56 – Being in the present
48:26 – A day in the life
54:58 – Mother figures
58:22 – Travelling
01:00:00 – Legacy & last days on Earth
About Zayba Sheikh
Zayba qualified from the University of Birmingham in Dentistry and is a member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery.
Zayba plays a vital role in the development of the Healthcare Division of Sheikh Holdings as well as being a board member and principal investor.
Zayba has always put others first and is a Trustee of Cosaraf Charitable Foundation. She also created her own dental charity with Smita Mehra called the Neem Treet Foundation.
[00:00:00] Some of them don’t know what their talent is. Some of them say to me, I’m a dentist. I’m like, but what’s your talent? What’s your talent in dentistry? Do you have an artistic class in the composites, in the cosmetic? What’s your talent? You’ve really got to know yourself. So that’s one thing I look for. Do they know themselves where their talent is? Do they understand that? And how much do they have passion and respect for that? How much are they willing to thrive on that? Like, is it a passion? And I always say, are you obsessed with it? Because, like, I’m obsessed with what I do, whether it’s healthy or not healthy, it’s an obsession. And sometimes the best people that are the most successful are the ones that are really weirdly obsessed with what they do. And I want to know, are they obsessed with what what is what makes them tick about what they do?
[00:00:51] This is Dental Leaders podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders and dentists. Treat your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav.
[00:01:06] Solanki gives me great pleasure to welcome Zabor Shaikh onto the podcast. Sabre’s the founder of Dental, which burst on the scene a couple of years ago. You obviously have a few other things going on, but even more impressive. But you’re fresh from giving birth to a child. Yeah, it’s been difficult to even the age because I couldn’t believe that you even could make time for us to come. It’s a pleasure to have you. Thanks a lot for
[00:01:38] Thank you for having me.
[00:01:40] This book was about trying to get to the to the crux of the person behind the sort of the persona of folks a little bit about your early life childhood. Why did you choose Dental Street, that sort of stuff?
[00:01:53] Ok, so I was born in northwest London. I grew up in a joint family set up. So two brothers married, two sisters. So we all lived in one household and my grandma lived with us as well. And my uncle had six kids and my dad has five. So I’m the eldest of all 11 kids. So it was a very busy household. And it was it was nice because I’ve always had two sets of parents. I’ve had two father figures, too, mother figures. So I’ve I’ve been very blessed in the family set up. We had strong values instilled from a young age. My grandmother’s story, you know, she came from Kenya. Settle down here. She was widowed at twenty eight with four young kids. So I saw my dad and my uncle really graft. They started off in a laundromat in Hounslow. They live above the laundromat and it was a real graft. My dad went to uni, but my uncle didn’t. And it’s how he grew as a person and my dad that really shaped us as kids. That’s what I feel, especially for me being the eldest. I saw a lot in the in the early graft of their careers and their whole life and how it shaped. So I feel like that’s where it really starts for me in terms of the journey of who I am and the characteristics that I have, I, I do believe it stemmed from my grandparents were extremely close to our grandparents, both of my mom and my dad’s side.
[00:03:28] And I think that’s where my work ethic really grew. And then going into dentistry, I always knew I wanted to go into healthcare. My dad’s business was in care homes, but I always enjoyed the sciences. It was never for my parents. It was never a pressure on what to do or have to go into specific industry. It was always just, you know, do what you enjoy and just that support go into something you enjoy, be a profession or, you know, just have something you have passion in. So I really explored the sciences, more medicine, dentistry, pharmacy. They were kind of the things I explored. But I went into dentistry because I saw the flexibility in it. I saw the interaction with the people more than in the medicine. I felt that I could interact with people close to clinical and non-clinical. And also the business side was what really was my main goal. I always knew I wanted to go into business. I from a young age, I was probably really exposed to property business and how to run and grow brands. And I used to do that with my dad in my own case to see a lot of it. And I was looking at piano as I was looking at CapEx sheets. I just understood that business first hand. I didn’t you go to business school or anything like that? I learnt to quite young, so I knew that I wasn’t going to be clinical.
[00:04:55] I knew that I was never arty type of person. And that’s one thing in dentistry. I have complete respect for my clinicians because they’re actually artists, they really all are. They have such an artistic flair and mindset and creativity to them that I knew I just didn’t have and I knew that from the start. But I went into it knowing that I could create something different because everyone else that’s going into this wants to do it for the dentistry, whereas I’m doing it for the business. And I felt that that was my USP. So I always knew the brand that I could grow would be already unique to all the other Dental brands, because majority 80, 90 percent of dental practises or brands are built around a 100 clinician. And that would be my complete USP because this brand is not built around the primary principle being what known handed. So I got excited by that. I already knew that in my heart that’s what I was going to do. And then I went to Birmingham, studied that, and then I did my VTE in London. I worked in mixed practises for a couple of years. And then that’s when I got my first practise in Fleet Street. And now I’ve got three clinics, so Fleet Street, Notting Hill and Manchester. So that’s our latest clinic that just opened a year ago now.
[00:06:12] So your first prognosis, how long after qualifying sober?
[00:06:16] Four years. Four, five years. Yeah, so I qualified twenty fleet free opened 2015 and I was five months pregnant, so I had to joke with me. Every time I open the clinic there’s a baby somewhere. But you know, I always say to them, one of my biggest lessons from my grandparents and my dad is they had so many kids and people used to say the same thing. And my dad used to say that for every child that’s come into the world, there’s a moment that that child came in, was like the best opportunity or business opportunity that came at that time was like the biggest blessings came within that moment. And I really believe that because I see that coming down, because I see that every time I had a child or even as a child, as some of my people that’s walked in the clinic, Lindsey, when she had a baby, I’ve seen that those children were brought so much. We’ve had peaks in the business when those kids came. Things that happened that I never thought would happen are happening in those times. So I truly believe the blessings of family life and doing things holistically in your life, not just having work and then personal life. It’s about the balance of both, which is always the thing that everyone debates. How how can you have us stable?
[00:07:29] This business of your dad started with that one laundrette turned into a gigantic business we talk about in dentistry. Do we want our kids to be dentists and all of that? Yeah, well, they’re not. Did you not think, well, why don’t I just take over that business rather than doing your own brand?
[00:07:46] Yeah, I mean, the thing with my dad was he never pushed us to do what he was doing. I think he wanted us to learn the principles of what he was doing. If I wanted to do that and wanted to go into the home business and things like that, I think he would have been really happy and he would have been like, yes, one of the kids, it’s good to be here.
[00:08:05] We actively decided you didn’t want to go into the business.
[00:08:10] It wasn’t that I didn’t want to do it. I did do a lot of work within it early on. Might not like actual work, but I used to go into the cabins a lot. I used to see what they were doing. You know, my dad would always take us when we would have to be there for certain reasons. But I didn’t really I think I didn’t always think how I could link them to straight into the home because of special care dentistry. And I saw that was a big gap within that industry. So I thought that it could be something that I merge. But I just had an appeal with dentistry on a different level. I liked the clinical aspect as well, that clinical science behind the dentistry in the care home business. I feel like that would have been if I went into more of a medical way, then I could have. But then as the dentistry evolved, I did it really go in special care industry. I really just enjoyed the business so much that that’s really what I wanted to do.
[00:09:02] And so when you go through, you have to learn the basics of dentistry and what was the vision always in your mind, say the First Fleet Street clinic or whatever that was going to be on your radar, working towards that goal of owning your first practise? What was your vision at that point?
[00:09:20] Yeah, one hundred percent. I always wanted to I always had the thing like this is temporary. Like I didn’t enjoy clinical at all. And my trainer, he was so amazing, but he was so patient with me and he was just like it was it’s not that great. It was it was fine because I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew I wasn’t that wasn’t my thing. But I was there and I was putting in the graft and I was learning everything that I needed to learn, because to be honest, if I didn’t have that experience as well, I wouldn’t understand a lot of what happens in the Dental practise as well. So I always had the vision of the practise, but I was always looking for the opportunity and the opportunity didn’t just come straight away. That was a lot of things that happened that I tried to acquire a practise. Then I tried to set up another practise. Then I tried another thing and all of things fell through. It wasn’t like I just got Fleet Street and then that’s it. It was like happy ending. It’s not. It took time. There was a lot of, like, bad moves on my part, trying to acquire something that didn’t work. And then looking back on it, they were like big moments in my life when I was like, oh my God, I’ve lost like, I’m never going to do this. I was like, rock bottom. Here we go again. Carry on working clinical until you can do it. So it was a craft. It was hard to get that right, a clinic and the right setting that I needed. It wasn’t easy at that time to be looking at practises, you know,
[00:10:43] Was it did you set up the clinic in Fleet Street or did you buy it?
[00:10:47] Yeah, they’re all squat practises and practises that also said.
[00:10:52] So when you opened your practise back then, four years post qualification, how did you get those patients through the door? Obviously, your marketing strategy now is is something the I think with Dental industry, a completely inaugural’s and everything you do from the content creation to everything is just spectacular. And what was what was your strategy back then in terms of getting patients through the door?
[00:11:18] It was basic strategy. It was we knew what we needed to do, but that was nothing different. There was nothing that no one else was doing. And it was hard. We didn’t have patients waiting at the door. We didn’t have our phones ringing at times when my team would say to me, the phone rang once today and we were losing money. We were losing a lot of money every month. And it wasn’t easy, especially when I was five months pregnant and I just had my first baby as well. First baby is very different to the baby, number two and three. So, you know, that was hard work. And there were times when I would say to my husband, I don’t know if this is ever going to do what we wanted to do. And he used to say to me that the day that this clinic makes profit will be the best I have. You know, it was so hard and I don’t think that there was anything that we did to tip it. It was just time. And there were certain things that were key moments within the journey that started to tip that. And that’s what when I saw those things come into play from the right dentist to the right, but just the right branding, the right dentist and then the right people that worked in the clinic, you know, one of the key members of staff coming in, she changed the whole journey. So the journey changed for people as well. And then that everything just came together. And slowly, slowly, you know, when that clinic first started to make profit, you know, it took it took a long time. It wasn’t easy to be.
[00:12:54] When you first opened the clinic, what was what was the set of? Were you hands on then clinical doing loads of what was it
[00:13:01] That actually I was I wasn’t doing loads of hours. I was just there to help Buffer. And that’s a when we didn’t have the right dentists or, you know, the dentist we wanted in that clinic. So I was that buffer when Lindsey came on board as well. She was my right hand woman in terms of like they would just do it, just get the patients in and you can do it and give me confidence to do clinical. But I knew in my heart that’s not where I was going to be and that was temporary. But yeah, I did I did have to do a bit of clinical in the beginning.
[00:13:31] But and then moving on from there, from the point you opened the doors to the moment you spun a profit for the first time. What we talk in in terms of time, scale,
[00:13:41] I think it was roughly around. A year, a year, over a year, I’d say, just before we rebranded. That’s what I think the reasoning of the rebrand was around, that I felt that the rebrand would rocket up. It would just I just knew what needed to be done at that time, in that moment. And that’s why we did the rebranding in that sense. So I could have that risk to take on myself to say this is what I want to do. And it was a risk. I was doing it on my own and rebranding to major clinics, but I just knew I had the right people around me as well. I had a fantastic marketing team and advisors who now have grown with me and it’s just grown massively. So I think that that tying in with the rebrand just changed everything quickly.
[00:14:35] But when I think of Dental, I think of, you know, talent, you see, you seem to be able to attract the kind of the big names, if you like, and in cosmetic dentistry to come and work there. Having said that, I mean, I’m sure some of them you’ve developed into big names while they’re working. But the other thing is I’ve had contact with some of you people with your courses and all of that. There’s a general feeling from them that you are such a great motivator. And so often when you talk to staff and all of them without without exception, I know a lot of young people from Mattie Parsons, who teaches on our course to some of you support. So all of them without without exception or people saying that she’s brilliant, she’s going she’s motivated. Is that something that you’ve sort of looked into or is that just the natural way you all you’ve learnt from your parents? What is it?
[00:15:36] I think it started off definitely something from my uncle, my dad. I saw how they worked well. And what were their biggest assets to them as Leaders in their businesses? I saw what worked really well. And after 20, 30 years, those people, the way they used to, they still speak about my parents and my uncle and my grandparents, the way they speak so highly of them and they’re connected to them. I learnt from a young age how that was so important and valued the time and effort that my dad and my uncle give is unbelievable. And they they scaled up massively right now, but they still are able to touch a lot of people within their companies. So I learnt that from a young age and I think that was naturally in me. I just naturally have that kind of personality. That’s what I thrive off, really. That’s what I that’s what I see is my main job role. But then I did invest into it further. I do have a massive interest on the psychology side of things and behaviours. And I trained for two years in personal coaching like life coaching and mindfulness, and that I trained to become a coach for the purpose of a business business properties with my within my own clinic. And then I started to do coaching within the team on team levels. But then I realised when I was doing it, it was opening cans of worms within my teams with each other in terms of things that they didn’t want to say in a team environment.
[00:17:08] So now I do a lot one to one. A lot of them probably don’t know. I do it as not having like a coaching session or a session. It’s my kind of tools and my like, kind of just my toolkit on how to deal with people and how to speak to them. How to listen to them in all is just one to one mainly. And that’s done with everyone. I don’t just sit with them and sit with everyone every week. It’s done throughout the week through phone calls, even interactions. And I just passing by. There’s tools that I use that naturally is just to help me to really engage with different types of people, from patients to my nurses to my teachers to my directors, to high level business ambassadors, things like that. And it’s about being able to interact with everyone and engage with everyone. And that you have to learn. I think you have to really invest in understanding that that’s not something that you can just I didn’t have like that deeper understanding, but there’s there is things to look into. And I think just being conscious of it is the first step. But just to be conscious of it, sometimes we’re just not conscious how we walk past someone or how we just even look at someone. Even your physical language says everything, and especially as your boss, like they say, you know, that physical language is everything to your staff before you even open your mouth because they have an assumption about you straightaway. So I think that
[00:18:38] Speaks to some specific sabr, some examples, specific examples. Maybe I’ll know something you or your dad did with. With someone and then something’s specific examples of stuff that you can help someone can learn from.
[00:18:51] I think it’s one of the most important things I would say that I think I still don’t do well enough as well. Like Red’s always knows this and he’s always, like, pinching me, as I remember. But is the listening and the way to listen, because you can listen to someone and you can hear them out, but you’ve already made your judgements about what you feel. And it’s the open minded listening. It’s listening with an open mind, whereas a lot of people within the workplace that have already made up their mind and they’re right and you’re wrong and that’s it. And they have all the reasons why they’re right and they probably might be right. That’s not that we’re saying they’re wrong, but the way you listen to the other person and make them feel about their opinion, that is a massive I’d say, plus, because the way you can listen to them is shows that how you can explain something to them, because if you want to explain your point of view, you can explain it away. They can have understanding, whereas explaining your point of view in a way that you’re attacking them, you’re never going to get them to understand. They’re never going to change their mind. Whereas I feel like if I can really listen to what that person is saying and empathise, I put myself in their shoes and their rights. This was a big deal in their eyes. This did happen. And a lot of people just say, well, she’s lying or she’s doing this and I’m not. I never look at people in a negative light. I’ll always give them the benefit of the doubt, saying actually for her that was a big deal for him. That was that is on. And then I don’t put my opinion on that. I will listen to that and then give some sort of advice. But if I need them to understand what I’m saying, they do listen. Then they turn around and listen to me because I’ve given them their opinion, respect and I think respect to the massive thing.
[00:20:34] Lovely thing. It’s a lovely idea. And obviously, you’ve got to feel that way for it to be real. But give me the tactic. What’s the tactic for you? Do you repeat back to them what they say or something like that?
[00:20:47] Yeah, I think what I would do is engage in what they’re saying more than I’m saying. I think a lot of people talk and they only talk about what their point is. But whereas I would repeat that point. So if someone says this is how something made me feel and this is the reasoning, I’d be like, you know what, I understand your reasoning because I’m from your point of view, it looks like this. I’m from you in your shoes. It’s this, this, this. So I can understand. You’re right. Then I always agree that they’re right, because that’s an opinion you can’t say to someone that’s wrong, whereas and then I’ll say, well, can you understand from either my perspective or the other person’s perspective that this this this might have been their ideas and they don’t actually see what your ideas are. And from that moment on, that person’s like, yeah, I can see that they now are in agreement with you. They’re not attacking each other. They’re in agreement. And they’re like, OK, we can agree that we’re all seeing things in different lens. But then how do we come together, guys? How do we come together and think, is there a solution or is there something we’re missing? Are we just looking too much inside what we think or is that we need to think about the greater picture? I feel like in this setting, everything in the Dental practise is so intricate and so micro environment that the bigger picture is always missed.
[00:22:02] That’s one of my biggest things. When I come in, I’m always talking bigger picture because I’m not in the micro environment. I’m not in there with them. So I respect their environment, I respect what they saying. But then they also respect that, oh my God, she’s opened our eyes like she’s looking at it from a completely different way. And I think that excites them because they want to know what I think they want to know. A lot of them will call me straight away or text me and say, what do you think about this? What do you think about that? Because they respect that I’m coming from a different lens to them and I’m not trying to tell them that that is wrong.
[00:22:34] Baby emissions, you’ve undergone quite a bit of coaching yourself and learning. And you listen, obviously, you mentioned that you use various tools. We have to talk about specific courses that you weren’t always a part of the Dental County School or what was it?
[00:22:52] To be honest, it was something that my mom and my auntie were doing. They were doing a life coaching. It’s called the inside out. I think it’s from from America coaches in America. And it’s a personal development. It wasn’t actually something that they were doing for business perspective. They were doing it for personal development. And then I decided to do it to figure out my work life balance. I was struggling with the mom girl with my ambitions. And, you know, I was struggling with how do I juggle? Everything can be the best at everything. So I did that for myself. And it really helped me in the first year, helped me change my plans in terms of looking at things from a positive approach and realising that a lot was coming from my thoughts and not the reality of what was happening. And I was missing a lot of being in the present with my kids and being in the present with my businesses and being in the present of enjoying the journey. As well, so that changed my perspective and I saw that me changing change the business and changed my staff without me even doing anything. It was just because I changed my actions and my intentions. I didn’t enforce on anyone. I just changed myself. And I feel like that’s what makes you a good leader, is because they see what you’re doing. It’s not telling them what to do. They see Microsoft. They see what I do. I don’t do they see how much effort I put into it and my passion that I think the passion really gets them. And then they generally, most of them, all of them that work and they all have passion. They all have that. So I look for that. I look for that when I interview. I really look for the passion within themselves and the career, because then my job is easy, because if they’ve got passion, I just motivate a mentor and coach and the rest they do.
[00:24:36] So you’ve attracted these wicked dentists. Let’s say if I was a young associate looking to work through. Yeah, OK. You said you want someone passionate. Yeah, well, I mean, literally, if that’s if that’s what I want to do, I want to welcome you advise me to do as a young associate who wants to be part of that team. Do I have to do courses. What have to do.
[00:25:05] So if you step back, what I’m trying to create with the dentist is what my husband’s taught me. And in building a football team, that’s basically how his analogy of what I’m doing is. And if you just see that and I’ve always looked into the best sports coaches and how sports coaches really work, because that’s really inspired me in terms of their journeys and how they attract talent. And it’s not about them, it’s how they combine the talent together. And that’s really what my ambition is with. Drew is combining the talent. So my first thing when I look for is what’s that talent? Is that talent what we’re looking for? And do they have the talent? Is it that a lot of dentists, they are general restorative Dental. That’s absolutely fine. And that talent is in that. And we need those. We need different. But what is the talent of some of them don’t know what their talent is. Some of them say to me, I’m a dentist. I’m like, but what’s your talent? What’s your talent in dentistry? Do you have an artistic class in the composite? It’s in the cosmetics. What’s your talent? You’ve really got to know yourself. So that’s one thing I look for. Do they know themselves where their talent is? Do they understand that? And how much do they have passion and respect for that? How much are they willing to thrive on that? Like, is it a passion? And I always say, are you obsessed with it? Because, like, I’m obsessed with what I do, whether it’s healthy or not healthy, it’s an obsession. And sometimes the best people that are the most successful are the ones that are really weirdly obsessed with do. And I want to know, are they obsessed with what what is it? What makes them tick about what they do? Do they enjoy that? And then I would look at why do they want to go with it? What’s their intention for being what? Where do you want to go with it? Is it that they’re going to value add and bring something that someone else doesn’t have? That’s what I’m looking for.
[00:27:00] If you’re coming into RWD, just to replicate another another one of the dentists, that’s not a value add value add is someone that say to me, Zabor, this is what you are actually missing. This is what I can bring to the table. I might do things this way. And it’s there’s loads of ways to do that in dentistry. A lot of dentists to me, but I’m a cosmetic dentist. I’m like, yeah, those are some of my dentist are into composite bonding, somewhat into different things. Small Macon’s in a different way. Some people are into the injectable mould, composite techniques, the different techniques. Tell me what what is it that you’re into? So I’m looking for that flat and it’s quite deep. And I can tell straight away if it’s Dental, that has no idea because I haven’t even thought of those things. That’s not really questions they get Austin normal interviews. So they go back and I’ve had dentists go back, think I have more experience and come back to me and say, actually, we know now who we are and then I like you already to because I want them to value-add. It’s not I always say we was in the training ground. It’s more ground when you’re saying, I’m looking for my Stryker’s, I’m looking for those elite clinicians, and that’s what I want it to be about,
[00:28:09] Say you interviewing all team members and you’ve got a relationship with all team members at every level, right? Well, I do well.
[00:28:20] And Koshy do so at the moment. I have like managers and stuff that kind of triage and filter through. And when I recruit, then I will try and meet everyone before that final decision of hiring someone or me or Lindsay or I’ll try and zoom them. So in the last couple of months when I’ve been off maternity, there’s a few new people that I hadn’t met. And so that. My first thing that I need to go and do is meet meet them, because I’ve heard so much about them and that that is really close to me. That’s really important to me to meet them and and get to know them.
[00:28:55] And then you spoke about people bringing the value to the business. I mean, one of the things that’s so, so clear about many of the clinicians, that is the Instagram presence, right? Yeah. They all they all share in common. Is that something that you can look at and forth and is checking out their social profile a big part of the recruitment process?
[00:29:19] So it is and it isn’t. So we do check it so we know where they might be like sitting in terms of their work shows a lot of that portfolio as well. So if they have a strong Instagram presence, it does show their portfolio of work, but it’s not a criteria. I would say that they have to have a strong, strong following or they have to be strong. And that’s not because I have some dentists that work for me that don’t they didn’t have that in the beginning and they don’t want to grow that or something. But it’s naturally evolved that way. I would say I would say that a lot of the patients and the demographic of people we’re attracting is within that kind of demographic of Instagram. So we do say to the dentist that it does help because we put them on our Instagram as well. So it helps
[00:30:07] And help them grow their Instagram as well. It looks like the content you’re creating for the brand with room is some of the deal as well. You’ll help them grow their social presence if they want to.
[00:30:22] Yeah, I mean, we want to grow our social presence. So our marketing is very strong and they are our brand as well. So our marketing is based around them. Video creations for the dentist, video questions for the staff. But they then utilise that content on their platforms is absolutely fine because we want to have a synergy. We don’t have we don’t want to say that you can’t grow yours and grow ours. One of my closest Dental has to mean she’s grown with me. Slaney she is a strong Instagram Dental. But when we both when she started out, we were both growing. She was growing in her Instagram platform and we were growing in our brand. And we’ve always said to her we’re not against each other and we have a synergy. And that was so different for her because she said, Majoras, the principles are the same to me. You can’t do this and you can’t post this about us and you can’t post that. And you have to write our logo on that and our logo on that. And I was never like that. I just said to her, will grow you and you’ll do well. And she ended up being full time with us. And she’s trying hard right now.
[00:31:23] And Kathleen is lecturing for me tomorrow. See, it’s a small makeover for four amazing marketing. Amazing. But you know what impresses me, Zabor, is that you mentioned this. There’s a degree of vulnerability in having your associates having such a big presence because they could take they could take their patients away with them. But you don’t see using that as an opportunity.
[00:31:51] Yeah, I Dental. Yeah. And I always say to business, well, we don’t ever see it that way. We always say that we just have confidence. And also there is a confidence in what we do and a confidence in our brand that we’ve seen that the dentist, once they’re in and they experience and touch and feel through and experience the journey with me. I mean, a lot of them, I just feel like the journey is a long term journey that they’re and they’re both in and they feel that it’s not fake and they know that. And the ones that have left or I’m not saying everyone stays with us, it’s all been positive. There’s a reason they want to grow in a different direction. And we’ve been there and I haven’t said or felt your patients are going with your patients. I’ve never felt that. I always feel that that’s enough for everyone. And I don’t need to no one needs to step on each other’s toes. I just have never needed to to feel that.
[00:32:49] I do think that what I see about the brand is that the brand is beyond recognition. A bit like what you said earlier, you didn’t want to build a brand around. A Western defence is right. And I definitely see the the although although the dance is truly inclusive in the market signable, know that the brand is bigger than the clinician, so to speak. And it’s the brand that is front and centre. Yeah, definitely what I see when I see the visuals, the creative and things like that.
[00:33:19] And that’s the intention. I mean, you see big brands out there like, you know, Emirates, business class and Chanel and all these amazing brands. And there’s great people that work behind those brands as well as celebrities that we can endorse those brands. But those brands stand strong for what they are. And that quality and that I feel is unique and not done in the Dental industry. I feel like a lot of the Dental. Principals have had to be handed and their passion is that as well. So there’s a passion of having a lifestyle practise versus a brand, and that’s what I wanted to create. I wanted to create a brand that was scalable and able to withstand that 20, 30 years and say that’s a scalable brand and I still have a strong business portfolio behind it because it’s every sentence has always asked me or we’ve always known associate that says don’t make profit. And I’m like, that’s rubbish because it’s about a brand. It’s not about associate led. Perhaps it’s not. But that’s just the wrong terminology. It’s because because dentistry has never been business let because dentists haven’t been trained as businessmen, just that we’re not trained in business. So unless you are and you then invest in that, I just don’t know how someone can work six days a week clinical and do both. I just think that’s just impossible.
[00:34:40] So what’s the vision moving forward in terms of growing the brand, multiple clinics, 20, 30, 40, some overseas expanding in the U.K., have you got the big audacious goals or anything like that in terms of the big picture vision?
[00:34:59] I mean, to be honest, the vision I had for it evolves every year in a different way because of the business opportunities that come. So I never kind of have a rigid saying this is what I am going to do because some opportunities have come my way. And I never thought I would be doing the Manchester was one one of those. I never thought I would be going into Manchester. The furthest I’ve been is up north is them. So I hadn’t explored much. I didn’t think how can I manage a clinic in Manchester and things like that. But the opportunity with Andy and just knowing Andy and getting to know more and more and the opportunity that came for both of us, you know, it was in the right time and it happened because it was meant to. And I just think that was the best thing that ever happened to me is is meeting Andy and going down that way. So I would say the bigger picture, it’s a lot of clinics. It’s not saying I want to be a Mini Cooper at all. That’s not my intention.
[00:35:55] I want to be a strong brand. And if that means a strong hold of, you know, 10 clinics internationally, nationally, for me, that quality of the clinics is what I want to strive to do, quality and brand and clinical dentistry and to achieve that and have a strong business portfolio, a serious business portfolio behind me, because I’ve seen people come with Dental business plans. I’ve seen people come with other industry plans, you know, in the restaurant industry and retail industry. And I know what a strong business looks like. And I want my practises and my view to have that bond presence. And it won’t just be from the clinics. I do want to broaden it and go through into the consumer brand and look at the academy is launched. So there’s different divisions of Varu that I will probably want to expand more into. A lot is I really enjoy philanthropy and doing things through charity, but want to expand the brand into that way as well. So there’s a lot of things I would love to do, but let’s see how it evolves naturally.
[00:36:55] So there’s about the academies, but we have a couple of guys on yesterday from the small Dental Academy about how that evolved. And then the academy evolved actually around mentoring and training their own Dental from within. Yeah. And opening up to the to the industry. What does your academy do? What’s the plan for it?
[00:37:14] I think the Academy naturally started off because conversations with Andy, I think he was actually doing his own courses. And what we learnt very quickly is the dentist that we do are extremely talented and they love to teach their talent. They love to share it. They want to pass that on. They want to they also have a good time doing that. You know, it’s a break from the clinical industry. And I felt that it would be it’s good to teach and give back. And I feel like we need to be able to have young people reaching out to us and saying, can we shot at your dentist? Can you teach us this? Can you tell us what equipment you’re using and things like that? So I felt like just the demand and also the having the talent of dentists that love to teach as well. It just was a no brainer to say how can we make it work and a good structure. And he’s done teaching before and sometimes the structures worked and hasn’t worked. So he’s had the trial and error and the know how of how to do things. And alongside Kerry, who you know, well, you know, she’s got a lot of knowledge and dentistry and teaching and and how to, you know, where that industry’s going. And so I think that combination is where we went with the teaching. We want it to be different. And the USPI for our academy is not just around doing courses. It will be around, you know, having a database and creating a platform, especially now with covered everything, being more online. We want to have a strong kind of digital aspect that will be part of the academy. And I think that’s what that will be a bit different to. What what we’ve seen that before
[00:38:55] Is a massive asset to you. You know, obviously a lot of interaction with a. Yeah, you know, you talk about a brand so much. What’s your favourite brand?
[00:39:06] What are we talking like, shoes, bags, what we saying?
[00:39:10] I mean, it doesn’t the other than the one you you shop the most from the one you admire the most.
[00:39:18] I would say journey wise, I think the journey of the Emirates brand is really interesting, I think and Virgin that stories and I always look at hospitality industries massively. So their journey and what they’ve done in evolution of business class, first class and all of that, that’s really interested me. So I do admire that. And I do find the other industry is it is a lot it’s really weird, like my husband laugh when he hears this, but the football industry and how I’ve got into, like, learning about how the marketing of that is done and how the coaches work, I mean, that industry in itself is really also interested me, which I didn’t expect to
[00:40:01] Have a favourite brand.
[00:40:04] Yeah. Yeah, of course it through buddy.
[00:40:08] You know, we have some great people working with us that work with Apple and Facebook. And and that was really interesting to hear what Apple are doing as a brand and what they’re going to do. And being at the forefront, I think of tech. One thing that is very different from IFIL is being at the forefront with digital technology in-house and marketing. So we’ve invested heavily in how to make sure that our structures are more digitalised and seamless, as well as, from a marketing perspective, bringing in some of the industry’s best people around me. So I’m working with great content creators as well as, you know, digital strategy. I’ve had someone working for me who did the rebrand with me, who has literally just gone into the depths of it with me in terms of how we can improve from a digital aspect strategically and then bringing on people like you’re saying from great brands like Apple, who’s looked into our analytics and said this is how we should be doing Google, this is how we should be utilising Facebook and Instagram and Ticktock and all these things. And that in itself is so interesting because you have to bring in what other industries are doing because dentistry is behind,
[00:41:20] You know, that’s true. But, you know, being at the forefront, SABERA, you said in the forefront of this, by its very nature, I mean, it’s you end up making some mistakes, right? Of course. And, you know, we have a section in this podcast where we talk about clinical errors, but you’re not doing much clinical errors along the way. What have you learnt from them?
[00:41:42] I think working alongside some of the best people around me has helped me navigate so that I don’t make as many errors, I suppose. And they’re the best in that field and everyone else strengths. And it’s recognising what everyone’s strengths are and utilising them. But I think some of the mistakes that I’ve made maybe in digital as well, is, you know, I worked really closely with the marketing team and we got really excited. And we’re like, this is going to go into this. We’re going to do this. And sometimes their expectations and their knowledge of it isn’t as good as mine. Like, I don’t know, the digital industry. I don’t know how tech is created or how long it takes to do X, Y, Z. So I think my sometimes my mistake is just thinking that my pace is one thing that everyone that works for me you will hear them say is just ridiculous. Like, I will just expect things to think, OK, we need to make a website, let’s do it. It should be done by next week. That’s it. And then I’ll just run with that. Everything I do is run. Those were my mistakes. I learnt on that, set the expectations and understand the timelines because I don’t think my entrepreneurial pace and flair will ever go. And my teams are constantly saying, oh my gosh, she’s on the next thing. But it’s the realistic expectations of other people and what what we need to be doing and then obviously building in my cashflow and my finances around that. So I think that made some mistakes around that. I would say that I’ve learnt just
[00:43:07] What we were talking yesterday with the guys from the small academy and Prav talk about this all the time. Well, you know, the balance of your head has to be in the future. An amount of your head has to be in today. And it’s almost like no leadership and management or whatever operations and in a business development or whatever. Yeah. How how much of your head is in the day to day running of the things is that sounds like not that much of it. Like you’ve got people taking care of that. And how much of it is thinking future what you want to achieve in.
[00:43:43] I think actually you’d be surprised that a lot of it is in that is in the now and I’ve learnt that being the president is everything because that really shapes what’s going to happen. But I think that a lot of my head is in the in the entrepreneurial growth of where I want to be. But actually from a day to day aspect, I’m not doing that every day. I would like to do more, but I think, like we said before, you know, really still in its infancy and the team need me and I I hope they need me more. So but the fact that having a short maternity and just getting back on my cause and being there, you know, that value-add for me, I feel is definitely needed every day and wanted as well. I do see that that I am part of the brand and that the team needs that. It’s not just, you know, patients are so important and giving the patients that flavour of your brand and your quality is everything. But actually for the team, what they need from the brand is me, really. So I’ve got to do that every day in terms of that that leadership, I think that’s so important.
[00:44:50] So how often do you have those conversations with them? I mean,
[00:44:53] So at the moment I probably the structure runs where we now have we’re doing everything now over Zoom’s as well as meetings, but we will meet with different levels of teams. So I would say managers meetings are weekly. Then you have board meetings with the group level. Teams are kind of monthly, but actually group level members. I’m probably speaking to them three or four times a week. So it’s very informal. I’m wearing too many WhatsApp groups and Dental we really need to relax with those. But, you know, we’re always in conversation with them. I think I have a really good relationship with all of them that it’s very informal. It’s like Sabr, we need you for this X, Y, Z, and I’m there.
[00:45:37] It’s so interesting. One thing you said that you’re looking at the 20, 30 year long term kind of goals of two, three years. And now, I mean, we were saying before, it feels like you’ve been around for longer than two does. There was the knee injury, but just as a brand, just as a brand, really just seems like it’s been there a long, long time. Yeah. And that’s testament to the quality of the I guess, the content to mean at the end of the day and Prav of seeing the content more than anything else. So on a operational basis, you’ve got this so many things going on. And you mentioned Lindsey, you’re right. What you reckon is going to happen. I mean, is it scalable to have one one to one conversations with with so many of your staff members so often? I mean I
[00:46:34] Mean, no, I mean, the Internet is there’s elements of I’ve seen that with my dad growing. You’re not going to get to a point where you’re in a scalable position and doing all of that all the time. That’s not a realistic expectation. And also it’s not healthy. I wouldn’t be able to have a good balance between being a mom as well, but I feel like it is scalable for the right people. You know, I call them my jams at group level and they really are my gems. All the girls and all the team members, they all have a value add. And that’s what’s scalable, because once I find those little gems and they have their little strengths and they all work together, well, that’s already starting to scale. We didn’t have that. We had one person and me and then we had three people and me at group level. Now we have six, seven people at group level and that is already scaling and we’ve got three clinics. So then it’s just and then it’s also bringing in industry experts, other industry experts that we don’t need in-house. We have a marketing team that’s strategically built around people that are not in the industry, but they are value adding massively and are heavily invested into the clinic. So I do see it scalable. I think obviously it’s certainly want me, but their value in their passion and their belief in now, you know, once they have that, then they’re scalable in themselves.
[00:48:02] Say they’re just going down to basically you day in, day out. I mean, what’s what’s a day in the life time you wake up? I go to bed. What happens between a typical week time with the kids? Yeah, like cold and Zoom’s of meetings and strategy and all the rest of it. Just just walk us through what it’s like living in your shoes.
[00:48:26] I mean, every day is different, isn’t it? When you’ve got three little kids and three practises, you don’t know what’s coming your way. You know, especially the clinics and the kids is so unpredictable. But I like to have my structure. I have structure in my routine. My kids need that. And also I need that. So I I suppose. My main thing is my fight. He’s only five, Ryan and Zachariah will be three and nine is only five weeks. So within the boys, they have a good structure in their routine. So my day is revolving around what their routine is, but I create their routine. So it works around me so that once they get to school, if I’m I’m going to the clinics, it’s a different thing. If I’m at home and working from home, it’s different. So my calls roughly will be going between 10 and three and
[00:49:15] Four times a week.
[00:49:16] So I wake up not early enough, but with an I am up like five thirty six, so I’m up. And then, you know, it’s all a bit different because I’ve got a newborn and I’m nothing at the moment. So it’s all a bit up in there. But I try to wake up so that the kids are prepped and ready to go for school. But I have a fantastic support system of my husband and my nanny around me. So I can’t just say I do this all by itself. It sounds way too crazy and it’s such a hands on dad, so it really helps me. So our life is actually revolve like a tag team. When he needs to be in the clinic, he’s clinical. I’m doing the morning shift stuff and then he’s out and vice versa. So it’s always one of us doing the kids and then yeah, between ten and I’d say two, three. That’s when I’m pretty much heavy on cause. And it’s not just clinical cause a lot of my calls are legal financial investor calls. So I have a lot of business stuff. Like you said, the brand grew very big in the short space of time that, you know, all these things and structures from a business and legality perspective, I’m now literally just putting into place because we didn’t need them before. So there’s a lot of that going on in what I do.
[00:50:29] And then I will catch up throughout the day when I’m with the kids, I try to be present with the kids and not be on my phone. I think that’s one learning thing that me and I both are trying to, you know, that’s something that’s an error. And we need to fix in terms of how do we have to work life balance, because when the team need us, we might be with children and, you know, our attention is not there. So it’s a bit of that. And then, you know, kids are coming home at three o’clock. By that time, I’m with them. So I try to keep up with them once they’re asleep by seven. I have about two, three hours. That’s when I get back on my laptop and finish my work. So I’m usually my follow ups are done in the evening. So a lot of my team at all the emails, maybe 12:00, 1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m. and they’re like, oh my God, what she’s doing don’t need to reply. Some of them have actually replied, no, you don’t need to reply. I’m just doing it when I can do it. So my routine is is very different. And it just has evolved because we’ve had to be a tag team and have young kids waking up. You know, my kids are really bad sleepers. You know, it’s just hard.
[00:51:32] See, from about 6am to midnight. One o’clock.
[00:51:36] Yeah, probably Brisas earlier. He’s like, oh, about five and he’s like five AM club. So he’s like, you’re really not waking up early enough.
[00:51:46] There is also involved in the management side or is he more clinical.
[00:51:49] He’s more clinical. He’s heavily clinical. He works in the clinics, all three clinics, but he’s kind of the right hand person for me in terms of mentorship and advice. He knows everything, the ins and outs with the clinic. But I always get his perspective because it always helps me because he knows the clinical perspective. So managing perspective and business is very different. So it works well. So he’ll always have that advisory input. But via me, all the girls, you know, he’s quite close to the group level team as well. So he hasn’t got much time to do both. He’s so clinical.
[00:52:26] You seem so confident with it. I mean, I don’t mean your demeanour. I mean I mean just the moves you’re making, the way the way you’re going forward. What keeps you up at night apart from the babies? I mean, what worries you about the business? Which what’s your worst nightmare?
[00:52:45] My worst nightmare is myself, what I can give, because my ambitions and my an entrepreneur like blood even worries me. And I’m like, why am I doing this to myself? You need to relax. And that’s what like I say, because, like, I am obsessed. Like I can’t sleep at night because I’m thinking of the next big thing. I’m I’m not even the next big thing. I’m thinking of the next thing. And I take it so personal, I take it to heart. There’s something that’s happening, even if it’s like negotiating deals with certain things, even if it’s a clinical thing, even if it’s a patient problem, you know, those things affect you because when it’s your own business, they do keep you up at night. They do
[00:53:26] Sleep. But element of I’ve got some friends with super successful parents. There’s an element of you you need to prove yourself. Because because, you know, super successful, I’ve
[00:53:38] Never had that from them, though, like they never did it for me. From you, I think it’s probably for myself that I do want. I think I was in awe of my dad and uncle, of how they did what they did and how they did it and the buzz that it gives. It’s a bit of an addiction and it’s I can see it in my dad now. He moved. He’s moved. He lives in Dubai now, but he had to move because he couldn’t stop. And he’s working there now. And he’s expanded Khattak in Dubai just to be able to retire in Dubai. So I just think there’s an element of you are addicted. It’s it’s an obsession. And that buzz that you get, I think it just wrapped up for me. And I wanted to have what they had in terms of that, that because of what they got from what they love to do. And if you love what you do that much, your journey is so fun. It’s just so fun. Like it’s not work. It’s really not work like me. And I have to say to each other, let’s stop talking about work. We really need to consciously do it because it’s we don’t see it like that.
[00:54:48] You mentioned your mom was was taking the personal development course. What was her role in growing up and was involved in the business side as well.
[00:54:58] So she wasn’t she my mom actually got married when she was 17. So she actually left halfway through her A-levels, I think. And she then had me at 17, 18, something like that. So she had me young. So she was at home with us. It was a massive household. So she was running the household and it was my dad and uncle that really were the breadwinners and did that. So I then had also a double edged sword because I wanted to be so, so good at my ambition and my career and do all of that. But I had that amazing role model of my mum and aunty who had five, six kids and were amazing mother roles and the way they did that. And then I wanted to be able to do that as well. And I was like, I wanted to be both. And that’s where I was. I really need to find my own way because, you know, my mum always said to me, I didn’t go to uni. I didn’t have work so I could give X, Y, Z, and I’m trying to do everything. So it’s just I have to find my own way as well.
[00:55:59] It’s like, you know, these days we were talking about Sophina Ahmat before these days with technology and one of the things about owning a business and running a business and all three of us in that, you can kind of fix the business around your your lifestyle. Yeah, but but one thing I would say, why is it is a woman thing to many women really beat themselves up over perfection, wanting to be the perfect mother, the perfect businesswoman, you know, all of those things. And for me, it’s like, you know, you were talking about knowing yourself, self-awareness, self-awareness and understanding your imperfections. Yeah, 100 percent knowing knowing what you’re not good and being cool with that, you know, in a way you don’t just improve. But I notice too many, too many women beating themselves up on this subject.
[00:57:01] Yeah, I mean, it is and it’s a massive thing with women, especially like post natally and postnatal depression and mental health for women at the moment is a massive topic and it is massive. But I feel like women put that pressure on themselves more. It’s from themselves. You know, I’m so fortunate I don’t have a husband that’s putting that pressure on me at all. And, you know, it’s all if I’m doing what I want to do. And he’s there to support that. But I think nowadays there are forces that supported by it genuinely from the woman. And I don’t know why we are that way. I think it’s about being the best we can be in ourselves
[00:57:43] As opposed to admirable, right?
[00:57:45] Yeah, I think it is. You know, when you have a child, you know, you want to be the best mother you can be. Yeah. So I said,
[00:57:53] This lady come and lecture in Belfast. She’s about to go on a second maternity. Yeah. Immediately agreed to it, arrange flights as she’s coming in lecturing and going out same day. Yeah. And you know, it’s massively applicable. It is my.
[00:58:10] Yeah she’s great. She you know and I think that strong women around you like me with my maternity and how I am and other women are Dental that work with us Saxenian and I’ve got Lyndsey and I’ve got loads of women around in the room with our working mums. But it’s the passion for what we do. It’s not because we have to do it and it’s not because we will feel like we fail. If we do it, it’s because we enjoy it. And like I said, it’s it is the addiction. And also I feel I’ve always said I feel like I’m a better mum because of what I do, because I feel like I’m a strong role model for my kids and what I do, that work ethic and drive and that graph that they see me do. And also I feel like I’m a more sane person. I have no shame in saying that. Like, I enjoy having my own time, like I want to go out into the world, have grown up conversations and come back to my kids and still have. So it doesn’t make me a bad mum. And, you know, it’s accepting that a lot of women find that hard to even accept, to even say, I want to go out and do something. I want to go out and, you know, and come back and have that time. And I think it’s mentally healthy to you know, some people don’t need to, and that’s okay. But I genuinely, for myself, I need that. I need my mind to be somewhere else and engulfed in something else. Otherwise I’ll be so obsessed with the kids and in an unhealthy way, being too worried about how long they’re eating, sleeping with that. It just it just
[00:59:49] Love that them love that very much. So look, we always end these podcasts on the same on the same note. It’s really around legacy. You’re way too young for this question.
[01:00:03] It makes me feel depressed.
[01:00:06] But several people have pointed out, as you never know in life. Right. So, yeah,
[01:00:12] Of course, you don’t know what’s around the corner. I some
[01:00:14] Final question tends to be Prav
[01:00:17] Or three Zenga. Imagine it was your last day on the planet. You’ve got the other children around you and you need to leave the world by giving them three pieces of wisdom. What would those pieces of advice be?
[01:00:35] It’s really weird because this is the question that I asked my grandparents before when they were quite sick, and I think it would be the same advice that they gave me that I would want to give to my kids, and that would be live every day with your presence. So live happily every day. Don’t ever go to sleep, you know, upset or anything like that, you know, live happy and sorry. I just don’t get emotional. I’ve been thinking of them saying to me, but yeah, I’d live happy and be in your moment and then think, you know, one thing that my grandparents always said is stop overthinking, stop overthinking, stop thinking of things that aren’t happening. You know, the president is actually fine. You’re thinking of things that actually haven’t existed. So that’s one big piece of advice. I think the second piece of advice I would give them is always have respect and love for each other and be close to each other. I think the unity of the family I’ve seen in my own family has been the strength of the whole life. The unity within family bonds is so strong that you don’t really realise the wisdom of what that is and how that really shapes us people.
[01:01:53] And I would give that advice to my kids as well. Keep your unity within your bones strong and just be good to the outside world and just be good people, be kind, be caring and always think of others. I would definitely say that I always think of others and give more without expecting a return. Give more and don’t expect things that you give out of your heart and out of good intention and leave the rest, leaves the rest. If we believe in God, we say I say leave the rest to God. Otherwise leave the rest to your karma and always give more. Give more. If you think you’re going to give and charity, give a little bit more. And if you think you’re going to give someone advice, give a bit more. Just go out of your way to give other people more, because I do feel that that comes back on you. So that would be my advice to my kids.
[01:02:38] A lovely place.
[01:02:40] Thanks for sharing that. And what would you what would you like to see if you were to complete the following sentence? Zabo was don’t how would you like to be remembered?
[01:02:53] Um, just a great mom, a great daughter and a great wife. I think my three major important roles. And then in myself, I would say also to be remembered as an inspiration, inspiration to other women, to other just to everyone, to anyone. That’s part of my journey. Just I’ve touched you. I’ve inspired you, motivate you in some sort of way. So, yeah,
[01:03:22] If I’m on my final question, Xaver, and I know your answer is going to be very different to the boys that we spoke to yesterday. Yeah. I just want you to know that if you have thirty days left, how would you spend it?
[01:03:44] Good, that’s hot. Um, I don’t know, I think I’d want to spend it around my close family. I think you want to be around your family, friends. And, you know, I’d obviously want to spend it in Ruu as well and making sure that that’s all, because I want that to grow and not be because of me. I want that to be strong and a brand because it because of how good that is, not because of the person.
[01:04:15] I can only say it has been inspiring to that and just listening to you, how you handled the whole work life balance, the three kids, the three clinics, and so admirable at such a young age, such
[01:04:30] A young age. I mean, we’re an old Prav, but at such a young age to be doing as much as you’re doing. It’s just it’s just super, super, very inspiring.
[01:04:39] It makes it exciting where we’re going.
[01:04:40] Payman, lovely to have you.
[01:04:44] Thank you so much for having me.
[01:04:46] Thanks so much for doing this piece.
[01:04:50] Dental Leaders the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging Leaders Dental Street. Your house, Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
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