Foodies are in for a treat this week as we sit down to chat with dentist and Masterchef contestant Rishi Nanavati. 

It’s not just Masterchef judges who were impressed with Rishi’s fusion dishes—they also struck a culinary chord with fellow vegetarian and Indian food lover, Prav.

Rishi takes us through his Masterchef appearance dish-by-dish, revealing how it felt to go head-to-head with eight other hopefuls.

Rishi also talks about his favourite dishes, plans for the future and why dentistry may now take a backseat to a kitchen career.

Bon appetit!

 

00.53 – Starting with cooking

05.53 – Favourite foods

07.34 – Backstory

12.14 – University life

18.35 – Being veggie

21.40 – Masterchef shortlisting

29.17 – Competing on Masterchef

33.52 – The dishes

42.26 – Instagram

44.03 – Back to Masterchef

47.53 – Finding time for dentistry

50.51 – Future plans

54.24 – Following Rishi’s recipes

55.08 – Fave foods and places

01.00.02 – Last days and legacy

01.01.20 – Fantasy dinner party

 

About Rishi Nanavati

Rishi Nanavati practices at Vogue Dental Care in Luton. A keen chef, Rishi was among nine hopefuls hoping to impress judges on Masterchef 2022. 

He blogs and writes about food and recipes at www.dishbyrish.co.uk and can be found on Instagram as @dish_by_rish. 

[00:00:00] The thing is, if you want to enjoy your dentistry, if you want to actually like your job, I think you’ve got to go private. At my opinion, you really got to. Nowadays, I don’t think there’s any choice. The funding is just appalling, and I admire people who try and do it for feeling that they have an ethical obligation to it, feeling that they have a moral and more moral obligation to do it. Yeah, do it for a while. Pay back what you feel is your moral obligation. As I said, I did dentistry for 16 years in the NHS, so I think I more than paid back any sort of moral obligation to society on that. But as fast as you can, I would move on.

[00:00:48] 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.

[00:01:06] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Lyle Hutchinson onto the podcast. Nile is famous or infamous really for his red wine posts that he’s been doing lately practise owner principle and has lately set up a group that’s I think one of the most important groups in dentistry now is called not such a good day at the orifice where where we look at errors and things that didn’t go so well. And my sort of antidote to the Instagram generation where everyone’s patting everyone’s back and everyone’s showing off about the things that did go well. It’s lovely to have you now.

[00:01:42] Hi, Payman. Thanks for inviting me on.

[00:01:44] My pleasure. My pleasure. We thought it would be fun to do a red wine podcast. And I’ve got to admit right now, Nile, that the bottle that I’ve chosen I haven’t got because of my my wife’s Lebanese. And so I had thought I had a bottle of matzah in the back of my cupboard. But obviously, I think that some some somewhere along the line. So I’ve got I’ve got what I call my steak wine. It’s a Bordeaux. It’s a scent Himalayan thing. The main reason I like it is that it’s on Zap, so I can push a button and it arrives within 10 seconds.

[00:02:21] Oh, yeah.

[00:02:23] What have you.

[00:02:24] Got now out in rural Berkshire? We don’t have that, I think. I don’t think we’re ready yet. But I’ve got I’ve got it. I’ve got a Australian Shiraz with me here, you know, which is not bad. Yeah. I must admit I prefer the French red wines, but yeah, the nice shiraz is not bad at all.

[00:02:42] Excellent. My favourite thing about wine is this this sound here.

[00:02:47] Oh, yeah, I know.

[00:02:49] It’s the sound. Fine. I never get quite screwed up so I can say why they broke the lid. Because you don’t get a problem with being caught. But it’s not some kind of the cork satisfying side of the cork coming out. And you just that moment that you think, I’ve just got the wine, it’s fantastic. You know, it is. It is that you know, I think there’s a who as I said, we used to live in France for a year and the French taught me to appreciate a lot more wine. And that made me realise that I actually sort of moved as straight away to Chile and Argentina. I know they do very, very good wines. I sort of have gone back to French wines, but they really certain, you know, that appreciation of the whole thing about wine, not just the drinking, but the opening of the bottle and whatever else, you know.

[00:03:34] So, you know, we’ll get into red wine itself later. But I guess the red wine post is kind of a kind of a get out clause, isn’t it? Now, like, it’s almost like in this era of sort of political correctness, you can say something a little bit more, sort of, I don’t know, the controversial.

[00:03:57] And.

[00:03:58] A little more cheeky. And you can put red wine post on it and then it’s cool. We can we can all discuss it. And I think it’s been an excellent series.

[00:04:08] Yeah, it came eventually it came out of one evening. I can’t remember my first ever post, but it came out one evening. I was genuinely drinking a bottle of red wine and I was sitting there thinking really pissed off about something, you know, it was really irritating me and I thought, Cool. So it’s on ground. Grant Macquarie’s business marketing group. And I saw that I’m going to put this up and just hashtagged it because it was sort of it was an anti Instagram hashtag. It was a hashtag red wine post. You know, I’m not Twitter, Instagram, I’m not anything like that. But I thought it was sort of slightly ironic and I thought, you know what? And it just seemed to catch on. And yeah, it certainly divides opinion. There are a lot of people out there who think I troll with it and I’m just an irritating so-and-so. But the genuine questions, I mean, they don’t always hit the mark the way I want them to. But the genuinely r question, people say, Yo, actually you ask the elephant in the room, you ask the question that a lot of us have been wanting to know the answers to. And it’s interesting the way that I mean, sometimes I have a very definite opinion on what what I think on this thing. But quite often I’ll go, actually, I don’t have a really strong opinion on either side, but it would be just interesting to see what people think. And sometimes people pick up very valid arguments and I go, Actually, that’s a very valid point. I actually never thought of that as the latest one. I think. I don’t know if you saw it at the weekend.

[00:05:39] I did 200 responses.

[00:05:41] Yes, 200 plus responses. Yes. And why do we pay any attention to this red round poster? He’s a tosser or whatever, you know. Instead, he’s.

[00:05:51] Just.

[00:05:52] Basically he spreads hate and division of the profession. And I actually sort of I did post to that.

[00:05:58] I think I. Never thought that myself.

[00:06:01] Well, no. Yeah, but it’s an interesting sort of. I’m actually a great advocate of profession. I’m an older dentist. I’m 57 for any of you listening. And I qualified in 1987 when, like, your composite came in one colour, you know, and it was occlusion by IP. It was, you know, everything was nothing was like your nothing. You know, we, you know, we still did blacks cavities, we did all that sort of stuff. So it was all it was a pipe dream, all that sort of stuff. So I sort of look at it and I look at the profession today and I go, Is it taking a path that I am proud of? Totally proud of? And I would say, yes, I’m yeah, I am so proud of most dentists that are out there. But there are a few angles to where I think, are we really a profession anymore? Are we going down a bit more of a car salesman or whatever, you know.

[00:06:56] Yeah. So that initial post was it. This one is the religion. Will there be a second coming or will it still be funded by five? No, no.

[00:07:06] That wasn’t the original post. Yeah, that was so I wasn’t. Yeah.

[00:07:11] Which, which one was it. Half the.

[00:07:14] Way back. I’ve about 24, 25. It was way back last October I think it was. But yeah.

[00:07:20] Yeah I was in the group so maybe yeah. Maybe that’s what I’m missing. Yeah. What it was. I think we should answer some of these. I think, I think we should talk about some of these red wine posts I think is a good place.

[00:07:31] I mean, it’s a good point. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look them up and we’ll we’ll see what goes on. I mean, okay, back to it. Right. Let’s, let’s go for the two most recent ones. Right, CPD.

[00:07:39] Yeah, go on.

[00:07:40] Right. Do. Why is there a sudden proliferation of CPD? Well, I mean, if you look.

[00:07:50] At it because. What? Go on. Yeah, go on. What do you think?

[00:07:53] Yeah. Since just nine years ago, right. Cpd when you had a few courses, section 63 type courses, you had a few courses here and there. Tipton was a bit of a novelty. Yeah, things like that was all. But no, no. For courses everywhere you look at, you know, everybody’s doing the bloody course. So one thing is, why are there so many courses? Is it the lack of education for undergrads nowadays? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t want to put that out there because that’s an easily thrown out thing against on the grounds of qualified say, oh, you don’t know as much as we did when we qualified back in the day. I think that’s too easy an accusation to make. Or is it the fact it’s easy money? You know, and I’m not saying it’s easy, easy money because I know there will be people going out there. How dare you say that? The amount of hours of time I put in working on these lectures and I go, I agree with you on that. You know, and it’s very it’s not something I ever want to do is run the course. And I can certainly see that for hours. Know you do put in hours of it, but equally well, it must be something in for it. Is it ego or is it money or what? Or is it the desire to teach? I don’t know. I mean, what’s your opinion on it?

[00:09:06] Yeah. There’s definitely a lot more than there was. One thing I hope you’ll agree with me now. When? When we were coming through. I mean, I’m maybe seven, eight years younger than you when we were coming through. There were no courses. No. I mean, I remember thinking as a as a young associate, I remember thinking, I want to learn something about private dentistry or I want to learn something about cosmetic dentistry. And there was nothing. There was. There was one course, I think. And so a much happier overall with too many courses than too few. Yeah. The reason of why is there so many courses? I think a big part of it is, you know, the younger dentists don’t want to do NHS dentistry.

[00:09:50] Yeah.

[00:09:51] They, they, they’ve got to build their CVS or they think they’ve got to build their CVS. And going on a course has become a CV builder. Yeah. And I think we both know, you know, it’s not it’s not what you do on the course. That’s the key is what you do after the course with that information. Certainly that’s that’s really the key. But as for the question of profitability, you know, I run several courses. I’ve got a I’ve got I’ve got a horse in the race here. One thing I would say about it is it’s it’s high risk. It’s high risk. Running a course and, you know, you can toss up whatever you want to toss up, but the risk factor is important. So we’ve got a composite course, which, by the way, we didn’t just start when it became fashionable. You know, we’ve been doing it for 12 years now. But but we for the first four years of that course, we were making a loss.

[00:10:47] Yes. No.

[00:10:48] With that. So. So. Don’t forget the risk side now. Is there. Is there money in it? There is a little bit. It’s a tiny part of our our bigger business, our bleaching business. But and I don’t teach the course. So so I’ve got to pay a speaker as well. But but stuff costs money that people don’t realise, you know, just shipping all the drills and things to the course just cost £1,000, you know? Yeah. And no one, no one thinks about that. And then we’ve got team and you know, there’s loads of reasons.

[00:11:22] Yeah. The reason it brought it up was two or three people pm me and saying you know, you know it’s fair enough because they’ll come on to the quality of courses as well. And do we need to have independent feedback courses in a minute? But some, a couple of two or three people pm me after that first one which was about quality and said what about the price? Of course because they really have gone up. I mean I remember the day courses used to be 299 quid, 250, 199 quid. There are now a standard 700 plus and certainly some of them are heading up that way. Not if that’s what the cost. That’s what it costs, you know. But I think there’s a little bit of cynicism from some that’s out there, as you probably pointed out, possibly quite wrongly. But and I have no strong opinions on it. I’m quite happy I’ve gone on many courses that I pay the best part of £1,000 for a day, and I’m quite happy to do that provided a good course. You know, I have no issues with that.

[00:12:18] And the other.

[00:12:18] Thing might be as to why there’s so many courses nowadays, and I think it was just poked as well by a couple of people going, oh, you know, going to mention the cost of these courses, you know, so I know what you mean. Multiply everything up and just get, oh, you must be taking this by the Monday in the day. That’s incredible. You know, so why why did you do a course? Why did you what got you into doing courses then?

[00:12:43] Well, we sell composite and the composite that we sell. You’ve got to learn how to use it. It’s a particular way of using it. Okay. But but but, you know, one thing I’ll say is, you know, the this same course, the same lecturer in Chicago is twice the price.

[00:13:04] Yeah.

[00:13:05] As the one we do. So, you know, and, and I’ve been to those courses in Chicago and in all over America and dentists come pay the price of the course and almost the whole room buys the materials. Right. And, you know, they they’re just they’ve got a different outlook. And by the way, they’re not just the very young dentists who turn up to the courses. You get all sorts of dentists turning up to the courses, trying to learn a new skill. Yeah, but, but I think, you know, it’s an important question. Of course, I thought the the troubling word in your post was profiteering.

[00:13:39] Yeah, I know. Do you know what? That was a clumsily used word. I said, to be honest with you, the reason why it was trying to link it in with yeah, I know it was a very tough thing and I think that created a bit too much animosity, to be honest with you. Yeah, I didn’t mean profiteering in that way. What I was trying to equate it with was quite a few people are quite quick to throw accusations at dental companies that this bit of plastic. Right which is a bit of. You are charging me 200 quid for a bit of plastic that if I went into it would cost me a couple of quid if it didn’t have to work for dental use on it. And so I was sort of trying to sort of play with that idea that it’s okay for it. So it’s okay to slag off dental companies for charging what you think is an X amount of money. Are you charging excessive amount of money is what I was trying to get at. I think I was. Yes, I wasn’t meant to be insulting. Mike, this is the thing about the red wine posts there. Never.

[00:14:36] Don’t worry about insulting. Don’t worry about insulting. You know, it’s a concept, right? But I mean, I do see some profiteering around around dentistry. So I’ll tell you where there’s profiteering, right? You can go to the IBS, show the world’s biggest dental show. Yep. And the cologne isn’t equipped to have that many people come descend on it. And the three star hotels suddenly become £500 a night.

[00:15:03] Yeah, and they’re pretty, pretty awful.

[00:15:06] And you’ve got no other choice but to go there and spend that money. And I think with PPE, there was a question of profiteering, you know, with it. But at the same time, you know, it’s you know, obviously I’m in with that side, too, right? I supply dental equipment, dental, dental stuff, and our stuff’s expensive stuff. Our stuff isn’t cheap stuff at all.

[00:15:28] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:15:30] But but you know, the comparisons that sometimes people make and dentists make with a piece of plastic, you know, there’s huge regulatory nightmares in in supplying dentists. You know, if, if I want to supply my toothpaste in India, I have to pay a compliance company over £100,000 just to say hello, you know, just to get into that country. Yeah, in in Russia. Well, before when Russia was the thing, you had to pay £1,000 per ingredient per product for regulatory compliance. And then, you know, there’s a competitive thing. And, you know, I don’t know, it’s one of those things that, you know, the market will decide and profiteering sounded like the wrong word for it.

[00:16:16] Yeah. No. And with with with hindsight, I wouldn’t have used that word. And I think that’s what went wrong. I mean, now.

[00:16:23] But let’s get let’s get to this question of, you know, as a dentist, let’s say you’re booked up 11 weeks ahead. Should you put your prices up or not?

[00:16:32] Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, it was it’s a it’s a hypocritical post. And asmuch as that, you know, your patients would look at me and what I charge and my hourly rate of which I average are about sort of 275 to £300 an hour. I work in rural Oxfordshire and patients would look at me and go, Oh Jesus Christ, you’re ripping us off, you know? And yeah, you do get accusations. I mean, I suppose I’m paying for your holiday and I’ll go, Yes, I actually do say no. Yes, yes. You are just a very, very small amount, you know, and if I know that they’re an electrician, but like if I got you to come on wire or something up in my house, I’d be paying for a very tiny bit of your holiday as well. But, you know, it’s, you know, don’t get so much.

[00:17:17] To recognise that dentists of our era had their thing about, oh, don’t, don’t turn up to work with your nice car.

[00:17:25] Oh, yes, don’t.

[00:17:26] Do the practise up that whole thing. But the younger ones, they’ve gone the other way, you know, they want to turn up in the Ferrari. Yeah. So that the patients think they are successful dentists you know. And that’s the kind of change in society.

[00:17:42] I’m not sure. I’ve got a Tesla and it’s parked outside the practise and they might have come on bloody Tesla going oh nice car. Ooh. And some of them are genuinely interest because it’s a Tesla and some of them are like you can tell it’s just angled. You know, the funniest one I ever had was when they took over this practise. Took this practise was like six years ago. This bloke came in for adjustment and his dentures and they go over visits and she said, Oh, what happens? They all dentists. And I went, Oh, she’s retired. And he went, Oh, I suppose he’s gone to a her holiday home in the Caribbean that she’s bought with my money, that I paid her twice over two separate visits. So I actually looked up on their say what they actually paid and they paid 800 quid over seven years. And I just went, Oh God almighty. But I mean, yes, you’re back to what you were saying. I think dentists and and this is partly why I was sort of bringing it up about the thing. I think dentists are very remiss. I’m actually a great supporter of all the dental companies, and I think they do an absolutely valuable job. You’re a company, everybody else’s company.

[00:18:51] We would not have the progression in dentistry if we did not have the companies investing in all the dental equipment. I mean, I use a company called RPA, Dental, Exxon and so on. Brilliant. Dental company best of every use. Not plugging them, obviously, but they are very, very good and the equipment they’ve supplied has enabled me to do much better dentistry. I mean, Saric, for example, I’m a big Saric fan. Saric is just amazing, you know, and you look at it nowadays, but if originally back in the day Simmons hadn’t taken on then, then I hadn’t taken on and threw a lot of money at it because Saric is quite often, you know, oh god, look at the price of £100,000 for I go, Yeah, but look at the value it brings to your practise at the end of the day. And the same with your enlightened equipment. Look at you have the best whitening stuff on the market, you have the best, you know. So the value is there and I think people do take cheap shots. So yes, it may have been a bit of a cheap shot that back to the CBD. Are you profiteering? You know, but it was meant to. Yeah.

[00:19:57] Anyway, back on debate and it did it stimulated debate. Right. That’s, that’s what.

[00:20:01] It was there it stimulated about. Yeah. I was, I went at one point nearly 200 replies wow I but, but back on and I have no no aversion to anybody charging whatever the market will stand for a dental course. But then back to what the previous week’s post was, what about the quality? I mean, have you have you been on dental courses Payman recently. Have you have. Yeah or.

[00:20:31] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well I stopped practising ten years ago but but I’m at a lot of dental courses. Yeah, I’m at a lot of dance courses. And look, you’re right. Let’s talk about the quality of courses and the question of where is the review site for courses? Because you’re right in that you do tend to get a lot of back, back slapping, back, back that. What did they call that when when people are just only talking about the positives. That does happen and it happens more with some courses than than others. And I’ve always wondered about that. You know, is it is there some some way, as the course provider of making that virality happen, that make people talk about you more and want to be part of it, but you don’t hear the negatives very much. And what would you think the reason for that is? I mean, people don’t want to be seen to be that that guy, I guess. So the anonymization of it.

[00:21:27] Yeah, it’s a bit like the red.

[00:21:28] Wine is a good idea.

[00:21:29] Yeah, it’s a bit like I stick my neck out and people do say to me privately, So why do you bother to stick your neck out? You just get a lot of flack sometimes. Why do you bother? And I said, Well, I’ve got to that age in life where I don’t give a shit anymore. And but I’ve got that age in life where I basically go, You know what? Sometimes I’m not willing to stand up and just sort of listen to all the sort of back slapping and all the same people going, Oh, hey, brilliant course, fantastic or whatever, you know, all sort of. And especially for younger dentists nowadays, I think us older than this have a responsibility to younger dentists to make them realise what the profession is about. And it’s not about Instagram, in my opinion. I know some people will argue differently. It’s not about solely cosmetic online, it’s not about solely Invisalign. You know, it’s a lot more than that. So but. Well, so I do stand up for what you’re saying. So why are people sort of worried about giving negative views? Mainly because of that pack mentality? Some some course. And I’ve had personally experienced this. I have been blocked. All right. By someone who took exception to something I said on the dentistry top 50 for actually for putting the dentistry top 50 thing up. That’s another one to come on to. But I got blocked. And so there are people out there who would block you, who had bully you, who would actually just go out of their way to say, you know, you possibly do nasty things. So ultimately, I think a lot of people are very scared. And also there are a lot of people, again, are scared to say the counter opinion because there are a lot of if a lot of people.

[00:23:05] Oh, it’s a brilliant, brilliant course. Brilliant course. And you’re going actually, I didn’t think it was all that. You know, you’re the one that’s going to stand out, aren’t you? And I know. And the problem is all that feedback forms your hand back in that they at the end of the course it’s all named, it’s all GDC numbered. Yeah. No. Fine. Well who’s who’s written them. Are you going to write. Somebody said I think it was Jaz or Drew and when something went. All right. So a brilliant course, a genuinely really good course gets five stars, a crop course gets four stars. And I do think there it needs I mean, people came on and said, yeah, we’ve tried this before. It hasn’t really worked. Maybe there needs to be a consensus of reason. I’m not I’m not senior enough in the profession or well respected enough in the profession to be able to do this. But maybe, maybe people like through is not so keen on the idea. I know that it doesn’t seem so keen on, but guys like you, Payman or Jazz, I say, is a really decent bloke and you know people who are highly respected. To get together and say, we are going to start this and we are going to start some sort of independent review site for courses. And whether it works, whether it brings benefit, I personally you’re not going to get in theory at the GDC, you should be doing it. But they do everything else but the actual stuff that would be useful.

[00:24:24] Yeah, they.

[00:24:27] Do absolutely everything else. You know, I’m so mad. I mean, I come from the day you do you remember coming from the day when when you could just write exam ESP and that would be enough for your notes.

[00:24:39] Yeah. When I was a dentist, that’s what it was.

[00:24:41] Yeah.

[00:24:42] I remember. I remember, I think I remember.

[00:24:44] I remember showing an associate of mine. My old notes have notes from the I think it was the eighties. And I went and we counted the number of visits the patient had on the, on the old brown record forms, you know. Yeah. Yeah. And there were 24 visits, one side, 24 appointments on one side. And they’re all things like exam, ESP, upper left, six amalgam, no le or something like that. And that would be it, you know, that would be your notes and you’d get away with it, you know, oh go for those days. But yeah it is, it’s a changed field ultimately. But yeah, I do think so. Back to the the peripheral vision of course, is how do people tell what’s the good course, what’s of course now people have said to me or gets around in the grip, fine. Yeah. But only if you know people who have been on the course or, you know, the right people don’t ask or there’s something the other. So, you know, it’s surely it’s time that somebody has an evaluation of an independent. And I think it should be anonymous personally, because I think anything the way it would be done and this is the way I would view it would be done. You would people say, well, you could you could have trolls giving you bad reviews, just competitors giving bad reviews. Just Oh no you’d have to upload it wouldn’t it would be anonymous on the front but at the back end it would you whoever controls it would be saying, right, show me your cpc’s certificate. You’ve been on the course. Who are you? What’s your DTC number? Okay, that’s your opinion. We’ll post that anonymously, but we can verify you have been on that course. Yeah, but whether it takes off or not, who knows? You know, maybe there’s too many dentistry.

[00:26:25] Interesting one.

[00:26:26] Yeah, it’s an interesting one.

[00:26:28] Let’s move on to the next one. Let’s talk about that. What of you? You’re fully private now. The NHS one.

[00:26:37] Yeah, yeah. Is it religion? Is there going to be a second coming. Is that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:26:44] Probably private. Right.

[00:26:46] I’ve got small NHS children’s contract. Yeah. Which is. Okay. Cheers. My friends in the back side. Then they really is. The only reason we keep it on was whether my last practise, we went fully, fully private in 2006 and we lost loads of children, but we actually lost quite a few families as a result of that, whereas we would have kept them on and we kept the children’s contract, probably we kept the adults on privately. So when I took this practise over, it had a small children’s contract. Initially I thought, Oh, I’ll ditch it. But I thought, No, I don’t want I’ll just keep it. We ended up treating the children for virtually free in the last practise it was in, so I thought it better to get some money than no money. So that’s how we kept on. Yes. So I have a small so it’s not that I’m talking in case people think, oh, god, you know nothing about the health service. I was a health service dentist completely. I know. Or not under the UDA system. But from 1987 through to 2003, I was completely an NHS dentist for 16 years, so I know what it’s like at the sharp end of the NHS and it was bloody awful and it was actually my GP who advised me to go private.

[00:27:55] I went to them and she pushed a box of tissues towards me when I was in my early forties and I burst into tears myself in the consulting room and she went well and GP’s with next door to me where I work and she went now you know the number of my patients and she went, you’ve got three choices. You either have a nervous breakdown, that’s where you’re heading for, you either give up dentistry, but you’re too good to do that or you give up the NHS and ask. Gp’s are jealous of the fact that you guys can give up the NHS. And so that’s what we did. I gave up the NHS for others. Oh my God, that was the most stressful time in my life. But there we are. The abuse I got from patients like that, that was incredible. One guy drove up in his new series of five series BMW to say, you may want to be a millionaire son, but not on my money. I’ll never forget that. He walked in the room. He said, I’m here for a check-up for the habit. And I was just like, Oh, my God, there we go. That was unbelievable. But anyway.

[00:28:51] So there’s lots, there’s lots of people right now considering leaving the NHS.

[00:28:56] Yeah.

[00:28:57] What would be your advice?

[00:28:59] Yeah. To me obviously it’s a different we were sort of I wouldn’t say we were the frontiersmen because the, the true frontiersmen of going private were actually, funnily enough, reading what you call a moral mountain origin. And Stephen nor wasn’t it 1990 them plan where they they were the true frontiersmen. What happened was 1991 they had a fee cut of 7% and a lot of people went private. Then that was truly frontiersman charity. That was really, really unusual back then, though, we were still early on, reasonably early on to do it. All I would say is I think you’ve got a different scenario. I think patients are probably yeah, probably more appreciative of the fact that you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place as a dentist nowadays. You will still get them. Think. Oh yeah. Well yeah it was some plan for your bloody test side or whatever. You know, a certain neighbour was going private. I would not be parked my Ferrari outside the door but I would. I think the thing is if you want to enjoy your dentistry, if you want to actually like your job, I think you’ve got to go private. That’s my opinion. You really got to nowadays. Yeah. I don’t think there’s any choice. The funding is just appalling and I admire people who try and do it for feeling that they have an ethical obligation to it, feeling that they have a moral and more moral obligation to do it.

[00:30:22] Yeah, do it for a while. Pay back what you feel is your moral obligation. As I said, I did dentistry for 16 years in the NHS, so I think I more than paid back any sort of moral obligation to society on that. But as fast as you can, I would move on. But is it the problem with it? It back to the original question. Is it religion? Yes, it is very much in this country. It ended up in the bloody London Olympics opening ceremony. If you remember, they had whirling beds, this, that and the other. And I think I read the times at the time and said what other country in the world would put their health service in the Olympic opening ceremony? None. You know, so it is religious. It is a religion in this country and that’s what we’re fighting against. But NHS, I mean, dentistry has never been entered fully integrated into the NHS almost since 1950. I think it was charged upon start charge upon for treatment in 1950. So yeah, that’s the difficulty. Will it have a second coming. No, simple. They may try, but they just don’t have the money. They don’t have the. They don’t have the. What’s the word I’m looking for? They they don’t have the the the really the government aren’t really that interested.

[00:31:41] It’s all political manoeuvring. And it’s sad, actually, the way I mean, I think if they if I mean, my my personal thing would be if if you had it, we could have an emergency core service that was not tendered. I think tendering needs to stop. Right. Personally, would my opinion tendering needs to stop. I think it’s ridiculous situation. You know, I think then every dentist could offer every dentist may include probably could offer an emergency core service to help people out. That would spread the workload out a bit more evenly across the country. Stop this thing about. We’ve got a short what I love is the headlines. I’ve got a shortage of dentists. No, I couldn’t find a dentist. You couldn’t find an NHS dentist. That’s different. You could have gone privately. Yeah. You know, it’s all these head and it couldn’t find a dentist for three years. Did you try? You know. You know, but. So if the president said got rid of Tendring, we’re going to let everybody do have a core service. And then after that and obviously then you’re going to have to have income support, whatever it’s called, not as universal credit, not sort of area covered and run on those bases. And they’re covered for that. But beyond that, yeah, it’s really got to be a private, private service. But I don’t know. Yeah.

[00:33:01] So look, it’s interesting what you said about the Olympics because I’ve recently been using the NHS for medical services in the family and I definitely don’t want to lose that. No. As, as, as something that by the way even in medical it’s got loads of problems, right.

[00:33:24] Yeah.

[00:33:25] Issues and so on. But, but I definitely wouldn’t want to lose it because I also have been using private medical services a lot. My family has. And that has all of its own issues, a whole lot of its own issues over treatment issues and problems like that. But as far as dentistry, I mean, I did vet and I remember the moment it was was very near the beginning of it. I thought to myself, I’m never going to do NHS dentistry. I was completely pissed off with. I couldn’t believe what the situation was, you know, like what you had to do for what. And, and, you know, I also admire people who make it work. Yeah, I feel I feel like making it work. It’s almost a martyrdom thing where, you know, dentistry is a stressful job and you really need to pay be paid. I don’t know what the number would be. You’ve got to be paid 70, 80 grand to be a dentist because it’s a proper stressful job. Yeah. Yeah. And if you’re if you’re doing it properly on the NHS, you’re not going to make that.

[00:34:33] You know.

[00:34:34] And so, so you’ve got that choice of do you do the best for your patients or do you martyr yourself to the system? And I remember back then as the vet thinking, I will do whatever it takes to go private. And this was a long time ago when it wasn’t so fashionable to do that.

[00:34:53] Yeah.

[00:34:53] I found a guy who’d gone private and you said 91 was early found a guy who’d gone private in 68? Yes.

[00:35:01] Yeah.

[00:35:03] I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he took me on. And that was it. I’d never, never did an NHS after off the vet again. But now I see, you know, people, good dentists, people going on courses, people with good knowledge, working in the NHS. And I think the biggest problem for me is a lot of the work that NHS dentists do as far as learning is learning how to survive in this system. Rather than, you know, learning how to fix teeth. Yeah. You know, it’s understanding the bureaucracy of it. I mean, it’s such a and the funny thing, when you talk to NHS dentists who want to make the leap, a lot of them are worried that they haven’t got the skills or something. And I think to myself I could never have done NHS. Like you’ve got to be a very, very good dentist to pull that off. Yeah. The short periods of time to get people out and not coming back in with problems, you know. So my advice to anyone who wants to make the leap is make the leap. Make the leap. And and and private dentistry. Now, you’ve been in it for a long time now. I think the soft skills are just as important as the clinical skills.

[00:36:23] Yeah. And then the funding that’s going to come to you, I think if patients don’t judge you. Well the judge in a number of ways, but the probably the number one. Do they like you? You know, there’s I don’t know. There’s a classic story by the medical profession. I remember being quite a few years ago, you may have heard.

[00:36:43] This about who gets sued and who doesn’t.

[00:36:45] Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. And the answer was nobody gets sued because they were all lovely. All right. And the guy wrote and basically went, thank you for all your care and attention. And you looked after me superbly. Well, I realise there were just one of those things that was very behind. And then what they conclude it was people don’t sue people they like. And that’s very true and very, very true in life. And it is the soft skills. I learnt that very quickly on my free for my I was the very first year of at Payman 1983, the very first year it was optional. In my year we didn’t have to do it. All right. Okay. I don’t forget. How many years did you spend at dental school? Were you four or five?

[00:37:26] I was five. I was I was the first five.

[00:37:29] I was for four years at dental school. I was and we were the Queen’s and Belfast was the shortest dental course in the UK by one week. Edinburgh was the second shortest by me and my first boss I went to. He was a superb dentist, but a grumpy so-and-so, absolutely grumpy so-and-so, and his practise was failing. I remember we used to have to pull people out of the sofas because the bottoms had fallen out of them and things like that. And I said to him, Why don’t you buy a chair? Why don’t you buy some new chairs? And he went, Oh, NHS doesn’t bloody pay me to buy waiting room furniture and Jesus sort of thing. When I moved out at the end of 80 and I went to a place and nearby a guy he had, you remember the Siemens em one chair, the really Rolls-Royce Siemens erm one chair. He had that himself and you still get crap equipment with associates but you had Siemens in one but he invested and he could talk the hind leg of a donkey. He really had the Blahnik, he wasn’t that good a dentist, but he had the blarney, as we say in Ireland, he was supremely successful. He had people coming from far and wide flocking to him, all that sort of stuff. I very quickly learnt that actually not not such a personable bloke, failing, really personable bloke, not such a good dentist succeeding immensely. And really that’s when I very quickly learnt the soft skills were vitally, vitally important and it’s still the same today, you know I think patients just go, was he a nice chap? And that’s the more important thing that they will forgive you a lot if you’re nice to them.

[00:39:04] Yeah. Yeah. But it, it, it doesn’t mean be nice and then mess up their teeth. It’s be nice and keep, keep it simple. Keep it simple. Yeah. And anything you can’t do, refer out.

[00:39:16] Yeah, exactly. And this is where I would yeah. This is where I would agree with ADC. If not don’t often. But yes. Speak within your competency. Don’t be afraid to refer. Really. So yeah. Just because you see so-and-so on the Instagram having done this, you won’t see the fact they’ve got nine of them that are a bit crap and they both know that. Yeah. You know, you know it is one of those things, you know.

[00:39:42] But Niall’s the guy, the guy sitting, let’s say, like you, he’s done for 16 years a bit much. Let’s just say he’s done, I don’t know, five years of NHS. Yeah. And now he wants to make the leap and very simple. Be nice, don’t hurt people, you know, painless injections. I would say the most important thing you can do and then as soon keep it simple, if you haven’t got super duper skills, if you’re not a full mouth dentist, don’t, don’t try and be. Yeah. Until you get the skills and then refer out. It’s as simple as that. I mean, any dentist could be a private dentist as long as they follow those rules, right?

[00:40:21] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:22] I don’t need special knowledge.

[00:40:24] Most patients just want straightforward dentistry. They don’t want total rehabs. They don’t want film with implants. I don’t want this. What they want is to have teeth that are functional. Don’t give them much problems. Look. Okay, feel okay. And that’s all they want. And they want a nice person to do it for them. That’s what they want. They want someone they can trust. My big thing would be intraoral cameras. If you’re going private, make sure you have a really decent internal camera. Show everything. It builds trust immensely if you can show them. Particularly if, as I say to my associates, I go take the patients on the story, particularly when you’re doing the treatments. You you say you’ve got consent. You’ve you’ve shown them at the exam and you said, see, this big crack filling here, you know, carries whatever. And they consent. They come by. Show them. Remind them why they’re in today. Then show them when the feeling is removed. Show them what it looks like underneath. They normally look pretty. Yuck. You know, shown when the care is removed, show them the various stages, take them in the story, show them the cracks. Show them that you build so much trust that the next time you say to them, actually, we’re going to crack, they’re there, you know? But ultimately, you’re right. I mean, it isn’t rocket science. But one of the things I would say to young dentists, they do tend to come out and just to be focussed. Some of them is and particularly if you’re working for corporate, I would actually take your time, do things properly, right when you’re starting off in your career.

[00:41:48] Don’t worry about the money. All right. Even if you’re I mean, most people, my son, being an example, has graduated with a master’s and whatever else from Lisa. And he’s on 30, 35 grand a year. 25. Now, a lot of dentists come out and think, oh, I should be heading sort of high. 60, 70, 80 ground. Most graduates don’t earn that at that stage. What I would be saying to you, be happy with your 25 to 30 grand, but build your skills now. Take your time. Use the rubber dom. Learn to do a filling. Learn to do the difficult extraction, etc., etc., etc.. Even if it’s onto the NHS, the corporates can’t complain because you’re doing everything by the book, you know. So you’re doing good dentistry. Just take your time and build those skills particularly well. As you said yourself, even if you haven’t done that, you don’t need a huge amount of skills to go private. It’s just been nice, as you say, being nice to people doing basic good basic dentistry. Yeah. And this is back to where people look at. I mean, I was talking to someone the other day who said, where are the associates, young associates nowadays who want to just do general dentistry. They all seem to want to do bloody bonding and Invisalign and you know, that’s all they seem to want to do nowadays. And I’m going, Yeah, I just find that weird because you know, most I would say 90% of patients, 95% of patients don’t want Invisalign or bonding. Yeah, they really not interest in it. They’re interested in good basic dentistry and plenty of money to maintain that.

[00:43:28] Yeah. As long as you’re charging appropriately. Right. And that’s another problem.

[00:43:32] No, exactly. And I think I think we’ve got to do is we’ve got that. You’ve got to start. You know, we’re worried about what people will think about us when we charge fees and all that sort of stuff. I think that’s, you know, that’s a whole different area of mindset of it. But somebody said to me once you think about Harrods, they don’t aim to sell every whatever designer dress to. They don’t aim to sell a designer dress to everybody who walks into Harrods. They’ll only be a certain amount of people will buy them. And that’s the same with your dentistry then, that you will find your market, you will find your people will. You’re not to be scared of your fees. Yeah, but.

[00:44:13] How often do you put your prices up in your own practise.

[00:44:17] And annual? Late January? We we do it routinely. I mean, if we need a mid-year tweak, we will do mid-year tweak. Patients don’t notice when you put your prices up, but you get the old one who does, right. Okay. You will get the old. I think there was a statistic that came out somewhere from Harvard Business School or somewhere that might be apocryphal, but 14%, you can put your prices up by 14% and no one will actually notice. And funnily enough, we stuck are not quite that high, but we stuck our examination fee and our hygiene fee up by almost 11% this year. Not we had one patient mention it. So yes, the fee increases is only in your head then they.

[00:44:56] Yeah. In fact that boss of mine, the one firm that had gone private in 69 or whatever it was, he had a thing about if the patients aren’t complaining about the prices, they’re not they’re not high enough. And he used to annually put the prices up. And I remember I remember thinking, that’s not a big increase. Why is it even bother? But then when I stayed, I stayed in that practise for four or five years and after four or five years it was a big difference. Yeah, if you get 12 12% a year after four or five years is a significant difference.

[00:45:33] Yeah, absolutely. But you’re right, it’s indirect. If you do them regularly, patients don’t notice. I think sometimes what happens is we had this issue when we first took over the practise, the plan prices hadn’t been updated for years, for years. So we had to bring them all into line with the fee per item. The fee per item. Prices had been put up, but the plan price has never been increased. So we had a real sort of backlash from patients going. What we want to put my plan price up from 12 to 17 quid a month. Yeah, well, you know, you’re on an absolute bargain. There are 12 months, you know, so it is doing it little and often and working your way through that. But certainly, yeah, I think turning the NHS, moving away from the NHS now it’ll be just interesting to see how over the next year or so what happens. I mean because I remember there’s an awful lot of dentists talking. They want to go private at the moment and I would encourage them to. But I remember back in 1991 we went to when there was a 7% fee cut by the NHS back on the old fee per annum service.

[00:46:36] We went a BDA meeting in Surrey where I was working at the time and I had just taken over my practise 25 and it was a dump and I was literally there six months and this fee cut came in. So I knew I couldn’t go private because it was a dump and I was just new to 25, new to the area. And but everybody in the room went and they sort of had to show hands who’s all going to go private and everybody stuck their hands up and barmy and a couple of others. Interestingly, I would say about half of those who stuck their hands up never did. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. There’s a lot of bravado at the front end, but it’ll be interesting to see there will be how many actually do make that move. But it is something I think is much better on the other side. I enjoy my job much more. I am not a stressed yeah, etc. etc..

[00:47:26] Yeah.

[00:47:28] Let’s move on to our corporates. A force for good in dentistry.

[00:47:33] Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s an interesting one. What’s my view on that one? Yes and no. I must admit, when I when I come to sell this practise and I’m 57, so it’ll be a few years yet, possibly. But when I come to sell it, I don’t want to sell it to a corporate.

[00:47:52] Right ideologically.

[00:47:55] Ideologically and ideologically. I don’t want it. I think we need to have independent practises out there. I really do. All right. I think it’s sad that we’re all ending up as corporates. You know, there are good corporate, better corporates, less, by the way, than others. I don’t slag any of them off. I mean, we we are near Portman. And I have to say, I think Portman are run very well. They buy good practises. You know, they choose well, it’s run well then. Tax is an interesting another one that I just happen to notice that Hershey sold at the weekend to then tax you know I think that seems an interesting model I know I don’t you don’t know Jack and Deci and Rowling, do you at all, do you know? Yeah, I do. I do. Well, John’s a good man, was a good mate of mine, and he sold to Dan Tax and he’s recommended me Dan Tax highly, but equally well. I would quite like to keep it the independent sector because I do think it’s important for the you know, just what I mean if you’re a young dentist and you’re coming out today and you had no hope to own your own business, maybe, maybe a different mindset, I think. I mean, why did you do dentistry payment? Why? Why did you do Street?

[00:49:07] I was one of those. Didn’t know what I wanted to do. My parents said, hey, you know your uncle’s dentist, you like your uncle? So it was it was as terrible as that.

[00:49:19] Yeah, well, mine, mine, mine seminary. Terrible. I must admit, mine was a bit like I’m the youngest of five, and my two of my brother is much, much, much older than me. My eldest brother was 70, our doctors, and they both went, Don’t do medicine, it’s shit. And what they meant by that was they are not that time. I happen to have a very fun dentist in Northern Ireland who drove at the old quatre, went away on a skiing holiday once a week and had a 9 to 5 job and owned his own business. And that was what I quite like. They owned his own business and I went, Oh, I’ll be a dentist, you know? And that’s how I ended up doing that. But equally, equally shit reasons, you know, but it’s worked out for the best. And part of the attraction for me was the fact I could be my own boss one day. And I sort of think if it goes all totally corporate, I don’t think it ever will go all totally corporate. But if it did or if there was less opportunity for dentists, yeah, I just think it’s a sad, sad day. And if I look at some of the corporates you talk to, some of the youngsters, young professionals on the course are not youngsters. Young professionals are on the courses I made and they’re going, Oh yeah, I’m having to buy my own composite, I’m having to buy my own whatever, because the corporate will not buy this quality material for me. So I have to supply it all myself. And yeah, just.

[00:50:45] Just to be fair, lots, lots of independent bosses aren’t buying things as well.

[00:50:52] Yeah. So the red line post for another day came and that’s, that’s, that’s on the back burner actually. It keeps coming up and I think I’ll post that on this week, but it hasn’t come up yet. There’s other things that keep popping up. But yeah, that is a red wine post for another day. Yeah, you’re right. It isn’t exclusive to corporates. You’re absolutely right. It isn’t exclusive, of course. But I just think. Yeah, how are they forced for good? They’ve been a force for good somebody put out pointed out and the thing for practise owners Goodwill’s.

[00:51:24] For selling out.

[00:51:26] Yeah well it’s gone through the roof I mean back to what we were saying earlier when I first bought my practise, 1991, they were all sold through box yards in the back of the bdg and Frank Taylor was an auditor. Frank Taylor was actually Frank Taylor. He was an he had a little thing and practises were sold for the average of the previous three years turnover. Right. So the average of that on the third of that somewhere between 25% and 33% of the average of the previous year. Three is turnover. And so I bought my first practise which was turning over about sort of 180 grand for about 60 grand. Yeah, well, I know. Just mad, mad, mad, mad. And you know, it has totally changed. I mean, nowadays, you know, so so they have brought the corporates have certainly from the PRI, but from the associates point of view, I struggle a little bit more to see what they brought.

[00:52:26] Yeah, you’re right. On average, you’d probably rather work for a for a non corporate as an associate. My wife works for a corporate and they’re one of the better ones. They’re one of the better ones. Although when something goes wrong, the chain of command is just extraordinary. That’s one thing. And then another thing, you know, my wife is actually owns a quarter of enlightened. She herself owns a quarter of Enlightened. And you’d imagine the owner of Enlightened. Right. Could could make things happen from a whitening perspective in the practise. Yes. And the red tape they have to go through just to make a leaflet, you know, it has to be in brand with the corporates and so on is amazing as well. And then things like computers break and and don’t get fixed sometimes you know. Yeah. And you think this corporates got so much money why don’t they. Although although having you know, I’m talking to lots of corporates about bringing in light in in as well and it’s not a bed of roses running a corporate at all because it turns out the business model actually isn’t that lovely, other than they will then sell the whole thing off for even more bigger, even a bigger multiple. But but, you know, it turns out running these, you know, 300 practises, whatever they’ve got, it takes a whole team of head office and you know, that team needs paying for. And like anything when you grow it, I mean, you’ve got one practise, you know, but there’s several dentists. You’ve got, you know, way more than that. And they whenever they grow it, they find it very. Haunt keeping the thing as it was right. Keeping the culture as it was and and keeping everything going. And so they end up they end up exerting control with cash, essentially, sort of the easiest way for them to control. The thing is to say this is the maximum budget and you’re right in that dentistry doesn’t work well under those circumstances. No, no, that’s very true. I agree with you on that.

[00:54:30] Yeah, I’ve heard that story. And the reason why I didn’t I mean, I was quite interested in in in in the early days, back in the days of you remember Whitecross in London. What was it was yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:54:43] Mendelson.

[00:54:44] Mendelson, yeah.

[00:54:45] Just passed away.

[00:54:45] And I took a strong interest in sort of having a look at the courtroom, but I couldn’t see maybe it was just me how it would work. Because again, what you say that I want to have really good practise of patients treated really well. So my first boss had in Northern Ireland had four practises. He went bankrupt. This was back in the early nineties. He went bankrupt and he said to me and he sort of put me off. Somebody said, never run more than one practise. He said the main practise was doing really, really well. The other three branches, squats, fair enough, as branches grinned as money bankrupted them. And he started again. But what I’m saying is that. So that’s between the two. I just couldn’t see how it worked. But I remember back in the day when I wasn’t idea what was what was the idea to the average day when it was originally called? I can’t remember what was called back in the nineties somewhere else.

[00:55:42] Now it’s called something and now it’s called my dentist.

[00:55:44] My dentist. Yeah. Yeah. No, maybe it was always idea.

[00:55:47] It was like that.

[00:55:48] Yeah. But yeah. No, but I remember Whitecross in London looking at them and London and going, Oh, nice idea.

[00:55:56] Nice, didn’t they? And there was JD Hull, if you remember.

[00:55:58] Yes, I remember JD Hull. I mean, he was he was a character. Wasn’t a he was a character. He was a character.

[00:56:06] He started out in South Wales, I studied in Cardiff so. So I’ve got some of his.

[00:56:11] Yeah, yeah. No stories character. He certainly, certainly remember that. I remember talking to him one time and he wasn’t, he was big into rugby, I’m big into my rugby so we got to talk about that sort of stuff. But he was going to almost take you down into hospitality and all that sort of stuff, you know, never, never, nothing ever happened. But yeah, no, you’re right. I do think that the advantage of independent practise owners is that their flexibility. Yeah, they can respond quickly. They can respond quickly to the market. They can respond quickly to everything goes on. And actually, the advantage is if you have a good principle and you have to have a good principle, I’m not saying I’m one necessarily, but you have to have a good principal who has strong leadership, a strong vision of what they want to do with the practise. They will be very successful. I think, unfortunately, a lot of principals possibly don’t have that sort of leadership skills, but yeah, they are. And therefore maybe a corporate is better for certain people, but not for everybody.

[00:57:15] Yeah, so I don’t think it’s impossible that they could succeed. I mean, in opticians they’ve certainly, you know, taken completely taken over except for the very high end ones, right. Yeah. And I think opticians are different to dentists.

[00:57:30] Yeah, they.

[00:57:30] Are. It’s it’s more a retail model than a service.

[00:57:34] I have to say where I say we were more veterinary like I would argue that. Yeah. And I think veterinary there are 40% or something on it or whatever. I don’t know. Is there 40% of the market. I’m not. Yeah.

[00:57:47] Right.

[00:57:48] Yeah, something like that.

[00:57:50] Let’s go on to let’s go on to your story a bit more now. Why did you move from Northern Ireland? I guess you grew up in Ulster as well, did you?

[00:57:59] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was born and bred there. I’m born 1965 in a place called Larne, currently Antrim in Northern Ireland, which.

[00:58:06] Is a port. I’ve been to Northern Ireland. Yeah.

[00:58:11] It’s a dump.

[00:58:12] Yeah.

[00:58:13] Yeah. I mean the area. So I went to school there. I, my father, my father was stationmaster. Interestingly, it used to be the largest station in Ireland and then the beach came along and he ended up setting my father. I think it got my wanting to run my own business. My father, he ran his own haulage firm for years and my father left school at 14 back in the day. So I mean, yeah, he would have been he would nowadays he would have gone to university. He was a clever bloke, but now he had six children, five which survived. And there is I grew in Larne, so I ended up going to school there ended up, as I explained to you, already doing dentistry simply through the fact that careers advice was shite back then. I remember going to the careers teacher as it was, who happened to be the maths teacher as well, and when she said, What are you doing? And I went on doing maths. Physics, chemistry and said And what you think in doing for university now? I went, Oh, I’m thinking of doing dentistry. And she went, Yeah. Greg go and look under the yonder in the fine cabinet over there. And that was it.

[00:59:15] Was.

[00:59:16] A little bit from Queens was Cuba. And that was literally my 5 minutes of career advice. And, and my brothers went, I don’t do medicine. So I ended up doing dentistry. And, and back in the day I, you know, you literally just fill in UCAS form. Even the personal step one was a bit like I like playing rugby, you know, sort of style. That was it. He had no interviews. No interviews. I don’t know if you. Did you have an interview.

[00:59:42] We had interviews.

[00:59:44] Yeah. Queens, we didn’t. No interviews. You just literally sent it off and you got whoa. Yeah. Offered you press and that was it. That was and I look at youngsters, young people coming out of school nowadays and what they have to go through to get into dentistry and school. And I remember we spend our first year, year and a half with the Medicks and I remember one anatomy lecture. They came to the front and went, We’ve got a medick who’s interested in transferring to dentistry. Does any dentist, do any dentists want to transfer to medicine? This is about six weeks in. Yeah. And I thought about it for an hour during that anatomy lecture going I went, Nah, can’t be there too much.

[01:00:21] Hassle on.

[01:00:22] The as I get switched to the doctor. So anyway, I ended up at Queen’s and Belfast did for years 1983 to 87, graduated, took the optional vet and then went from there and then basically had feet. And the problem with Northern Ireland, it’s it’s a very, very close community. And, you know, it’s complicated by obviously all the troubles. I mean, I was there at the height of the troubles. You know, I actually was in digs in the final year in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast when the sniper fired at the Army post and top of our tower block, you know, you know, that sort of thing was on, you know, so it literally was a, you know, all outgoing all at the time. So I didn’t particularly want to stay in Northern Ireland. You always get attracted by the bright lights of England. My wife, well, my girlfriend at the time was English and her father was a surgeon in Chesney. I mean, I don’t know if you ever my father in law was a surgeon from India, and he came over in 1957 to do his FRCS and ended up in Northern Ireland basically because he couldn’t get consultant’s post in the north of England, as he says, because he was racially discriminated against, because he was Indian. He wrote to the BMA and went DMC and went, Oh, I’m not going to consultant’s posts here. Do you think it’s because I’ve got a brown face basically? And they went, Yeah, probably. What do you want us to do about it?

[01:01:55] And so I’ll tell you, let me tell you a story. My dad studied in Queens. Yeah, all right. In the fifties. In the fifties, yes. And someone asked him to be president of the Students Association, whatever. Right. Because he was neither neither Catholic nor Protestant.

[01:02:14] Yes, exactly. Well, it was a.

[01:02:20] It was very much like that. You know, I remember going to the Catholic chaplain and say, I’m a Protestant. Technically, I’m atheist nowadays, but I’m a Protestant technically. And I know Niles, a very Irish name and normally used by Catholics. I am frozen technically. And I remember going with friends of mine who were to the Catholic Chaplaincy for lunch, you know, because it was cheap and it was good and they, they wind me up. I said, Oh, you better keep a low profile to realise your problems, you know, that, you know. And I was going really isolating and yeah, yeah, I’ll have you chucked out of here and I’m going, oh Lord. But yeah, it was all that, all that was going on amongst fellow students, more banter. But there was a very serious edge going on outside in the real world and Belfast and the wider shrines of Northern Ireland. So I didn’t want to live there. I didn’t want to bring up children there. I felt that it was a very closed community. My personal opinion, I know plenty of my colleagues who stayed in a very successful and enjoyable life in Northern Ireland. So we moved over to England and literally I find a practise through the back as as a box as the beat and moved over when I was just turned 26 and started my first practise and took over a practise from another Irish woman who is returning to Southern Ireland and that was that. And I grew it from there basically. So eventually we outgrew the building and we knocked it down. We got an architect and we rebuild the building, etcetera, etcetera, and the rest is history. Yeah. Do I regret doing dentistry? No, I actually think it’s a great career. You know.

[01:03:58] You’re clearly completely engaged with with dentistry still. What would you. What would you say is the secret of that? I mean, is it is it the people that you love or is it the meccano aspect of it? Is it the business side?

[01:04:13] Yeah, meccano. I was never good at my count. I said, Yeah, I would like a bit more. But yeah, that’s why I don’t do implants. Why do not you go? Yeah, I’ll fit. I’ll fit on ladies and crimes using. Sorry, that’s more like Lego implants. But seriously, what is it about? It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s the people, you know, and dentists. We’re very lucky inasmuch as that we have that amazing ability to take people from who are in severe, severe pain to out of pain within a few minutes. Yeah. You know, help them or even just on a more mundane level improve their self confidence. Even people come in and it’s nice when people write reviews going, Oh my God, I was actually petrified at the dentist till I found you or I came to your practise or I came to their, you know, and we all in all our various practises have reviews like that. And I just like helping people, you know, then they and I think that’s what keeps me going about it. I don’t like all the things that anybody else doesn’t like. I don’t like the GDC, I don’t like the QC, I don’t like everything like that that’s come with it. And I and I actually don’t like the Instagram stroke, you know, composite bonding stroke, Invisalign. It has its place, but it’s not dentistry for me, you know, it’s an aspect of dentistry, but it’s not all dentistry. So, you know, I think there’s, you know, dentistry is about helping people and helping people is extractions, root canals, fillings, whatever, you know.

[01:05:46] I mean, you should you should know there is quite a lot of very valuable stuff on Instagram as well. Yeah.

[01:05:51] Oh, yeah.

[01:05:51] I know when you say Instagram, I know what you mean. I know what you mean. I know what you mean. Yeah, yeah. But but there’s lots of lots of really good education on Instagram too.

[01:06:01] Yeah, yeah, I know there is. And I have to say I have to say I do follow not not an Instagram, but quite a few Facebook pages that I think are vitally useful. Jaz does Nick Gulati is Gujarati page A etc. etc. etc.. Yeah, are very valuable and very useful. Yes. No, there are a lot of good stuff. It’s the stuff that you know what I’m talking about, the sort of the glamour do.

[01:06:27] Yeah, I do. And you know, I’m very involved in that space.

[01:06:33] Yes, I.

[01:06:33] Know you are. You know, I’m very Payman.

[01:06:37] Don’t worry. Don’t worry. They say whatever you like, right? At the end of the day. Know a line? Bleach bond. Right. So we’re big in bleach and we’re making bond, and we’re not big in a line. But I know what you mean. I mean, there’s definitely some overtreatment going on with composite bonding and some low quality treatment going on with composite bonding. And there’s going to be a bunch of failures very soon. I mean, composites are very unforgiving material.

[01:07:03] Yeah, absolutely.

[01:07:05] You know, stains very quickly. And but then on the other hand, I would say that’s the reason for learning it properly. And I don’t even mean come to my course. I mean practise, you know, practise a lot and talk to lots of people and and so forth. But it’s interesting, though, these days you can choose to be whichever type of dentist you want to be in a way, because there’s so much more referral. You know, in our day you were either a general dentist or you were a specialist dentist. And even specialist was a new thing, wasn’t it?

[01:07:35] Yeah, it was more. Or your dentist was more or more what. I qualified the other one at the hospital. Or you are a general practise dentist. Yeah.

[01:07:44] And then I know you quite like you quite like endo, don’t you.

[01:07:49] I do quite a lot of endo. Yeah.

[01:07:51] Yeah. So, so I, I stopped practising ten years ago, but in my last four years of practise, I didn’t do any endo at all. I just I referred all of them. And what I’m saying is you can you can choose to be an Invisalign dentist and be fine with that, or you can choose to be an implant guy. And just just go into that very quickly these days. What do you think about that? Do you think do you think do you do you also sort of mourn the loss of the generalist?

[01:08:22] No. As much as I think do I mourn the loss of the generalist? I don’t think we’ve lost the generalist totally. But there are things like implants. I genuinely do think they should be done by guys who are doing X number of implants a year.

[01:08:37] Lots of them.

[01:08:37] Yeah, yeah, lots of them. I really do think. Do you want to go to a hip a hip surgeon and get do you want to go to a surgeon and get your hip replacement done? But find out actually, he’s an abdominal surgeon. Just does the odd hip replacement once every six months.

[01:08:52] No.

[01:08:52] Well done. You know, and you know, so, you know, why should implants be any different? You know, so the likes of, say, Adam Glass food for want of a name or you know, quite there are loads of people out there. Roberti Yeah, yeah. Rob Morrissey There’s another good one. Yeah. Who I think Dominic Hurley tends to do mostly implants. Stuff like that tends to my name. Yes, I am very much a best for that in terms of, you know, Invisalign and so on. Yeah. Well now don’t get started on Invisalign. I do think once you get away from implants, once you get I do think there is a, there’s certainly a place for specialists, but there’s no reason why a good generalist can’t do 90, 80, 90% over to a standard that is more than acceptable for the JDC. Yeah. So, you know, so yeah, I think you can end up referring most of your business away if you end up referring too much out. But yeah, you know, I certainly I certainly think that and also sort of sometimes patients go, yeah, they don’t like going to another place. I know this is where it’s coming back to that people are bringing specialists in-house, aren’t they? More and more so. And that’s that’s a headache in itself, trying to keep them busy and trying to keep them on something the other. But yeah, if patients don’t like, they’ve come to see you, they’ve come to see your practise, they know where you are, somebody’s described also the patients are a bit like patients are a bit like cats or no. Yeah, that patients but like cats. Yes, that’s right. Rather than dogs. Dogs. Dogs are attached.

[01:10:32] To the building.

[01:10:33] Yes, the cats are attached to the building. Yeah. So on patients are a bit like cats. That’s how good the sale of goodwill works because they go, Oh, I’ll stay to the building. Even though a new owners come in, I’ll stick there because I know the building. Yeah, it’s a weird phenomenon, but that’s the way it works. And I think patients. So I do think there is and will always be a place for the general sense. I think what’s sad is that people sort of see that they should be doing more Invisalign and more bonding and more of this. You know, there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but at the expense of doing their general dentistry or they feel like they’re peer pressured into doing it because they’re met down the road, is doing a lot or they’ve seen someone on Instagram.

[01:11:16] I feel like I feel like Invisalign kind of feels like easy money, doesn’t it? That’s the thing.

[01:11:21] Yeah, it’s.

[01:11:22] Something. It’s not easy. Money is very difficult work, but not easy at all. But have you done Invisalign? Now, I noticed on your on your website, you guys do Invisalign.

[01:11:33] Yeah. It says my, my associate does Invisalign. I don’t touch the stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah. On our website.

[01:11:38] Which is leaning on it, I feel like you’ve got something to say about Invisalign. Go on.

[01:11:42] Well, apart from that, like the dominator. Yeah. Apart from the fact that they absolutely dominate the market. What I find sad about Invisalign is the people that sort of chest, the diamond, the double diamond, the platinum, whatever status you know, that. Oh, don’t do this number. From what I understand, the fees are still incredibly high from Invisalign for their stuff. Even if you get diamond, double diamond or whatever status you’re on. Yeah. And if you talk to sort of certain orthodontists like Ian Hutchinson, for example, yeah, he’ll go Aligners or Aligners and my associates done the in Hutchinson’s course and she would go that well yeah, you can do them with Invisalign and you will get down to site their particular Instagram going, I can do everything on Invisalign, you know that. But there are certain cases on quite a lot of cases that are maybe better off with fixed, but you know, it is what it is.

[01:12:37] But I think that tide is turning though in a way, because I speak to a number of orthodontists who are Invisalign only Invisalign orthodontists, and it can do a lot more than it used to do. I mean, I remember when I trained on Invisalign, they were saying, you know, you can’t rotate teeth, you can’t you can do a lot more than it used to. But but this question of, you know, being aligns sort of ad, you know, like some people say, look, why are you putting Invisalign brand ahead of your own brand? Yes. And you know what? I get it. I do get it. Number one, the discount bit piece is is significant. You know, that that that apex diamond predator, whatever status they get it. I think half the price of of an.

[01:13:26] Absolutely significant chunk of money when you compare it to other.

[01:13:29] Compared to brackets. Compared to brackets. Of course. Yes. Yeah. But the other thing is, you know, align invented aligners. Yeah. They, they didn’t just go stick a name on, they invented it. I mean, okay, totally different management to to it was a totally different person, totally different management to who we’ve got there now. But, but having invented aligners that, that first mover advantage that they had and they’re now bigger than Henry Schein, I think the biggest, the biggest company in dentistry now or they’re definitely up there. I mean it’s basically align Henry Schein and then splice around, you know, there’s three or four investor, you know, the ones who own all those noble bio care and or ASC optic. And so, you know, I’ve spoken to a bunch of dentists about this. I haven’t got a horse in the race. I don’t I don’t mind one way or the other. I certainly know some dentists who’ve left Invisalign and then come back because they were unhappy with the alternatives. And I know others who’ve left and and they’re very happy. Very happy. I know some who print their own aligners, you know, make their own in house. So there seems to be a few ways to skin the cat. But the, the brand is super strong and there’s a lot of very happy people with the brand. I think they could do a lot more on customer service. I mean, yeah, they seem to be very poor on customer service, which is weird. You know, you’d imagine they take care of that.

[01:14:59] Yeah, I think it’s they, they almost are in that position of it and they’re so dominant that they feel they can just treat anybody the way they want. And that’s what the seems to happen. Then the single.

[01:15:11] I don’t think that’s it. I don’t think that’s it. No company thinks that way. I mean, it’s well, maybe, but you don’t become the world’s biggest dental company thinking that. I think it’s probably you.

[01:15:21] Know, there are a bit. But I just think I just.

[01:15:23] Think they’re growing so quickly that they can’t they can’t keep up with the growth themselves.

[01:15:31] So, yeah, it’s.

[01:15:32] The same reason Facebook is such a nightmare to deal with. You know, as an advertiser, it’s an absolute nightmare dealing with that company. But the reason is they’re just growing so quickly.

[01:15:44] Yeah, I.

[01:15:45] Think. I think that’s the reason.

[01:15:46] Yeah.

[01:15:47] Tell me, let’s move on to darker questions. Well, before we do that, before we do that, let’s talk about you’ve run a couple of super successful dental practises, have been around for ages, employing loads of people, treating thousands of patients. What would you say that secrets to success outside of the clinical?

[01:16:10] Well, the sacred success are I personally might. Well, we’ve talked about this already is your personality. You know, you have to be a nice person to deal with.

[01:16:21] It’s certainly outside of patient care. I mean, I’m.

[01:16:24] I’m thinking more staff associates. Yeah. Outside the patient care. What’s important for me having, you know, in terms of what do you mean in terms of equipment and stuff like that or staff associates. Keeping people happy? Yeah. What’s important? I think you’ve got to pay people. Well, certainly nowadays that’s a big thing for staff. You know, that’s one of the big questions is the dental nurse crisis. You know, dental nurses have been absolutely poorly paid for donkey’s years, you know, treated like shit, basically, to be honest with you. You know, my it up. We’ve got nurses retiring. She’s 59 and she’s been a dental nurse since she was 16. And she started off nursing right in four inch stilettos because that was the rule for the practise back then. Four inch white slippers, you know. But, you know, she said we had to have that, you know, that was the rule, you know. And I’m going, oh, my God. Yeah. They’re always been paid a pittance. So it’s treating your staff well. The problem is with it is, you know, with difficulty with staff, your staff are key to the success of the practise. They really are. The front of house is absolutely vital. Yeah. You’re you’re your reception team. Your front of house is absolutely vital. If you do not have people who are reasonably intelligent, reasonably, you know, savvy.

[01:17:59] Resourceful.

[01:18:01] Resourceful, etc., you are screwed it really and you really are screwed. I mean, we have been through in our current practise so many from the past team, mainly because I mean, the thing is, you know, it’s funny enough, it’s what I my favourite programme at the moment is the sewing bee. I don’t know, you watch the great British sewing Payman there you watch the Great Britain now.

[01:18:24] And the great.

[01:18:25] You know, great British sewing bees on Wednesdays on BBC One, whatever it what it is, is basically so or as you come along and make clothes out of material and it’s like great British Bake Off, but for sewing. And as I said to them, it’s all about attention to detail. You know, it’s it’s you look at it and you go, right, okay, you’ve made it, you’ve made a dress. But the hems all wobbly. Why is the hair more wobbly? It doesn’t look quite right or one side’s long and the other it doesn’t quite fit correctly there. This colour thread doesn’t match or whatever, you know. And so all about it, it’s all the little details that go in to make a dress. You may look at it and say, That’s a dress, all right. But then you look at everything that’s gone in to make a lovely, lovely dress, and that’s like a dental practise to me. People sort of say to me, Oh, you know, you’re some we’ve been accused of nit picking, you know, say you’re saying, Oh, you need to be doing it like this and be like I say, no, I call it we have standards basically. And they and everything comes together to form the whole. But if you you know if you cannot and sorry people will Brit me for this but if you cannot write an email back to people and where we are a site of Oxford we get everybody from Oxford, professors of English and to all sorts of places people in fact if you cannot write an email that makes sense in perfect grammatical English, back to patients.

[01:19:51] All right. We’re screwed to start off with, you know, and it’s the detail is the little things like that, making sure you put your apostrophe in the right place, making sure you’ve done this, you’ve done that. But yes, staff are key. Staff are absolutely key. And once you find the staff, pay them well, treat them well, you know, look after them well, make sure that you’re nice to them. But even then, yeah, there’s no guarantee we’ll stay nowadays. Everybody wants to move on eventually. And in terms of the servants, the practise, I just think, you know, people well, I can never understand as you get dentists who will have a lovely house, maybe even a lovely holiday home or a lovely Ferrari or whatever, and then spend a little money on their practise. Yeah. Then they have a lovely practise. Patients appreciate it. They really do notice the difference. And it’s all those subliminal things that go in to make to make it successful personally.

[01:20:47] Yeah. I mean, the other thing is, look, the number of dentists, the number of people you speak to and they say, oh, I really like that so-and-so restaurant because the service is excellent.

[01:20:56] Yeah.

[01:20:57] And you know, in terms of restaurant, you’ve got, you’ve got the food in front of you. So you can, you can judge the food. Whereas in dentistry, our patients mostly can’t judge. What we do at all. Our patients got no clue whatsoever that you’re putting this matrix on and wedging it and not understand. And the example you gave at the beginning about the guy who was the Great Panther wasn’t the best dentist in the world. And so they only have these other clues to go on and obviously the people. But, you know, it’s interesting, I go to a dental practise and with fresh eyes I can see things that people who work there can’t see. It’s a bit of the cobweb in the corner or a bit of something sticking off the ceiling. And these are all clues to the patient. And, you know, interesting thing now, do you do you guys serve coffee in your practise?

[01:21:51] Yes.

[01:21:51] Yeah. So so I’ve worked in practises where the coffee’s been terrible coffee and and was my fault. I was the associate there and I fully understand the reasons why, you know, we’re not a coffee shop where we’re a dentist and all that.

[01:22:07] But.

[01:22:09] When I take my BMW, it’s not a Rolls-Royce, a BMW. I take my BMW for service. The coffee is excellent, and I drive up and the guy, some dude opens the car door and welcomes me by name before I’ve even said anything. But I know how he does it, right? He’s got my number plate. He knows what time I’m coming. It still makes me feel good. It takes me upstairs. Latte or cappuccino? It’s a it’s a car garage. It’s not. It’s not a Starbucks either, right? It’s a car garage. Yeah. And so these and now it’s interesting. I must have been to a thousand practises in my career and even I, who knows the full story exactly, knows what’s going on and, and, and what’s going and what’s happening and whose fault it is and whose fault it is. And even now, when I walk into a practise and they offer me a coffee and I have the coffee and it’s a nice coffee, I start making judgements about this practise about the kind of dentist they are, even me who knows all about it. I know exactly what’s happening, I’m still making those judgements. So imagine our patients, you know, the non-clinical queues that they’re taking.

[01:23:18] Yeah, absolutely. And we will serve bean to cup. We have a bean teacup machine upstairs. Yes, we go to Costco and we buy Lavazza beans but we do bean, we don’t have that was the first thing I got rid of was the instant coffee, you know. I said, I’m going to bean cup machine. I bought it once and some later. We bought it five years ago. It’s still going strong. It’s brilliant. And patients come and go. Lovely coffee. Thank you very much. You know, selection of teeth and, you know, and it’s just not having that level.

[01:23:48] Of attention to detail, as you.

[01:23:50] Said. Exactly. And just having nice cups to serve it in and and the place being clean in the modern. And it’s all under decoration, not being too scuffed. I know you can’t help the odd scuff here and there and all that sort of stuff. I mean, there was I mean, not that I’ve gone to this, but I had in the last practise I remember we had a small tester pots and I used to get the nurse to go round and if there was any scuffs, sometimes I’d do it myself. I’d just paint them every week, just find where the scuffs were, repaint them with the tester so that we got rid of the scuffs straight away. So they didn’t hang around. But it’s things like that. People want to see. They can’t, as you say, can’t judge you and everything and anything else, part of your personality. But they will go often. Yeah. I mean, how many reviews have you seen where they go? Oh, lovely. Clean practise. Very modern, you know. Brilliant. Yeah. How do you know they’re brilliant? How many times have you seen patients where you go, God, they’re singing the praises of the previous dentist. And you go, This dentistry is pretty mediocre. Yeah, but the thing the patients are singing the praises about them. Yeah. And you go well yeah it’s because they’ve got a lot of the other things. Right, you know. But they’re really.

[01:24:59] What about associates and associates? What are your Top Tips? Top Tips? Let’s talk about what you look for when you’re hiring an associate and let’s talk about your bugbears. What’s the thing that pisses you off about associates?

[01:25:13] Yeah. What pisses me off? It was those associates outright who basically seem to think that the boss is ripping them off, that they’re making the absolute bloody fortune out of them. And then they they’re really pissed me off associates.

[01:25:27] Some of them thing was.

[01:25:28] Yeah. That wasn’t them. Who aren’t, who don’t, don’t sort of realise that they’re part of the clinical team, that they’re, that things like I’m trying to think what else. Because for both associates we’ve had associates that were that before I took over the practise had to go and work in as an associate for a brief, very brief period of time. And one of the other associates used to, if there was a gap before the end of the day, so say share the gap. And then the other end of the day, she would just literally walk out and tell the receptionist to cancel that sort of patient know. So would say, I’m not I’m not hanging around for 45 minutes to see Mrs. So-and-so for a check-up counsellor. And I’m going.

[01:26:07] Wow.

[01:26:08] Yeah, yeah. Know that’s extreme. And you don’t get that, but it’s, it’s.

[01:26:14] What are you looking for when you hire them?

[01:26:16] What am I looking for? I’m looking for very much. Can I talk to them? Do I get on with them? Can I talk to them? Because, you know, obviously you want people who are on board with what your way of thinking is. You know, I want to hear a good a good story from them. I want to hear that a certain certainly it will be a lot of I want to hear they can hold their own. They can talk to me. Honestly, I’m not so interested in clinical skills, you know. I know nowadays the thing is a portfolio, isn’t it? That seems to be the big thing. God, that was that. Jesus Christ never even thought about my day but a portfolio. Yeah. I’m not so interested. I can normally think well if you can talk good talk, if you’ve been on a reasonable number of courses, if you’ve done this, if you’ve done that, you know, and you know, you’re normally going to be okay and it’s, it’s yeah. Just saying, can you gel with them at the end. You’ve got to work with them day in, day out and, and that’s basically what I look for. And you know, there’s no I guess.

[01:27:24] If you could gel with them, then it’s likely your patients are going to gel with them.

[01:27:27] Too. Like dentists would attract people, attract people. They like them basically. Then there isn’t that old thing, you know. So at the end of the day, if you’re basically if you’re an irritating, irritable old bastard as a dentist, you know, then you’ll get irritable bastards of patients, you know, then they whereas, you know, you’re fairly relaxed, easygoing, sort of bloke, you’ll lose the ones that are irritable, right. Or the ones that think, oh, he’s a bit flippant. You know, I’m always sort of telling jokes and bad jokes and all that sort of stuff, you know? So lose the ones that think, Oh, he’s not that professional, he’s a bit flippant. I don’t want them particularly. And in that way I want more. So yeah, I want associate. But it is good to have a mix within the practise, different styles, different, you know, so that we, you know, patients always you don’t necessarily want the patient leave the practise, but you might say, well, you can go and see, they might go and see, can I go and see yens for example or whatever, you know. But yeah, the problem is with nowadays. Yeah. Trying to get an associate, that’s the thing. But there we are.

[01:28:29] Yeah. You know, it’s not limited to dentistry, right? There is a global shortage of labour and raw materials. It’s a funny time. I don’t know if you ever remember this in your time, Nigel. I don’t ever remember this sort of weird. It’s not even a recession yet. Is is whenever it is. The shortage of labour and shortage of raw materials.

[01:28:51] Yeah, well, yeah, the raw materials is certainly a big thing. Yeah. I mean, we, I have said to the staff, you know, whereas normally we did it just in time because we got a letter from Henry Schein or my email months ago going We can no longer guarantee next day delivery, you know. So I said, I don’t want to be run down to the last minute. Please give us a months, you know, like whatever. But yeah, no, to be honest, when I first qualified as a dentist and came to England, I could have walked into any area in England and been offered six jobs on the spot. You know.

[01:29:23] There were dentists.

[01:29:24] Yeah, I was a dentist. Yeah. But in terms of going round beyond that with dental nurses and stuff, no, I don’t ever remember such a shortage of dental nurses, such shortage materials, you know, and certainly. But you can see it in the wider economy. We were in Guildford today shopping and some of the staff we had to encounter in some of the quite posher shops, you’d go, Oh my goodness, they really must be struggling. Yeah, because, you know, calibre wasn’t there that had, you know, and whose somebody was saying who lives in London was saying that virtually every restaurant has a sign saying staff on immediate start you know.

[01:30:01] Yeah and I guess pressure on wages as well. Right because staff know that this is the situation.

[01:30:09] The staff staff know the situation, pressure and wages. And again, it’s fine in private practise, you just put your fees up, you know, at the end of the day. But the NHS, I don’t know where they go without, to be honest with you, I really don’t know where they go without.

[01:30:24] Let’s talk about some mistakes. What have been your biggest mistakes? I want to talk both clinically and business wise.

[01:30:33] Yeah, business wise. Clinically. Oh yeah. I’ve had quite a few. Yeah. From the, from the woman that I wanted to do, the woman that I injected bleach into her sinus and doing the nasty and, you know, doing the asked. And as she it’s quite funny, I was about 40 at the time and I was doing the Suede Rubber Diamond. She was quite quiet, everything was going nicely and she was sort of and she suddenly went, Oh, what was that? And I went, I’d just blown the three in one. And I thought, Oh no, it’s just nothing. Just air. And so we’re worked on a minute or two later, a re injected with the hypochlorite and a burning sensation in my eye. And I, I went, shit, I’ve just, just after I’ve done that. All right. So I sat her upright and took the rubber down off. Oh, no. Yeah. Luckily I had the thought, oh, shit, I’ve been injected, so I don’t know why. Just in my head I got let’s get local anaesthetic solution. I just got sinus and then pumped about four cartridges of Satanists through the root canals and just pumped it, pumped unprompted and sat her upright, took the rubber dam off, sat her upright, and as we sat her upright, she Oh my nostrils burning. Oh my God, my nose was burning. And all this clear drip out of her nose. Obviously, the hypochlorite and I can remember at the time exterior going to know this sometimes happens. Yeah, it’s rare occurrence, but it’s fine inwardly I was going I want my mummy, I.

[01:32:09] Really want my God.

[01:32:12] And I could remember thinking and I do need the loo right now, you know. And so definitely bra and trouser moment we ended up taking the two thought because it I just said oh it must be cracked, let’s take the two so send her up to the hospital. And she basically the hospital berates her because apparently she had a sinus thinning operation 20 years previous to that and never told me I said I was at least honest or to say to hell, even if you told me that, I probably wouldn’t have made any difference, you know. But she brought me a box of chocolates and apologised for actually putting me through stress and I thought was quite sweet and surgical emphysema as we discussed this on the on the on that. Not such a good day. There are office we cup the patients. Not everybody has but I think most dentists, if they’re absolutely honest, will have caught the patients. Tongue, cheek, whatever. Yeah, we’ve all had minor things. So things like that. Yes. Have happened. Nothing, nothing, nothing. So irreversible. You know, what.

[01:33:14] About what about where a management or patient management problem, where have the patients lost confidence and you know, or something?

[01:33:23] Yeah. Well, yeah, yeah. I’ve only ever been sued and once in my career and that was over a when I left the practise, my last practise to come and start this one. If I’d been there it would have been managed and handled. But yeah, it was just one of those things. I missed the root canal on a lower seven and blah blah blah patient and I end up being sued. Nice DLP letter came through for that, which was lovely, you know. So the yeah. So no in terms of yeah, we all.

[01:33:53] I’m looking for something. I’m looking for something that someone could learn from because you know I it’s a nice story the non the hypochlorite one but not, not much we can learn from that one.

[01:34:05] No, no, no, no. Yeah. So in terms of I think the things you’ve got, you’ve got to look for at the start with patient management is you will get red flags from patients from early on. You know, they will start throwing them up fairly early on if they’re sort of saying, oh, I can’t lie back, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I can’t do the other. I think you’ve got to learn to pull out pretty quickly and say, I need to refer you on someone else. I think this is where your bacterial referral comes in. But yes, we do all get patients where we go that things aren’t going well. Right. And maybe, you know, they haven’t gone as well as you’d hoped, despite warning the patients. And the patients obviously very disappointed in terms of patient management. What I tend to do with them is look, I go look that root canal, all right. It didn’t work out as well as we thought it was going to. Unfortunately, it’s cleared up. It’s only eight months ago. I know a bit of crying on it.

[01:35:00] This, that and the other. Why don’t we get that tooth taken out? Because just keep them giving you problems. And I refund money. That’s what I do. Ultimately, people. People say to me, what? You refund money? And I go, Yeah, there’s no point in arguing. I work on that. I probably refund the practise refunds by. Under the practise turnover every year. Yeah. Now, considering we have a really good turnover in the practise, it’s nothing for a quiet line on. Patients will go fantastic. They stop complaining quite often. You don’t even have to refund the refund. You can just leave it as a credit on the the on the account. And they will either say well I’ll go and see so and so we’ll get the implant, that’ll be a credit towards my implant or that will be a credit towards whatever you need to do in the future. I just think personally, you know, it’s in terms of patient management, I think what you’ve got to make sure that, you know, after the money all the time personally patients will.

[01:36:04] Really I mean, refunds a good, good plan I think especially these days when you’ve got DLP around now. But tell me a story where you refunded money.

[01:36:15] Tell me a story where refund it. Well, yeah, I had one recently where basically again, it was a bit of this guy come in to see me for a second opinion. He was he had been somewhere else and what didn’t want to lose this up or six didn’t have a big feral on it. And I went, Oh yeah, tell you what, I can do that. I’ll refill that. I’ll put a crown on it. Hey. Yeah. Deep on the three times and six months, roots eventually fractured and went shit. So I ended up going, right, here’s your 1200 quid back on the wall where so bloody time, you know. And they I should have, you know, I was looking I think because he was, he had sort of gone I really want to keep this tooth, you know, and even though I had to.

[01:37:07] So on reflection on reflection, do you think you overestimated your own skill?

[01:37:13] You probably. I think one of the things about dentists with a lot of us are want to please people. At the end of the day, you know, we want to try and. Yeah, so you want to be the person who says yes, yeah. Yes, we can. I think that’s a danger we can all fall into sometimes. I mean, here rodents is a very good word. And I do like that phrase and I think we’ve all been guilty of here. I certainly have been guilty of Herod antics and that was a hero don’t situation. But unfortunately, I didn’t have my kryptonite with me and it all went head up. So I mean, even though we had been warned it might not work. What do I do? Do I turn around? I mean, how would you feel? I mean, if someone turned around you and said, I know you warned me it wouldn’t work, there was a chance that might work, blah, blah, blah. And my bond, when you said that, I thought you meant sort of like seven years down the line. Not. Not, yeah. How would you feel? You’d be pissed off, you know. So, I mean, refund the money and just chalk it up to another. Life is full of these learning experiences and unfortunately it takes sometimes more than once to do the same thing. I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve done my career, probably right. But sometimes I just seem to never learn totally. I always go in, but I think it’s back into the people pleaser, into the trying to say, Yes, I can do this. You know.

[01:38:34] I think in private you’re always trying to say yes to everything because you’re trying to be a service orientated place as well. So you’re so you love saying yes. Yeah. And you’re right, you can get you into trouble. Yeah.

[01:38:47] There are occasions when you can you can certainly go. Absolutely. I don’t this worked out really well and patients really pleased with it. But there are sometimes you do have to know and say this is a bit of hero, don’t mix and I’ve got better of that over the years, but I still get all into the traps every so often. Yeah. And I think that’s partly why we wanted to put that page up about the failures that no matter what age you are, we have failures. We cook up basically, but it’s how you handle it afterwards. It’s apologies. One of the things I had a South African associate years ago who we were in the NHS and we got a complaint letter. Wait, this was about in the nineties and they about her, her, her attitude, she was really, really annoyed. So what happened was I used to say to her, you know, she, I’d say, why don’t you just say you’re sorry to hear that? So a patient come in and say, Gee, the way it would go is the patient would come in and she’d go. They’d go, I’ve got a problem that you’re feeling. Yeah. That you did last week. Yeah. And she’d go wasn’t my fault. Get a feeling the first place and sweets sort of out. And I’d say, look there’s nothing wrong with saying I’m sorry to hear that. And she’d go, I’m not apologising to anybody. And I’d go, You’re saying you’re sorry to hear that? And I think people sometimes get.

[01:40:08] Nervous escalating things.

[01:40:10] Exactly. Sometimes people get mixed up with the fact that, you know, saying sorry doesn’t mean you’re apologising. You know, you’re saying you’re wrong. It’s just say you’re sorry you had a problem, you know? And I think sometimes if you look at what. Say What do people want from the NHS? Sometimes they get complaints. They just want someone to say, I’m sorry that happened to you and this is what we’re going to do about it to make sure it happens again. Here’s your money back in case you know, this is what we and this is what we suggest we do is the next step they want. Quite often what people want from their dentist is just confidence. You know, they don’t want to be left hanging. A lot of dentists get in trouble because what they do is they just almost like things start going wrong. They abandon the patient. And I think that’s the worst thing you can do.

[01:40:55] And what about from a business perspective? I want you to tell me one of the like the best move you ever made and the worst or the worst day you had as as a professional, you know. From a business perspective, what’s the worst day and the best day? Best thing you did.

[01:41:09] Best thing I ever did. And I have to credit my wife for this. To be fair to her, was actually building the building the actually going ahead and taking a huge financial risk and knocking down her old practise building in in Sanderson Berkshire and building building that we’ve got currently because that a it won best practise of the year in 1999 building practise building 99 nine but it has.

[01:41:37] Did you build it from scratch?

[01:41:38] Yes, totally. We got architects.

[01:41:40] In. Oh, amazing.

[01:41:42] We got knocked down. We worked out of port cabins for a year. We decided we did. So then there was a double height, double bolted, all glass word. It was a way at raptures to come on and go, Oh my God, I’ve never seen a place like this before. Absolutely brilliant. And that was fantastic. And in terms of financially, that has worked out very, very well, a huge risk. And I remember at one time crying, crying just had my first child, Rory, who’s now 25, and I remember coming off the phone and the bank going, We can’t lend you any more money. And the Arctic going, We need another 50 grand. And I’m going, Gee, I’m crying, going, Where am I going to get this money from? You know, and I wish that I managed to get it from somewhere. Finished it. Yeah. Wouldn’t look back on that one.

[01:42:33] Is your wife is your wife is your wife more a risk taker than you.

[01:42:37] Would you say? And trust me, not. No, not but she got good judgement. She married me now she got you know she’s got very good judgement.

[01:42:48] So when you think, if you think of an idea oh really. When you think of, when you think of an idea and if she thinks it’s a good idea too, then you sort of go full in on it because you feel like she’s got good judgement.

[01:43:01] Yeah, the worst financial decision you want dentistry or just generally financial decisions you like? Yeah. Well, we see again, I have to say my wife, she warned me there was this sort of investment scheme I was desperate to back in. I had a bit of a low period in my in the mid 2000 so when I was about just turned 40, a mid-life crisis which you could call it, you know, and I’m desperate to get out down the street, desperate to try. And I really had and I somebody come along and said, oh, invest 35 grand into this property scheme. It will be brilliant. You’ll make a fortune. That’s something the other my wife went, don’t like them, don’t like them, don’t like them. And I went, Oh, you’re wrong, they’re fine, they’re fine. You don’t want their space, you know. So then you know. And I went, No, no, no, no. So I basically, against my wife’s judgement, took 35 grand of our money and invested. Yeah, it went tits up. Lost it all. Yeah. Loss of all. Yeah. So you know it’s one of those desperate and this factor when you’re desperate for the money, you make poor decisions, you make.

[01:44:12] Bad decisions.

[01:44:13] You make bad decisions, you know? And I think that’s what young guns don’t be desperate for the money. You know, money will come if you treat people correctly. Money will come and and you do. Yeah. So it’s not but yeah. Yeah, no. My wife, she will say I told you about them. She still brings up from time to time now and I’ll go, that was, that was 15 years ago. Now I play Sarah. I think we’ve gone past that, you know. But yeah, you know what? I still beat myself up about it. I didn’t see that coming, you know, I stupid it was, but yeah, that was the place I was in at the time, you know. So, you know, and probably going back to be an associate for too long. I sold the practise. I sold the practise in 2009 and then stayed in it for a few years. Yeah, I was probably wasn’t the best decision for that actually. But apart from that, yeah, I can’t say I actually have been, let’s say, very lucky with where I’ve ended up in life. I can’t complain.

[01:45:15] Excellent. We’re coming to the end of our time gap. So I’m going to ask you the same questions we ask all our guests at the end. Am to two questions. One is fantasy dinner party. Three guests, dead or alive. Who would you.

[01:45:31] Pick? Well, the weird with the first one is a weird one. It would be my wife’s great grandfather I use called Surfside Wazir Hassan. All right. Who was the founder of the All India Muslim League. All right. Okay. My way out. My father was from North India, originally from Lucknow area. I went to medical school and whatnot and was meant to go to Cambridge, but couldn’t go because my father in law was born in 1929. His grandfather was Uttar Pradesh. He was the Lord Chief Justice of Uttar Pradesh. Rajesh sounds fascinating bloke, absolutely fascinating and so much so. When my father in law grew up, he went to medical school, right? With a servant. Right. And I said and then looked on. I went and I said to him, Sir, your life when you grew up was very like Downton Abbey. And he went, he thought, Oh, yes, I suppose it was. He said, we had more staff and I mean, and so he had but his his his his grandfather was a fascinating character and actually has a street named after him in Lucknow. So, you know, he’s fascinating to meet, you know. The second one is my love of rugby, the Brian Driscoll of it’s simple but probably the world’s best centre, arguably. But we met him at London Irish when my son was seven and my son took fright and couldn’t go over and see him and God bless him.

[01:47:10] Brian O’Driscoll noticed that my son Rory was sort of cowering by a tree crying, and he went over and actually tapped him on the shoulder and said, And I just thought, You know what? You’re a decent bloke, actually. You know, you noticed that child was, you know, like that. And, you know, I suppose the last person I sort of I struggled with to think who I would like to have have along. Yeah, I really because there’s nobody I sort of hugely go, Oh God, yeah, it’d be great to have so-and-so along. It would be nice to have, you know, I think everybody would say this, but it’d be nice to have my father back just to see, because I think he was such a businessman. He’d be very proud of what I did. I think it would be nice he died before because I was very much he was 47 when I was born and he died when I was only turning 40 and I hadn’t hit quite the success I have now. And I think it would be nice for him to come along and then he could be very, very proud. You know what you know? So yeah, but yeah. So that would be basically my mix. Yeah.

[01:48:13] Very nice, man. Very nice. Interesting mix of people as well. The final question. It’s a deathbed.

[01:48:23] Question.

[01:48:23] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not that far. Not that far.

[01:48:28] Enough. Sure. You’ve got plenty of time on your deathbed, your nearest and dearest around you. What three pieces of advice would you give them?

[01:48:38] My first one is Don’t be a sheep. All really don’t be a sheep. In other words, do not follow the herd. The flock stand up for your own opinion because ultimately you end up with a very dissatisfied life. If you try and mould yourself, you are your own person and what you what you believe in is right. So definitely don’t be a sheep. The second.

[01:49:06] Voice.

[01:49:07] Yeah, the second one would be I had a couple I was torn up between exercise more, which is important to realise that later on in life. But I see trust that I think that’s what a lot of people would say. Wouldn’t it be trust your trust, just literally listen to your gut. If I’d listened to my gut about that investment I’ve made. Yeah. And the final ones are probably true, but slightly more tongue in cheek is yeah, don’t drink cheap red wine. Make sure you drink less of it, but drink better.

[01:49:45] Yeah.

[01:49:47] I like that. I like that. Well, it’s been it’s been wonderful. It’s been it’s been probably our longest podcast ever because we had to go through the red wine bit. I hope you keep the red wine post going. Yeah. So you don’t get put off by by some of those negative.

[01:50:07] You can do. You can’t do. That’s the problem. Yeah.

[01:50:10] But, but you know, there’s a discipline in doing something and sometimes you feel like you’ve got to do every week. I don’t think you should do it every week. I think you should do it every time you’ve got something where you’ve spoken to someone, you know, that’s that’s the important thing. And you seem to speak to a lot of people. You seem to know a lot of people. So, yeah. So you seem to get a nice different views of of what what is and isn’t controversial. It’s lovely to see those. And I really hope the new group goes very well as well. Not such a good day at the orifice. I think every dentist should be part of that and and encourage everyone.

[01:50:40] To.

[01:50:41] Contribute.

[01:50:42] It’s the posting is important. Yeah. Just to help other people.

[01:50:45] Contribute to that because you know the key point in this podcast is what were your mistakes, what can we learn from them? And you know, we don’t talk about our mistakes enough in this profession. We need to talk about them more. Absolutely. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you. Thank you so, so much.

[01:51:02] Now yeah, now I know it was a great. Thank you very much. Payman.

[01:51:07] 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.

[01:51:23] 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.

[01:51:37] 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. And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

In this week’s extended episode, Prav sits down to chat with one of the profession’s larger than life characters, Amit Patel.

In a wide-ranging conversation recorded shortly before the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) Team Congress in Manchester, ADI president Amit reveals how and why a specialist periodontist now leads the association.

Amit also chats about real-life Vs online networking, imposter syndrome and why skydiving is now his preferred method of relaxation.

Enjoy!    

In This Episode

01.22 – Sartorial style

03.37 – Backstory

08.16 – Social media and real-life networking

19.28 – Confidence and imposter syndrome

31.17 – Political correctness

35.21 – School life and deciding on dentistry

45.32 – Dental school

56.52 – Specialism and practice ownership

59.41 – Connecting with experts

01.03.30 – Practice ownership and mindset

01.16.01 – Blackbox thinking

01.21.57 – Treatment longevity

01.36.17 – The Association of Dental Implantology

01.50.29 – Skydiving

02.00.40 – Last days and legacy

02.03.08 – Fantasy dinner party

About Amit Patel

Dr Amit Patel is the president of the Association for Dental Implantology. He graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1997 and gained membership of the Royal Faculty of Dental Surgeons in 2000.

He went on gain a master’s in periodontology and clinical dentistry at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Dental Institute.

He is a specialist in periodontics and an honorary clinical lecturer at the University of Birmingham Dental School.

Amit is an ambassador for the Clean Implant Foundation, which aims to establish a science-based quality benchmark for implants.

In 2018, he was voted one of dentistry’s 50 most influential figures.

[00:00:00] And I always remember this very wealthy woman. And she said to me, Oh, I’ve been told I need a gum graft around this implant the right. And I’m like, Well, yeah, I can do it. But then I wasn’t charging a lot of money and it was going to be £400. Right. And she drives him with this very expensive car outside. And she’s busy saying to me, Oh, that’s too expensive. And I’m looking at it and and I’m not backing down. And she’s saying, Well, I said, I’d rather not do anything. And she says to me, Well, it sounds like you do it for free. And I said, No. And I said, I’m the only one in the West Midlands that can do this, and you don’t want to irritate me any further. And she was well aware of that. Never, I never seen again. But then I turned around and I said, So what’s your son do? And she goes, Oh, he’s a lawyer. I said, Oh, that’s really good. Yeah. And I said, So what would you feel if your son had to reduce his fees? She said, Nothing, you know, and that was it. But I think you have to have that confidence to tell people, fuck off.

[00:00:57] Yeah, no.

[00:01:04] 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.

[00:01:22] It gives me great pleasure to introduce Dr. Ahmed Patel, Specialist Periodontist from Birmingham Practise Owner, Teacher, Current President of the ADC. And if you still don’t know who he is when you see him out on social media, he is definitely wearing the brightest outfits that you can possibly see. I mean, we’re on we’re on a podcast now and he’s wearing a bright turquoise zip up hoodie. Filler. Filler. Got to get the brand in, mate.

[00:01:53] And be honest. Right. Because when I was a kid, you’d see all these kids wearing these filler tops and Sergio to TV. And then, you know, it was like, oh, I’d like one of those. But you know what? Can’t afford it.

[00:02:07] I couldn’t afford it, mate.

[00:02:09] Oh, exactly. So now I’m like, you know, and my mum and dad just to take me down to Wembley Market and you’d be like, I’m still not going to ask for it because it was, you know, obviously it was a it was a dodgy, dodgy one and that’s fine. But it was still expensive. But now it’s like I’ve got a little bit of money. I’m going to invest.

[00:02:23] Treat yourself, but treat yourself. You know, I remember those days growing up, me and we used to go to the markets to get our clothes and all my mates had nycc and we had, we had Nick’s.

[00:02:35] Yeah.

[00:02:36] And I and I see I don’t even know if anyone knows that brand. Right. But that was the alternative, right? And we had that and we got the piss ripped out of us for that. Right. And because we didn’t have much growing up. But, but, you know.

[00:02:50] It was amazing like so like back so because I am 50 this year and you know, my mates, they were from divorced families and stuff and then they’d be going out at the age of 15, 16 and they’d be buying these really expensive T-shirts like C two set and, and, and shoving you on and all this. And it’s like you’re paying 70, 80 quid for a t shirt. And I’m like, Whoa. But then in the late eighties, and there’s like a huge amount of cash, you.

[00:03:19] Know, I don’t even do that now. Not going to do that now. But just going back to that, I mean, I think everyone would recognise you as that guy who even turns up to formal events, right? Wearing your suit and your bright orange dreads, you know, and the long hair, right?

[00:03:34] Yeah. I’m very out of luck. Exactly.

[00:03:37] Now I’m very jealous, mate. I’m very, very jealous. But just tell us about your back story. You know, where you were born, where you grew up, and your upbringing.

[00:03:47] So I was born in the UK and my dad is a civil engineer and he worked in the UK for companies and all that sort of stuff. So and my mum was sort of, I think she used to be a schoolteacher when we were in the past, but then became a housewife type of thing. Sure. And yeah. So we were born in we lived in north west London in Edgware. And actually I’ve got I would say I was very fortunate to be living there because it was really, you know, a nice kind of suburb of of London, really. And we had I had Japanese friends, I had Italian friends. I had friends that were from Ghana and all this sort of stuff. It was really, really good. And yeah, so it was, it was, it was fun, but we were all just went to normal state school and just, you know, and we were latch door kids because my parents both went to work. So we’d had the keys to get into the house and we’d sit at home and you’d watch school. I came home and it is amazing when you think about it, you know, because you had to make your own food and stuff and you just at home watch TV. So yeah, it was and you know, and it was also good because you’d go and hang out with your mates on the streets and stuff and everything and your neighbours knew it was good. Yeah.

[00:05:03] I remember those days, mate, that we would probably less so during the week, but on the weekends me and my brother would just nip out on our skateboards and BMX and then just disappear. Me and our parents wouldn’t know where the heck we were, right? We were just talking about.

[00:05:21] They weren’t fussed.

[00:05:23] But then they didn’t care me and we’d, you know, we’d go and play whatever in some hills, make some dens and go and cause a bit of trouble and then come back in the evening for our tea. Right. And the thing is that there was no issues around security where now, mate, my little six year old. Yeah. If I’m in like some kind of a theme park or summat and I let go of a hand for 10 minutes and I can’t see her. Yeah, I’m having palpitations, mate.

[00:05:49] Yeah, I mean, this is it. It’s things have changed and but you know, I think maybe we live in a society where also other adults don’t want to look like they’re checking up on a child or whatever it is, whereas before it was, you know, there’s a much more community based feeling, wasn’t it? I mean, if you think about it, you know, lockdown, what was amazing about lockdown was, you know, we all started to become much more community based. But that’s. Stopped again, right? Yeah. Yeah. One thing I did, one of the negatives about lockdown was because I have my practise in the city centre and I used to go in and just, just just just do some whatever, just to have some continuity.

[00:06:29] Bit of admin or.

[00:06:31] Something that wasn’t important but just what it. But what was interesting is because there’s loads of apartments where I work my practises and you just it was dead and you saw that these people were not mixing with their neighbours, you know, and that was the opportunity that just sat in their flats and didn’t open the doors. So. So I think, you know, it’s a shame. But, but when you go to other countries abroad, you know, you know, there’s that community still there, isn’t it? Like Italy, Spain, even though they live in apartments and the generation who’ve lived in apartments there is this family, you know.

[00:07:03] Going back and just customer mind back to those days. I don’t know if you experienced this, but you could literally walk straight into your mate’s front door, knocking it slightly open. You go straight in, say hello to the parents, you know, is Johnny coming out to play or whatever? And then off you’d go and you’d be in and out of each other’s houses. Yeah. Locks went on, doors were open. I remember those days. And now we’re so security conscious.

[00:07:27] Yeah, and I think it is. I mean, I was. It was interesting what you just said, right? Because I know we’re both like old farts, but back then, you only had the news on twice, right? Yeah. And it was. And before then there was no breakfast TV. Right? So there was the news at 6:00 and then the news at 9:00 and that was it. Right. So you only had 30 minutes of news, so you weren’t ever terrified of any stupid stuff. So as soon as 24 hour news came along, they had to put something on it. And obviously the Americans have driven this so they would turn around and just there’s a there’s a squirrel that’s escaped and it’s killing all humans, you know, but it had to be some useless news. And this is what’s happened. So people have become fearful of their own shadow.

[00:08:16] And the one thing that we definitely didn’t have back then was social media, right?

[00:08:21] Yeah, I, I am not a fan. I mean, it is really useful. I joined Facebook, maybe, I don’t know, eight years ago or something like that. And it was really for me, I didn’t have a clue what it was about, but obviously I’d heard about it back in 2006 because people were talking about it then. I had no interest then. But when you started finding out dentists using it, right? Okay, I’ll join it and friend and all this stuff because I didn’t really know many people and then it obviously escalated. But one of the good things about for me, for Facebook was that I could learn to with a really good clinicians around the world and in the UK. Right. And then you’d build relationships with them because you can contact them. And that was really good and you’d ask them advice and stuff. The bad things of Facebook is for me, you know, you might want to share your work and suddenly somebody comes out of the woodwork and they, they give it a large and they just want to destroy you and stuff.

[00:09:22] You and tear you a new one for whatever minuscule reason or their own ego.

[00:09:27] Right, exactly. And and it was really interesting because I was thinking, well, hang on, this person is asking for help. But and maybe, you know, they may not be fully aware how good or, you know, average their work is or whatever. But but there is a way of doing it, isn’t it? You know, and I think that and it’s really easy to sort of hit sit behind behind a screen and do this. I mean, now I can see your face and I could you know, I’m not going to say anything bad about you. I mean, we’re friends, but but I could if I didn’t know you, I could rip you apart. But if I’m watching your emotions, then I would change the way I’m seeing that. Does that make sense, mate?

[00:10:06] It make it makes complete sense. And, you know, I speak to a lot of dentists and my own experience of social media. Right, is that there are these people called they’re given the title of keyboard warriors these days. Right. But, you know, that person wouldn’t come to come up to you in a conference and say, by the way, do you know the case you posted the other day? That was dog shit, mate. And I’d do this, that and the other. Right. But they’ll do it on social media, right? And so it allows them to act and behave in a certain way that they wouldn’t do normally. And my take on it is it just pulls you away from real life, right?

[00:10:40] Where you, you know, because we all have we’re all social creatures. So what is it that makes you think that you have a right to do this? Because the reality is you say that to my face, they will be a massive issue. Right. Because I know and both of us who are brought up in a particular way.

[00:10:57] But you sound like someone out of Peaky Blinders now.

[00:11:01] But this is it, isn’t it? Because, you know, you as a dentist, you have to be professional. But actually most of us, we walk up a particular way and there will be our wreak havoc.

[00:11:12] Yeah, we have our instincts in the way we react as human beings. Individually and, you know, that whole social media journey, you know, I went through a period where I was posting every single day, right? Multiple times a day at times. And I’ve just picked that up again. But the one the one what I noticed is I was getting consumed with comments, direct messages. I’ll tell you what it did do. It created a massive uplift in business. And the reason it did that is, you know, there’ll be some people that resonate with my content and some people will say, who the hell does this guy think he is? Right. And I’m cool with either. All right. But you do get emotionally impact with it. And I started to withdraw from real life.

[00:11:53] Yeah.

[00:11:53] So whatever’s going on there that I get distracted in, my daughter walks in and even though she’s in the room, I’m not in the room with her. Right. And that’s sad. And I think COVID took me away from social media, if that makes sense. I got COVID had it pretty bad. Yeah.

[00:12:08] I remember you.

[00:12:09] Saying disappeared body. And it’s it’s a breath of fresh air. And what I’m trying now is to post and not check it. Right. So I’ll put a piece of content out there and just not check in and try my best to not give a you know what? And that’s my that’s my strategy now because real life is far more important, right?

[00:12:30] Lately. Yeah. And and I think and I think what is interesting is, you know, you’re right, because there’s a guy called a shaman and he does. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is the stuff about Instagram. And it is interesting because he’s saying you don’t have to post every day because it is because you know, you’re having to you’re checking it and you almost have to like keep an eye on it and almost have to grow it. And it’s like, that’s not but but again, I’m too old, so I don’t know if that’s the way to do it because I earn money by physically seeing patients. Right now, I understand social media has changed, especially with Instagram, where you are, you have to work it every day because you want patients to come to you directly. And I’m in a very fortunate position because I’m a specialist. I don’t need patients to come to me. I need dentists to refer to me because and that’s why I have to lecture. And I love it. And I do whatever I have to do to network and build that relationship with dentists. So maybe, maybe Instagram or whatever it is has changed the way you interact with patients. But, you know, like I said, as you maybe post once a week, but then step away from it if you can. And you’re right, you know, that’s the right thing to do. Christmas is probably about Christmas. I just didn’t use my phone for two weeks and it was just so good I didn’t miss it. But what was amazing went back to work and I was straight back on to Facebook and Instagram because I was like, Oh, good, let’s just check. But then I realised I don’t need it, you know.

[00:13:58] It’s like crack. Me Yeah, it’s addictive. And you know, I think for you, you know, if you came to me and said, Look, what should I do with my social media? You’ve just you’ve just told me what you should do already without even knowing it, which is your audience are dentists. Yeah. And they come to you because you’ve got a level of expertise, clinical, academic, you know, whatever it is, knowledge, experience that they don’t have. Right. Whether it’s treatment, planning, identifying stuff, carrying out the surgery, whatever it is, you’ve got that experience and expertise. So if I was in your shoes, if you wanted to grow that side of things, I would be sharing case reviews and tips, hence that sort of thing. And it doesn’t have to be every day. But you know, you are louder than life character because of your bright, you know, attire and all the rest of it. Right. So people know Amit Patel has arrived. Yeah. And so I think you I think you do really well on social, but I guess the key comes down to do you really need it, right.

[00:14:57] Yeah. And actually you’re going back to that, you know. Yes, I do dress a particular way and I probably I do to be, you know, to be what it contrived or whatever it is or I don’t know what the word is. But just to show that, look, you know what?

[00:15:16] I am not a conformist.

[00:15:18] Yeah. There you go. That’s the word. Yeah. So and I do that on purpose because, you know, as a student, I didn’t fit in very well at university. I just did anything else but dentistry. Right? I did have long hair back then. And they’d be saying, if you don’t cut your hair, you will fail finals. So I had to cut the hair and I still fell finals.

[00:15:41] So that’s because you’re Sampson me and all your power was in your hair.

[00:15:45] Yeah, yeah, but. But, yeah. And then now obviously I’m a specialist and it’s like, okay, I could look and dress a particular way, but, you know, I don’t really care. I don’t need to show people this is what I am. And I’ve been to I’ve been, again, very fortunate that I’ve lectured at some of the biggest events in the world. So I’ve lecture Europe area where we have 13, 14,000 people at this event, and I’ve done it three, two times and I’ve been on and I’ve been lecturing next to the people that I want to be like and emulate. You know, I’ve always looked up to and even in that situation, I will address a particular professionally, but then I’m rocking around with a twist. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then, you know, but people, you know, because they assume that you aren’t someone who’s got a brain or whatever. And then but it’s not an issue. I mean, I’m not I’m not very competitive is the truth. But yeah, sorry. We were digressing about social media, but I think one of the issues it could be based on the web and brought up because I’m not the most confident of people about my abilities because I still feel that I’ve got so much more to learn. But there’s a lot of people and it could be the way they’ve been educated that they are very, very confident and they come out thinking that they are so good.

[00:17:01] But when I qualified as a student, I realised as a dentist I realised that I had so much more to that. Even when I qualified as a specialist, I realised I wasn’t good enough to even call myself a specialist. Right know. I mean, I did four years training at guys at St Thomas’s. I only place 13 implants in four years. That means I ain’t good at anything. Right. And I went out of my way to so to meet the people, the best people in the world. I went to Milan. A good friend of mine is a professor in Perio. Julia Russell really spent a month there learning how to do periodontal regeneration and all this kind of cool stuff. And then I built the network of people that he knew some of the best periodontist in the world. And then I went and watched some amazing implant dentists, you know, many weeks with them. And then there’s some here in the UK that I’ve spent lots of time with and I realised actually there’s so much more I can do and now I can give to my patients. And then I was, I was at hanging out with my mate at Harvard, spending a bit of time there to learn loads of stuff that they were doing. And his name is David Kim. He’s a professor there now. And and all that network has worked really well for me because I still want to learn more.

[00:18:12] I mean, I’m off to Brazil in August to learn from this young soft tissue expert called Ricardo Kearns. And he’s just an amazing individual. And we’ve been friends for about five years. And if I mess up a case and I do mess up tons of cases, right. And if I haven’t got a clue what to do, I call up Asia, man. Yeah. And I call up another mate, Michael David Gonzalez, in Spain. And I got all these other individuals that will say, look, this is the way to fix it and oh, let’s see how it heals. And they’re much they’re really cool individuals. They’re not critical. They tell you the where where it went wrong. So it’s really good. So I’m always learning on a regular basis. So, so that’s been the biggest thing of social media for me because, you know, you meet some of these individuals who you’ve built that relationship and then, yeah, good lifelong relationships and then you go and visit them as friends. And now because of the Adeyeye, the Association of Dental Implants ology, I’ve been very, very fortunate where I can just ring up anybody and they’ll come and do it. I mean, there’s a guy called Thomas Albrechtsen Albrechtsen, and he’s essentially the godfather of implant dentistry and he’s going to be lecturing on the conference next year. Oh, wow, he’s never left the UK.

[00:19:28] We’ll come back to the ADA. I’ve got quite a few questions around that. But going back to your upbringing, you mentioned that, you know, maybe, you know, you don’t have the confidence because because of your upbringing. Right. And I can resonate with that. And I also think about my own kids who were beaming with confidence. Right. Will stand upon a stage in front of 100 kids and belt out, you know, whatever it is they need to and have zero anxiety. Right. I know. You know, I’ve got a couple of lectures coming up every time that happens, right. The butterflies kick in me. Yeah. And I start thinking about all those sort of things. Doesn’t, doesn’t. And we’ve seen the younger generation on social media just have bags of confidence. Right. And I think part of that is to do with our upbringing. But what do you think it is about your upbringing, where you feel that?

[00:20:15] So the thing is, I, you know, when I was shit at something, I was told I was shit at something, right? So that was fine. And it didn’t, it didn’t bother me. So I had to work hard and do better. Right. But it wasn’t like I was told. It was good because you even knew it was rubbish. I mean, you know, it was rubbish, right? So I think that was what was good about it. I think that is real. Been a benefit for me, I’d say. And, and you know, if I pretended to sing my mum and dad was you’re pretty rubbish. And I’m like, fine, that’s the end of it. I’m not going to do it. I mean, maybe that’s not the right thing. And it’s interesting because also when I was at dental school. It’s all changed now. But if you are rubbish at something, they did tell you, right? So that was a good thing. Right. And it just made me want to think, och, I would never get to the point where I said I’m going to prove them wrong because that’s that, isn’t it?

[00:21:17] Not you.

[00:21:19] I had no interest in that, but I wanted to get better than I will do it. So I think that was the reason. And and also there’s this there’s this saying, isn’t it physical imposter syndrome or something like that?

[00:21:31] Do you know what that was screaming out at me? And the reason why is you just said to me, oh, I did this. I did my specialist training. I did this only place, this implant. I’ve gone and see this guy, but I’m still not good enough. Yeah. And to me, it just screams imposter syndrome, because you kind of feel like you’re putting yourself out there, I guess. I don’t know what. What’s your take on that? What’s your take on imposter syndrome?

[00:21:56] I mean, I didn’t realise that’s what it was call what I had. It’s like you said. So you and I both lecturing in this thing at this weekend. Right? And I am anxious about it. Right. And I will be doing it until it’s like an exam. You are poo in your pants until you sit there, write your name on top of the exam paper, and then suddenly everything goes away. Yes. And that’s what will happen. So I am so nervous to the point where I’m doing my presentation just before the before I plug it in. And, you know, it’s the same thing with Europe area, right? So I knew that I was lecturing with a guy called Otto Xur and Gallop Gazelle and a guy called David Herrera all at the same time on the same stage. And and, you know, I knew a year in advance and I was still anxious about it for a whole year until I turned up and did it, did the talk. And I can’t get rid of that. And, and yeah, I don’t know, I don’t know the answer to that. But I mean, it’s like when I go, you know, I love you, brother, don’t you? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think he’s he’s just an amazing human being. Right. And, you know, when I stand next to him and he just oozes confidence that every single pore of his body, it is hilarious. And and next thing I know, I’m in awe of this man. Right. And the rest is I’m like six foot and he’s like, two foot. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, makes me look like I’m the smallest person in the room because of what he has, you know? And it’s amazing. But he has confidence based on how good he is. Right. And clinical ability and his knowledge and all of this stuff that makes him.

[00:23:41] But the one thing Caleb does is he does speak volumes about you. And he does say to me that, you know, you’ve got that guy who you can call up when shit goes wrong. Yeah, you’re his guy. Oh, really? Yeah. And he says to me, you know, it’s nice to have someone like Hamlet who I can just whizz a photograph across to pick up the phone. And, you know, he just squares me away. He sells me out, right? So even though you’re in the same room and you’re looking up to this, you know, two and a half foot guy or down to him that he does look up to you as well, mate. And, you know, he comes to you for that for that higher level advice. I would say.

[00:24:22] This. So I don’t I don’t know about the confidence thing. I mean, I think I’ll always like it. I mean, again, it comes to also if an individual ask me a question, I know I will know the answers and I will answer in a professional way. But but when someone sort of says to me, Oh, yeah, I think the work is good online, I get really embarrassed and I’m like, Oh, that’s very kind. But actually I think this is not as good or whatever it is, you know what I mean? So I don’t know. I don’t I don’t know how you deal with that because I mean, it’s a really good friend of mine called Nick Fahy and you know him as well.

[00:24:53] I know Nick. Yeah. Good friend of mine, too. Yeah.

[00:24:56] Yeah, he’s exceptional individual. He’s. He’s somebody I’ve known for 12 years now. Right. And he’s amazing. And he’s a specialist in his field and he runs a stunning practise in Pango. And what’s interesting about him is he’s been pushing digital implant dentistry and the whole concept of guided implant dentistry for 12 years and he knows more than most people around the world, and yet he lacks confidence because he feels maybe he’s, you know, he’s not in the right place or whatever it is. But it is fascinating. But I will go and say. Days of them learning from him because he knows everything. And yet we’re in the same position where it’s like, Well, hang on, I’m thinking to myself. He’s a specialist in prosthetics and I’m a specialist in Perio. And what I’m trying to say is that he’s probably thinking, why is this periodontist come to learn from me? And I’d be thinking, why is this dentist is a specialist for me? But it’s like, well, he should already know it, you know what I mean? But it is I don’t know. I don’t know how you get over that. I don’t know. The things are changing.

[00:26:02] Yeah. Look, I’ve had many conversations with Nick and his wife, Sarah, about the whole Nick confidence thing. Right. Because he is bloody amazing at what he does, right? There’s no question about that. He’s. He’s somebody who I’d consider to be quietly confident. Yeah, but you can’t go out there and blow his own horn. It just it just doesn’t have that in him. And I respect.

[00:26:22] That because, I mean, I know we know he’s not British, but I think it is. And the way I was brought up is, you know, you’re British and we do have a stiff upper lip. Yeah, but maybe that’s changed now. Well, you know, the days you meet these British individuals in the past, you watch films, they would never they’d have this air of confidence, but they wouldn’t blow their own trumpet. I mean. Yeah.

[00:26:47] But but then, you know, you grow in going back to you. Growing up as a kid, I don’t tell my kids the shit.

[00:26:53] Yeah.

[00:26:54] And I was told I was shit. I come home. Must test. Yeah. Got 98%. Dad, what up. What happened to the other two. Yeah. What happened to the other two. That’s, that’s what I used to get. Right. So I think there’s probably some truth in that in terms of the way we were brought up and the, you know, the encouragement or their lack of that we had. Right. But it shaped us into who we are today. Yeah, exactly. You know, the way I see or deal with my own imposter syndrome these days is, you know, may I might be delivering a piece of content out there that is the same piece of content that someone else is delivering who is far superior to me in experience, years of knowledge and whatever. Right. But it’s the same content being delivered. But guess what? Some people prefer that content to be delivered by a two and a half bald guy. Yeah. And some people prefer that content to be delivered by the other guy who is the the pioneer of it or whatever. Right.

[00:27:55] And that’s cool and right. It’s just people will engage with you or relate to you in different ways.

[00:28:02] In different ways, mate. So, you know the way I do it and I’m still not over it, right? I get anxious all the time. But I do think that the way I deal with it is saying that, you know what, the way Prav delivers it, nobody else can deliver it like rough. Right. And that’s not arrogance. That’s not arrogance. It’s just Prav does it this way. And somebody else might deliver the same concept in a way better than Prav, right? I’m cool with that, right? And that’s how I try and sort of process it in my own head, mate. But moving on to your upbringing.

[00:28:37] Going back to this confidence thing, so I know I’m not told about imposter syndrome, but essentially so when I was a student, if I if I got a B, I was very content, like, okay, if I go to see I got into trouble because they were saying, that’s really bad.

[00:28:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:28:56] All I wanted was the least amount of replies I wanted just to get out of there and get a beat. So I was and but I teach because I moved to Birmingham and I teach at the university here in chapel. Yes. So that tells you who’s. An exceptional friend, and he’s helped me go into different directions. But essentially when I was teaching the students there, I learnt. That their confidence is amazing. Right. So. So I remember one day and I’d be you know, I always remembered that when I was a student at Liverpool, I didn’t want to be that clinician who showed favouritism to a particular sex or a particular individual, which is always the way back then, right? Yeah. So I remember one one student and I give everybody B’s, you know, because they were average, you know, and they were good enough, you know what I mean? And once you turn up to me and she said, I disagree with your grading, and I was like, Oh, really? You’re only like a third year or fourth year. Where do you get this? Confidence is amazing. And then all these individuals are like they will go and shit.

[00:30:11] They don’t know what it’s going to be like because and I just went so. So do you think your what grade you want? And she went like I’m like, okay. So I said, so does that mean you’re as good as me? And then she backed down very, very quickly because they don’t realise the scale. Yeah. And you know, and, and I thought and then she and obviously she looked like an idiot in front of her mates. Right. Which was, which was really, which wasn’t my plan, but obviously that’s the way it ended up. But, but I was amazed. And then I’ve done all this teaching the trainer stuff. Oh, my God, I do that years ago. And and it’s fascinating when we got in this position where we say to people, so. Where do you think you did well? Where do you think you did bad? I mean, it’s like. What? It’s just. And we’re so much more cautious about not. You know, especially when you’re talking to someone face to face, it’s like, you know, you want them to do better, don’t you? You don’t want them to do that. No.

[00:31:17] But you know what? These days we just got to be careful about the words we use. Right. The certain words I used to use growing up that I couldn’t repeat on this podcast. Right. Because because someone would tear me a new one. Right. And maybe, you know, if we were having a beer or over dinner, I’d come out with that stuff. Right. No problem. So, you know, we are in a more cautious society.

[00:31:39] You say this because I was I was when I was driving back from Newcastle on Friday night at stupid o’clock and I was in bed by 130, but essentially at 9:00 on Radio four, there was something about it’s about the nineties and it’s really, really good because essentially it talks about I can’t remember who there was this film called Trainspotting, and there was a particular Scottish actor in a big Hollywood attached, I remember. So he’s he’s the one talking about it and it talks about. So in the eighties, we’re very much more politically correct, right? Yeah. And and then the nineties became less politically correct. But that also led to some of the issues that we have now in 2020. It really, really interesting. You’ve got to listen to that radio for 9:00. And I think it’s a it’s a bunch of it’s it’s called the nineties or something like that. But and it sort of put into perspective about the Internet coming into into the into the nineties. And this is why we now become much more woke because of what happened back then. Sure. And and that also talks about the Ukraine situation and stuff like that. And coming down to the of the war is very, very good.

[00:32:53] But again, it’s about the reason why I’m talking about that is because it also has given these a lot of people this self-confidence and their ability to just say what they need to say. But it’s also made it very difficult for us to be. Because end of the day, 90% of us will say things and it’s not really to hurt people. But that small 10% is so loud and making it difficult for us to be part of society. I mean, look, I have patients of a certain age, right? And they are blatantly racist. Right. And does it bother me? No, because it doesn’t matter. Right. Because because they’re in their seventies or their eighties, but they don’t, you know, and that is fine. But why am I going to try to change their attitude? Why do I need to do that? Why do I want to you know, they’ve only got a certain number of years and then they’re feeling that they’re not part of society. Does that make sense? And it’s because they’re scared of the wrong things, you know? Do you know what I mean?

[00:33:56] Makes complete sense, mate. You know, at the end of the day, you know, I look at those individuals, the older generation, who are racist. Right. It’s just the way they are. It’s the way they’ve been brought up. It’s the way that it’s what they’ve been exposed to. Right. And what’s this seven year old going to do to you?

[00:34:11] Yeah.

[00:34:12] Yeah. They’ve got their own preconceived ideas. So what? Right. Move on. Get on with your life, you know?

[00:34:19] And what is interesting is that that 70 year old doesn’t even see me. As being of a different colour. Which is hilarious. Okay, but. But everybody’s racist, right? Because it also it came back when it came to Brexit. So I’d be asking my patients of this age because they’re obviously. Doesn’t matter what race they are. Right. You know, they’ve they’ve seen the benefit of the of the EU and before the EU and then they realised this rubbish. So I get Asian patients come in, I’m going which way you’re voting and they say I’m voting Brexit. And I’m like, well why is that. We have too many foreigners in the UK. So this is a foreigner. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You say you have English people saying I’m voting for Brexit for the same reason, and so we’re all racist in our own little ways. It just depends on how you communicate with your circle of friends and who you let in and out. You know what I mean?

[00:35:14] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And it’s that sliding scale again, right? We’re going to move on from this conversation.

[00:35:19] Before I get to this one. Yeah.

[00:35:21] Oh, we get carried away. But we can we can continue at the dentistry show next week. But you know what? When did you when did you decide dentistry was for you? Was it was it one of these, you know, Asian parents brought up in that environment? Doctor, dentist, lawyer, what was the.

[00:35:41] So I went to not a very good school, so and it is now a very good school, supposedly so. So I was 16 and I wanted to leave school. I wanted to join the army or or become a plumber. I just I hate I hate I didn’t hate academia. I didn’t want to. Yeah, I’m really rubbish at learning and, and they were like, well my mates decided to do the A-levels. So I was like, I wouldn’t did that. So they were doing like graphic design. They wanted to be graphic designers and all that. So my mates were not anyway, none of my mates, the doctors or medicks or whatever. And then I went to do my A-levels and then the teacher sort of said and I was good at woodwork, right?

[00:36:24] So I was good at woodwork, my loved CBT they used to call it.

[00:36:28] But then yeah, yeah, design and technology and I love the lathe and all that sort of stuff. I love that. And this would out of everything okay if I left school at 16, right? Yeah. And then they were like, Well, you seem to be good with your hands. You know what? Maybe you should do dentistry. I’m like, okay, fine. And that was it, really. And but then it was a B and two CS.

[00:36:50] And what was that? Some careers dude said to you, give dentistry a go. They flicked a book open and go, Oh yeah, you’re good with your hands. Give us.

[00:36:58] A shot. And that was it. And I remember it very vividly. I’m like, Okay, I’ll do it. Because my mates had decided that they were going to go and do graphic design or or whatever it was. Yeah, designing graphic design and and I went, okay, fine, I’ll do that. And, and my school again, we had a sixth form in the school and most of us went, we all failed at A-levels, most of us, and the rest that didn’t didn’t fail, you know, they did. All right, A-levels. They still went to a polytechnic because we had polytechnics like that, right?

[00:37:31] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:37:33] So yeah, that’s what it was. So I just did it for the sake of it. But then the problem, what happened was I did fail in A-levels and I got what I get, I got a C yeah. And I got an E and I got an RN. An RN is a near miss. I see now. That’s right.

[00:37:49] Do you know what you you should have told that girl when she came to you and said, hey, I’m not happy with my B, I bumped you up from a C, love. Where do you want to go?

[00:37:56] Yeah, that was really smart. Yeah.

[00:38:00] Well, go on. So. So you got you got a near miss. What happened? What happened.

[00:38:04] Next? I was really, really gutted because I thought I was going to get these A-levels and and but I didn’t work for it, you know, and I knew I hadn’t worked for it and it was just stupid really. And then I and then my mum and dad realised, oh hang on, maybe the school isn’t that good. They took us out of the school. I got a little Oh. And they put us in a crummy school. Right. And I had a very good friend, that Japanese friend Yuki and he lives in, lives in Japan now and, and his mum took him out of that school a year before without A-levels because she realised he wasn’t going to do well. So he went to this grammar college and then did very well, then left with a successful career. And so my mum and dad took us to the same college and we understood how to sit an exam and all these things. And my brother, brother got his A-levels, really good A-levels and went on to Aston and then I, I got three B’s and I went on to Liverpool but essentially when I went for my interview. So obviously nowadays there’s no way I’d even get an opportunity to be a dentist or a doctor or whatever, right? Because you have to do really well in your swimming test at the age of eight before you’re even allowed into one of these to do a degree like that. So I was rejected at all of these places because I wasn’t. My interview process is rubbish, you know. It’s not very good and it’s still not very good.

[00:39:25] Did you turn up in a bright turquoise tracksuit at your interview?

[00:39:30] No, I wore my dad’s suit because, you know, it was like I was like where my dad said didn’t fit. I never owned a suit. You know what I mean? It was.

[00:39:40] I remember going shopping at Burton for my first seatmate. Do you remember that store?

[00:39:45] Yeah, I do love it. Actually, go buy the bird. So when I went to Liverpool, we were told we have to buy dinner jackets and stuff because there was going to be loads of balls with it. And I’m like, Oh man, they’re expensive. So we had this place called the it was, it was called cardigans and you’d go into this place in Liverpool and it’s like loads of stores in it and second-hand clothes and you’d go and buy your dinner jacket. So I bought a dinner jacket for 20 quid and in it it was made like 1930 or something and it was written on it. It was really hilarious. Nice. The font was very different. I have a burnt jacket now at last. But. But yeah. When I went to my interview at Liverpool it was shocking interview because I’m not good at it and they just said, So I suppose you’ve been rejected from all the other places? I said, Yes. So would you like an offer here? I said, Yes, please.

[00:40:37] Wow.

[00:40:38] Yeah.

[00:40:38] And it was this directors that directors that.

[00:40:41] Yeah, and this is a long time ago. I remember it very, very vividly. And they said to me, So what, what grade would you like? And I said, Well, I prefer three E’s, please. And they’re like, Well, that ain’t going to happen. And that was it. And then I turned up. It’s funny because, you know, when my mum and dad drove us to university, it was on the same day. So my brother was in north west London up there one and six dropped my brother off at Aston and it was I remember dropping him off and I was thinking I was very anxious for him, you know, and he’s he was only 18 and stuff and, and it was good. My mum was calm and then they dropped me off at Liverpool and I was shitting myself because I’ve never left home. But more than that I want to stay London because my mates are there. There’s nothing exists out of London right now. That’s what I thought. And, and, and I remember, you know, my dad told me my mum cried 200 miles back home because they’d lost their kids. So it wasn’t like it wasn’t life. It wasn’t like, you know, I left a year early and then they had my brother.

[00:41:54] Yeah. How did you not clocked your exams or you would have been all right.

[00:41:58] My fucking fault. And it was. I felt so bad when I heard like shit. Yeah. And it was the funny, right? So essentially my mum would say, you know, it’s cold up north. So I was the only one at university who had an electric blanket.

[00:42:17] Say me. I grew up with those electric blankets. Yes.

[00:42:22] Yeah, I know, but it’s hilarious. And I’m they’re like if I’ve ever invited him in to my room. What is that? It’s my electric chair, you know what I mean? But I remember sitting in my home and he says, Roscoe and Gladstone at Liverpool. I just sat in a room. I did not know how to interact with people, any of that sort of stuff. And I just sat there and I got knock on the door and this big tall guy called Sean Rollins and he’s he’s Welsh and he’s 62 and he was loud Welsh accent and he goes, Hi, hi. My name is Sean Rowlands. I’m doing a veterinary degree. What’s your name? And we just became such good friends. Otherwise I would be still sitting in my room then and can you know. And he he suddenly just that, that, that, that one thing. Yeah. And it was, it was just and then, you know, you’re at Liverpool and you know, we had Brookside back then and you know, you heard the Scouser accent, what the hell is that? And you know, I got in the cab to the union the first, second night or something and this guy had such a strong Scouse accent.

[00:43:27] It was obviously from Everton or exactly or wherever. And I was just thinking to myself, Are you actually asking me for a fight? Because I don’t actually know what you’re saying because it sounds so aggressive, you know? But then it took me it took me three months before I could understand what they would say. Yeah, it was, it was good. And going to Liverpool I think made me a better person because I, I could, you know, became much more individual and I could survive on my own. You know, you had your own money, you never had to ask anybody for whatever. You just had to survive. Yeah. And I look at some of my friends who said in London, they’ve definitely not moved away too far from where they were originally from, which I think, fine, you know the choice. But I think if you were to leave, if you have the opportunity, you should take it and run with it. Really? So it was good.

[00:44:18] Push him as far. Yeah. My daughter’s at Edinburgh now and I was very keen on her not going to Manchester or Liverpool or anywhere nearby. Do you know what I mean? Not because there’s anything wrong with Manchester. Liverpool. It’s just.

[00:44:29] No, no, no, no.

[00:44:30] Too close to home, right? Disappear. Go spread your wings.

[00:44:33] And come home straight away. Ask for trouble, you know? Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course. Of course. I remember and this is interesting because because I back then I had a bank account with Lloyds and I thought, you know, because everybody switching bank accounts, I thought, let me do it because this might be a good thing. And I did. And at that point, I was stuck because I was there was no income, no money and stuff. And at that point, I remember it very vividly. I was shitting myself, right? And it wasn’t like there was loads of money, you know, but but I didn’t ring up my dad or my mum and say, Hey, look, I need a hand. But it just sort of had to deal with it, you know, it was. And all those things I think have allowed me to shape you. Yeah. And adapt to situations and and you know, bad things have happened to me, right? Without a doubt. Right. But it just makes you hopefully stronger, really. And, and if things come and somebody throw shit at you, you can just deal with it, you know?

[00:45:32] So I’m moving on from obviously you got into Liverpool University not with threes but but you know, some, some, some more respectable grades. And then what was just what was your university experience like in general? We did you get your head down at that point? Were you a bit of a party animal? Just talk me through university experience and was there any point during that journey where you thought, I want to be a periodontist?

[00:46:00] I love that we want to be a periodontist. Okay. Right. So so I was very lucky that the halls of residence I was living in was full of art students. Right. So the law or whatever degree there was and it was it was a luck, but also a bad situation as well, because they obviously did not have to be at university five days a week, 9 to 5. They could do what the fuck they wanted, which is amazing. Yeah. So I was distracted quite a lot. So the little Liverpool is such a small city, but the campus is is amazing because you have the art side here as well, the unions here. And on this side there’s the medical school and the dental school. Yeah, science sciences in this direction. But essentially I would leave the dental school and I just stroll over there and I’d hang out with all the students because the reality for me was they were having fun. Right? Of course. And maybe that’s why I didn’t fit in with in my own dental school, because I was less than student orientated, because we just did our own thing and I thought, I know the whole universities here.

[00:47:06] So yeah. So I used to go out every night and and obviously the weekends are a bit more restful of, but it was good. And you think about it actually it’s interesting because if you go and do that now, it’s a nightmare. You can’t I can’t stay out till silly o’clock and then work the next day. But we did it for like five years and it was great. But the negative about living with art students was when it came to sitting exams. They’d finished their exams in May or whenever, and they were having a great time. And you were they’re still working towards the exam so and then I always live with the non dentists, so it was, I’ve always had that sort of relationship but going back to dental school. So within the first three months we did something called up tech where we drill, drill these plastic, drill real teeth. And I realised at the end of that I thought, I can’t do this as a career, you know, because.

[00:48:05] If the first three.

[00:48:06] Months yeah, but I was committed to finish it, I was never going to walk away.

[00:48:11] No.

[00:48:12] Because I was having a good time and I’m a degree’s degree end of the day. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So that was that. And it’s interesting that I bring this point up because I’ve met dental students who are at university now and they are three years into the degree and they have realised they don’t, they don’t like it but, but they don’t want to finish it, they want to do something, they want to, they want to leave and find something else. And I find that very difficult to comprehend because again, I’ve got friends who’ve done medicine, dentistry, and they’ve gone on and done completely different things, you know, and you, you, you’re an example of that and they’ve become very successful. So anyway, did dentistry finished it? And then year and year four, I turned up at a hospital in Woolton, which is really rough area, and we were there for a week and I’m like watching these go into that and watching these blokes. Have you seen them, predator? Yeah. Do you remember the predator? Where the guy gets his. Gets his mask off and the.

[00:49:14] Face comes apart? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:49:17] So there I am. I’m rocking up and I’m going. Patient’s face has been opened up like predator. And I’m going. What the hell? And I’m saying to them, Are you all dentists? And they’re like, Yeah, yeah, we’re dentists. And then they say, I said, But, but you cut this guy’s face open and they’re like, Well, we’ve done medicine as well. We’re surgeons. And we said they were maxillofacial surgeons and the guy’s name was James Brown and he was a consultant. And there was loads of registrars and there was a guy called Simon Rogers. He’s a professor now there. He was an amazing individual who helped me, you know, help me massively and loads of registrars there, John Devine and Dave Jones and all this sort of stuff. But essentially because they liked me and I was just so enthusiastic, they used to always drag me in and do that. Gomez Fratricide. Gomez And and mandibles. They got me to do all this stuff as a senior. And I was thinking, You know what? I like this. I might go and do medicine, right? And so at that point I said, right, get the degree out of the way, go on and do house jobs, max back jobs, and then go and do medicine. So I got my dental degree at last. I failed. Failed finals.

[00:50:29] Failed finals as well as A-levels.

[00:50:31] Yeah. Good Lord. How many times tell you? Yeah, exactly. No one was there to keep an eye on me, but. But essentially, this. These things would never happen. But in year three, there was an orthodontic consultant, and he didn’t like my attitude. And I never he never taught me after that. We never had any ones. And I was quite proud, I should say. I’m quite proud of it. But I was the first one to fail this exam at Liverpool Dental School and it was called Paediatrics and Orthodontic Dentistry. And no one, no one fails ever. I mean, it’s just a mickey Mouse exam. No one will fail that obviously I did and I’ve missed it by 2%. I even had a viva. And then I went and spoke to the paediatric consultant and his name is Mr. Lee was lovely. And he says, I didn’t think to me you did not fail. Right. And then when I saw the orthodontic consultant who runs the department, he just said, and back then we had no recording devices or anything like that. Right. Just so he said to me, he says, he says you fell because of your attitude. And if you don’t change your attitude, I’ll spare you again. And I then became this little meek individual after that. And luckily enough, I passed all the other exams by 60, 65. Right. And but then there was the people in the hospital would have a meeting and they would say, okay, who they should feel should pass, who should fail and stuff. And obviously no one put the hand up that I should pass.

[00:52:01] But one of the consultants was living in in Sheffield or Leeds. Leeds. And he came back and he said to me, he says, if I was there it would have been a different. Different, yeah. Because I wasn’t a rubbish chute. And you know what, I was very, very upset and very angry about the whole situation because I knew I was not the shitty student. I mean, and I will say this now, I don’t really care. You know, there were worse students in our year and I have not heard where they are, but they’re passed, right? Yeah. I was very angry and bitter about it all. But you know, now when I think about it, like everybody should think about stuff, would I be here talking to you? Would I have met your brother? Would I have become a specialist in Perio or whatever it is? Would I have had those opportunities, what I’ve published and everything that I’ve done? No, you know, and it’s so funny because, you know, so then I passed my degree obviously. Yeah. And then came back as a house officer and that consultant got many complaints about from me, about about me actually because I didn’t work. He was always complaining and he was saying, look, we know you have an issue with him, but he’s doing that. I said, does he do I work for him because no, I, I don’t give a shit. Right, yeah, yeah, yeah. But, but anyway, so then I, then I did my house job, I did my jobs and I loved it and I got my PhD.

[00:53:27] Yes. And I got into medical school, I got into Leeds, I got into a three year course and during that time I then did vet because I thought, you know what, I need to do vocational training because I’ve got to get that out of my way. Sure. Because I’m still a dentist. Right. It’s not like I didn’t you know, I wasn’t sure what I did not like about dentistry. Right. So I thought, let’s get out of the way. And and in that vet, I met a guy I went we went to see a specialist in in Manchester at a place called. It was called, but it’s called the Malthouse now, but essentially. David Cohen, who’s an orthodontist, was just so enthusiastic he was doing I mean, root canal treatment is mind numbingly boring when I was a student, but this guy made it sound so interesting. So I thought, you know what, maybe this is this is interesting. And then he took me out to dinner and he took me out with a periodontist that work there called Phil Green. And he said to me, you know, if you go with a scalpel, then do perio. I wasn’t looking for in any any other. Korean. But I was listening and keeping my options open and. Okay, I’ll, I’ll maybe I might consider Perrier because I’ll use a scalpel. And at that point, the speciality training pathway was being set up because the specialist had been set up because of the EU regulations. And we’re the only country that went the whole hog, whereas the rest of the European Union didn’t do that.

[00:54:45] So as always, and then I worked at UCL as an WHO and I realised how unhappy all of these registrars and consultants were. They were just so unhappy and I thought, I’ve been lucky to work at all of these amazing places and suddenly I’m exposed to these people who are unhappy. And I thought maybe that could be me because I’d have been a consultant age of 44. Okay? And so I then deferred medicine and got into the period training pathway and an A and again there was a mentor there called Allan City and he then made me realise what you can do. Now you go to his practise in, in Harley Street and he would show me, you know, look, we’re doing all this sort of reconstructing bone, all this sort of stuff. And I thought, okay, this is cool. And then from that point I then actually realised I love dentistry and the reason why I love it is it’s the interaction with the patient. The work is an exceptionally difficult if I’m having a laugh from a patient and just, just chatting away or whatever, it was really good. And I’m so pleased I didn’t go down that path of. Do match facts because the whole political situation within the NHS, I think I would be very, very annoyed and frustrated now. I like this autonomy that Kailash has. You have where we are our own own individuals and we make our own decisions. No one else is telling us.

[00:56:07] Yeah, you’re in control of your own destiny, right? You you make your own look, as they say.

[00:56:14] Exactly.

[00:56:15] So I assume you got you got through your period training and did you pass your exams?

[00:56:20] Yes, I did. Yes. Yes. First time I did. I know is.

[00:56:23] Relatively well done. So moving on from there, you became a fully fledged specialist. And then and then what happens after that? Did you what was your transition from this point to actually becoming a dental practise owner? Right. Because traditionally you’ve worked in hospitals, which is very, very different to where you are now, where you’re building relationships with your patients. Right. Completely like chalk and cheese. So just take us through that. Take us through that journey.

[00:56:52] You’re right. So, you know, the thing is, with working in a hospital, you wear this white coat and patients then think this is the highest opinion you will get and that’s it, and they usually believe you. But then when I started working in practise, it was a very different situation. Yes, yes, you were a specialist, but because you weren’t when that white coat didn’t come across in that same way. And also it was also a lack of confidence on my part, my part, knowing how little I experience I had, you know, and how much more I should I should be able to do so. So it was a very difficult transition. And one of the reasons and one of the things, you know, is I’ve worked in London and I was working in quite a few practises and I used to work in some really amazing practises and it was good and I used to work, to work in Manchester and all this sort of stuff as well with Phil Green. But I think I just got bored with all the commuting and stuff. And then my, my girlfriend who’s an intensive care consultant in Birmingham, and she said to me, Listen, why don’t you move up here in 2008? So I then 2007, 2008. So I did, I had no work because, you know, when you train as a specialist, most of us stay in the southeast where the money is and all the training is there. Whereas I just moved up to Birmingham and here in the city there was only three specialists and one of them was me.

[00:58:07] And it’s a very nice working class city. And again, I was commuting around not as you know, probably further than I would have done in London, but it would take the same length of time because it was just, you know, less traffic and stuff and no tubes. And then I enjoyed that. I built my experience because I work with some really I worked for a guy called Jason Glass and he owned three specialist practises in Shrewsbury, Stafford and in Birmingham and I learnt loads from him and understood about business then as well because he’s a very smart cookie. And I also then when I came to Birmingham, Prof. Chappell, Ian Chappell offered me a job and that was, that was an amazing thing, you know, because, you know, he’s the world’s best scientist in dentistry. Two years ago he was nominated the best scientist award in dentistry. Right. Wow. And anybody I went anywhere in the world, people that I’d read about. As soon as you tell them you worked for Ian Chappell or your you know, him, they suddenly want to they suddenly just talk about how how dynamic he is as an individual and you just realise it. You’re with one of the best people you know, and he’s the one who’s, in my opinion has built, helped me build my reputation because he’ll sort of push my name around and, and I’ve always been grateful for that really. And yeah, proper, proper. I mean what I say I love him. Yeah, I love him. Yeah. Because he’s done lots of.

[00:59:41] You seem to have crossed paths with a lot of sort of very well respected clinicians, scientists, academics. Even when you mentioned fourth year at dental school, you were the kid who got in to watch the Zigomanis and stuff, right? I’m taking it that there wasn’t another six dental students doing that. Right. You managed to to get that. What do you think it is about you that sort of enables you to connect with these individuals? Because right at the beginning we were talking about your lack of confidence. And yet, you know, you get this unique opportunity at fourth year at dental school, you’re Ian Chappell’s pushing your name around. Phil Green is the guy who said pick up the scalpel and, you know, do perio or whatever. And all of these names I have heard of, I don’t know to what extent their gravitas takes. You’ve just educated me on that piece, but what is it about you that that connects you with these individuals? Are you better one on one than you are in groups? What is it that.

[01:00:40] I don’t I don’t know the answer that you’re asking me a question that’s making me very uncomfortable, because I don’t in the sense that I’m not. Not. You know, it’s about talking about myself. And I don’t know. I don’t. One thing that I have been told is I am very irritating and annoying. Right. So. So I will if I want to speak to somebody and just that I’ve read about, I will wait and I will just say, listen, I really enjoyed reading this because I need to tell them that you have. Put something in me that’s made me think, Oh shit, I could do something different, but I want to tell them that. And I think that has maybe potentially helped me. For example, a good friend of mine now, his name’s Pat Allen. He’s one of the almost periodontist in soft tissue, and he’s in his late seventies now. And I met him at Boston at a conference in Boston. And again, there’s loads of other people I can mention that I built relationships from that as well. And, and it was hilarious. So he says to me, because, you know, obviously the Americans struggle, realising that some people might have a good English accent because of this interview.

[01:01:56] Right. He says ask him a question and he says to me, your English is very good. And I and I said to him. That’s because I’m English. And. And he was he was a bit embarrassed by that. So then he answered the question to my friend, who’s who’s from? His name is Haitham Al Rafi, who’s again? Another exceptional periodontist in London, once amazing para courses called Perry Academy, because obviously Pat was embarrassed about what he said to me. He then asked the question to to Hatem. And I’m there going. Well, I’m right here and it was hilarious. But then we became friends from that point, you know what I mean? And and again, he’s coming to lecture at the next year, and and I built a really good relationship with his wife and stuff. So he’s now suddenly know he’s there. And he and he again introduces me to people and he’ll throw my name around. But maybe because I’m a bit annoying and can be frustrating, but persistent.

[01:02:51] Persistent.

[01:02:52] Yeah, but I am persistent. But I’m also a lot of academics don’t find me competitive with them. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yes. I’ve noticed that once some academics are talking to each other and you can see there’s a guard up and I’m going, I’ve spoken to you privately, I’ve spoken to you privately, and you two are not talking the same way you do to me. And it’s hilarious. But yeah, you know, and maybe that is, is why I can have a bigger network of people because I just want to learn I am not competing with them. I don’t know the answer, to be honest.

[01:03:30] Okay. I think I think you’re very humble for somebody who’s in your position. That’s that’s very clear to me, not just in today’s conversation, but the conversations that we’ve had in the past. But moving on from there, when did practise ownership come about? When did you start working in in your own year?

[01:03:48] Ten years ago, I thought, right, well, I need to stop and just stop a squat. So I just found a little one surgery practise in the city centre and it was a dental practise before and it never did well because there was no passing track. So we’re literally in the middle of where there’s nobody walks past. It’s just off the back of the mailbox and I just sat there. So it’s just got one surgery, another room, which was a dental surgery, which I switched over and it became a CT scanning room. And we have a receptionist and a nurse, that’s it. And for months I sat there twiddling my thumb. I would go out to dentists and do lunch and learn and send newsletters out or lecture to them, free, KPD, all this sort of stuff. And I would write articles in the dental magazines and publish peer review journals, all that sort of stuff. But that sort of helped me build a small reputation and and obviously running a practise is something that I never wanted to do ever, because I saw the stress behind it. I thought, I can’t be bothered with this. It’s been it’s been a really good learning exercise for me. I don’t want to take over the world because I only have to stop.

[01:04:57] And what is lovely about it is they’re very protective and they, you know, we are a team together. If I’m doing something wrong, they will tell me off which is which is so much nicer. And so I’ve enjoyed that aspect of it and just having that autonomy and what I’ve learnt now is that I love what I do, and if I could do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, I would. But my staff caught me, asked, you know what I mean? But you know, and this is one of the reasons why I contacted you, because I saw your stuff on Facebook and I thought and the best bit was I knew Kailash Solanki, right? Yes. Your name is Solanki. I did not realise the two of you are the same and I’d be contacting you, you know, because of what you were showing on, on Facebook. And I love the stuff you were posting. And I thought, this guy is smart and focussed and has a really great balance in his life. And I thought, you know, I’d like that. And that’s why I contacted you and that’s how we became. But then, then somehow I’ll be talking about your brother and you’re like, Well, actually, he’s my brother. I’m like, Whoa!

[01:06:00] So connected that I remember that moment.

[01:06:03] I know I you don’t look in my mind. You don’t look the same.

[01:06:09] We don’t look like each other. I’ve not got his funky hairdo. We’re like chalk and cheese and very similar in this in the same.

[01:06:15] And that’s what’s nice isn’t it. And I think that’s lovely. Yeah. And that’s why the two of you work so well together. And it’s the same again with you, my brother. You and your brother. Your brother and I, Kailash and I, we are the same. We’re chalk and cheese. And I think that’s why we work so well and we can be good friends. But that’s why I contacted you, because I thought, you know, I’m obviously not doing it right and I know I can still do better. But the problem I have is I am the problem because it’s letting go of that control, you know. And yes, I could expect, you know, and yes, I could get more people. I mean, I have 144 five Google reviews and I would be so upset if someone walked up and ruin that, you know, my insecurity, I’ll be sitting in a corner crying, rocking, like, you know, like, like really in a zoo, you know what I mean?

[01:07:03] Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, you’ve created that whole, that environment around you, right? And you’ve realised that you don’t want the additional stress of multiple associates or all the rest of it and you’re in control of that. Right. And you can go on holiday whenever you want and whatnot. And that’s, and that’s cool. And it’s all about you. And and there’s nothing there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

[01:07:29] It’s like you just said. Also say to me, like before lockdown, they said, you spend ten weeks out of the out of the out of the clinic. And I’m like, well, it doesn’t feel like I spend ten weeks the most lecturing board, whatever it is, and the few holidays that might have gone on. And then when obviously when lockdown came along after lockdown, because I’ve not gone anywhere because you realise you’ve turned over this much and I’m like, What? And it’s like, I don’t understand why, because you never, you’re here, you know? And it’s like, Oh yeah.

[01:07:57] And you know, all of that comes down to, well, what you want out of life, right? The balance like, does turning over a significant number mean anything to you? Right. Is it important to you? Does your lifestyle allow you to sustain something that’s a lower level of income than than you could ever possibly spend anyway? And it’s all relative, mate. And, you know, you talked about like growth, right? We were talking about and you said, I know it’s me that’s holding me back. Yeah, we’re all holding ourselves back. Right. You know, I’ve been asked to give a lecture on growth at the dentistry show and the. Oh, my opening line will be the reason why none of you were growing beyond where you want to grow is just look in the mirror. Take a selfie. Right. It’s you. Yeah. We all have our self limiting beliefs or whatever. Right. And that’s what holds us back. But it’s okay.

[01:08:49] Yeah, you’re right. It is okay. And you’ve got it. And if you can accept it, that’s cool, right? But the problem is we all have this fear of missing out. And luckily I of course, I have this now, but it’s always based on something that’s really crappy and not important to my profession. Does that make sense? You know, be like, you know what, I’d love a PlayStation five, but you know, I’m not going to buy one yet. You know, that’s obvious. You know, I’d like some Lego and but I’m not going to buy it because it’s really expensive. But that’s what.

[01:09:18] I’m not going to buy it because someone’s going to send me a gift of Lego anyway, so.

[01:09:23] I can hope I can. But that one thing about Phil Green and David Cohen, because they used to use the guy called Chris Burrow and I don’t know Chris very, very well, but it essentially they used him to sort of develop the business. And and and Phil would take me to like a business lecture at the armoury in in Leeds and was Michael Gerber and he wrote a book called The E-Myth. Right. I remember you. I just mind is like 152 years old or whatever and still got enthusiasm. I don’t know how old is now if you’re still alive, but but essentially he was amazing. And there’s like a lot of people sitting in this room maybe, I don’t know, 800 people and a lot of them are dentists and they all want to get out. Right, or be able to do something different. But like you said, we all want we are our worst enemy. And and he was saying so he rocked up at the at the hotel. And and he was like, well, and he was listening to some of the conversation of some of the people around there that were saying, well, I can’t park my car here. And and then he was saying he thought about it. And then he was at the conference, he said, right. They talked about this park, people starting to park the car there. And he says, well, I could develop a business where I’ve got a little, little bicycle, you know, that folds away, put in to back someone’s back of their car.

[01:10:45] And I can then validate it off someplace else and park it someplace, right, then get back to the hotel so I can do this as a business. And then he was saying, he says, I’ll go to one hotel, say the Hilton is doing it even though they weren’t doing it and getting them all to do do this business. He was just making this business proposition and it was like that made sense. But then when we were talking about dentistry, he was saying, this is what you can do. And he goes and we said, You can’t do that. It just doesn’t work. And we’re the problem because we can’t see. And this is why someone like you comes into into play where you sort of sit from a distance and you go, well, actually, you’re the problem. It can be done. This is the way to do it. But we can’t see that. And I think and sorry, sorry about interrupting, but I think my issue also is that we have these dental business coaches and in my mind, I don’t like dental business coaches because you’re still a dentist, you still have the same attitude, you know what I mean? It needs to be coming from another aspect, whereas completely remote from our business.

[01:11:48] What I’ll say about that is that you know how you’ve got yourself limited in belief, and my clients have their own self-limiting beliefs and I help them through that journey. Right. I have my own self-limiting beliefs as well. Yeah. I’m not this, you know, this this guy who’s got all the answers, right.

[01:12:06] And I look at you, I’ll be able to pick holes in you. Oh.

[01:12:09] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tear shreds.

[01:12:11] In you. Exactly. Because we it’s a different and different entity isn’t it. But yeah.

[01:12:16] Yeah. When you’re in it it’s hard to see from that, from that bird’s eye view. Right. So I have coaches as well. Right. Because, because I need that right and so on and so forth. But going back to going back to you, so now practise owner and then the other aspect of your of your life is teaching. I one of the, one of the pieces of content that I do see out there a lot is, you know, you’re in Newcastle, you’re in London, you’re in, you know, you’re all over the place speaking, lecturing, teaching and whatnot. How did that first come about?

[01:12:51] Again, it actually tell me how that came about. So there’s a guy called Paul Tipton and everybody knows who I know Paul. So I went for a job interview for him because I was looking for work when I moved to Birmingham and it just so happened that it didn’t work out. But he always thought, okay, now he had my name and then he said, Right, he’s running these an education course and he would love me to lecture on it. So I talked about perio and aesthetic perio and and actually doing like a whole day course that I did have like, I don’t know, ten, maybe, maybe 15 years, actually, a long time. And I would let journeyman yeah, maybe a thousand dentists, right. And I loved it. You know, I really enjoy it and, and I, and I built it from that. And obviously the stuff that Ian Chappell would then get me to do, lecture at the university and then companies that ask me to get involved and all this sort of stuff because. Is why you think becoming a specialist is important really is because that you’re going to do part of the job is that you need to be lecturing and and essentially that’s just because you’re, you’re selling yourself to get referrals, aren’t you?

[01:14:00] Of course.

[01:14:01] So yeah, that, that that’s, that’s where it went from. And I don’t, I don’t do the lecturing capacity anymore because I just, I, I like it. But I was thinking it’s time for a change, you know? And what’s been happening over the some years is that people have been saying you need to run your own courses and I’m just really bit lazy or there’s not all the truth is I’m insecure because I think if I go and post on Facebook or whatever that I’m running a course, please come to my birthday party, all that sort of stuff, and nobody’s going to be coming, do you know what I mean? So that does play my mind massively so. But a good friend of mine here in Birmingham, Birmingham, called Zubair Sakhrani, he’s you know, he’s a he’s a really exceptional individual and just gives me good advice. And he’s said to me, look, let’s just run a course, you know, let me do all the hard work and we can. And I’m like, okay, you know what? Let’s just do this. So the plan is going forwards in the next year. We want to prepare courses for hygienists, therapists as well as dentists, and it’s going to be based very much on a practical way of looking at it.

[01:15:10] And yeah, we can talk about the academic side of stuff, but the way I look at it, whenever I teach any hands on or lecture, I always say, Look, if I can do it, anybody can. That’s all I want. I want I want everybody to know that because you know. You can do it. And I think I hate when you go to a conference or lecture and they set so high and I’m like, well, show me your face know, because I can see through those those those holes, you know. And then it almost makes the point, well, you know what? They’ve achieved this high. I can’t do it. And it makes then it makes clinicians around them thinking, actually, you know, I’m just going to sit in my own room, do nothing. And I don’t think that’s right. You know, yeah, I want the profession to know that they can do better and be better every day and their patients will benefit. That’s the most important thing for me.

[01:16:01] Amit, speaking of failures, what’s your biggest clinical mistake?

[01:16:07] Not getting not knowing the truth. Language of brothers.

[01:16:13] That’s not clinical, mate. Come on. And I’m sure there’s been a few, right? As with anyone with your level of experience. Right. But what’s been the biggest heart sinking moment where you just thought, shit?

[01:16:27] Okay. So there’s a lovely woman called Tracey. Right. And. Actually it will come back to that before that. The one that really bothered me the most and still does is when I was working as a dentist, I had a patient who came along. And back then we didn’t understand about bisphosphonates or bisphosphonates that are a drug that’s used in cancer treatments and also helps with osteoporosis because it reduces the activity of the osteoclasts cells. So then you get less, less bone destruction and you get more bone building because the osteoblasts. But essentially as a result of that, because you’ve got necrotic bits of bone in the within, the within the bone itself, the US can’t actually do it so it can’t eat it away. And then you get osteoblasts plastic cells, building more bone around it and you get this osteoporosis form that goes to science lecture. But you knew that.

[01:17:29] But yeah, I used to do you know what? I used to get confused between osteoblasts and osteoblasts. And my way of remembering it back then was the osteoblasts blast a load of bone out and make more bone, and then the clasps do the other bit. And that was my favourite. So, so when you were saying that it actually brought a smile to my face mate because it brought those, those memories back.

[01:17:56] Yeah. Yeah too and stuff. But yeah but he was, he was, he was, he was having this sort of bisphosphonate treatment because he had some sort of cancer in the past and then he needed these teeth taken out in the lower, lower, lower pre molars, lower left molars. And because of loose I took them out and I and back then none of us knew about it. So I took him out and it never healed. It was always necrotic and I did not know what to do. So I was always drawing the bone away, stitching it up, and it would never heal. And that was one thing. I always felt bad for this man because I just put him through this pain for year after year because of me. That was I always remember that. But one of my clinical and that was a clinical mistake based on lack of knowledge or lack of knowledge of the science in the profession to let us know these are this is a consequence. This is back in 2000. Yeah, this is back in 2000. It was in 2000 actually. Right. He hasn’t won the one of my cases that I’ve completely messed up here and I’ve learnt so much from, it’s a woman called Tracy, so and she’s just very lovely, friendly woman in her fifties and I’ve got beautiful smile and she’s got left one which needed removing and an implant placing. And I just looked at the space. I go, Yeah, I can remove it, but I didn’t. I just forgot to look at other aspects. And because essentially she had short clinical crowns, right? And when you take the tooth out, the body will then resolve back to where the clinical crown should be.

[01:19:30] So suddenly you’ve got a gap which is much higher. And I placed the implant thinking it’d be fine and the tooth was long and she didn’t like that. And then we’re now in a position where I was now going backwards and thinking, Alright, actually we need to crown lengthen all the other teeth when that wasn’t an issue for her. Right. And I was trying to all this sort of fancy reconstruction or soft tissue and it was just getting worse and worse. And then she brought a husband in. And I knew I was in trouble. And he’s and he’s a lovely guy. His name is Dave. And I would say. And all I did was I just said, look, I’m really sorry. It’s not going to plan. Right. And I think as a profession, you know, we’ve got defence unions. When I was when I was younger, they would say, you just don’t apologise because you’re admitting liability. And I think you have to learn to say, look, I’m really sorry. And then the whole situation was calm, you know, and I and I said to I said to Dave and Tracy, look, I’ll do whatever it needs to be done. It needs to be done to get this right. And they were much, much happier about the situation. And I said, you’ve got nothing to worry about costs because that’s not going to be part of the equation ever.

[01:20:36] Right. Because at that point, this patient is yours for life. I’m going to do whatever needs to be done to fix it. And luckily, I then contacted another friend of mine, David Gonzalez, in Spain, and I said, Well, what would you suggest we do here? And then we came up with a solution. And after like about two years of doing lots of other fancy stuff and she’s just over the moon, and she then on the last day of the treatment, she brought me these two lovely ties. You know, she didn’t have to. She completely forgot. Mess it up. Right. And she goes, I’ve really missed. Come in here. And I said, Look, Tracy, you’ll have my mobile number. You can contact me. You can come and see me any time. She’s now my patient for life, right? And when I let you at events, I wear these ties. And if I do talk about failures, these are the ties that woman bought me, you know? So I think I messed up cases, and I don’t ever focus on the cases. I do well and my nurse and my research centre and say, look, you know, do you realise look at what you do? I can’t see that. I only focus on the worst ones where I’m, you know, and they’re the ones that eat at me and they’re the ones I don’t I’ll not sleep through the night because I’m thinking, crap, why did I make that mistake? You know, why should I? Why should I make that mistake? How could I have done it differently?

[01:21:47] And you don’t you dealt with it really well. You know, you took ownership of it. And like you say, you’ve got a friend, stroke, patient for life. Right. And a new tie.

[01:21:57] And it’s and this is something, you know, not all my patients have my number, you know, because I know there are dentists that that will give them the number. And I think that’s a stupid right. I gave my number to patients. When I do a complex case and I say, this number is for you, contact me. There’s a problem. And they will always say, you know, I trust, you know, it’s really kind of give me a number, I will not contact you and they never do, which is amazing. You know, and I think the problem of going back to social media with Instagram, there’s this line that’s now been crossed between what you are as a person and the patient can tap on your door any time and you respond back, whereas a mobile phone, they don’t have the access to it. And I think that line of professionalism is very, very massive and grey and it makes me uncomfortable when patients contact you directly. But can you do this for me? Can you do that? But I can see the benefits if you’re trying to develop patients.

[01:22:54] Double edged sword, isn’t it? It really is. It really is a double edged sword. And you can see the huge benefits of it and also the fact that, you know, someone can DM you on Instagram and say, hey, do you know what I mean? And then and then they expect a response because they see you’ve read it right. And, you know, it connects you openly in that way. I see that and I see a see see the negative side of things.

[01:23:18] And I also think, you know, because obviously the iPhone has made things different. They that’s changing because before you would respond to an email because you would do it at home. Right. And there was no rush. But now because you don’t respond to it straight away, they think you’re being rude. Well, actually, I have a life. I’m doing other stuff. Let me respond back to you in a much better way after I thought about it. But it’s it’s and it’s the same thing with and I do find this restraint because I get a lot of young dentists asking me for advice and and I’m happy to do that. It’s not an issue, but it’s like, well, why don’t you actually contact me and actually call me? But instead they’ll send me a voice message and I have to sit and listen to this conversation. Right. And it’s like, you don’t want to listen to what I have to say, but you’re talking at me, you know, like what? The point where I could just we can have a conversation and just like now we can break it up, break it down, you know, figure out where where they want to go. It is interesting.

[01:24:19] Really interesting.

[01:24:20] I don’t know the answer, but I mean, recently it’s interesting that I spoke to someone and this new generation of young people that are coming out of dental school and they are now starting to follow Instagram dentists based on their clinical work. Okay, now that I was when I heard that, I just thought, that’s what you should be doing. You should be saying, right, this is what I want to emulate myself, not based on trying to look like a Z list celebrity and. From Love Island or whatever, whatever TV show it is, reality TV show where you’re trying to be something to someone so that you can then get patients through the door. Whereas it should be based on, well, this is the outcomes I can do. This is what my patient comes in with and this is what I can do for you. And that’s the way I think is that you’re an advertisement. You’re not trying to. Then the patient is not your friend because you fuck it up. They will sue the shit out of you. Doesn’t matter what fake relationship you have. The relationships I’ve got with my patients is a different situation because I can fix it. And I know enough people that will help me. And I will pay whatever needs to be done. But. There is that that balance. It’s it’s it’s not real friendship.

[01:25:41] Yeah. It’s interesting what you say. And I think, you know, some people might be listening to this thinking you’re an old fuddy duddy.

[01:25:48] I am and I am.

[01:25:50] And, you know, and I understand that part. And I totally resonate with what you’re saying right now. And, you know, when when dentists and dentists are looking at and saying, I want to be a better dentist, I want to be a better clinician. I want to learn how to move my hands in this patient’s mouth to get the best outcome right, whatever the black boxes happens in between. And then there’s others that want to emulate what you mentioned before, because they’re more interested in turning a business, making money, attracting patients. Do they have the clinical skill set to deliver what it is they’re promising? I have no place to comment on that. Yeah, because I’m not I’m not a clinician. And, you know, we can look at this on an individual basis. I’m sure others can comment on that. You know, I’m in no position to comment. But, you know, if you look at long term, you know, where where’s your dentistry go in in 15 years? Where’s your dentist should go in in 20 years time. How long does your dentistry last. Yeah, you know, am I going to do the Treacy on somebody else. Yeah. Because, because I don’t have that knowledge or the bisphosphonates thing. Right. There’s a very strong argument that get that solid grounding underneath you before you start pushing that out. But I see both sides of it.

[01:27:03] I mean, you’re right, I’m an old fart, but I’m also looking at it in a way that there’s a longevity to your career. Right. And I think people are forgetting it because I have a meeting yesterday and. People wanting things now is because of the of iPhones and everything be much more Amazon. This doesn’t happen in dentistry. It just cannot be. And if so, what is it? They say there’s three things in it. You can. Is it cheap? Can I get it done quickly and will it last? Did those three things work together? They don’t, do they? Yeah. Yeah. That’s the direction we’ve gone into haven’t we. Yes. Right. And then when it goes wrong, who they’re blaming. Right. Because we live in a society, especially here in the UK. You know, you and I know patients will buy new iPhones every year. Yeah. Unless they can’t afford it. Or they’ll. They’ll buy a new car every year in finance or they’ll buy a new TV because there’s a new whatever, whatever rubbish it is. Right. But yet when they’ve spent tens of thousand pounds on their veneers or whatever it is, they expect it to last. But it’s because they don’t understand. They don’t value what we do and understand that this is you know, it’s got a longevity. Does that make sense? And it takes time. It’s a skill set. And you’ve got to take your time. It’s like building a house. You can’t build it like tomorrow, you know, and you educate the population. And and that is an issue. But then dentists have gone down that path. Okay, let’s chase the money, which is fine. It’s not an issue. But then realise I don’t know what I’m trying to say, but it’s, it’s, it’s frustrating because the longevity, you’ve got to enjoy the, the job and you will just, you will reap the rewards promise you. And you know, I mean ten years ago I was making £35,000 a year. I’m a specialist, but I didn’t really care because I was loving the job. Now it’s a very different situation because it’s you know.

[01:29:02] What you say about longevity there resonates with what you know, some of the teachings that I’ve sat in on lectures given by TIFF. Qureshi Right. And he he talks about and documents cases that he did 15 years ago, the mistakes he made, how this stuff is lasting. Right. And he speaks to patients about something called the replacement event.

[01:29:23] Okay.

[01:29:24] And so when he places something on a patient’s tooth, he’ll educate them on how long that’s likely to last, when it’s going to need replacing and what the likely cost of that replacement is. And I think a lot of clinicians, from my experience and speaking to them, they they talk about the event as in slap in whatever it is in their mouth. Right. And I mean, that would a bit a bit bit more respect than, say, slapping, right? But but putting a restoration in their mouth or whatever. But they don’t really educate them on what you’re going to have to come back in five years time. And and you’ll need a new bridge or you’ll need a new this. And if you if you grind your teeth, these ain’t going to last for 12 months. You’ve got to wear this splint or whatever. Right. And there’s less of that that goes on. And so what you’ve just said is it really does remind me of.

[01:30:13] The one thing I mean, I see I did not know of Qureshi until Facebook, but I think I might have heard of him. I read his articles in some of the magazines, but I’ve never met him. And and yet I know if I do meet him, I would get on with him because I just think, you know, he’s looking out the patient’s best interests and also learning from his mistakes. And just the work is doing is exceptional. And this is and I’m not belittling what he’s doing, but essentially it’s relatively simple work, you know, but which has massive benefits to the patient, you know, not just with, you know, with the aesthetics, but also with regards to the tooth wear and all that sort of stuff that occurs with it. And and I think this is the stuff that maybe they’re not teaching at university to a certain extent. Maybe it could be as simple as that, you know, I don’t know. But you’re right, this the education part of it is an issue. I mean, we had this meeting again yesterday and we as dentists, struggle to talk about money, maybe less so now, but we still talk about money. And, you know, maybe we should be taught that universe to say, you know what, this is what the things cost on the NHS. These are what the costs would be for the lab. And this you understand about the business aspect because now associates are coming, well, you should pay me this much, but they’re not understanding the repercussions of the principle of they know and I think they should be taught these things and then maybe taught the benefits of private therapy that can be done and what is available in the NHS.

[01:31:48] And I think and then they’re thrown in the big wide world and they’ve got someone like a principal try to teach him that and they can’t always fully grasp it. I mean, going back to your brother Kailash, you know, he’s he’s very, very good at explaining all this stuff to his associates. And he does that. He does his own private scheme. And I thought that was an amazing idea where he’s training up somebody to work in a private setting. And when I heard that, I just thought, why don’t other people do that? It just makes sense, you know, you know, he’s been trained to be an NHS dentist because you get the NHS number, but the NHS is good, but patients want more, you know, but we need to be able to deliver that. But to do it well with the skill set that we have developed for longevity. Then the patients value what you’ve done and they have to understand why it costs them. I mean, you’ve explained that, haven’t you, to me before, where you sort of you how many times did we always apologise, know to a patient, oh, he’s going to cost 600 quid. Is that okay? That’s an apology. You know, this is going to be. No, it’s not okay. That same patient will go from buy £100,000 car. They don’t quibble when they pay them.

[01:33:02] Though. And the car dealer doesn’t turn around and say, is that okay? Or your lady in Sainsbury’s who’s selling you a banana doesn’t say that’s $0.23. Is that.

[01:33:12] Okay? No, but we do all these. And I say this as well. I mean, I’ve heard this. I think I think I’ve heard it from you or from Ashley Latta or whoever. But essentially, you know, you’re going to do a composite filling and it’s 300 quid and then, you know, 20 quid and then you sort of thinking might well, it doesn’t take that long. And it’s going to be and I know the patient has got so much money and I’m going to now charge them on a quid.

[01:33:37] And actually, Ashley talks about that a lot.

[01:33:40] Then you say you found a quid and then the thing is he says, fine, you can say that, right? Do we ever say it’s discounted? But we never say that. But you say, look, you know what? Normally we charge £200, but I’m going to do it for £100. How does that sound? And the way you say it, how does that sound? Because that actually sounds really great, doesn’t it? Yeah, the patient will then know it and you see a same thing. One of the things I struggle here in Birmingham is that it’s obviously very cultural and stuff and I get certain groups of people coming in and they’ll I say it’s going to cost £30,000 for these implants. They come back, say, do for me for ten. Right? So and you know where I’m coming from, right? I love that when they say that. And and I’m going, okay. Now, the thing is, I’ve met many dentists in this city or in the UK that have done it for ten. That patient was the patient’s expectation of the cost really should be 30. Right. So when it goes wrong they will blame you because it should be better just because you’ve got it for ten. Meaning they’ve got a bargain. It’s wrong. So I and I have had to fix so many dentists work, patient, dentist, work for the case that they’ve undercharged. And I’m then charging the patient, the dentist, the real fee.

[01:34:58] And so on. Right.

[01:34:59] Yeah. Well, you know, we all make this mistake, but it’s like, you know, if a patient is arguing with you, I’m not going to they’re going to break you when it goes wrong. And I’ve learnt that and I’m like, I don’t. He said, one woman come and see me and I’ll always remember this very wealthy woman. And she said to me, Oh, I’ve been told I need a gum graft around this implant in the lower right six. And I’m like, well yeah, I can do it. But then I wasn’t charging a lot of money and it was going to be £400. Right. And she drives him with this very expensive car outside. And she’s busy saying to me, Oh, that’s too expensive. And I’m looking at it and and I’m not backing down. And she’s saying, Well, I said, I’d rather not do anything. And she says to me, Well, it sounds like you do it for free. And I said, No. And I said, I’m the only one in the West Midlands that can do this, and you don’t want to irritate me any further. And she was well aware of that. Never. I never seen it. But then I turned around and I said, So what’s your son do? And she goes, Oh, he’s a lawyer. I said, Oh, that’s really good. Yeah. And I said, So what would you feel if your son had to reduce his fees? She said, Nothing, you know, and that was it. But I think you have to have that confidence to tell people, fuck off.

[01:36:12] Yeah, no. Yeah. In a roundabout way.

[01:36:16] Yeah.

[01:36:17] Absolutely. Absolutely. Let’s move on to the Association of Dental Implant ology. Right. Because, you know, we’ve been chatting for about an hour and a half, mate. And if if if we’d just sort of said, right, we’re speaking to we speak we’re speaking to the president of the ADA. Yeah. I don’t think the conversation would have been as candid as it’s been now. And and I think I think, you know, you’re probably different to all the past presidents for sure. Yeah. Tell me about that. How did it come about? How did you become president? Why did you want to become president? And what what does it involve?

[01:36:53] Okay. So I was in Scotland treating a patient for a guy called Atiq Rahman. So he asked me, he said, I’ve got a case and I really would love you to do the gum graft in this patient or whatever it was. It was, you know, went well. And then I got a phone, I got a text message from somebody on the committee and they were saying, Oh, we would love you to be on the committee. And this is about six years ago, I think. And I’m like so I sent a message back saying, Can I just tell you something? I’m not very much liked within the profession. I don’t think they’d want me on the committee because I say what I say, you know, I’m not very political. And they were like, Oh, no, don’t worry about it. They’ve all decided that they would like you on. But I’m like, All right, fine. And I wasn’t even a member of the Adeyeye, right? Because one of the reasons why I wasn’t a member of the Adeyeye is because the way I was trained at guys, which is which is a real pity now when you think about it, because if you weren’t a specialist, then you shouldn’t be placing implants or you shouldn’t be part of the society. The Adeyeye was an organisation that was set up by general dental practitioners who were placing implants so they could then have a network of discussing cases and stuff, which I think is a really good, you know, really good.

[01:38:06] But then they were like, Well, you don’t need to be a member of that. You need to do other stuff. So I would I always just kept my distance because of that little seed being planted in mud. And I used to go to events abroad because it was bigger events anyway. So I then turn up at this committee meeting and I had to become a member because obviously if you’re going to be on the committee, has to be a member. And it was really interesting because there was a group of people that they were enthusiastic and they were doing doing it in most part for the benefit of the profession. Obviously, there are individuals that are on their decline, whatever political or whatever rubbish they think they’re going to get from it. Because in my mind, you know, do you remember who the president was last year or the year before? You won’t remember because the names disappear. Who knows, right? It’s just if you can make a difference in my mind, I think that would be amazing. So. So, yeah. And I was and from that, I mean, I met some really good friends. I mean, there’s a friend of mine called Pinata George and he’s this exceptional implant that does dogmatic implants, and he’s pushing the whole fallout stuff in a completely different way, which is much more predictable.

[01:39:14] And he’s making a big difference. So and then another guy called Paul Champagne and a guy called George Margaritas. All of these individuals I’ve been able to I wouldn’t have met if I wasn’t part of that committee. And obviously, there are people that I’m, you know, and that research and that stuff. So that was good. And then I started to understand the whole politics of it all a little bit. And then it came in that first two years, they sort of said, Alright, we need to vote, we need, we need to have an election to see who’s going to be the next president. So my name got put forward, right? And what was interesting about that was and it was lovely that my name was and I’m like, okay, I’ll be happy to do it because I’ll give it a go. Never done it. Yeah, never been, never been el presidente of anything really. And I do call myself anti because yes I do take it seriously, but I’ve also got to do my own thing of course. And, and essentially when, when I was trying to get votes, I was, I was speaking to some of the people on the committee and they were saying, we don’t want a specialist in Perio to be the president because that is wrong.

[01:40:22] And I was like, I couldn’t understand that because Perio is very important, is very much a period orientated think thing without a doubt. You know, all of the treatments, all of the technologies that are involved in periodontitis is based on implants as well. So it just they they’re so side by side, the brother and sister without any hesitation. So, you know, I had half of the group saying no. I said, okay, no problems, you know. And then when it came to the vote, I was up against someone and I beat him by two votes. But but what was interesting was the email that came because his name in the alphabet was before mine. So I just thought he’d won automatically because I didn’t bother reading the rest of the email. Right? So I’m going to carry on. And then I got this text message for some people in the committee going, Oh, congratulations. I’m like, For what I’ve got, I’m not one because I was guaranteed to lose against this individual who had had been president of other societies and stuff because they felt that, you know, he had more experience and but it was hilarious. I’m like, Oh, then I read the email, oh my God, I did win.

[01:41:29] So it was hilarious. But so that was, that was very pleasant because as an implant society, to have a periodontist, hopefully running it for a couple of years and pushing it in a particular direction will give a different impetus to it. You know, we’re getting more hygienists and therapists who are now like, well, you know what? Maybe they have something that the AGI might have something to give them. Course and and we’re getting more periodontist there are training wanted to join the society which has been really lovely and my aim for that for the society which which isn’t going to happen and it’s because of the pandemic things have slowed things down in a particular way was to make it much more of an international organisation. Normally we get about 800 to 1000 people attend the conference every two years and no other implant societies in Europe will get three and a half 5000 people attending an event called CEPA in Spain 12 years ago. They only had 400 people attend. Now it’s like one of the it’s got four, five, 6000 people attending. So and that’s run every year. So I’m I’m not saying I want to emulate them, but I would love to go in that direction. And it’s a that’s a reorganisation, you know, it’s not implant organisation, but obviously we’re running cyber sites so there’s lots of amazing speakers of that.

[01:42:54] So that’s what I want and, and I really want more young people to be involved. So because it is very much a society full of a certain group of individuals and they’ll be retiring in the next five, ten years. So what will we have as a membership? You know, and right now what I’ve learnt is that when I lecture for some of these implant courses like there’s a, there’s a course called Smile Academy run by Ginn and a guy called Kish. Yeah. You know, you look at them, they’re, they, they, they, they are technically young with the way they look, but they’re not, they’re obviously much more older, but they have a different outlook on stuff. And the people that are on that course, you know, have been attracted to them for one for a reason, whichever reason it is. And maybe societies need to change in that direction to because they all have their WhatsApp groups that they can discuss cases. So they have got their own network. But why are they not wanting to be part of a society to have another network to to do you know what I mean? So I think all societies need to adapt and not be very much an old boys club, you know.

[01:44:01] To attract that younger generation of dentists.

[01:44:05] And and, you know, and some of them, you know, like there’s a guy called Git and he’s Jim’s brother and he’s an exceptional clinician and there’s a guy called Viraj Patel. He’s future is amazing. I mean, I was invited to lecture for Guy like, I don’t know, September, October, October. And essentially it was going to be me. Right. And a mate of mine, Julia Russell. Really, the two of us are going to let you the whole day on soft tissue and implant stuff. But then Guy said to me, would you do you think we should have another person? And I’m like, Do you know what? You should invite Viraj Patel right now. This is an individual that hasn’t had an opportunity to do that sort of thing, but he’s talented now. When I was younger, how many people would have actually put my name forward to lecture on the same stage? They want to be doing it themselves. Does that make sense? And I think those opportunities have to be now given to some of these individuals because my day has come and gone. Do you know what I mean? I’ll be running courses locally here, but these individuals need to need to inspire the new, new generation of implant dentists. And I think this is where the addy should have a role and get them involved.

[01:45:15] I mean, I run I organised a masterclass in March and we only had like 150 people attend. That’s nothing. We had the full best for the most exceptional individuals around the world attend. Right. A guy called Luke Stoller, we had David Gonzalez, we had a professor from Sweden called Christa Darling. We had a mate of mine from Brazil called Paolo Paolo Paolo Mesquita. And he came over and these guys usually lecture to thousands of people. And the reason why I wanted them to lecture, because they were telling the whole story about guided bone regeneration and implants and what could be achieved. And these are individuals that have inspired me to try to want to be better. And I think, you know, and I wanted more young people to attend and we did. And and I wanted them to realise that you can do more and be better and be more like these individuals if you can aim, you know what I mean? So and I think that’s what we have to do as a society. But so the plan now is that I’m going to try to organise. I’ve already contacted the old dental schools. I’m going to be getting representatives from the dental schools to be part of the society, will have two people from each dental school.

[01:46:27] And I’ve got to now communicate with the deans and ask them, could you give them days off next year? Because we have a conference next May that’s going to be in Birmingham and get them to be part of that event. And then on the Saturday we’re going to it’s been a many, many, many years before we’ve we’ve got students event organised. So I’m going to, I’m going to organise a student event on the Saturday so all undergrads will rock up at. This thing. And the plan is I’m going to get a good friend of mine called Anthony Budowsky, who runs an exceptional employment practise and is very smart. Talks about the purple cow and business. Oh, yeah, yeah. He’s a he’s a smart cookie and a good friend of mine. Again, another guy called Bill Schafer, who I skydive with, and he runs another very good practise. But again, both their journeys have been different. I’m going to get a friend of mine called Fiona McKillop and she’s a specialist in parallel, works for Android down on the street and her story’s different. So I don’t want it to be too heavily male orientated. I want to be able to have women there to at least talk about their journey.

[01:47:31] And I’m going to get a couple of young guys, a guy Laffan, and talk about his journey. I’m going to invite and invite Sascha Melman also because he can do Instagram and stuff because they want to. Yeah, but I want to be able to talk about all these different journeys. On how they became implant dentists. Then they can be students can sit there, you know what? I can potentially do this, you know, and then they’ll be able to come to the main event on the Saturday afternoon and hear two of the best speakers and clinicians. Again, Ricardo Kearns, talented, amazing and, and friend of my uncle Ramon Gomez from Portugal. So talented. So they’ll be able to say, look, you see them on Instagram and Facebook, but essentially they’re all well published, but they show beautiful aesthetic work. So I’m really looking forward to that next year. But this, this, this month we have a conference in Manchester which is run it was supposed to be postponed from last year because of the whole pandemic situation. The past president, Emma, obviously hasn’t had the best run of it all because she’s not been able to implement things that she would like to have. So the conference is running this and we’re hoping that it will be a big success.

[01:48:48] And of May, right? Was it 27? 28.

[01:48:51] Yeah. You lecturing there, aren’t you?

[01:48:52] I’m speaking. Yeah, you invited me. So you’ll be the reason why I’ll be experiencing some sort of anxiety.

[01:49:02] Maybe I’ll just come from you. I go that irritating you, you be like, Yes, yeah. Excuse me. But yeah, I think. I don’t know. I think it’s not just the ADA. I think all societies need to learn to change to somehow get these younger people involved. And and I want these representatives of the universities hopefully push the society, and we’ll go and lecture at the events. And we’ve got some people on the committee that be willing to lecture at these universities. I mean, I’d be happy to do it. It’s not an issue to empower and give these students an informed decision, really. I mean, it’s it’s interesting going back to that. I mean, I’ve got I’ve met a couple of newly qualified specialists who contact me again. I’ve only become a periodontist because of you. And I’m like, and the responsibility of that is really annoying, right? But and I’m like, you should have told me, right? Because now, now I feel I own you, and I need you to do well, you know, really. And they sort of said, I heard you lecture and I realise this is and I’m thinking, really, I just talked about gum disease and this and the other, but who knows that they are going to be they are talented already, better than I was at that age. And I love that, you know, and and and I’m happy to say that they are better than I was at that age and they’re going to be even better, you know, which is so cool.

[01:50:29] Amit We’re getting towards the end of the time for this podcast. But, but, but, but I really want to talk about your skydiving mate. So tell me about like I’ve seen crazy videos of you jumping out of planes and you know, you’ve got, you’re showing me your parachute that you assemble, put together, pop this pin in. You were telling me if you you know.

[01:50:55] This and then the whole parachute pops out from there.

[01:50:58] Yeah, yeah. And there’s a tiny bit of string that connects you to the parachute and all the rest of it. I mean.

[01:51:04] I wouldn’t. This tiny bit of string. Yeah. How old you to the parachute? This is if I pull this out. Yeah. And I’ve told this away.

[01:51:15] Yeah.

[01:51:16] You’re dead and it’s gone. Yeah.

[01:51:20] And for those that haven’t got the benefit of seeing this parachute, it’s. It’s a it’s a, you know, it’s a piece of string that can’t be any thicker than a shoelace, that’s for sure. That’s holding you to this parachute. And then you’ve got the responsibility of assembling it after you’ve landed. And I can trust myself to do that. Absolutely no way. How did you how did you get into skydiving and jumping out of planes in the first place and why?

[01:51:46] I remember when I was younger and you just watched these people base jumping and you’d see, you know, obviously there was. What was that? What was that film called? With Keanu Reeves and. Yeah. Break, break, breakpoint or something like that. I can’t remember. Oh, I can’t remember. I dive in and I love to watch James Bond. You know, he’d pull a parachute, and then he would, you know, and he’d jump out of an aeroplane and pull the parachute much further down and base jumping, which is what I really wanted to do. I wanted to jump off buildings, and that’s what I really want to do ultimately. Right. But the problem is, I am scared of heights and I’m scared of heights of maybe about 15 feet, 20 feet. I get very, very unhappy about it. But I thought, you know what? That might help me get over my fear of jumping heights. So after I qualified, after after I found a degree and then went to the US and I learnt how to jump out of aeroplanes and within about two and a half days I was doing it all by myself. I was terrified. I mean, I’m there in the plane you’re holding on the door and there’s a man outside holding onto you and the man inside. And I’m going, No, no, because I didn’t want to jump out. It’s 12 and a half, 13,000 feet, and the guy is looking at the other guy. It goes right, dragging him out. And I’m there going, Oh, my God.

[01:53:06] So you do it, Tandem. Do you do it tandem to stop?

[01:53:08] No, no, you can if you want to. But I did something called accelerated freefall, where you just get thrown out of the plane and there’s two guys holding you, and then you just try to learn to fly, say, I mean, the whole concept of skydiving is if you have a ball. Yeah, always is this way and you turn it this way, you drop it. It’s always going to turn back on. It’s on its belly, isn’t it? Okay. So you’re always trying to fall. Would you belly down? Because then you’re going to have you’re going to fall correctly. But as soon as you start a dodge, yeah, what could potentially happen is you can then flick up back on your back, right. So there’s lots, it’s all clever stuff. So within about two and a half days, I was jumping out of planes by myself, which was shocking. And then and then I was just learning to fly this parachute, right? And then I went a year later, I did another I had 50 jumps by then and I bought parachute. So it was like nowadays they wouldn’t let you buy a parachute because that’s like a lethal weapon. You can kill yourself. Right? And I was just been jumping. I got like I took the 13 year break because it was expensive and I was doing my training and I had money. And so I’ve got maybe 300 jumps. I went away to Russia and I went to Russia for two weeks and I was jumping out of military helicopters. It was the coolest thing, you know, the doors open at the back of the helicopter and you just legging it out. And that was really cool. And I did about I did 86 jumps in ten days. So, you know, I do love it. I know, I know it’s sad. And now I’ve got back into I’m older, I’m a bit more fearful and my landings aren’t very good. So I’m trying to get training on how to land better and I’m getting better at it. But it’s only because I’m scared of heights, because you see, at a certain height, I’m getting scared.

[01:54:55] That you’ve jumped out of a plane 300 times or whatever you’ve just said you can’t be scared of heights anymore.

[01:55:00] Oh, yesterday I was in a practise in Harley Street at this meeting and we were quite high up and I couldn’t stand on the edge. It was so scary. And. And it was like leaning against his banister. I’m like, I just don’t. I didn’t want to be standing there. We came down one flight. I was like, Oh, this is easy. It was really weird.

[01:55:21] That’s bonkers.

[01:55:23] That is bonkers. But this is why I messed up with my landings because at about 20 feet, the parachute was coming at about 30 miles an hour. And it’s like getting this wrong, getting it wrong, but I’m getting a bit better. But I’ve got friends who are world champions and they are flying their parachute in at about 70 miles an hour, 80 miles an hour.

[01:55:42] And.

[01:55:42] Landing it. And it’s it’s amazing. I don’t think I’ll ever be there, but I love it. And now I’m doing a lot of wind tunnel flying. I’m flying in a wind tunnel and trying to learn how to.

[01:55:51] Do little tricks and stuff.

[01:55:54] It is cool. So I go every two Mondays a month. I drive down to Milton Keynes. Yes, 30 minutes in the winter. Wow. And like my mate, Bill Schaffer, he’s he’s a skydiver as well. And the long term plan is to get winged suits and go flying in a wingsuit across whatever we need to do. So before lockdown, they have a wind tunnel in Stockholm, which actually the wind is obviously coming horizontally and you can fly suits and you can do loads. It’s like you’re an aeroplane, you know what I mean? It’s so cool. And when I skydive. Yeah. It’s just so peaceful. You know, my brain, love. I don’t think about teeth. I don’t think about anything. I’m just having it. It’s just relaxing. But people say it’s an adrenaline rush. There isn’t really. Because now for me, it’s just the only time my adrenaline starts pumping is when I’m trying to land, because that’s where I’m scared.

[01:56:51] But once you jump out of this plane and then you’re you’re in the air, right? And then what are you just floating about for a bit? And then you pull the cord or what?

[01:57:01] This is all.

[01:57:02] This is all foreign to me, right? I’ve seen it on the on the movies and stuff. Right. But you literally jump out. Are you just bolting down now at that point.

[01:57:11] About 100. And so in about 120 on average. But I’ve done maybe 180 miles an hour when I’ve gone down with my head down and stuff, because then, you know, you’ve got less surface air and you are plummeting and you lose altitude very quickly and you’ve got these altimeters and you’ve got audible ultimate in your ear that’s telling you 10,000 feet, 9000 feet, and it’s going very quickly and you realise it’s cool. And then you’re also flying with a whole bunch of other people. So you can, you know, you can then come together and you sort of holding hands and all that sort of stuff. It’s pretty cool and you’ve.

[01:57:47] Got time to do all of that at 100 and odd miles an hour.

[01:57:51] Now you got loads that you don’t realise how much time you have. It’s about minute that just shoots past so slowly. You know, I remember one time I was, I was in Russia and I was, I was there’s a way you can you can fly and you can fly like you’re on the surface. You sit flying, right? Yeah. And so cool. And so I was above above the cloud and the sun was setting and above the cloud. The sun was just setting and it was beautiful. It was just stunning. And I always remember it. And then when I when I when I went beyond the cloud, then you saw that it was another different view. And it’s just, it’s it’s so peaceful and relaxing. Yeah. There is no adrenalin rush to me. It’s just like, Oh, this is cool. It’s fun going to go mess around and literally just playing in the air, you know? We’re just playing in the air.

[01:58:40] Yeah. I don’t think I’m scared. I have to do it. I’m scared of roller coasters. Me?

[01:58:45] Me, too. Me, too. Especially at the top. And then the rest of. It’s fun. Yeah. You can that as far as you can.

[01:58:55] Yeah, I’m no I’m no thrill seeker mate. But I know people who’ve sat in your Tesla and you’ve given, you’ve given them a run for their money. So I’ve yet to experience that. But they call you a crazy so-and-so and. But we’re coming to the end of this, this podcast. And, you know, before we started this podcast.

[01:59:16] Why would you want to do a tandem jump?

[01:59:19] No way, mate.

[01:59:21] So I’m going to put your name on the list because I’m going to organise a whole bunch of dentists that wanted to.

[01:59:25] You didn’t hear what I just said them, mate.

[01:59:26] No way. I’m a bit deaf in this. Hang on, let me try this one.

[01:59:30] No fucking way. Me. Not a chance, mate. Anyway.

[01:59:37] I mean, dentists that have said they want to do it.

[01:59:40] Really? Really.

[01:59:41] I’m going to organise it and I will organise it. But if you wanted it, it would be my pleasure. Thank you. I won’t go in it, but I’ve got Red Devils who’ll be happy to do it for you.

[01:59:51] Right. Anyway, moving on from that conversation, we when we started this podcast, I said that, you know, wouldn’t it be really nice if we could just record a conversation of me and you having dinner over a beer or something like that and just and just like and then we could speak more freely. I think we have been able to speak quite freely, actually. And I think, yeah, it’s been, it’s been a really good conversation.

[02:00:17] I’m fine, I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve learnt loads from you, you know.

[02:00:20] And I mean we usually end this podcast with a couple of a couple of questions and one of them is if it was your last day on the planet and you were surrounded by all your loved ones and you had to leave them with three pieces of wisdom, what would they be?

[02:00:40] I think. If you work hard, you will be successful. I think that’s the most important thing. And I think. It’s. I think distraction of stuff that’s not important is where you will you will just. You know, just not do well. Does that make sense? I don’t know. I am going down the social media path and I don’t. Yeah. So. Work hard, be successful. And then I think you have to have a good balance in your life, which I think a lot of us have struggled with.

[02:01:18] We all struggle with it.

[02:01:19] Yes. You know, work hard. Play hard. Yeah. You know, but that balance is really, really important because there’s going to be a point where you’re going to regret the stuff that you not had the opportunity to, you know, to have done because we’re we. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the only. That’s too, isn’t it.

[02:01:38] Okay. So first piece of advice, put the graft in. Yeah. Put the graft.

[02:01:43] Only works with that doesn’t it. Yeah.

[02:01:45] Yeah. The second piece of advice have some balance in your life.

[02:01:50] Yeah. And it could be you find time just to spend time with your friends and family, you know, how often do we do all that? We try to make the effort, but it doesn’t really happen because they’re the ones that ground you, don’t they? Really?

[02:02:06] 100%. And they’re the ones that matter, right? They’re the ones that are going to turn up if you end up in hospital. They’re the ones who are going to be crying at your funeral. Right. Exactly. Not the 5000 followers you’ve got on Facebook.

[02:02:17] No. Exactly. Exactly. This is it. Yeah. And the third thing. And this is cheesy. Everybody says it. You know, you do the best you can and the next day do better, you know, because that’s the only way, because I think, you know, we’re all very competitive. But the person we’re not we have to compete with is ourselves. And I think, you know, I don’t want to be like Solanki. You know, I don’t want to be like whoever else, you know, because, you know, you know what I mean? But but the thing is, it’s a matter of trying to just do better every day and knowing that you’ve done better the next day. I think that’s I think that that for me is important because otherwise, how would you gauge. Yeah, you know where you are?

[02:03:08] Yeah, absolutely. Well, that’s really nice of it. And final question. Fantasy dinner party, three guests, dead or alive, who would they be?

[02:03:22] Good question. Charles Dickens. Mm hmm. Only reason why is that I’m a very I’m not a good reader of books, and I’ve read maybe ten books in my whole life because I’m the reader, because I read each word like this, and it’s a nightmare. So and so during lockdown, I bought I bought audibles. And I’ve been listening to such I want to listen to the classics, you know, and I’ve just started listening to Great Expectations and I think, oh my God, this man is an amazing author, you know? So, yeah. Charles Dickens. Dickens Yeah. I would like to add, like Elon Musk, it’s the truth, because I’d love to. Yeah, I’d love to meet him and just find out what is what is he really all about? You know what I mean? Yeah. And. I’d like Mark Hamill. Luke Skywalker.

[02:04:23] All right. Because you’re a Star Wars fan.

[02:04:26] I’d love to ask him all these questions about Star Wars and stuff. Yeah, I could ask Harrison Ford, but I’d rather not. I’d rather ask him because he is. Yeah. And he chose Elon Musk and Luke Skywalker.

[02:04:42] They’re amazing. I mean, it’s been an absolute pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed our conversation and I do feel like we could have expanded on so many more points and taken this conversation for half a day. So yeah, maybe maybe we’ll catch up at the dentistry show at the.

[02:05:00] U.s. on Saturday. I’ll come. I would love to sit there and listen to you. Yeah. Thank you. Amazing speaker.

[02:05:06] Thank you. Thank you very much.

[02:05:10] 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.

[02:05:26] 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. If you did get some value.

[02:05:41] Out of it, think about.

[02:05:42] Subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend.

[02:05:46] Who you think might get some value out of it, too.

[02:05:48] Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks. And don’t forget our six star rating.

Niall Hutchinson’s red wine social media posts are designed to provoke discussion on some of dentistry’s thorniest topics.

So get ready for a robust and full-bodied discussion as Payman chats with one of dentistry’s most outspoken and engaging characters.

Niall and Payman take crack open a red to take on everything from the saturated dental courses market to NHS dentistry, the role of corporates, and much more.

Cheers!

 

In This Episode

01.44 – Red wine

07.31 – CPD and profitability

26.28 – NHS – the second coming?

36.23 – Skills Vs soft skills

39.42 – Going private

44.13 – Price increases

47.28 – Corporates – a force for good?

57.50 – A little backstory

01.03.58 – Staying engaged

01.07.51 – Specialism Vs generalism

01.11.38 – Invisalign

01.15.47 – Business secrets

01.24.29 – Choosing associates

01.28.29 – The labour market

01.30.24 – Black box thinking

01.40.55 – Best and worst days

01.45.15 – Fantasy dinner party

01.48.13 – Last days and legacy 

 

About Niall Hutchinson

Dr Niall Hutchinson qualified from Queen’s University Belfast in 1987 and spent four years as an associate in Northern Ireland before moving to the UK.

He is the owner and clinical director of Cherry Tree Dental Care, near Wantage, Oxford

[00:00:00] The thing is, if you want to enjoy your dentistry, if you want to actually like your job, I think you’ve got to go private. At my opinion, you really got to. Nowadays, I don’t think there’s any choice. The funding is just appalling, and I admire people who try and do it for feeling that they have an ethical obligation to it, feeling that they have a moral and more moral obligation to do it. Yeah, do it for a while. Pay back what you feel is your moral obligation. As I said, I did dentistry for 16 years in the NHS, so I think I more than paid back any sort of moral obligation to society on that. But as fast as you can, I would move on.

[00:00:48] 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.

[00:01:06] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Lyle Hutchinson onto the podcast. Nile is famous or infamous really for his red wine posts that he’s been doing lately practise owner principle and has lately set up a group that’s I think one of the most important groups in dentistry now is called not such a good day at the orifice where where we look at errors and things that didn’t go so well. And my sort of antidote to the Instagram generation where everyone’s patting everyone’s back and everyone’s showing off about the things that did go well. It’s lovely to have you now.

[00:01:42] Hi, Payman. Thanks for inviting me on.

[00:01:44] My pleasure. My pleasure. We thought it would be fun to do a red wine podcast. And I’ve got to admit right now, Nile, that the bottle that I’ve chosen I haven’t got because of my my wife’s Lebanese. And so I had thought I had a bottle of matzah in the back of my cupboard. But obviously, I think that some some somewhere along the line. So I’ve got I’ve got what I call my steak wine. It’s a Bordeaux. It’s a scent Himalayan thing. The main reason I like it is that it’s on Zap, so I can push a button and it arrives within 10 seconds.

[00:02:21] Oh, yeah.

[00:02:23] What have you.

[00:02:24] Got now out in rural Berkshire? We don’t have that, I think. I don’t think we’re ready yet. But I’ve got I’ve got it. I’ve got a Australian Shiraz with me here, you know, which is not bad. Yeah. I must admit I prefer the French red wines, but yeah, the nice shiraz is not bad at all.

[00:02:42] Excellent. My favourite thing about wine is this this sound here.

[00:02:47] Oh, yeah, I know.

[00:02:49] It’s the sound. Fine. I never get quite screwed up so I can say why they broke the lid. Because you don’t get a problem with being caught. But it’s not some kind of the cork satisfying side of the cork coming out. And you just that moment that you think, I’ve just got the wine, it’s fantastic. You know, it is. It is that you know, I think there’s a who as I said, we used to live in France for a year and the French taught me to appreciate a lot more wine. And that made me realise that I actually sort of moved as straight away to Chile and Argentina. I know they do very, very good wines. I sort of have gone back to French wines, but they really certain, you know, that appreciation of the whole thing about wine, not just the drinking, but the opening of the bottle and whatever else, you know.

[00:03:34] So, you know, we’ll get into red wine itself later. But I guess the red wine post is kind of a kind of a get out clause, isn’t it? Now, like, it’s almost like in this era of sort of political correctness, you can say something a little bit more, sort of, I don’t know, the controversial.

[00:03:57] And.

[00:03:58] A little more cheeky. And you can put red wine post on it and then it’s cool. We can we can all discuss it. And I think it’s been an excellent series.

[00:04:08] Yeah, it came eventually it came out of one evening. I can’t remember my first ever post, but it came out one evening. I was genuinely drinking a bottle of red wine and I was sitting there thinking really pissed off about something, you know, it was really irritating me and I thought, Cool. So it’s on ground. Grant Macquarie’s business marketing group. And I saw that I’m going to put this up and just hashtagged it because it was sort of it was an anti Instagram hashtag. It was a hashtag red wine post. You know, I’m not Twitter, Instagram, I’m not anything like that. But I thought it was sort of slightly ironic and I thought, you know what? And it just seemed to catch on. And yeah, it certainly divides opinion. There are a lot of people out there who think I troll with it and I’m just an irritating so-and-so. But the genuine questions, I mean, they don’t always hit the mark the way I want them to. But the genuinely r question, people say, Yo, actually you ask the elephant in the room, you ask the question that a lot of us have been wanting to know the answers to. And it’s interesting the way that I mean, sometimes I have a very definite opinion on what what I think on this thing. But quite often I’ll go, actually, I don’t have a really strong opinion on either side, but it would be just interesting to see what people think. And sometimes people pick up very valid arguments and I go, Actually, that’s a very valid point. I actually never thought of that as the latest one. I think. I don’t know if you saw it at the weekend.

[00:05:39] I did 200 responses.

[00:05:41] Yes, 200 plus responses. Yes. And why do we pay any attention to this red round poster? He’s a tosser or whatever, you know. Instead, he’s.

[00:05:51] Just.

[00:05:52] Basically he spreads hate and division of the profession. And I actually sort of I did post to that.

[00:05:58] I think I. Never thought that myself.

[00:06:01] Well, no. Yeah, but it’s an interesting sort of. I’m actually a great advocate of profession. I’m an older dentist. I’m 57 for any of you listening. And I qualified in 1987 when, like, your composite came in one colour, you know, and it was occlusion by IP. It was, you know, everything was nothing was like your nothing. You know, we, you know, we still did blacks cavities, we did all that sort of stuff. So it was all it was a pipe dream, all that sort of stuff. So I sort of look at it and I look at the profession today and I go, Is it taking a path that I am proud of? Totally proud of? And I would say, yes, I’m yeah, I am so proud of most dentists that are out there. But there are a few angles to where I think, are we really a profession anymore? Are we going down a bit more of a car salesman or whatever, you know.

[00:06:56] Yeah. So that initial post was it. This one is the religion. Will there be a second coming or will it still be funded by five? No, no.

[00:07:06] That wasn’t the original post. Yeah, that was so I wasn’t. Yeah.

[00:07:11] Which, which one was it. Half the.

[00:07:14] Way back. I’ve about 24, 25. It was way back last October I think it was. But yeah.

[00:07:20] Yeah I was in the group so maybe yeah. Maybe that’s what I’m missing. Yeah. What it was. I think we should answer some of these. I think, I think we should talk about some of these red wine posts I think is a good place.

[00:07:31] I mean, it’s a good point. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look them up and we’ll we’ll see what goes on. I mean, okay, back to it. Right. Let’s, let’s go for the two most recent ones. Right, CPD.

[00:07:39] Yeah, go on.

[00:07:40] Right. Do. Why is there a sudden proliferation of CPD? Well, I mean, if you look.

[00:07:50] At it because. What? Go on. Yeah, go on. What do you think?

[00:07:53] Yeah. Since just nine years ago, right. Cpd when you had a few courses, section 63 type courses, you had a few courses here and there. Tipton was a bit of a novelty. Yeah, things like that was all. But no, no. For courses everywhere you look at, you know, everybody’s doing the bloody course. So one thing is, why are there so many courses? Is it the lack of education for undergrads nowadays? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t want to put that out there because that’s an easily thrown out thing against on the grounds of qualified say, oh, you don’t know as much as we did when we qualified back in the day. I think that’s too easy an accusation to make. Or is it the fact it’s easy money? You know, and I’m not saying it’s easy, easy money because I know there will be people going out there. How dare you say that? The amount of hours of time I put in working on these lectures and I go, I agree with you on that. You know, and it’s very it’s not something I ever want to do is run the course. And I can certainly see that for hours. Know you do put in hours of it, but equally well, it must be something in for it. Is it ego or is it money or what? Or is it the desire to teach? I don’t know. I mean, what’s your opinion on it?

[00:09:06] Yeah. There’s definitely a lot more than there was. One thing I hope you’ll agree with me now. When? When we were coming through. I mean, I’m maybe seven, eight years younger than you when we were coming through. There were no courses. No. I mean, I remember thinking as a as a young associate, I remember thinking, I want to learn something about private dentistry or I want to learn something about cosmetic dentistry. And there was nothing. There was. There was one course, I think. And so a much happier overall with too many courses than too few. Yeah. The reason of why is there so many courses? I think a big part of it is, you know, the younger dentists don’t want to do NHS dentistry.

[00:09:50] Yeah.

[00:09:51] They, they, they’ve got to build their CVS or they think they’ve got to build their CVS. And going on a course has become a CV builder. Yeah. And I think we both know, you know, it’s not it’s not what you do on the course. That’s the key is what you do after the course with that information. Certainly that’s that’s really the key. But as for the question of profitability, you know, I run several courses. I’ve got a I’ve got I’ve got a horse in the race here. One thing I would say about it is it’s it’s high risk. It’s high risk. Running a course and, you know, you can toss up whatever you want to toss up, but the risk factor is important. So we’ve got a composite course, which, by the way, we didn’t just start when it became fashionable. You know, we’ve been doing it for 12 years now. But but we for the first four years of that course, we were making a loss.

[00:10:47] Yes. No.

[00:10:48] With that. So. So. Don’t forget the risk side now. Is there. Is there money in it? There is a little bit. It’s a tiny part of our our bigger business, our bleaching business. But and I don’t teach the course. So so I’ve got to pay a speaker as well. But but stuff costs money that people don’t realise, you know, just shipping all the drills and things to the course just cost £1,000, you know? Yeah. And no one, no one thinks about that. And then we’ve got team and you know, there’s loads of reasons.

[00:11:22] Yeah. The reason it brought it up was two or three people pm me and saying you know, you know it’s fair enough because they’ll come on to the quality of courses as well. And do we need to have independent feedback courses in a minute? But some, a couple of two or three people pm me after that first one which was about quality and said what about the price? Of course because they really have gone up. I mean I remember the day courses used to be 299 quid, 250, 199 quid. There are now a standard 700 plus and certainly some of them are heading up that way. Not if that’s what the cost. That’s what it costs, you know. But I think there’s a little bit of cynicism from some that’s out there, as you probably pointed out, possibly quite wrongly. But and I have no strong opinions on it. I’m quite happy I’ve gone on many courses that I pay the best part of £1,000 for a day, and I’m quite happy to do that provided a good course. You know, I have no issues with that.

[00:12:18] And the other.

[00:12:18] Thing might be as to why there’s so many courses nowadays, and I think it was just poked as well by a couple of people going, oh, you know, going to mention the cost of these courses, you know, so I know what you mean. Multiply everything up and just get, oh, you must be taking this by the Monday in the day. That’s incredible. You know, so why why did you do a course? Why did you what got you into doing courses then?

[00:12:43] Well, we sell composite and the composite that we sell. You’ve got to learn how to use it. It’s a particular way of using it. Okay. But but but, you know, one thing I’ll say is, you know, the this same course, the same lecturer in Chicago is twice the price.

[00:13:04] Yeah.

[00:13:05] As the one we do. So, you know, and, and I’ve been to those courses in Chicago and in all over America and dentists come pay the price of the course and almost the whole room buys the materials. Right. And, you know, they they’re just they’ve got a different outlook. And by the way, they’re not just the very young dentists who turn up to the courses. You get all sorts of dentists turning up to the courses, trying to learn a new skill. Yeah, but, but I think, you know, it’s an important question. Of course, I thought the the troubling word in your post was profiteering.

[00:13:39] Yeah, I know. Do you know what? That was a clumsily used word. I said, to be honest with you, the reason why it was trying to link it in with yeah, I know it was a very tough thing and I think that created a bit too much animosity, to be honest with you. Yeah, I didn’t mean profiteering in that way. What I was trying to equate it with was quite a few people are quite quick to throw accusations at dental companies that this bit of plastic. Right which is a bit of. You are charging me 200 quid for a bit of plastic that if I went into it would cost me a couple of quid if it didn’t have to work for dental use on it. And so I was sort of trying to sort of play with that idea that it’s okay for it. So it’s okay to slag off dental companies for charging what you think is an X amount of money. Are you charging excessive amount of money is what I was trying to get at. I think I was. Yes, I wasn’t meant to be insulting. Mike, this is the thing about the red wine posts there. Never.

[00:14:36] Don’t worry about insulting. Don’t worry about insulting. You know, it’s a concept, right? But I mean, I do see some profiteering around around dentistry. So I’ll tell you where there’s profiteering, right? You can go to the IBS, show the world’s biggest dental show. Yep. And the cologne isn’t equipped to have that many people come descend on it. And the three star hotels suddenly become £500 a night.

[00:15:03] Yeah, and they’re pretty, pretty awful.

[00:15:06] And you’ve got no other choice but to go there and spend that money. And I think with PPE, there was a question of profiteering, you know, with it. But at the same time, you know, it’s you know, obviously I’m in with that side, too, right? I supply dental equipment, dental, dental stuff, and our stuff’s expensive stuff. Our stuff isn’t cheap stuff at all.

[00:15:28] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:15:30] But but you know, the comparisons that sometimes people make and dentists make with a piece of plastic, you know, there’s huge regulatory nightmares in in supplying dentists. You know, if, if I want to supply my toothpaste in India, I have to pay a compliance company over £100,000 just to say hello, you know, just to get into that country. Yeah, in in Russia. Well, before when Russia was the thing, you had to pay £1,000 per ingredient per product for regulatory compliance. And then, you know, there’s a competitive thing. And, you know, I don’t know, it’s one of those things that, you know, the market will decide and profiteering sounded like the wrong word for it.

[00:16:16] Yeah. No. And with with with hindsight, I wouldn’t have used that word. And I think that’s what went wrong. I mean, now.

[00:16:23] But let’s get let’s get to this question of, you know, as a dentist, let’s say you’re booked up 11 weeks ahead. Should you put your prices up or not?

[00:16:32] Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, it was it’s a it’s a hypocritical post. And asmuch as that, you know, your patients would look at me and what I charge and my hourly rate of which I average are about sort of 275 to £300 an hour. I work in rural Oxfordshire and patients would look at me and go, Oh Jesus Christ, you’re ripping us off, you know? And yeah, you do get accusations. I mean, I suppose I’m paying for your holiday and I’ll go, Yes, I actually do say no. Yes, yes. You are just a very, very small amount, you know, and if I know that they’re an electrician, but like if I got you to come on wire or something up in my house, I’d be paying for a very tiny bit of your holiday as well. But, you know, it’s, you know, don’t get so much.

[00:17:17] To recognise that dentists of our era had their thing about, oh, don’t, don’t turn up to work with your nice car.

[00:17:25] Oh, yes, don’t.

[00:17:26] Do the practise up that whole thing. But the younger ones, they’ve gone the other way, you know, they want to turn up in the Ferrari. Yeah. So that the patients think they are successful dentists you know. And that’s the kind of change in society.

[00:17:42] I’m not sure. I’ve got a Tesla and it’s parked outside the practise and they might have come on bloody Tesla going oh nice car. Ooh. And some of them are genuinely interest because it’s a Tesla and some of them are like you can tell it’s just angled. You know, the funniest one I ever had was when they took over this practise. Took this practise was like six years ago. This bloke came in for adjustment and his dentures and they go over visits and she said, Oh, what happens? They all dentists. And I went, Oh, she’s retired. And he went, Oh, I suppose he’s gone to a her holiday home in the Caribbean that she’s bought with my money, that I paid her twice over two separate visits. So I actually looked up on their say what they actually paid and they paid 800 quid over seven years. And I just went, Oh God almighty. But I mean, yes, you’re back to what you were saying. I think dentists and and this is partly why I was sort of bringing it up about the thing. I think dentists are very remiss. I’m actually a great supporter of all the dental companies, and I think they do an absolutely valuable job. You’re a company, everybody else’s company.

[00:18:51] We would not have the progression in dentistry if we did not have the companies investing in all the dental equipment. I mean, I use a company called RPA, Dental, Exxon and so on. Brilliant. Dental company best of every use. Not plugging them, obviously, but they are very, very good and the equipment they’ve supplied has enabled me to do much better dentistry. I mean, Saric, for example, I’m a big Saric fan. Saric is just amazing, you know, and you look at it nowadays, but if originally back in the day Simmons hadn’t taken on then, then I hadn’t taken on and threw a lot of money at it because Saric is quite often, you know, oh god, look at the price of £100,000 for I go, Yeah, but look at the value it brings to your practise at the end of the day. And the same with your enlightened equipment. Look at you have the best whitening stuff on the market, you have the best, you know. So the value is there and I think people do take cheap shots. So yes, it may have been a bit of a cheap shot that back to the CBD. Are you profiteering? You know, but it was meant to. Yeah.

[00:19:57] Anyway, back on debate and it did it stimulated debate. Right. That’s, that’s what.

[00:20:01] It was there it stimulated about. Yeah. I was, I went at one point nearly 200 replies wow I but, but back on and I have no no aversion to anybody charging whatever the market will stand for a dental course. But then back to what the previous week’s post was, what about the quality? I mean, have you have you been on dental courses Payman recently. Have you have. Yeah or.

[00:20:31] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well I stopped practising ten years ago but but I’m at a lot of dental courses. Yeah, I’m at a lot of dance courses. And look, you’re right. Let’s talk about the quality of courses and the question of where is the review site for courses? Because you’re right in that you do tend to get a lot of back, back slapping, back, back that. What did they call that when when people are just only talking about the positives. That does happen and it happens more with some courses than than others. And I’ve always wondered about that. You know, is it is there some some way, as the course provider of making that virality happen, that make people talk about you more and want to be part of it, but you don’t hear the negatives very much. And what would you think the reason for that is? I mean, people don’t want to be seen to be that that guy, I guess. So the anonymization of it.

[00:21:27] Yeah, it’s a bit like the red.

[00:21:28] Wine is a good idea.

[00:21:29] Yeah, it’s a bit like I stick my neck out and people do say to me privately, So why do you bother to stick your neck out? You just get a lot of flack sometimes. Why do you bother? And I said, Well, I’ve got to that age in life where I don’t give a shit anymore. And but I’ve got that age in life where I basically go, You know what? Sometimes I’m not willing to stand up and just sort of listen to all the sort of back slapping and all the same people going, Oh, hey, brilliant course, fantastic or whatever, you know, all sort of. And especially for younger dentists nowadays, I think us older than this have a responsibility to younger dentists to make them realise what the profession is about. And it’s not about Instagram, in my opinion. I know some people will argue differently. It’s not about solely cosmetic online, it’s not about solely Invisalign. You know, it’s a lot more than that. So but. Well, so I do stand up for what you’re saying. So why are people sort of worried about giving negative views? Mainly because of that pack mentality? Some some course. And I’ve had personally experienced this. I have been blocked. All right. By someone who took exception to something I said on the dentistry top 50 for actually for putting the dentistry top 50 thing up. That’s another one to come on to. But I got blocked. And so there are people out there who would block you, who had bully you, who would actually just go out of their way to say, you know, you possibly do nasty things. So ultimately, I think a lot of people are very scared. And also there are a lot of people, again, are scared to say the counter opinion because there are a lot of if a lot of people.

[00:23:05] Oh, it’s a brilliant, brilliant course. Brilliant course. And you’re going actually, I didn’t think it was all that. You know, you’re the one that’s going to stand out, aren’t you? And I know. And the problem is all that feedback forms your hand back in that they at the end of the course it’s all named, it’s all GDC numbered. Yeah. No. Fine. Well who’s who’s written them. Are you going to write. Somebody said I think it was Jaz or Drew and when something went. All right. So a brilliant course, a genuinely really good course gets five stars, a crop course gets four stars. And I do think there it needs I mean, people came on and said, yeah, we’ve tried this before. It hasn’t really worked. Maybe there needs to be a consensus of reason. I’m not I’m not senior enough in the profession or well respected enough in the profession to be able to do this. But maybe, maybe people like through is not so keen on the idea. I know that it doesn’t seem so keen on, but guys like you, Payman or Jazz, I say, is a really decent bloke and you know people who are highly respected. To get together and say, we are going to start this and we are going to start some sort of independent review site for courses. And whether it works, whether it brings benefit, I personally you’re not going to get in theory at the GDC, you should be doing it. But they do everything else but the actual stuff that would be useful.

[00:24:24] Yeah, they.

[00:24:27] Do absolutely everything else. You know, I’m so mad. I mean, I come from the day you do you remember coming from the day when when you could just write exam ESP and that would be enough for your notes.

[00:24:39] Yeah. When I was a dentist, that’s what it was.

[00:24:41] Yeah.

[00:24:42] I remember. I remember, I think I remember.

[00:24:44] I remember showing an associate of mine. My old notes have notes from the I think it was the eighties. And I went and we counted the number of visits the patient had on the, on the old brown record forms, you know. Yeah. Yeah. And there were 24 visits, one side, 24 appointments on one side. And they’re all things like exam, ESP, upper left, six amalgam, no le or something like that. And that would be it, you know, that would be your notes and you’d get away with it, you know, oh go for those days. But yeah it is, it’s a changed field ultimately. But yeah, I do think so. Back to the the peripheral vision of course, is how do people tell what’s the good course, what’s of course now people have said to me or gets around in the grip, fine. Yeah. But only if you know people who have been on the course or, you know, the right people don’t ask or there’s something the other. So, you know, it’s surely it’s time that somebody has an evaluation of an independent. And I think it should be anonymous personally, because I think anything the way it would be done and this is the way I would view it would be done. You would people say, well, you could you could have trolls giving you bad reviews, just competitors giving bad reviews. Just Oh no you’d have to upload it wouldn’t it would be anonymous on the front but at the back end it would you whoever controls it would be saying, right, show me your cpc’s certificate. You’ve been on the course. Who are you? What’s your DTC number? Okay, that’s your opinion. We’ll post that anonymously, but we can verify you have been on that course. Yeah, but whether it takes off or not, who knows? You know, maybe there’s too many dentistry.

[00:26:25] Interesting one.

[00:26:26] Yeah, it’s an interesting one.

[00:26:28] Let’s move on to the next one. Let’s talk about that. What of you? You’re fully private now. The NHS one.

[00:26:37] Yeah, yeah. Is it religion? Is there going to be a second coming. Is that. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:26:44] Probably private. Right.

[00:26:46] I’ve got small NHS children’s contract. Yeah. Which is. Okay. Cheers. My friends in the back side. Then they really is. The only reason we keep it on was whether my last practise, we went fully, fully private in 2006 and we lost loads of children, but we actually lost quite a few families as a result of that, whereas we would have kept them on and we kept the children’s contract, probably we kept the adults on privately. So when I took this practise over, it had a small children’s contract. Initially I thought, Oh, I’ll ditch it. But I thought, No, I don’t want I’ll just keep it. We ended up treating the children for virtually free in the last practise it was in, so I thought it better to get some money than no money. So that’s how we kept on. Yes. So I have a small so it’s not that I’m talking in case people think, oh, god, you know nothing about the health service. I was a health service dentist completely. I know. Or not under the UDA system. But from 1987 through to 2003, I was completely an NHS dentist for 16 years, so I know what it’s like at the sharp end of the NHS and it was bloody awful and it was actually my GP who advised me to go private.

[00:27:55] I went to them and she pushed a box of tissues towards me when I was in my early forties and I burst into tears myself in the consulting room and she went well and GP’s with next door to me where I work and she went now you know the number of my patients and she went, you’ve got three choices. You either have a nervous breakdown, that’s where you’re heading for, you either give up dentistry, but you’re too good to do that or you give up the NHS and ask. Gp’s are jealous of the fact that you guys can give up the NHS. And so that’s what we did. I gave up the NHS for others. Oh my God, that was the most stressful time in my life. But there we are. The abuse I got from patients like that, that was incredible. One guy drove up in his new series of five series BMW to say, you may want to be a millionaire son, but not on my money. I’ll never forget that. He walked in the room. He said, I’m here for a check-up for the habit. And I was just like, Oh, my God, there we go. That was unbelievable. But anyway.

[00:28:51] So there’s lots, there’s lots of people right now considering leaving the NHS.

[00:28:56] Yeah.

[00:28:57] What would be your advice?

[00:28:59] Yeah. To me obviously it’s a different we were sort of I wouldn’t say we were the frontiersmen because the, the true frontiersmen of going private were actually, funnily enough, reading what you call a moral mountain origin. And Stephen nor wasn’t it 1990 them plan where they they were the true frontiersmen. What happened was 1991 they had a fee cut of 7% and a lot of people went private. Then that was truly frontiersman charity. That was really, really unusual back then, though, we were still early on, reasonably early on to do it. All I would say is I think you’ve got a different scenario. I think patients are probably yeah, probably more appreciative of the fact that you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place as a dentist nowadays. You will still get them. Think. Oh yeah. Well yeah it was some plan for your bloody test side or whatever. You know, a certain neighbour was going private. I would not be parked my Ferrari outside the door but I would. I think the thing is if you want to enjoy your dentistry, if you want to actually like your job, I think you’ve got to go private. That’s my opinion. You really got to nowadays. Yeah. I don’t think there’s any choice. The funding is just appalling and I admire people who try and do it for feeling that they have an ethical obligation to it, feeling that they have a moral and more moral obligation to do it.

[00:30:22] Yeah, do it for a while. Pay back what you feel is your moral obligation. As I said, I did dentistry for 16 years in the NHS, so I think I more than paid back any sort of moral obligation to society on that. But as fast as you can, I would move on. But is it the problem with it? It back to the original question. Is it religion? Yes, it is very much in this country. It ended up in the bloody London Olympics opening ceremony. If you remember, they had whirling beds, this, that and the other. And I think I read the times at the time and said what other country in the world would put their health service in the Olympic opening ceremony? None. You know, so it is religious. It is a religion in this country and that’s what we’re fighting against. But NHS, I mean, dentistry has never been entered fully integrated into the NHS almost since 1950. I think it was charged upon start charge upon for treatment in 1950. So yeah, that’s the difficulty. Will it have a second coming. No, simple. They may try, but they just don’t have the money. They don’t have the. They don’t have the. What’s the word I’m looking for? They they don’t have the the the really the government aren’t really that interested.

[00:31:41] It’s all political manoeuvring. And it’s sad, actually, the way I mean, I think if they if I mean, my my personal thing would be if if you had it, we could have an emergency core service that was not tendered. I think tendering needs to stop. Right. Personally, would my opinion tendering needs to stop. I think it’s ridiculous situation. You know, I think then every dentist could offer every dentist may include probably could offer an emergency core service to help people out. That would spread the workload out a bit more evenly across the country. Stop this thing about. We’ve got a short what I love is the headlines. I’ve got a shortage of dentists. No, I couldn’t find a dentist. You couldn’t find an NHS dentist. That’s different. You could have gone privately. Yeah. You know, it’s all these head and it couldn’t find a dentist for three years. Did you try? You know. You know, but. So if the president said got rid of Tendring, we’re going to let everybody do have a core service. And then after that and obviously then you’re going to have to have income support, whatever it’s called, not as universal credit, not sort of area covered and run on those bases. And they’re covered for that. But beyond that, yeah, it’s really got to be a private, private service. But I don’t know. Yeah.

[00:33:01] So look, it’s interesting what you said about the Olympics because I’ve recently been using the NHS for medical services in the family and I definitely don’t want to lose that. No. As, as, as something that by the way even in medical it’s got loads of problems, right.

[00:33:24] Yeah.

[00:33:25] Issues and so on. But, but I definitely wouldn’t want to lose it because I also have been using private medical services a lot. My family has. And that has all of its own issues, a whole lot of its own issues over treatment issues and problems like that. But as far as dentistry, I mean, I did vet and I remember the moment it was was very near the beginning of it. I thought to myself, I’m never going to do NHS dentistry. I was completely pissed off with. I couldn’t believe what the situation was, you know, like what you had to do for what. And, and, you know, I also admire people who make it work. Yeah, I feel I feel like making it work. It’s almost a martyrdom thing where, you know, dentistry is a stressful job and you really need to pay be paid. I don’t know what the number would be. You’ve got to be paid 70, 80 grand to be a dentist because it’s a proper stressful job. Yeah. Yeah. And if you’re if you’re doing it properly on the NHS, you’re not going to make that.

[00:34:33] You know.

[00:34:34] And so, so you’ve got that choice of do you do the best for your patients or do you martyr yourself to the system? And I remember back then as the vet thinking, I will do whatever it takes to go private. And this was a long time ago when it wasn’t so fashionable to do that.

[00:34:53] Yeah.

[00:34:53] I found a guy who’d gone private and you said 91 was early found a guy who’d gone private in 68? Yes.

[00:35:01] Yeah.

[00:35:03] I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he took me on. And that was it. I’d never, never did an NHS after off the vet again. But now I see, you know, people, good dentists, people going on courses, people with good knowledge, working in the NHS. And I think the biggest problem for me is a lot of the work that NHS dentists do as far as learning is learning how to survive in this system. Rather than, you know, learning how to fix teeth. Yeah. You know, it’s understanding the bureaucracy of it. I mean, it’s such a and the funny thing, when you talk to NHS dentists who want to make the leap, a lot of them are worried that they haven’t got the skills or something. And I think to myself I could never have done NHS. Like you’ve got to be a very, very good dentist to pull that off. Yeah. The short periods of time to get people out and not coming back in with problems, you know. So my advice to anyone who wants to make the leap is make the leap. Make the leap. And and and private dentistry. Now, you’ve been in it for a long time now. I think the soft skills are just as important as the clinical skills.

[00:36:23] Yeah. And then the funding that’s going to come to you, I think if patients don’t judge you. Well the judge in a number of ways, but the probably the number one. Do they like you? You know, there’s I don’t know. There’s a classic story by the medical profession. I remember being quite a few years ago, you may have heard.

[00:36:43] This about who gets sued and who doesn’t.

[00:36:45] Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s right. And the answer was nobody gets sued because they were all lovely. All right. And the guy wrote and basically went, thank you for all your care and attention. And you looked after me superbly. Well, I realise there were just one of those things that was very behind. And then what they conclude it was people don’t sue people they like. And that’s very true and very, very true in life. And it is the soft skills. I learnt that very quickly on my free for my I was the very first year of at Payman 1983, the very first year it was optional. In my year we didn’t have to do it. All right. Okay. I don’t forget. How many years did you spend at dental school? Were you four or five?

[00:37:26] I was five. I was I was the first five.

[00:37:29] I was for four years at dental school. I was and we were the Queen’s and Belfast was the shortest dental course in the UK by one week. Edinburgh was the second shortest by me and my first boss I went to. He was a superb dentist, but a grumpy so-and-so, absolutely grumpy so-and-so, and his practise was failing. I remember we used to have to pull people out of the sofas because the bottoms had fallen out of them and things like that. And I said to him, Why don’t you buy a chair? Why don’t you buy some new chairs? And he went, Oh, NHS doesn’t bloody pay me to buy waiting room furniture and Jesus sort of thing. When I moved out at the end of 80 and I went to a place and nearby a guy he had, you remember the Siemens em one chair, the really Rolls-Royce Siemens erm one chair. He had that himself and you still get crap equipment with associates but you had Siemens in one but he invested and he could talk the hind leg of a donkey. He really had the Blahnik, he wasn’t that good a dentist, but he had the blarney, as we say in Ireland, he was supremely successful. He had people coming from far and wide flocking to him, all that sort of stuff. I very quickly learnt that actually not not such a personable bloke, failing, really personable bloke, not such a good dentist succeeding immensely. And really that’s when I very quickly learnt the soft skills were vitally, vitally important and it’s still the same today, you know I think patients just go, was he a nice chap? And that’s the more important thing that they will forgive you a lot if you’re nice to them.

[00:39:04] Yeah. Yeah. But it, it, it doesn’t mean be nice and then mess up their teeth. It’s be nice and keep, keep it simple. Keep it simple. Yeah. And anything you can’t do, refer out.

[00:39:16] Yeah, exactly. And this is where I would yeah. This is where I would agree with ADC. If not don’t often. But yes. Speak within your competency. Don’t be afraid to refer. Really. So yeah. Just because you see so-and-so on the Instagram having done this, you won’t see the fact they’ve got nine of them that are a bit crap and they both know that. Yeah. You know, you know it is one of those things, you know.

[00:39:42] But Niall’s the guy, the guy sitting, let’s say, like you, he’s done for 16 years a bit much. Let’s just say he’s done, I don’t know, five years of NHS. Yeah. And now he wants to make the leap and very simple. Be nice, don’t hurt people, you know, painless injections. I would say the most important thing you can do and then as soon keep it simple, if you haven’t got super duper skills, if you’re not a full mouth dentist, don’t, don’t try and be. Yeah. Until you get the skills and then refer out. It’s as simple as that. I mean, any dentist could be a private dentist as long as they follow those rules, right?

[00:40:21] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:40:22] I don’t need special knowledge.

[00:40:24] Most patients just want straightforward dentistry. They don’t want total rehabs. They don’t want film with implants. I don’t want this. What they want is to have teeth that are functional. Don’t give them much problems. Look. Okay, feel okay. And that’s all they want. And they want a nice person to do it for them. That’s what they want. They want someone they can trust. My big thing would be intraoral cameras. If you’re going private, make sure you have a really decent internal camera. Show everything. It builds trust immensely if you can show them. Particularly if, as I say to my associates, I go take the patients on the story, particularly when you’re doing the treatments. You you say you’ve got consent. You’ve you’ve shown them at the exam and you said, see, this big crack filling here, you know, carries whatever. And they consent. They come by. Show them. Remind them why they’re in today. Then show them when the feeling is removed. Show them what it looks like underneath. They normally look pretty. Yuck. You know, shown when the care is removed, show them the various stages, take them in the story, show them the cracks. Show them that you build so much trust that the next time you say to them, actually, we’re going to crack, they’re there, you know? But ultimately, you’re right. I mean, it isn’t rocket science. But one of the things I would say to young dentists, they do tend to come out and just to be focussed. Some of them is and particularly if you’re working for corporate, I would actually take your time, do things properly, right when you’re starting off in your career.

[00:41:48] Don’t worry about the money. All right. Even if you’re I mean, most people, my son, being an example, has graduated with a master’s and whatever else from Lisa. And he’s on 30, 35 grand a year. 25. Now, a lot of dentists come out and think, oh, I should be heading sort of high. 60, 70, 80 ground. Most graduates don’t earn that at that stage. What I would be saying to you, be happy with your 25 to 30 grand, but build your skills now. Take your time. Use the rubber dom. Learn to do a filling. Learn to do the difficult extraction, etc., etc., etc.. Even if it’s onto the NHS, the corporates can’t complain because you’re doing everything by the book, you know. So you’re doing good dentistry. Just take your time and build those skills particularly well. As you said yourself, even if you haven’t done that, you don’t need a huge amount of skills to go private. It’s just been nice, as you say, being nice to people doing basic good basic dentistry. Yeah. And this is back to where people look at. I mean, I was talking to someone the other day who said, where are the associates, young associates nowadays who want to just do general dentistry. They all seem to want to do bloody bonding and Invisalign and you know, that’s all they seem to want to do nowadays. And I’m going, Yeah, I just find that weird because you know, most I would say 90% of patients, 95% of patients don’t want Invisalign or bonding. Yeah, they really not interest in it. They’re interested in good basic dentistry and plenty of money to maintain that.

[00:43:28] Yeah. As long as you’re charging appropriately. Right. And that’s another problem.

[00:43:32] No, exactly. And I think I think we’ve got to do is we’ve got that. You’ve got to start. You know, we’re worried about what people will think about us when we charge fees and all that sort of stuff. I think that’s, you know, that’s a whole different area of mindset of it. But somebody said to me once you think about Harrods, they don’t aim to sell every whatever designer dress to. They don’t aim to sell a designer dress to everybody who walks into Harrods. They’ll only be a certain amount of people will buy them. And that’s the same with your dentistry then, that you will find your market, you will find your people will. You’re not to be scared of your fees. Yeah, but.

[00:44:13] How often do you put your prices up in your own practise.

[00:44:17] And annual? Late January? We we do it routinely. I mean, if we need a mid-year tweak, we will do mid-year tweak. Patients don’t notice when you put your prices up, but you get the old one who does, right. Okay. You will get the old. I think there was a statistic that came out somewhere from Harvard Business School or somewhere that might be apocryphal, but 14%, you can put your prices up by 14% and no one will actually notice. And funnily enough, we stuck are not quite that high, but we stuck our examination fee and our hygiene fee up by almost 11% this year. Not we had one patient mention it. So yes, the fee increases is only in your head then they.

[00:44:56] Yeah. In fact that boss of mine, the one firm that had gone private in 69 or whatever it was, he had a thing about if the patients aren’t complaining about the prices, they’re not they’re not high enough. And he used to annually put the prices up. And I remember I remember thinking, that’s not a big increase. Why is it even bother? But then when I stayed, I stayed in that practise for four or five years and after four or five years it was a big difference. Yeah, if you get 12 12% a year after four or five years is a significant difference.

[00:45:33] Yeah, absolutely. But you’re right, it’s indirect. If you do them regularly, patients don’t notice. I think sometimes what happens is we had this issue when we first took over the practise, the plan prices hadn’t been updated for years, for years. So we had to bring them all into line with the fee per item. The fee per item. Prices had been put up, but the plan price has never been increased. So we had a real sort of backlash from patients going. What we want to put my plan price up from 12 to 17 quid a month. Yeah, well, you know, you’re on an absolute bargain. There are 12 months, you know, so it is doing it little and often and working your way through that. But certainly, yeah, I think turning the NHS, moving away from the NHS now it’ll be just interesting to see how over the next year or so what happens. I mean because I remember there’s an awful lot of dentists talking. They want to go private at the moment and I would encourage them to. But I remember back in 1991 we went to when there was a 7% fee cut by the NHS back on the old fee per annum service.

[00:46:36] We went a BDA meeting in Surrey where I was working at the time and I had just taken over my practise 25 and it was a dump and I was literally there six months and this fee cut came in. So I knew I couldn’t go private because it was a dump and I was just new to 25, new to the area. And but everybody in the room went and they sort of had to show hands who’s all going to go private and everybody stuck their hands up and barmy and a couple of others. Interestingly, I would say about half of those who stuck their hands up never did. So it’ll be interesting to see what happens. There’s a lot of bravado at the front end, but it’ll be interesting to see there will be how many actually do make that move. But it is something I think is much better on the other side. I enjoy my job much more. I am not a stressed yeah, etc. etc..

[00:47:26] Yeah.

[00:47:28] Let’s move on to our corporates. A force for good in dentistry.

[00:47:33] Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s an interesting one. What’s my view on that one? Yes and no. I must admit, when I when I come to sell this practise and I’m 57, so it’ll be a few years yet, possibly. But when I come to sell it, I don’t want to sell it to a corporate.

[00:47:52] Right ideologically.

[00:47:55] Ideologically and ideologically. I don’t want it. I think we need to have independent practises out there. I really do. All right. I think it’s sad that we’re all ending up as corporates. You know, there are good corporate, better corporates, less, by the way, than others. I don’t slag any of them off. I mean, we we are near Portman. And I have to say, I think Portman are run very well. They buy good practises. You know, they choose well, it’s run well then. Tax is an interesting another one that I just happen to notice that Hershey sold at the weekend to then tax you know I think that seems an interesting model I know I don’t you don’t know Jack and Deci and Rowling, do you at all, do you know? Yeah, I do. I do. Well, John’s a good man, was a good mate of mine, and he sold to Dan Tax and he’s recommended me Dan Tax highly, but equally well. I would quite like to keep it the independent sector because I do think it’s important for the you know, just what I mean if you’re a young dentist and you’re coming out today and you had no hope to own your own business, maybe, maybe a different mindset, I think. I mean, why did you do dentistry payment? Why? Why did you do Street?

[00:49:07] I was one of those. Didn’t know what I wanted to do. My parents said, hey, you know your uncle’s dentist, you like your uncle? So it was it was as terrible as that.

[00:49:19] Yeah, well, mine, mine, mine seminary. Terrible. I must admit, mine was a bit like I’m the youngest of five, and my two of my brother is much, much, much older than me. My eldest brother was 70, our doctors, and they both went, Don’t do medicine, it’s shit. And what they meant by that was they are not that time. I happen to have a very fun dentist in Northern Ireland who drove at the old quatre, went away on a skiing holiday once a week and had a 9 to 5 job and owned his own business. And that was what I quite like. They owned his own business and I went, Oh, I’ll be a dentist, you know? And that’s how I ended up doing that. But equally, equally shit reasons, you know, but it’s worked out for the best. And part of the attraction for me was the fact I could be my own boss one day. And I sort of think if it goes all totally corporate, I don’t think it ever will go all totally corporate. But if it did or if there was less opportunity for dentists, yeah, I just think it’s a sad, sad day. And if I look at some of the corporates you talk to, some of the youngsters, young professionals on the course are not youngsters. Young professionals are on the courses I made and they’re going, Oh yeah, I’m having to buy my own composite, I’m having to buy my own whatever, because the corporate will not buy this quality material for me. So I have to supply it all myself. And yeah, just.

[00:50:45] Just to be fair, lots, lots of independent bosses aren’t buying things as well.

[00:50:52] Yeah. So the red line post for another day came and that’s, that’s, that’s on the back burner actually. It keeps coming up and I think I’ll post that on this week, but it hasn’t come up yet. There’s other things that keep popping up. But yeah, that is a red wine post for another day. Yeah, you’re right. It isn’t exclusive to corporates. You’re absolutely right. It isn’t exclusive, of course. But I just think. Yeah, how are they forced for good? They’ve been a force for good somebody put out pointed out and the thing for practise owners Goodwill’s.

[00:51:24] For selling out.

[00:51:26] Yeah well it’s gone through the roof I mean back to what we were saying earlier when I first bought my practise, 1991, they were all sold through box yards in the back of the bdg and Frank Taylor was an auditor. Frank Taylor was actually Frank Taylor. He was an he had a little thing and practises were sold for the average of the previous three years turnover. Right. So the average of that on the third of that somewhere between 25% and 33% of the average of the previous year. Three is turnover. And so I bought my first practise which was turning over about sort of 180 grand for about 60 grand. Yeah, well, I know. Just mad, mad, mad, mad. And you know, it has totally changed. I mean, nowadays, you know, so so they have brought the corporates have certainly from the PRI, but from the associates point of view, I struggle a little bit more to see what they brought.

[00:52:26] Yeah, you’re right. On average, you’d probably rather work for a for a non corporate as an associate. My wife works for a corporate and they’re one of the better ones. They’re one of the better ones. Although when something goes wrong, the chain of command is just extraordinary. That’s one thing. And then another thing, you know, my wife is actually owns a quarter of enlightened. She herself owns a quarter of Enlightened. And you’d imagine the owner of Enlightened. Right. Could could make things happen from a whitening perspective in the practise. Yes. And the red tape they have to go through just to make a leaflet, you know, it has to be in brand with the corporates and so on is amazing as well. And then things like computers break and and don’t get fixed sometimes you know. Yeah. And you think this corporates got so much money why don’t they. Although although having you know, I’m talking to lots of corporates about bringing in light in in as well and it’s not a bed of roses running a corporate at all because it turns out the business model actually isn’t that lovely, other than they will then sell the whole thing off for even more bigger, even a bigger multiple. But but, you know, it turns out running these, you know, 300 practises, whatever they’ve got, it takes a whole team of head office and you know, that team needs paying for. And like anything when you grow it, I mean, you’ve got one practise, you know, but there’s several dentists. You’ve got, you know, way more than that. And they whenever they grow it, they find it very. Haunt keeping the thing as it was right. Keeping the culture as it was and and keeping everything going. And so they end up they end up exerting control with cash, essentially, sort of the easiest way for them to control. The thing is to say this is the maximum budget and you’re right in that dentistry doesn’t work well under those circumstances. No, no, that’s very true. I agree with you on that.

[00:54:30] Yeah, I’ve heard that story. And the reason why I didn’t I mean, I was quite interested in in in in the early days, back in the days of you remember Whitecross in London. What was it was yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:54:43] Mendelson.

[00:54:44] Mendelson, yeah.

[00:54:45] Just passed away.

[00:54:45] And I took a strong interest in sort of having a look at the courtroom, but I couldn’t see maybe it was just me how it would work. Because again, what you say that I want to have really good practise of patients treated really well. So my first boss had in Northern Ireland had four practises. He went bankrupt. This was back in the early nineties. He went bankrupt and he said to me and he sort of put me off. Somebody said, never run more than one practise. He said the main practise was doing really, really well. The other three branches, squats, fair enough, as branches grinned as money bankrupted them. And he started again. But what I’m saying is that. So that’s between the two. I just couldn’t see how it worked. But I remember back in the day when I wasn’t idea what was what was the idea to the average day when it was originally called? I can’t remember what was called back in the nineties somewhere else.

[00:55:42] Now it’s called something and now it’s called my dentist.

[00:55:44] My dentist. Yeah. Yeah. No, maybe it was always idea.

[00:55:47] It was like that.

[00:55:48] Yeah. But yeah. No, but I remember Whitecross in London looking at them and London and going, Oh, nice idea.

[00:55:56] Nice, didn’t they? And there was JD Hull, if you remember.

[00:55:58] Yes, I remember JD Hull. I mean, he was he was a character. Wasn’t a he was a character. He was a character.

[00:56:06] He started out in South Wales, I studied in Cardiff so. So I’ve got some of his.

[00:56:11] Yeah, yeah. No stories character. He certainly, certainly remember that. I remember talking to him one time and he wasn’t, he was big into rugby, I’m big into my rugby so we got to talk about that sort of stuff. But he was going to almost take you down into hospitality and all that sort of stuff, you know, never, never, nothing ever happened. But yeah, no, you’re right. I do think that the advantage of independent practise owners is that their flexibility. Yeah, they can respond quickly. They can respond quickly to the market. They can respond quickly to everything goes on. And actually, the advantage is if you have a good principle and you have to have a good principle, I’m not saying I’m one necessarily, but you have to have a good principal who has strong leadership, a strong vision of what they want to do with the practise. They will be very successful. I think, unfortunately, a lot of principals possibly don’t have that sort of leadership skills, but yeah, they are. And therefore maybe a corporate is better for certain people, but not for everybody.

[00:57:15] Yeah, so I don’t think it’s impossible that they could succeed. I mean, in opticians they’ve certainly, you know, taken completely taken over except for the very high end ones, right. Yeah. And I think opticians are different to dentists.

[00:57:30] Yeah, they.

[00:57:30] Are. It’s it’s more a retail model than a service.

[00:57:34] I have to say where I say we were more veterinary like I would argue that. Yeah. And I think veterinary there are 40% or something on it or whatever. I don’t know. Is there 40% of the market. I’m not. Yeah.

[00:57:47] Right.

[00:57:48] Yeah, something like that.

[00:57:50] Let’s go on to let’s go on to your story a bit more now. Why did you move from Northern Ireland? I guess you grew up in Ulster as well, did you?

[00:57:59] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was born and bred there. I’m born 1965 in a place called Larne, currently Antrim in Northern Ireland, which.

[00:58:06] Is a port. I’ve been to Northern Ireland. Yeah.

[00:58:11] It’s a dump.

[00:58:12] Yeah.

[00:58:13] Yeah. I mean the area. So I went to school there. I, my father, my father was stationmaster. Interestingly, it used to be the largest station in Ireland and then the beach came along and he ended up setting my father. I think it got my wanting to run my own business. My father, he ran his own haulage firm for years and my father left school at 14 back in the day. So I mean, yeah, he would have been he would nowadays he would have gone to university. He was a clever bloke, but now he had six children, five which survived. And there is I grew in Larne, so I ended up going to school there ended up, as I explained to you, already doing dentistry simply through the fact that careers advice was shite back then. I remember going to the careers teacher as it was, who happened to be the maths teacher as well, and when she said, What are you doing? And I went on doing maths. Physics, chemistry and said And what you think in doing for university now? I went, Oh, I’m thinking of doing dentistry. And she went, Yeah. Greg go and look under the yonder in the fine cabinet over there. And that was it.

[00:59:15] Was.

[00:59:16] A little bit from Queens was Cuba. And that was literally my 5 minutes of career advice. And, and my brothers went, I don’t do medicine. So I ended up doing dentistry. And, and back in the day I, you know, you literally just fill in UCAS form. Even the personal step one was a bit like I like playing rugby, you know, sort of style. That was it. He had no interviews. No interviews. I don’t know if you. Did you have an interview.

[00:59:42] We had interviews.

[00:59:44] Yeah. Queens, we didn’t. No interviews. You just literally sent it off and you got whoa. Yeah. Offered you press and that was it. That was and I look at youngsters, young people coming out of school nowadays and what they have to go through to get into dentistry and school. And I remember we spend our first year, year and a half with the Medicks and I remember one anatomy lecture. They came to the front and went, We’ve got a medick who’s interested in transferring to dentistry. Does any dentist, do any dentists want to transfer to medicine? This is about six weeks in. Yeah. And I thought about it for an hour during that anatomy lecture going I went, Nah, can’t be there too much.

[01:00:21] Hassle on.

[01:00:22] The as I get switched to the doctor. So anyway, I ended up at Queen’s and Belfast did for years 1983 to 87, graduated, took the optional vet and then went from there and then basically had feet. And the problem with Northern Ireland, it’s it’s a very, very close community. And, you know, it’s complicated by obviously all the troubles. I mean, I was there at the height of the troubles. You know, I actually was in digs in the final year in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast when the sniper fired at the Army post and top of our tower block, you know, you know, that sort of thing was on, you know, so it literally was a, you know, all outgoing all at the time. So I didn’t particularly want to stay in Northern Ireland. You always get attracted by the bright lights of England. My wife, well, my girlfriend at the time was English and her father was a surgeon in Chesney. I mean, I don’t know if you ever my father in law was a surgeon from India, and he came over in 1957 to do his FRCS and ended up in Northern Ireland basically because he couldn’t get consultant’s post in the north of England, as he says, because he was racially discriminated against, because he was Indian. He wrote to the BMA and went DMC and went, Oh, I’m not going to consultant’s posts here. Do you think it’s because I’ve got a brown face basically? And they went, Yeah, probably. What do you want us to do about it?

[01:01:55] And so I’ll tell you, let me tell you a story. My dad studied in Queens. Yeah, all right. In the fifties. In the fifties, yes. And someone asked him to be president of the Students Association, whatever. Right. Because he was neither neither Catholic nor Protestant.

[01:02:14] Yes, exactly. Well, it was a.

[01:02:20] It was very much like that. You know, I remember going to the Catholic chaplain and say, I’m a Protestant. Technically, I’m atheist nowadays, but I’m a Protestant technically. And I know Niles, a very Irish name and normally used by Catholics. I am frozen technically. And I remember going with friends of mine who were to the Catholic Chaplaincy for lunch, you know, because it was cheap and it was good and they, they wind me up. I said, Oh, you better keep a low profile to realise your problems, you know, that, you know. And I was going really isolating and yeah, yeah, I’ll have you chucked out of here and I’m going, oh Lord. But yeah, it was all that, all that was going on amongst fellow students, more banter. But there was a very serious edge going on outside in the real world and Belfast and the wider shrines of Northern Ireland. So I didn’t want to live there. I didn’t want to bring up children there. I felt that it was a very closed community. My personal opinion, I know plenty of my colleagues who stayed in a very successful and enjoyable life in Northern Ireland. So we moved over to England and literally I find a practise through the back as as a box as the beat and moved over when I was just turned 26 and started my first practise and took over a practise from another Irish woman who is returning to Southern Ireland and that was that. And I grew it from there basically. So eventually we outgrew the building and we knocked it down. We got an architect and we rebuild the building, etcetera, etcetera, and the rest is history. Yeah. Do I regret doing dentistry? No, I actually think it’s a great career. You know.

[01:03:58] You’re clearly completely engaged with with dentistry still. What would you. What would you say is the secret of that? I mean, is it is it the people that you love or is it the meccano aspect of it? Is it the business side?

[01:04:13] Yeah, meccano. I was never good at my count. I said, Yeah, I would like a bit more. But yeah, that’s why I don’t do implants. Why do not you go? Yeah, I’ll fit. I’ll fit on ladies and crimes using. Sorry, that’s more like Lego implants. But seriously, what is it about? It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s the people, you know, and dentists. We’re very lucky inasmuch as that we have that amazing ability to take people from who are in severe, severe pain to out of pain within a few minutes. Yeah. You know, help them or even just on a more mundane level improve their self confidence. Even people come in and it’s nice when people write reviews going, Oh my God, I was actually petrified at the dentist till I found you or I came to your practise or I came to their, you know, and we all in all our various practises have reviews like that. And I just like helping people, you know, then they and I think that’s what keeps me going about it. I don’t like all the things that anybody else doesn’t like. I don’t like the GDC, I don’t like the QC, I don’t like everything like that that’s come with it. And I and I actually don’t like the Instagram stroke, you know, composite bonding stroke, Invisalign. It has its place, but it’s not dentistry for me, you know, it’s an aspect of dentistry, but it’s not all dentistry. So, you know, I think there’s, you know, dentistry is about helping people and helping people is extractions, root canals, fillings, whatever, you know.

[01:05:46] I mean, you should you should know there is quite a lot of very valuable stuff on Instagram as well. Yeah.

[01:05:51] Oh, yeah.

[01:05:51] I know when you say Instagram, I know what you mean. I know what you mean. I know what you mean. Yeah, yeah. But but there’s lots of lots of really good education on Instagram too.

[01:06:01] Yeah, yeah, I know there is. And I have to say I have to say I do follow not not an Instagram, but quite a few Facebook pages that I think are vitally useful. Jaz does Nick Gulati is Gujarati page A etc. etc. etc.. Yeah, are very valuable and very useful. Yes. No, there are a lot of good stuff. It’s the stuff that you know what I’m talking about, the sort of the glamour do.

[01:06:27] Yeah, I do. And you know, I’m very involved in that space.

[01:06:33] Yes, I.

[01:06:33] Know you are. You know, I’m very Payman.

[01:06:37] Don’t worry. Don’t worry. They say whatever you like, right? At the end of the day. Know a line? Bleach bond. Right. So we’re big in bleach and we’re making bond, and we’re not big in a line. But I know what you mean. I mean, there’s definitely some overtreatment going on with composite bonding and some low quality treatment going on with composite bonding. And there’s going to be a bunch of failures very soon. I mean, composites are very unforgiving material.

[01:07:03] Yeah, absolutely.

[01:07:05] You know, stains very quickly. And but then on the other hand, I would say that’s the reason for learning it properly. And I don’t even mean come to my course. I mean practise, you know, practise a lot and talk to lots of people and and so forth. But it’s interesting, though, these days you can choose to be whichever type of dentist you want to be in a way, because there’s so much more referral. You know, in our day you were either a general dentist or you were a specialist dentist. And even specialist was a new thing, wasn’t it?

[01:07:35] Yeah, it was more. Or your dentist was more or more what. I qualified the other one at the hospital. Or you are a general practise dentist. Yeah.

[01:07:44] And then I know you quite like you quite like endo, don’t you.

[01:07:49] I do quite a lot of endo. Yeah.

[01:07:51] Yeah. So, so I, I stopped practising ten years ago, but in my last four years of practise, I didn’t do any endo at all. I just I referred all of them. And what I’m saying is you can you can choose to be an Invisalign dentist and be fine with that, or you can choose to be an implant guy. And just just go into that very quickly these days. What do you think about that? Do you think do you think do you do you also sort of mourn the loss of the generalist?

[01:08:22] No. As much as I think do I mourn the loss of the generalist? I don’t think we’ve lost the generalist totally. But there are things like implants. I genuinely do think they should be done by guys who are doing X number of implants a year.

[01:08:37] Lots of them.

[01:08:37] Yeah, yeah, lots of them. I really do think. Do you want to go to a hip a hip surgeon and get do you want to go to a surgeon and get your hip replacement done? But find out actually, he’s an abdominal surgeon. Just does the odd hip replacement once every six months.

[01:08:52] No.

[01:08:52] Well done. You know, and you know, so, you know, why should implants be any different? You know, so the likes of, say, Adam Glass food for want of a name or you know, quite there are loads of people out there. Roberti Yeah, yeah. Rob Morrissey There’s another good one. Yeah. Who I think Dominic Hurley tends to do mostly implants. Stuff like that tends to my name. Yes, I am very much a best for that in terms of, you know, Invisalign and so on. Yeah. Well now don’t get started on Invisalign. I do think once you get away from implants, once you get I do think there is a, there’s certainly a place for specialists, but there’s no reason why a good generalist can’t do 90, 80, 90% over to a standard that is more than acceptable for the JDC. Yeah. So, you know, so yeah, I think you can end up referring most of your business away if you end up referring too much out. But yeah, you know, I certainly I certainly think that and also sort of sometimes patients go, yeah, they don’t like going to another place. I know this is where it’s coming back to that people are bringing specialists in-house, aren’t they? More and more so. And that’s that’s a headache in itself, trying to keep them busy and trying to keep them on something the other. But yeah, if patients don’t like, they’ve come to see you, they’ve come to see your practise, they know where you are, somebody’s described also the patients are a bit like patients are a bit like cats or no. Yeah, that patients but like cats. Yes, that’s right. Rather than dogs. Dogs. Dogs are attached.

[01:10:32] To the building.

[01:10:33] Yes, the cats are attached to the building. Yeah. So on patients are a bit like cats. That’s how good the sale of goodwill works because they go, Oh, I’ll stay to the building. Even though a new owners come in, I’ll stick there because I know the building. Yeah, it’s a weird phenomenon, but that’s the way it works. And I think patients. So I do think there is and will always be a place for the general sense. I think what’s sad is that people sort of see that they should be doing more Invisalign and more bonding and more of this. You know, there’s nothing wrong with doing that, but at the expense of doing their general dentistry or they feel like they’re peer pressured into doing it because they’re met down the road, is doing a lot or they’ve seen someone on Instagram.

[01:11:16] I feel like I feel like Invisalign kind of feels like easy money, doesn’t it? That’s the thing.

[01:11:21] Yeah, it’s.

[01:11:22] Something. It’s not easy. Money is very difficult work, but not easy at all. But have you done Invisalign? Now, I noticed on your on your website, you guys do Invisalign.

[01:11:33] Yeah. It says my, my associate does Invisalign. I don’t touch the stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah. On our website.

[01:11:38] Which is leaning on it, I feel like you’ve got something to say about Invisalign. Go on.

[01:11:42] Well, apart from that, like the dominator. Yeah. Apart from the fact that they absolutely dominate the market. What I find sad about Invisalign is the people that sort of chest, the diamond, the double diamond, the platinum, whatever status you know, that. Oh, don’t do this number. From what I understand, the fees are still incredibly high from Invisalign for their stuff. Even if you get diamond, double diamond or whatever status you’re on. Yeah. And if you talk to sort of certain orthodontists like Ian Hutchinson, for example, yeah, he’ll go Aligners or Aligners and my associates done the in Hutchinson’s course and she would go that well yeah, you can do them with Invisalign and you will get down to site their particular Instagram going, I can do everything on Invisalign, you know that. But there are certain cases on quite a lot of cases that are maybe better off with fixed, but you know, it is what it is.

[01:12:37] But I think that tide is turning though in a way, because I speak to a number of orthodontists who are Invisalign only Invisalign orthodontists, and it can do a lot more than it used to do. I mean, I remember when I trained on Invisalign, they were saying, you know, you can’t rotate teeth, you can’t you can do a lot more than it used to. But but this question of, you know, being aligns sort of ad, you know, like some people say, look, why are you putting Invisalign brand ahead of your own brand? Yes. And you know what? I get it. I do get it. Number one, the discount bit piece is is significant. You know, that that that apex diamond predator, whatever status they get it. I think half the price of of an.

[01:13:26] Absolutely significant chunk of money when you compare it to other.

[01:13:29] Compared to brackets. Compared to brackets. Of course. Yes. Yeah. But the other thing is, you know, align invented aligners. Yeah. They, they didn’t just go stick a name on, they invented it. I mean, okay, totally different management to to it was a totally different person, totally different management to who we’ve got there now. But, but having invented aligners that, that first mover advantage that they had and they’re now bigger than Henry Schein, I think the biggest, the biggest company in dentistry now or they’re definitely up there. I mean it’s basically align Henry Schein and then splice around, you know, there’s three or four investor, you know, the ones who own all those noble bio care and or ASC optic. And so, you know, I’ve spoken to a bunch of dentists about this. I haven’t got a horse in the race. I don’t I don’t mind one way or the other. I certainly know some dentists who’ve left Invisalign and then come back because they were unhappy with the alternatives. And I know others who’ve left and and they’re very happy. Very happy. I know some who print their own aligners, you know, make their own in house. So there seems to be a few ways to skin the cat. But the, the brand is super strong and there’s a lot of very happy people with the brand. I think they could do a lot more on customer service. I mean, yeah, they seem to be very poor on customer service, which is weird. You know, you’d imagine they take care of that.

[01:14:59] Yeah, I think it’s they, they almost are in that position of it and they’re so dominant that they feel they can just treat anybody the way they want. And that’s what the seems to happen. Then the single.

[01:15:11] I don’t think that’s it. I don’t think that’s it. No company thinks that way. I mean, it’s well, maybe, but you don’t become the world’s biggest dental company thinking that. I think it’s probably you.

[01:15:21] Know, there are a bit. But I just think I just.

[01:15:23] Think they’re growing so quickly that they can’t they can’t keep up with the growth themselves.

[01:15:31] So, yeah, it’s.

[01:15:32] The same reason Facebook is such a nightmare to deal with. You know, as an advertiser, it’s an absolute nightmare dealing with that company. But the reason is they’re just growing so quickly.

[01:15:44] Yeah, I.

[01:15:45] Think. I think that’s the reason.

[01:15:46] Yeah.

[01:15:47] Tell me, let’s move on to darker questions. Well, before we do that, before we do that, let’s talk about you’ve run a couple of super successful dental practises, have been around for ages, employing loads of people, treating thousands of patients. What would you say that secrets to success outside of the clinical?

[01:16:10] Well, the sacred success are I personally might. Well, we’ve talked about this already is your personality. You know, you have to be a nice person to deal with.

[01:16:21] It’s certainly outside of patient care. I mean, I’m.

[01:16:24] I’m thinking more staff associates. Yeah. Outside the patient care. What’s important for me having, you know, in terms of what do you mean in terms of equipment and stuff like that or staff associates. Keeping people happy? Yeah. What’s important? I think you’ve got to pay people. Well, certainly nowadays that’s a big thing for staff. You know, that’s one of the big questions is the dental nurse crisis. You know, dental nurses have been absolutely poorly paid for donkey’s years, you know, treated like shit, basically, to be honest with you. You know, my it up. We’ve got nurses retiring. She’s 59 and she’s been a dental nurse since she was 16. And she started off nursing right in four inch stilettos because that was the rule for the practise back then. Four inch white slippers, you know. But, you know, she said we had to have that, you know, that was the rule, you know. And I’m going, oh, my God. Yeah. They’re always been paid a pittance. So it’s treating your staff well. The problem is with it is, you know, with difficulty with staff, your staff are key to the success of the practise. They really are. The front of house is absolutely vital. Yeah. You’re you’re your reception team. Your front of house is absolutely vital. If you do not have people who are reasonably intelligent, reasonably, you know, savvy.

[01:17:59] Resourceful.

[01:18:01] Resourceful, etc., you are screwed it really and you really are screwed. I mean, we have been through in our current practise so many from the past team, mainly because I mean, the thing is, you know, it’s funny enough, it’s what I my favourite programme at the moment is the sewing bee. I don’t know, you watch the great British sewing Payman there you watch the Great Britain now.

[01:18:24] And the great.

[01:18:25] You know, great British sewing bees on Wednesdays on BBC One, whatever it what it is, is basically so or as you come along and make clothes out of material and it’s like great British Bake Off, but for sewing. And as I said to them, it’s all about attention to detail. You know, it’s it’s you look at it and you go, right, okay, you’ve made it, you’ve made a dress. But the hems all wobbly. Why is the hair more wobbly? It doesn’t look quite right or one side’s long and the other it doesn’t quite fit correctly there. This colour thread doesn’t match or whatever, you know. And so all about it, it’s all the little details that go in to make a dress. You may look at it and say, That’s a dress, all right. But then you look at everything that’s gone in to make a lovely, lovely dress, and that’s like a dental practise to me. People sort of say to me, Oh, you know, you’re some we’ve been accused of nit picking, you know, say you’re saying, Oh, you need to be doing it like this and be like I say, no, I call it we have standards basically. And they and everything comes together to form the whole. But if you you know if you cannot and sorry people will Brit me for this but if you cannot write an email back to people and where we are a site of Oxford we get everybody from Oxford, professors of English and to all sorts of places people in fact if you cannot write an email that makes sense in perfect grammatical English, back to patients.

[01:19:51] All right. We’re screwed to start off with, you know, and it’s the detail is the little things like that, making sure you put your apostrophe in the right place, making sure you’ve done this, you’ve done that. But yes, staff are key. Staff are absolutely key. And once you find the staff, pay them well, treat them well, you know, look after them well, make sure that you’re nice to them. But even then, yeah, there’s no guarantee we’ll stay nowadays. Everybody wants to move on eventually. And in terms of the servants, the practise, I just think, you know, people well, I can never understand as you get dentists who will have a lovely house, maybe even a lovely holiday home or a lovely Ferrari or whatever, and then spend a little money on their practise. Yeah. Then they have a lovely practise. Patients appreciate it. They really do notice the difference. And it’s all those subliminal things that go in to make to make it successful personally.

[01:20:47] Yeah. I mean, the other thing is, look, the number of dentists, the number of people you speak to and they say, oh, I really like that so-and-so restaurant because the service is excellent.

[01:20:56] Yeah.

[01:20:57] And you know, in terms of restaurant, you’ve got, you’ve got the food in front of you. So you can, you can judge the food. Whereas in dentistry, our patients mostly can’t judge. What we do at all. Our patients got no clue whatsoever that you’re putting this matrix on and wedging it and not understand. And the example you gave at the beginning about the guy who was the Great Panther wasn’t the best dentist in the world. And so they only have these other clues to go on and obviously the people. But, you know, it’s interesting, I go to a dental practise and with fresh eyes I can see things that people who work there can’t see. It’s a bit of the cobweb in the corner or a bit of something sticking off the ceiling. And these are all clues to the patient. And, you know, interesting thing now, do you do you guys serve coffee in your practise?

[01:21:51] Yes.

[01:21:51] Yeah. So so I’ve worked in practises where the coffee’s been terrible coffee and and was my fault. I was the associate there and I fully understand the reasons why, you know, we’re not a coffee shop where we’re a dentist and all that.

[01:22:07] But.

[01:22:09] When I take my BMW, it’s not a Rolls-Royce, a BMW. I take my BMW for service. The coffee is excellent, and I drive up and the guy, some dude opens the car door and welcomes me by name before I’ve even said anything. But I know how he does it, right? He’s got my number plate. He knows what time I’m coming. It still makes me feel good. It takes me upstairs. Latte or cappuccino? It’s a it’s a car garage. It’s not. It’s not a Starbucks either, right? It’s a car garage. Yeah. And so these and now it’s interesting. I must have been to a thousand practises in my career and even I, who knows the full story exactly, knows what’s going on and, and, and what’s going and what’s happening and whose fault it is and whose fault it is. And even now, when I walk into a practise and they offer me a coffee and I have the coffee and it’s a nice coffee, I start making judgements about this practise about the kind of dentist they are, even me who knows all about it. I know exactly what’s happening, I’m still making those judgements. So imagine our patients, you know, the non-clinical queues that they’re taking.

[01:23:18] Yeah, absolutely. And we will serve bean to cup. We have a bean teacup machine upstairs. Yes, we go to Costco and we buy Lavazza beans but we do bean, we don’t have that was the first thing I got rid of was the instant coffee, you know. I said, I’m going to bean cup machine. I bought it once and some later. We bought it five years ago. It’s still going strong. It’s brilliant. And patients come and go. Lovely coffee. Thank you very much. You know, selection of teeth and, you know, and it’s just not having that level.

[01:23:48] Of attention to detail, as you.

[01:23:50] Said. Exactly. And just having nice cups to serve it in and and the place being clean in the modern. And it’s all under decoration, not being too scuffed. I know you can’t help the odd scuff here and there and all that sort of stuff. I mean, there was I mean, not that I’ve gone to this, but I had in the last practise I remember we had a small tester pots and I used to get the nurse to go round and if there was any scuffs, sometimes I’d do it myself. I’d just paint them every week, just find where the scuffs were, repaint them with the tester so that we got rid of the scuffs straight away. So they didn’t hang around. But it’s things like that. People want to see. They can’t, as you say, can’t judge you and everything and anything else, part of your personality. But they will go often. Yeah. I mean, how many reviews have you seen where they go? Oh, lovely. Clean practise. Very modern, you know. Brilliant. Yeah. How do you know they’re brilliant? How many times have you seen patients where you go, God, they’re singing the praises of the previous dentist. And you go, This dentistry is pretty mediocre. Yeah, but the thing the patients are singing the praises about them. Yeah. And you go well yeah it’s because they’ve got a lot of the other things. Right, you know. But they’re really.

[01:24:59] What about associates and associates? What are your Top Tips? Top Tips? Let’s talk about what you look for when you’re hiring an associate and let’s talk about your bugbears. What’s the thing that pisses you off about associates?

[01:25:13] Yeah. What pisses me off? It was those associates outright who basically seem to think that the boss is ripping them off, that they’re making the absolute bloody fortune out of them. And then they they’re really pissed me off associates.

[01:25:27] Some of them thing was.

[01:25:28] Yeah. That wasn’t them. Who aren’t, who don’t, don’t sort of realise that they’re part of the clinical team, that they’re, that things like I’m trying to think what else. Because for both associates we’ve had associates that were that before I took over the practise had to go and work in as an associate for a brief, very brief period of time. And one of the other associates used to, if there was a gap before the end of the day, so say share the gap. And then the other end of the day, she would just literally walk out and tell the receptionist to cancel that sort of patient know. So would say, I’m not I’m not hanging around for 45 minutes to see Mrs. So-and-so for a check-up counsellor. And I’m going.

[01:26:07] Wow.

[01:26:08] Yeah, yeah. Know that’s extreme. And you don’t get that, but it’s, it’s.

[01:26:14] What are you looking for when you hire them?

[01:26:16] What am I looking for? I’m looking for very much. Can I talk to them? Do I get on with them? Can I talk to them? Because, you know, obviously you want people who are on board with what your way of thinking is. You know, I want to hear a good a good story from them. I want to hear that a certain certainly it will be a lot of I want to hear they can hold their own. They can talk to me. Honestly, I’m not so interested in clinical skills, you know. I know nowadays the thing is a portfolio, isn’t it? That seems to be the big thing. God, that was that. Jesus Christ never even thought about my day but a portfolio. Yeah. I’m not so interested. I can normally think well if you can talk good talk, if you’ve been on a reasonable number of courses, if you’ve done this, if you’ve done that, you know, and you know, you’re normally going to be okay and it’s, it’s yeah. Just saying, can you gel with them at the end. You’ve got to work with them day in, day out and, and that’s basically what I look for. And you know, there’s no I guess.

[01:27:24] If you could gel with them, then it’s likely your patients are going to gel with them.

[01:27:27] Too. Like dentists would attract people, attract people. They like them basically. Then there isn’t that old thing, you know. So at the end of the day, if you’re basically if you’re an irritating, irritable old bastard as a dentist, you know, then you’ll get irritable bastards of patients, you know, then they whereas, you know, you’re fairly relaxed, easygoing, sort of bloke, you’ll lose the ones that are irritable, right. Or the ones that think, oh, he’s a bit flippant. You know, I’m always sort of telling jokes and bad jokes and all that sort of stuff, you know? So lose the ones that think, Oh, he’s not that professional, he’s a bit flippant. I don’t want them particularly. And in that way I want more. So yeah, I want associate. But it is good to have a mix within the practise, different styles, different, you know, so that we, you know, patients always you don’t necessarily want the patient leave the practise, but you might say, well, you can go and see, they might go and see, can I go and see yens for example or whatever, you know. But yeah, the problem is with nowadays. Yeah. Trying to get an associate, that’s the thing. But there we are.

[01:28:29] Yeah. You know, it’s not limited to dentistry, right? There is a global shortage of labour and raw materials. It’s a funny time. I don’t know if you ever remember this in your time, Nigel. I don’t ever remember this sort of weird. It’s not even a recession yet. Is is whenever it is. The shortage of labour and shortage of raw materials.

[01:28:51] Yeah, well, yeah, the raw materials is certainly a big thing. Yeah. I mean, we, I have said to the staff, you know, whereas normally we did it just in time because we got a letter from Henry Schein or my email months ago going We can no longer guarantee next day delivery, you know. So I said, I don’t want to be run down to the last minute. Please give us a months, you know, like whatever. But yeah, no, to be honest, when I first qualified as a dentist and came to England, I could have walked into any area in England and been offered six jobs on the spot. You know.

[01:29:23] There were dentists.

[01:29:24] Yeah, I was a dentist. Yeah. But in terms of going round beyond that with dental nurses and stuff, no, I don’t ever remember such a shortage of dental nurses, such shortage materials, you know, and certainly. But you can see it in the wider economy. We were in Guildford today shopping and some of the staff we had to encounter in some of the quite posher shops, you’d go, Oh my goodness, they really must be struggling. Yeah, because, you know, calibre wasn’t there that had, you know, and whose somebody was saying who lives in London was saying that virtually every restaurant has a sign saying staff on immediate start you know.

[01:30:01] Yeah and I guess pressure on wages as well. Right because staff know that this is the situation.

[01:30:09] The staff staff know the situation, pressure and wages. And again, it’s fine in private practise, you just put your fees up, you know, at the end of the day. But the NHS, I don’t know where they go without, to be honest with you, I really don’t know where they go without.

[01:30:24] Let’s talk about some mistakes. What have been your biggest mistakes? I want to talk both clinically and business wise.

[01:30:33] Yeah, business wise. Clinically. Oh yeah. I’ve had quite a few. Yeah. From the, from the woman that I wanted to do, the woman that I injected bleach into her sinus and doing the nasty and, you know, doing the asked. And as she it’s quite funny, I was about 40 at the time and I was doing the Suede Rubber Diamond. She was quite quiet, everything was going nicely and she was sort of and she suddenly went, Oh, what was that? And I went, I’d just blown the three in one. And I thought, Oh no, it’s just nothing. Just air. And so we’re worked on a minute or two later, a re injected with the hypochlorite and a burning sensation in my eye. And I, I went, shit, I’ve just, just after I’ve done that. All right. So I sat her upright and took the rubber down off. Oh, no. Yeah. Luckily I had the thought, oh, shit, I’ve been injected, so I don’t know why. Just in my head I got let’s get local anaesthetic solution. I just got sinus and then pumped about four cartridges of Satanists through the root canals and just pumped it, pumped unprompted and sat her upright, took the rubber dam off, sat her upright, and as we sat her upright, she Oh my nostrils burning. Oh my God, my nose was burning. And all this clear drip out of her nose. Obviously, the hypochlorite and I can remember at the time exterior going to know this sometimes happens. Yeah, it’s rare occurrence, but it’s fine inwardly I was going I want my mummy, I.

[01:32:09] Really want my God.

[01:32:12] And I could remember thinking and I do need the loo right now, you know. And so definitely bra and trouser moment we ended up taking the two thought because it I just said oh it must be cracked, let’s take the two so send her up to the hospital. And she basically the hospital berates her because apparently she had a sinus thinning operation 20 years previous to that and never told me I said I was at least honest or to say to hell, even if you told me that, I probably wouldn’t have made any difference, you know. But she brought me a box of chocolates and apologised for actually putting me through stress and I thought was quite sweet and surgical emphysema as we discussed this on the on the on that. Not such a good day. There are office we cup the patients. Not everybody has but I think most dentists, if they’re absolutely honest, will have caught the patients. Tongue, cheek, whatever. Yeah, we’ve all had minor things. So things like that. Yes. Have happened. Nothing, nothing, nothing. So irreversible. You know, what.

[01:33:14] About what about where a management or patient management problem, where have the patients lost confidence and you know, or something?

[01:33:23] Yeah. Well, yeah, yeah. I’ve only ever been sued and once in my career and that was over a when I left the practise, my last practise to come and start this one. If I’d been there it would have been managed and handled. But yeah, it was just one of those things. I missed the root canal on a lower seven and blah blah blah patient and I end up being sued. Nice DLP letter came through for that, which was lovely, you know. So the yeah. So no in terms of yeah, we all.

[01:33:53] I’m looking for something. I’m looking for something that someone could learn from because you know I it’s a nice story the non the hypochlorite one but not, not much we can learn from that one.

[01:34:05] No, no, no, no. Yeah. So in terms of I think the things you’ve got, you’ve got to look for at the start with patient management is you will get red flags from patients from early on. You know, they will start throwing them up fairly early on if they’re sort of saying, oh, I can’t lie back, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I can’t do the other. I think you’ve got to learn to pull out pretty quickly and say, I need to refer you on someone else. I think this is where your bacterial referral comes in. But yes, we do all get patients where we go that things aren’t going well. Right. And maybe, you know, they haven’t gone as well as you’d hoped, despite warning the patients. And the patients obviously very disappointed in terms of patient management. What I tend to do with them is look, I go look that root canal, all right. It didn’t work out as well as we thought it was going to. Unfortunately, it’s cleared up. It’s only eight months ago. I know a bit of crying on it.

[01:35:00] This, that and the other. Why don’t we get that tooth taken out? Because just keep them giving you problems. And I refund money. That’s what I do. Ultimately, people. People say to me, what? You refund money? And I go, Yeah, there’s no point in arguing. I work on that. I probably refund the practise refunds by. Under the practise turnover every year. Yeah. Now, considering we have a really good turnover in the practise, it’s nothing for a quiet line on. Patients will go fantastic. They stop complaining quite often. You don’t even have to refund the refund. You can just leave it as a credit on the the on the account. And they will either say well I’ll go and see so and so we’ll get the implant, that’ll be a credit towards my implant or that will be a credit towards whatever you need to do in the future. I just think personally, you know, it’s in terms of patient management, I think what you’ve got to make sure that, you know, after the money all the time personally patients will.

[01:36:04] Really I mean, refunds a good, good plan I think especially these days when you’ve got DLP around now. But tell me a story where you refunded money.

[01:36:15] Tell me a story where refund it. Well, yeah, I had one recently where basically again, it was a bit of this guy come in to see me for a second opinion. He was he had been somewhere else and what didn’t want to lose this up or six didn’t have a big feral on it. And I went, Oh yeah, tell you what, I can do that. I’ll refill that. I’ll put a crown on it. Hey. Yeah. Deep on the three times and six months, roots eventually fractured and went shit. So I ended up going, right, here’s your 1200 quid back on the wall where so bloody time, you know. And they I should have, you know, I was looking I think because he was, he had sort of gone I really want to keep this tooth, you know, and even though I had to.

[01:37:07] So on reflection on reflection, do you think you overestimated your own skill?

[01:37:13] You probably. I think one of the things about dentists with a lot of us are want to please people. At the end of the day, you know, we want to try and. Yeah, so you want to be the person who says yes, yeah. Yes, we can. I think that’s a danger we can all fall into sometimes. I mean, here rodents is a very good word. And I do like that phrase and I think we’ve all been guilty of here. I certainly have been guilty of Herod antics and that was a hero don’t situation. But unfortunately, I didn’t have my kryptonite with me and it all went head up. So I mean, even though we had been warned it might not work. What do I do? Do I turn around? I mean, how would you feel? I mean, if someone turned around you and said, I know you warned me it wouldn’t work, there was a chance that might work, blah, blah, blah. And my bond, when you said that, I thought you meant sort of like seven years down the line. Not. Not, yeah. How would you feel? You’d be pissed off, you know. So, I mean, refund the money and just chalk it up to another. Life is full of these learning experiences and unfortunately it takes sometimes more than once to do the same thing. I mean, I don’t know how many times I’ve done my career, probably right. But sometimes I just seem to never learn totally. I always go in, but I think it’s back into the people pleaser, into the trying to say, Yes, I can do this. You know.

[01:38:34] I think in private you’re always trying to say yes to everything because you’re trying to be a service orientated place as well. So you’re so you love saying yes. Yeah. And you’re right, you can get you into trouble. Yeah.

[01:38:47] There are occasions when you can you can certainly go. Absolutely. I don’t this worked out really well and patients really pleased with it. But there are sometimes you do have to know and say this is a bit of hero, don’t mix and I’ve got better of that over the years, but I still get all into the traps every so often. Yeah. And I think that’s partly why we wanted to put that page up about the failures that no matter what age you are, we have failures. We cook up basically, but it’s how you handle it afterwards. It’s apologies. One of the things I had a South African associate years ago who we were in the NHS and we got a complaint letter. Wait, this was about in the nineties and they about her, her, her attitude, she was really, really annoyed. So what happened was I used to say to her, you know, she, I’d say, why don’t you just say you’re sorry to hear that? So a patient come in and say, Gee, the way it would go is the patient would come in and she’d go. They’d go, I’ve got a problem that you’re feeling. Yeah. That you did last week. Yeah. And she’d go wasn’t my fault. Get a feeling the first place and sweets sort of out. And I’d say, look there’s nothing wrong with saying I’m sorry to hear that. And she’d go, I’m not apologising to anybody. And I’d go, You’re saying you’re sorry to hear that? And I think people sometimes get.

[01:40:08] Nervous escalating things.

[01:40:10] Exactly. Sometimes people get mixed up with the fact that, you know, saying sorry doesn’t mean you’re apologising. You know, you’re saying you’re wrong. It’s just say you’re sorry you had a problem, you know? And I think sometimes if you look at what. Say What do people want from the NHS? Sometimes they get complaints. They just want someone to say, I’m sorry that happened to you and this is what we’re going to do about it to make sure it happens again. Here’s your money back in case you know, this is what we and this is what we suggest we do is the next step they want. Quite often what people want from their dentist is just confidence. You know, they don’t want to be left hanging. A lot of dentists get in trouble because what they do is they just almost like things start going wrong. They abandon the patient. And I think that’s the worst thing you can do.

[01:40:55] And what about from a business perspective? I want you to tell me one of the like the best move you ever made and the worst or the worst day you had as as a professional, you know. From a business perspective, what’s the worst day and the best day? Best thing you did.

[01:41:09] Best thing I ever did. And I have to credit my wife for this. To be fair to her, was actually building the building the actually going ahead and taking a huge financial risk and knocking down her old practise building in in Sanderson Berkshire and building building that we’ve got currently because that a it won best practise of the year in 1999 building practise building 99 nine but it has.

[01:41:37] Did you build it from scratch?

[01:41:38] Yes, totally. We got architects.

[01:41:40] In. Oh, amazing.

[01:41:42] We got knocked down. We worked out of port cabins for a year. We decided we did. So then there was a double height, double bolted, all glass word. It was a way at raptures to come on and go, Oh my God, I’ve never seen a place like this before. Absolutely brilliant. And that was fantastic. And in terms of financially, that has worked out very, very well, a huge risk. And I remember at one time crying, crying just had my first child, Rory, who’s now 25, and I remember coming off the phone and the bank going, We can’t lend you any more money. And the Arctic going, We need another 50 grand. And I’m going, Gee, I’m crying, going, Where am I going to get this money from? You know, and I wish that I managed to get it from somewhere. Finished it. Yeah. Wouldn’t look back on that one.

[01:42:33] Is your wife is your wife is your wife more a risk taker than you.

[01:42:37] Would you say? And trust me, not. No, not but she got good judgement. She married me now she got you know she’s got very good judgement.

[01:42:48] So when you think, if you think of an idea oh really. When you think of, when you think of an idea and if she thinks it’s a good idea too, then you sort of go full in on it because you feel like she’s got good judgement.

[01:43:01] Yeah, the worst financial decision you want dentistry or just generally financial decisions you like? Yeah. Well, we see again, I have to say my wife, she warned me there was this sort of investment scheme I was desperate to back in. I had a bit of a low period in my in the mid 2000 so when I was about just turned 40, a mid-life crisis which you could call it, you know, and I’m desperate to get out down the street, desperate to try. And I really had and I somebody come along and said, oh, invest 35 grand into this property scheme. It will be brilliant. You’ll make a fortune. That’s something the other my wife went, don’t like them, don’t like them, don’t like them. And I went, Oh, you’re wrong, they’re fine, they’re fine. You don’t want their space, you know. So then you know. And I went, No, no, no, no. So I basically, against my wife’s judgement, took 35 grand of our money and invested. Yeah, it went tits up. Lost it all. Yeah. Loss of all. Yeah. So you know it’s one of those desperate and this factor when you’re desperate for the money, you make poor decisions, you make.

[01:44:12] Bad decisions.

[01:44:13] You make bad decisions, you know? And I think that’s what young guns don’t be desperate for the money. You know, money will come if you treat people correctly. Money will come and and you do. Yeah. So it’s not but yeah. Yeah, no. My wife, she will say I told you about them. She still brings up from time to time now and I’ll go, that was, that was 15 years ago. Now I play Sarah. I think we’ve gone past that, you know. But yeah, you know what? I still beat myself up about it. I didn’t see that coming, you know, I stupid it was, but yeah, that was the place I was in at the time, you know. So, you know, and probably going back to be an associate for too long. I sold the practise. I sold the practise in 2009 and then stayed in it for a few years. Yeah, I was probably wasn’t the best decision for that actually. But apart from that, yeah, I can’t say I actually have been, let’s say, very lucky with where I’ve ended up in life. I can’t complain.

[01:45:15] Excellent. We’re coming to the end of our time gap. So I’m going to ask you the same questions we ask all our guests at the end. Am to two questions. One is fantasy dinner party. Three guests, dead or alive. Who would you.

[01:45:31] Pick? Well, the weird with the first one is a weird one. It would be my wife’s great grandfather I use called Surfside Wazir Hassan. All right. Who was the founder of the All India Muslim League. All right. Okay. My way out. My father was from North India, originally from Lucknow area. I went to medical school and whatnot and was meant to go to Cambridge, but couldn’t go because my father in law was born in 1929. His grandfather was Uttar Pradesh. He was the Lord Chief Justice of Uttar Pradesh. Rajesh sounds fascinating bloke, absolutely fascinating and so much so. When my father in law grew up, he went to medical school, right? With a servant. Right. And I said and then looked on. I went and I said to him, Sir, your life when you grew up was very like Downton Abbey. And he went, he thought, Oh, yes, I suppose it was. He said, we had more staff and I mean, and so he had but his his his his grandfather was a fascinating character and actually has a street named after him in Lucknow. So, you know, he’s fascinating to meet, you know. The second one is my love of rugby, the Brian Driscoll of it’s simple but probably the world’s best centre, arguably. But we met him at London Irish when my son was seven and my son took fright and couldn’t go over and see him and God bless him.

[01:47:10] Brian O’Driscoll noticed that my son Rory was sort of cowering by a tree crying, and he went over and actually tapped him on the shoulder and said, And I just thought, You know what? You’re a decent bloke, actually. You know, you noticed that child was, you know, like that. And, you know, I suppose the last person I sort of I struggled with to think who I would like to have have along. Yeah, I really because there’s nobody I sort of hugely go, Oh God, yeah, it’d be great to have so-and-so along. It would be nice to have, you know, I think everybody would say this, but it’d be nice to have my father back just to see, because I think he was such a businessman. He’d be very proud of what I did. I think it would be nice he died before because I was very much he was 47 when I was born and he died when I was only turning 40 and I hadn’t hit quite the success I have now. And I think it would be nice for him to come along and then he could be very, very proud. You know what you know? So yeah, but yeah. So that would be basically my mix. Yeah.

[01:48:13] Very nice, man. Very nice. Interesting mix of people as well. The final question. It’s a deathbed.

[01:48:23] Question.

[01:48:23] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not that far. Not that far.

[01:48:28] Enough. Sure. You’ve got plenty of time on your deathbed, your nearest and dearest around you. What three pieces of advice would you give them?

[01:48:38] My first one is Don’t be a sheep. All really don’t be a sheep. In other words, do not follow the herd. The flock stand up for your own opinion because ultimately you end up with a very dissatisfied life. If you try and mould yourself, you are your own person and what you what you believe in is right. So definitely don’t be a sheep. The second.

[01:49:06] Voice.

[01:49:07] Yeah, the second one would be I had a couple I was torn up between exercise more, which is important to realise that later on in life. But I see trust that I think that’s what a lot of people would say. Wouldn’t it be trust your trust, just literally listen to your gut. If I’d listened to my gut about that investment I’ve made. Yeah. And the final ones are probably true, but slightly more tongue in cheek is yeah, don’t drink cheap red wine. Make sure you drink less of it, but drink better.

[01:49:45] Yeah.

[01:49:47] I like that. I like that. Well, it’s been it’s been wonderful. It’s been it’s been probably our longest podcast ever because we had to go through the red wine bit. I hope you keep the red wine post going. Yeah. So you don’t get put off by by some of those negative.

[01:50:07] You can do. You can’t do. That’s the problem. Yeah.

[01:50:10] But, but you know, there’s a discipline in doing something and sometimes you feel like you’ve got to do every week. I don’t think you should do it every week. I think you should do it every time you’ve got something where you’ve spoken to someone, you know, that’s that’s the important thing. And you seem to speak to a lot of people. You seem to know a lot of people. So, yeah. So you seem to get a nice different views of of what what is and isn’t controversial. It’s lovely to see those. And I really hope the new group goes very well as well. Not such a good day at the orifice. I think every dentist should be part of that and and encourage everyone.

[01:50:40] To.

[01:50:41] Contribute.

[01:50:42] It’s the posting is important. Yeah. Just to help other people.

[01:50:45] Contribute to that because you know the key point in this podcast is what were your mistakes, what can we learn from them? And you know, we don’t talk about our mistakes enough in this profession. We need to talk about them more. Absolutely. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you. Thank you so, so much.

[01:51:02] Now yeah, now I know it was a great. Thank you very much. Payman.

[01:51:07] 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.

[01:51:23] 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.

[01:51:37] 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. And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Fresh from the opening of her brand new squat practice, Martina Hodgson chats with Prav and Payman about the rationale behind opening a squat after years of successful ownership with Wakefield’s The Dental Studio.

Martina also talks about her insatiable drive and ambition, being an Invisalign Diamond provider and why she teamed up with Andrea Ubhi to start the Inspiring Women in Dentistry event.

In This Episode

02.04 – Backstory

05.42 – The squat and practice ownership

13.03 – Leadership style

18.27 – Hiring and firing

23.53 – Practice structure and patient journey

37.37 – Invisalign Vs?

47.45 – A controversial offer

52.06 – The Dental Architect

59.10 – Sinking moments and project management

01.04.39 – Creative

01.06.56 – Black box thinking

01.11.02 – Mistakes and weaknesses

01.12.54 – Women and motherhood in dentistry

01.19.08 – Plans, confidence and inspiration

01.23.55 – Finally, a black box thought

01.28.37 – Last days and legacy

01.32.00 – Fantasy dinner party

About Martina Hodgson

Dr Martina Hodgson owns Wakefield-based The Dental Studio and The Dental Architect in Leeds.   

She is a Diamond Invisalign provider, a speaker for Invisalign and Aligner Consulting and a key opinion leader for Dental Monitoring.

Martina was listed in Dentistry’s Top 50, 2021. She sits on the editorial advisory board of the 

Private Dentistry Journal Editorial and is a prolific contributor to the general and dental press.

Martina is the co-founder of Inspiring Women in Dentistry organisation with Andrea Ubhi. 

[00:00:00] Does it get any easier for you?

[00:00:01] Martina It might sound bit harsh, but yes, it does get easier. And you know why? It’s because I now know you do no one any favours by having people on your team that are disruptive, that do not work hard or lazy. And you soon realised when you get rid of those people swiftly, what a favour you’ve done for your team, because afterwards no one wants to recommend to you that you should fire someone. But when you’ve done it, suddenly all the stories come out, all the reasons why you should fire them, come out and you realise that you’ve actually done your team a massive favour because when you have people like that on your team, it frustrates those really, really good team members and you don’t allow them to do their job properly and you’re hurting your team by allowing that behaviour within your team. So I’m actually really quick to fire now.

[00:00:59] 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.

[00:01:17] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Martina Hodgson onto the podcast. Martina is a multi award winning, multi practise owning now that she’s just opened her her squat very publicly on on Facebook. Having having everyone watch your opening. Martina Inspiring women in dentistry a lecturer really quite an inspirational person. I mean, I met you, Martina, the first time the minimalist conference and I want to think and just watching you over the last four years, how far you’ve come in that period. And I know it’s one of those iceberg kind of things that you’ve been working at it for years and years and years. But it’s great to have you on the show. Thanks. Thanks for doing this.

[00:02:00] Thank you so much for having me. I’m very excited to be on.

[00:02:04] So we normally start with you kind of backstory. Where were you born? What kind of kid were you? Why did you choose dentistry?

[00:02:14] And so I was born in Colchester, in Essex. I’m a six girl and I think as a child I would say I was very I was quite driven as a child. I was very conscientious and I worked incredibly hard at school. I wanted to do really, really well. But I come from a very, very normal background. My, my mum was a housewife and my dad was an engineer for BT his whole life. And so I was the first one in my family to go to university and I decided I wanted to be a dentist. When I was about 13, I had braces and I actually really thought the whole experience was really, really interesting, really loved going to the dentist and decided that I was either going to be a dentist or a violinist because I play the violin. And so I think I got to the point where I was applying to dental school and to university and kind of weighed up the pros and cons of each and decided that dentistry was probably a more sensible career. And that’s the way that I went. So so that’s me in a nutshell, really. It was it was just kind of I’ve always been very independent, wanted to make my own way in life with a little help from other people as possible, which isn’t a very good idea. And, and that was, that was me really so quite focussed from quite early. I knew what I wanted to do and just I suppose that is me really just I get an idea in my head and then just go for it.

[00:03:51] Are you the oldest? I am. Have you? How many siblings we go by?

[00:03:57] Younger brother.

[00:03:58] So this thing about independence and doing your own thing. Where do you see that? When, when? When was the first sign of that? Why? Why are you that, Kat?

[00:04:08] Why? Why am I like that? Yeah, I asked myself this question. I’ve never had therapy.

[00:04:15] To start right here.

[00:04:17] I do know. I just know it’s going to come to me right now. It’s quite nice, actually. I just think it’s in me. I think it was from day one. I’ve always been like that. I just think it’s in me a lot of the time. I wish it wasn’t. It’s got its plus points, but it’s got big negatives as well. Being so driven, it’s I actually think it’s an affliction, to be honest.

[00:04:45] What are the downsides to being so driven?

[00:04:48] Martin I’m so single minded that everything else falls by the wayside, including a family, which sometimes which isn’t good because I. Just a lot. I get so engrossed in what I do and I love doing what I do so much and I want to achieve all these amazing things that like pop in my head because for fun, just because, like, I don’t even know why I do it. I just have this innate drive that is getting worse. And you said over like the last four years, I seem to have kind of really come from nowhere. And I think that when I hit 40, it was a watershed moment for me. I think as a woman, my confidence kind of came into its own, and that’s when I think my true potential started to to flourish.

[00:05:42] Have you got an addictive personality, Martina? Are you one of these people who sort of like all or nothing I’m going tunnel vision into this thing or.

[00:05:51] I wouldn’t say I have an addictive personality. No, I wouldn’t, actually. I’m quite I can do everything in moderation. But I think when it comes to work or achievements, I think it’s almost like I find it fun to come up with these stupid ideas and then follow them through, like opening a squat practise.

[00:06:13] Would you say Martina would say you’re better at the ideas or or the following them through the operation?

[00:06:19] To be honest.

[00:06:20] Because it’s rare to have both, you know.

[00:06:22] I think it is I am an ideas person, but I very much follow through such a thing. Yeah. And I think I start like things like opening a squad. Like the idea came to me and you know, for me while I can tell that story of how it started. But once I start going on something, you get to a point where there’s no backing out as much as you want to. You’re in too deep and you have no choice sometimes, but just to keep going and going for that goal that you have in your head.

[00:06:51] So let’s just let’s fast forward to the squat quickly, because it’s so recent, because it was last week that you opened it. What was the thinking behind a squat when when you, you know, you shown your successful at the other way of doing things. Well I guess you bought the other practise right? You bought part of it and then.

[00:07:13] Yes, yes. What happened with. So I came up to so I studied in Leeds, I qualified in 2001. Yeah. And then I went back down south for four years and I was living in London, working in London and I met my husband who is from Leeds and he, he said to me when we met I would like to go back up and live in Leeds. And I said, well that’s cool, I really like Leeds, I know lots of people up there. I’m up for it. So we got engaged, we moved up to Leeds and I went for this interview for an associate. So I was a young associate, you know, quite newly qualified. And I went to this interview in this village in Wakefield, and it was a couple of terraced houses not together in a working class coal mining village in the Triangle in Yorkshire. And I loved it. It had this lovely vibe about it as a lovely family practise. It was a private practise and I’d never worked in a private practise before. And the next day I had an interview booked at There used to be an optical express, you remember they used to do dentists and it was next to Harvey Nichols in Leeds, which was the only Harvey Nichols outside London at the time. So it was very glamorous and exciting and I had an interview booked there and the guy at the practise in Wakefield who offered me the job, I said, Well, can I let you know tomorrow? Because I’ve got another interview tomorrow and I really wanted this job.

[00:08:40] It’s like 90 grand a year working next to Harvey Nichols. And he said, Why do you want to go and work for another corporate? And I went, I don’t, actually. So I took the job. And then after a couple of years, there was two partners that a man and a woman and he belly ate at me for two years to buy him out. And I had no aspirations ever before this to be part designer. I was quite happy being an associate, but he banged on at me to buy him out, so I bought him out. And when I look back now the of money that I borrowed from the bank, just, you know, at the time it was so much money to me. And now I look back and I was like, I got a bargain there. And then I had so I had a business partner, a woman for about 12, 12 or so years, and then she retired. So I bought her out. So it’s a very organic kind of process into practise ownership and it was a really nice way to practise ownership. And I’ve been there 17 years now and I think it’s in my heart and soul that places that some of the staff are still there that were there at the beginning.

[00:09:46] How many years, how many years have you been the sole owner?

[00:09:49] I think about four or five years now.

[00:09:51] 35 years. Did you make big changes?

[00:09:54] Yeah, massive.

[00:09:55] So. So was that something that you were. You were having some issues, the wrong word, but. You weren’t you weren’t having similar direction of thought with your partner.

[00:10:04] Because she was a completely different generation of dentist. And I had all these ideas, but they were all quashed and I wasn’t allowed to express myself. And I think the first six months of full practise ownership, I, I think I had anxiety, but I didn’t know it because I didn’t know how to be a leader. And it was suddenly the spotlight on me. And I used to get like these palpitations. I remember like, just sat watching TV, and I was like, I’ve never had this before. And it was because of this sudden burden on my shoulders of of being the leader. And I’m the only one responsible for these people and for these patients. And so I had to start to learn what being a leader meant. And so that was an incredible that has been an incredible journey for me. And it’s not anything that you ever stopped trying to learn how to be a leader. But my watershed moment in that I think we’re going off course the topic here. But I think my watershed moment for me as a leader was lockdown, the first lockdown when we got flung into shutting our practises. In fact, I shut my practise a day before we were told to. I made that decision and suddenly I had to start making very hard decisions very quickly for the good of my team and for the good of my patients. And there was a lot of people have very different ideas about what I should be doing. So very prominent dentists, people that I look up to and respect were telling me to sack staff. This was before furlough came out.

[00:11:40] They were saying, you’ve got to you’ve got to get rid of. You’ve got to shed, you’ve got to shed. You’ve got to keep your head above water. You’ll go under. And I suddenly started believing in myself and being true to myself. And I was like, No, I don’t want to do this. And I remember standing in front of them the day I closed the practise and saying, I’m making a promise to them. And I said I would never I’d never heard of it before. And I promised them all their jobs, and I promised I would keep the business going. And I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that I had to and that I would. And then Rishi came out and announced furlough, and I think I nearly cried that Friday. You will remember all nodding. It was a Friday evening, and I think I burst into tears because it was like, Oh, I’m going to be okay. It’s going to be all right. And I think then I learnt the true meaning of leadership. And to me the true meaning of leadership is being true to yourself and your own values and being authentic. And when you when you understand that and that clicked in my head, like I literally felt the penny drop in my head then. It’s easy after that because you’re just being authentic to yourself. And I have to remind myself time and time again to listen to my own instincts and my own heart on that subject of leadership. But we did go off track there. Sorry.

[00:13:01] No, no, that was.

[00:13:03] My leader. What kind of a boss are you? If your team were to describe you as a boss, what do you think they they’d say about you?

[00:13:12] I think they’d say, I’m infuriating. I think they would say, let’s keep up with I think I’m fair. I think I’m loyal. I think I make decisions for the good of all of the team. And sometimes it can be hard decisions, but then you realise afterwards that you did everybody a favour. I think I’m a very supportive boss. I love to push my team. I love to see them grow. I love to get them on courses. I love to progress them as far as they will let me. I’d say there’s people that want to be like that will really flourish with me.

[00:13:56] But when you said.

[00:13:56] It may sound really annoying as well.

[00:13:58] When you said that being a leader is being true to yourself, that implies a set of sort of. Basic principles that that you run your business by. What would you say those basic principles are? I mean, would you say that they’re different for you than they are for the next day? They should. They should be. But what would you say they are? I mean, if a situation presents itself that hasn’t presented itself before, like like lockdown, often the thing to do is to go back to your basic principles and check against those. What would you say yours are?

[00:14:35] This really is like therapy, because these are the sort of questions which you never even ask yourself. And I think that I would always. First and foremost, my team and my priority. Financial gain has never been. Anything I’m particularly interested in. And I know that sounds strange for a business owner. But the less I worry about the money and more I worry about my team and my patients and providing a good experience for my team and my patients and giving them the best that I can possibly give the more financial gain by REAP as a result. And I see too many practise owners focussing on their profit and their bottom line and not focussing on the really important things that I think are really important, which is looking after your team and looking after your patients.

[00:15:37] So what is the experience of working for Martina? I mean. How does it differ to working at the next place?

[00:15:45] I mean, I don’t know of any maximum practise, like most of my life and. I hope I’m fair and I hope I’m supportive and I maybe I’m not always present because I spread myself too thin.

[00:16:00] Let me give you an example, MARTIN Let me give you an example, because I like to think I’m a real touchy feely boss. Yeah. And generally, whenever someone asks a question, which is outside of the norm, can I take another half a day off because my mom is sick or something? One of these. My my general answer is always yes. Sure. But. Sure. And the experience I want to provide to my team is one of family experience.

[00:16:25] Absolutely.

[00:16:26] But my partner, he’s very clear on this idea of fairness. And he’s very like consumed by fairness. He’s like, well, you told that person they can have half a day off. What if 43 of them, there’s 43 people in there? What if 43 of them ask for half a day off? And he’s very much into policies. You know, what is and what isn’t and the rules and regulations and all of that. And I guess between us we get an answer. But, you know, for me, one of the benefits of a small business, one of the few benefits of a small business is that flexibility of being able to let people, you know, do things slightly, ask a question of the boss, something you couldn’t do at Microsoft. But but where do you sit on that? I mean, because it’s difficult. Someone asks something. Maybe it’s the course they want to go on. Maybe it’s a holiday, maybe whatever it is. And you and you want to give that person the thing. But the implication then becomes favouritism on the staff. With the staff. Did you have to juggle that?

[00:17:25] I think you’re right. And I am probably that person whose instinct would be to go. Yeah, of course. But then there’s people around me in my management team who are on the ground, who are working with the nurses day by day and working with the receptionist, and they will soon bring me back down to. That’s not fair, because if you do that for her, you’ve got to do it for everybody else. And they’re right, actually. And you’re not doing your whole team a favour by, you know, the ones that have got the, you know, the courage to come to you and ask these things. Yeah. You know, some of us might not want to ask you that. And you aren’t doing your team a favour really by working in that style. And I think you do have to. And the bigger your team becomes, the more you have to kind of stick to your rules. And that doesn’t rules are there to be bent and broken like we know that and no one’s going to blame you for extenuating circumstances. But I think in general, you have to try and be fair. I do think that.

[00:18:27] Due to the hiring and firing Martina.

[00:18:32] Sometimes it’s becoming less and less. So I like to I think it’s really nice. You know, as my team grows, as my management team grows, I’m quite happy they know me, they know the kind of people I want on my team. So I’m quite happy for them to hire, unless it’s obviously a really very individual role or quite senior role. I would be happy for them to hire a nurse and they do regularly without me even meeting the nurse. However, when it comes to firing, I don’t think it’s fair to get your team to do that and I always think I should be there. At least I should be there when someone’s fired.

[00:19:15] Does it get any easier for you, Martina?

[00:19:19] It might sound be harsh, but yes, it does get easier. And to know why, it’s because I now know you do no one any favours by having people on your team that are disruptive that, you know, work hard or lazy, that the and you soon realise when you get rid of those people swiftly, what a favour you’ve done for your team. Because afterwards no one wants to recommend to you that you should fire someone, but when you’ve done it, suddenly all the stories come out, all the reasons why you should have them come out, and you realise that you’ve actually done your team a massive favour, because when you have people like that on your team, it frustrates those really, really good team members and you don’t allow them to do their job properly and you’re hurting your team by allowing that behaviour within your team. So I’m actually really quick to fire now.

[00:20:15] If you have you ever hired someone and then maybe like this has happened to me quite a few times, I’ve hired someone in I thought shit like three or four days in. Right. And you think they’re not quite right but I’m still going to give them a chance. Right. And then a little bit later, maybe a week or two later, you realise, right, this person’s got a goal. And then you say to yourself, Well I’ve got give until the end of the month, it’s only fair, give them a month and then it drags on a little bit. Have you ever been in that situation where you’ve had somebody in the business where you think, I’ve got to let them go? But but the nerves and the anxiety of building up to letting them go, how are you going to let go? What conversation are you going to have with? Because I find that’s that for me, it’s been one of the hardest parts of running a business. A finding the right people. But once but then you. Sometimes I find.

[00:21:03] People and they turn up at work. Then the person you interviewed, you’re like, yeah, sorry. The same person. Very. I mean, I had this quite recently. Now I am quite you can tell, you know, at that point, if they’re not going to work hard on week one and try and impress you what they’re going to be doing it in and everyone can see it like everyone will come to you or they won’t necessarily come to me or that comes to my manager. And you know, if all your staff are complaining about a new employee, it’s not going to work. Just get rid, do everyone a favour, let them move on.

[00:21:42] But let’s say it’s not that all your staff are complaining, but sometimes we’ve all got this spidey sense, haven’t we? This, this, this feeling inside us where you got tells you maybe they’re not right. But but everyone’s saying give them a chance. Have you ever been in that situation?

[00:21:58] I think that my team are better than me at knowing whether someone’s right for the practise or not. To be honest, they’ll tell me before I even spell it sometimes.

[00:22:09] So when it comes to hiring, what are you looking for? What? What do I need to be to work for you? Who do I need to be?

[00:22:18] Well, what’s that saying? Hire on. Is it aptitude? Or you can teach anyone with the right attitude and personality. Anything. I would hire an attitude any day over qualifications, you know, skill, you know, their CV. I think if you’ve got the right person with the right attitude, it’s absolutely worth its weight in gold, to be honest. And it’s much it’s very hard to find those people, I have to say.

[00:22:50] And how do you tease that out during an interview process? Attitude Have you got any specific questions or tasks or anything that you.

[00:22:59] I think it’s just so like I say it. I think people can be very different in interviews and I’m seeing a lot of this at the moment that they’re coming across amazing in interviews and they’re answering all the questions correctly and you’re thinking, wow. And then they turn up at work and they’re lazy and you’re like, Where did that person go? So I’m starting to think that we should be definitely doing trial days with people. But yeah, I mean, you’ve got the standard set of interview questions that you can download from anywhere, but at the end of the day, it’s the gut feeling for me and I know, you know, you know, within seconds I think whether you’ve got a winner or not, you’re not always right. I Yeah.

[00:23:49] I’ve been wrong loads of times.

[00:23:53] What’s the structure of the Dental studio? So when you say senior management, what have you, what have you got? The the non-clinical team, who are they?

[00:24:02] Well, because I’ve just opened a second practise, I now have an operations manager, so he works across both sites. So below me it’s the operations manager. And then I’ve just promoted my head nurse at the Wakefield Practise to practise manager. So she’s in training. So my operations manager is going to be working closely with her. And then we have like a management team, so we would have head nurse, your practise manager, you had receptionist and you had TKO. We have a meeting every week. On Monday morning we’ll go to the local coffee shop and we just look at our heads together and they kind of report back and any like feedback and you know, we knock ideas around and problems and that’s really great because as you grow, you need to have those key people in charge of each of their departments. Even if there’s only two receptionists, you need a head, one, I think, who just wants to keep everything ticking over because the more you grow, the more you have to step away and you have to let that control girl go to other people. And if you’ve got people that you really, really trust, which I do, my management team, I really, really trust them that they have the best interests of the practise at heart, then it’s very much easier to step away and let them do the day to day running of that practise. And so that’s that structure is well in place in Wakefield and Leeds. We have a similar structure that we don’t yet have that practise manager in place. But eventually, you know, we have that pathway, that career pathway, but we do have a head nurse, we have the head TKO works across both sites and we have a head receptionist as well.

[00:25:40] What about as a dentist? How do you come across? I mean, I know most of your work is clear, aligner now. Is that right?

[00:25:49] Yeah, but for a very long time I was just a general dentist. I had a demo panellist two years ago. Same panellist for 17 years. So how do I come across to my patients as a dentist?

[00:26:01] Yeah, I think I do. One thing I’ve realised is that many dentists actually have totally different styles, you know. There’s some very relaxed ones and then there’s some very formal ones. What’s what’s your what’s your sort of the USP of of Martino. If I come to you for a for a consult.

[00:26:19] Yeah, well, we have some banter, definitely all about having fun, but being professional at the same time. You might. Those two things aren’t exclusive to me. Yeah. And I try and instil that in all of my team. You know, I want patients to come and have a nice time and be comfortable and relaxed. I’m a quick worker, as most principals are. I work very quickly, but I think you can work very quickly to a high standard and be efficient and be fun and have fun. Make your patients relax because but that comes with years of experience. That becomes knowing your trade so that you’re not even thinking about how you’re doing that treatment plan. You’re just doing it at the same time as listening to a dirty joke or something. You know, I mean, it just it takes a long time, I think, to achieve that where you can get that balance right. But yeah, I think if you came to see me for a consultation, you’d have fun and you’d come away with a great treatment plan and feeling really confident that you were going to get the outcome that you wanted. And that just comes again from 20 years.

[00:27:25] How do you how do you how do you get it across to them that you are, Martina? I mean, at the end of the day, the patient’s a patient and they walk in and they don’t know your level of experience. Do you make that clear?

[00:27:38] I don’t think I need to. I think they can tell from my demeanour.

[00:27:46] Do you know what you’re talking about?

[00:27:47] Confident with the work I’m carrying out and that is just 20 years of experience. I wouldn’t have been that person at 23. Yeah.

[00:27:58] And how does the TKO beat work? I mean, what at what point is the TKO? Does the TKO do the initial consult?

[00:28:07] Yeah. So we our patient journey say for example, with Invisalign, we have a new patient coordinator. So she will be the person that deals with the leads that come in. So we would be running Facebook ads, Google ads, you know, interested people coming from social media. And she will be the person initially to to speak to those patients, to build that initial rapport, to give them those basic facts about Invisalign, and to qualify that patient and start that consent process for that patient. And her role is to book that patient in with the treatment coordinator. So she works very closely with the treatment coordinator. She’ll take a £20 refundable deposit. So that agreement with a TKO and then the TKO will run that consultation with the patient, where she’ll go into more detail about what Invisalign is, how it works. We use a software called Smile Mate, and every patient that’s booked in with a TKO is sent this link. Or it’s actually a whole the whole process is automated now, actually, but they’ll get sent a link where they can upload their photographs onto Imamate and it will use artificial intelligence to generate an oral health report for them, which is fine, that’s great. But more importantly, I review all the photographs that come in and I will then make a note to my TKO and I will tell on the notes. It will. It will tell her, is it a light case? Is it a full case? How long do I expect it to take? Can I see tooth? Where do they get any composite? So if they got missing teeth, have they got baby teeth? Are they suitable for Invisalign and the ones you know, the odd case that looked like they’ve come from a different partner or something.

[00:29:57] I’ll send them to my mate. Up the road is a specialist. She loves mix so. But it’s good because they don’t even have to come in and waste that appointment and waste that time. So we filter out the ones that aren’t suitable, which is very rare. But so by the time that patient comes to that treatment coordinator consultation, they’ve left knowing how long are they suitable, how long is it going to take, how much is it going to cost me and all our USBs as well to go along? So they leave that consultation ready to go. So they the next step would be to book in for the assessment with the dentist. And by the time they’ve looked at that point with the dentist and paid £100 deposit for that, they’re good to go. They’re ready. It’s not a question we can’t even ask in surgery. Do you want to go ahead? It’s more of like decided already. So it’s it’s a process that has taken years, a lot of hard work, a lot of refinement and tweaking. That process never ends. We always trying to perfect our patient journey, and it’s something I’m very, very proud of and it works for us really, really well.

[00:31:03] Martina, do you know the front end of this game? Obviously you’re generating lots of enquiries through your marketing campaigns. What’s the qualification process that happens before they get in with a TKO? Because if we let everyone in with the TKO who enquired Utico would be busy with a lot of tire kickers or kickers as I as I tend to call them. But I call them shit kickers. Yeah. And you know, I guess for me, certainly in my team it’s the lead ninja who’s, who’s definitely the most talented person in the team because they.

[00:31:42] Believe in it for sure. It’s the new patient coordinator. That’s her job. Yeah. And we had a management meeting this morning and our TKO, I think in the last two weeks it converted and it was 18 out of 21 of her consoles.

[00:31:56] Wow.

[00:31:57] Yeah, but that is testimony to our lead ninja and the job that she is doing qualifying those patients because that’s an incredible conversion rate.

[00:32:07] So can you share with us what it is? What are the sort of what you need to do to earn an appointment with your TCL? That’s what I always say, is that for you to step into my practise and have an appointment with a TKO or a dentist, you’ve got to earn it as a patient. Do you have some criteria that they need to meet before they I mean, that 20 quid or 30 quid deposit, whatever it is that that’s incidental, it doesn’t really matter. But what boxes do they have to tick to get through the door?

[00:32:37] Firstly, you’ve got to find out, is it actually Invisalign they want or need because half of them think it’s an implant or a veneer or they’re going to get full set crowns. So they need to understand, is that consent process really starting, isn’t it? It’s understanding what is Invisalign, it’s understanding their kind of key questions that they want answering. Is it her? How long does it take? What does it look like? Can I leave my life normally? And it’s, you know, where do you live? Can you get here? Do you know where we are? How old are you? We don’t treat patients under 18. Have you had braces before? Have you got braces now? You know, it’s all these things. But I find it interesting the way that you put the question across, which was what? How do you earn the right to come and see my Mitsuko? It’s an interesting.

[00:33:26] You didn’t actually say that to you. Who? Me, not you in the practise. Don’t say.

[00:33:32] No. But that’s what that’s what I do as part of our training. So I always say to my team that they need to earn a place in the practise. Right? So we have I have minimum criteria that they need to hit. And Martina, obviously you’ve got all your ups there, but no one should be, like I say, the most expensive part of a patient stepping into your practise is someone walking through the door, not having a clue what they’re there for and not having a Scooby Doo of a price range. Yeah, I don’t believe in this whole. You can sell them the value when they walk through the door. Like if they think they can walk in your practise and get their teeth straightened for 750 quid, you’re wasting their time. You’re wasting your time, you’re wasting everyone’s time. So I just sort of say, in order for somebody to earn a place in my practise, they need to know where the star in price is. And it needs to be realistic. We need a little bit of history behind them, their motivations when they’re looking to get started.

[00:34:35] Is this something they’re just looking into in the future as it’s something they’re motivated to get started with fairly soon? What do they know about the treatment? And then they shouldn’t step into the practise without knowing. You’ve got 20 years experience, you’ve straightened so many sets of teeth, you’ve got a gallery of X, Y and Z. We’ve got over 200 Google reviews with five stars, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So like I say, successful phone call is when all of those have been hit by our lead ninja. And if they still say at that point, I don’t want a book, fantastic, you’ve done a great job because you’ve just pushed someone away, was going to come in and waste our time and then vice versa. So yeah, I kind of like flip it on its head that you may never have thought about it like that, but your process must be pretty slick for your SEO to be converting 18 out of 21 patient. So you’re leading in just definitely doing something right and qualify in the patients that were coming through.

[00:35:33] Definitely. And it’s you know, it’s an educational process for that patient. You know, it’s important. It’s our duty to educate them on price, on time, on what is Invisalign? What does it look like to take it out? You know, that’s her job. They should be coming in with all the basic facts. And why? Why are they picking us? They should know why they’re picking us. And you have your list of USBs, say, like you reeled off, you know, here’s my USP.

[00:36:02] So, Martina, can you see I’ve got a gut here. I’ve got.

[00:36:07] Yeah. I’ve got my glasses on. You need an implant?

[00:36:10] I’m in. No, no, no. Definitely not an implant. But I’m interested in getting my teeth straightened with you. Why should I come to see you?

[00:36:18] No, I. No, no, no, I don’t. Whatever. You want me to tell this to my. Now I’m going to do that.

[00:36:27] You’re going to just sell yourself.

[00:36:29] To selling myself? I don’t mind other people selling me. I’m not selling myself.

[00:36:34] How would you? How would you. How would your team sell you? What would they be? What would they say?

[00:36:40] That’s why you’re going through press practise training programme.

[00:36:47] It’s pretty. It’s pretty neat. I said, I’ve got some receptionists out there.

[00:36:55] And.

[00:36:56] It’s nice. It’s nice when you can start two boxes and it takes a long time to earn all these USBs that you can start telling your patients that we’re a diamond provider and a top provider in Leeds and Invisalign Diploma with Dentistry Top 50, all these, you know, awards, blah, blah, blah. It’s all, you know, it’s all just guessing, isn’t it?

[00:37:22] It’s a lot easier for somebody else to. I was going to say I’m low. You’re very.

[00:37:26] Uncomfortable. This conversation you said at the beginning, is there anything you don’t want to talk about?

[00:37:32] Let’s let let’s move on. Let’s move on.

[00:37:36] Now.

[00:37:37] Martina, there’s been quite a lot of talk about Invisalign as as a as a partner and people saying, you know, we’re working for them and you’re making the brand stronger than your own brand. You must know what I’m talking about. Yeah. Do you how often do you look at alternatives to Invisalign or are you just, like, completely head? I’m not not I’m planning to bring out an alternative, but there are loads of alternatives these days. Yeah. How often do you look at those or have you not? Are you single mindedly behind.

[00:38:11] Because that other people do that? So people that I respect, people that know what they’re doing. If they want to try Karolina Systems, I’ll ask them about how do they get. They will go back to Invisalign though. So to me that says it all. The big, well respected orthodontists, they mainly use Invisalign and there is a reason for that.

[00:38:33] But do you think that reason is the way it works, or do you think the reason is the brand, or what do you think the reason is?

[00:38:39] No, I wouldn’t use Invisalign just for the brand. I don’t think I need to. I don’t think it’s it’s just a name that’s become a household name that people use to refer to clearer lines. They, they’ll, they’ll ring any practise and ask for Invisalign but they don’t really care. I don’t think if they’re getting Invisalign or not as long as what the, what they’re saying is they want clear aligners provided by a professional dentist and.

[00:39:06] You know what I mean, that if you walk into Harvey Nichols and you want to buy a coat, there’ll be a kind goose coat there. And there’s a reason why they’re stocking Canada goose and not the number to whoever the hell that is. You know, there’s people walking in saying, I want to use.

[00:39:21] Yeah, I suppose. I mean, it’s a massive brand name now, but that doesn’t really sway me as the reason to use it. I think there would be loads of other ways you could market clear aligners without having to use the word invisalign and still do really, really well. I use Invisalign because I believe in it as a product. I think it’s predictable. I know how to use the system, I’m comfortable with it and that’s why I use Invisalign, because I know I’m going to get the results. I know the research that they put into it, the continuum of development that’s more important to me than the brand name. Maybe, maybe someone who’s like a young associate that maybe doesn’t have much of a profile, maybe it might be important to someone like that. I don’t know. I don’t know.

[00:40:10] I mean, Prav you work with a bunch of different aligner companies with is, right?

[00:40:18] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, look, I work with a lot of clients who are top invisalign providers. I work with Claire. Correct. Directly. Sure. Smart, sure. Smiles SPARC who’ve been around been around for a long time. I mean, you know, I’m not the guy to ask, you know, which one’s better than than the other and all the rest of it. Obviously Invisalign, they’ve got more volume behind and more research and much bigger company. Right. And I’m not a clinician, so I can’t really comment on that. But you know, you speak to various people out there, they have their reasons for using, let’s say, Invisalign or not or having an alternative, whether it’s a business reason, whether it’s a clinical reason or whatnot. Some people are looking for, you know, I speak to some practises or a top Invisalign. Eighties, but then look at it from a profitability point of view, say, well, they’ve hit this status and now they’re going to move over to, let’s say, spark or clear. Correct as a share of wallet because they know their lap fee is going to be less with that. And they still believe clinically they can get the same or similar result. Right. So there’s loads of different ways in which people, I guess, mix it up. I don’t think anyone can deny that, you know, a Invisalign is the market leader and the number one brand out there. However, I do feel that Invisalign is becoming commoditized in the industry. You only need to flick your Facebook up, open on your phone, wherever, whichever city you’re working in, and you get bombarded with Invisalign ads. And it’s a combination of roll up fee free consultation, will throw in some retainers, will throw in a bit of free whitening, and we’ll do a bit of free composite edge bonding while we’re at it, all combinations and permutations of that.

[00:42:05] And what I feel is that with that type of marketing, what we’re what we’re seeing is almost like it being commoditised, commoditized, like whether you go to get a tin of Heinz baked beans from Waitrose, Tesco’s or Morrisons, it’s the same tin of Heinz baked beans. And people are not looking at Invisalign, for example, based on the fact that you’ve got 20 years experience, you’ve got awards, you’ve got you’re a diamond, whatever that is, right, is patients are just looking at Invisalign like a product they can buy off the shelf rather than the skill that sits behind it, the treatment planning, the the ability to know what to do when things go wrong, whether it’s refinements, adjustments and all of that sort of thing. And, you know, that’s my problem at the moment with, with the marketing of Invisalign at the moment is everyone’s getting on that bandwagon, everyone’s doing an open day, everyone’s got a Invisalign offer. And whether it’s tooth whitening worth £300 or tooth whitening worth for 50 or retainers worth 300, or whether you’re talking about varied retainers or fixed retainers, blah, blah, blah, it’s a combination of that. And I know recently, Martina, you’ve got a little bit of stick online. I think there was a post that went up and then was deleted because you’re opening Invisalign off, right? So I guess first of all, let me know your thoughts and how you feel about Invisalign as a commodity and then just tell us about your opening offer and the generation of cash flow for your new business. And and just give us a bit more insight into this.

[00:43:42] And I agree with you, so to an extent on it being seen as a commodity. But I think that you underestimate the IQ of some of a lot of our patients. Maybe I particularly attract those with a high IQ, I don’t know. But I do think that people search me now and and I do think a lot of people do their research. And there will always be patients who just want the cheapest treatment, who just don’t really understand what it is and the skill behind it. The same as for composite bonding, it drives me up the wall. The DMS, I get saying, what’s your price for composite bonding? Because I’m shopping around and I’m looking at prices and I’ve still you’ve got a way of like me explaining to them that not all composite bonding is the same. Please tell me without sounding like I’m trying to like push them to sell it because I’m not. But I just want these people to realise that not all composite bonding is the same and they think there is a cohort of patients who think that all dentists have the same level of skill and experience and everything is the same.

[00:44:59] Like we’re robots and it’s not true. And don’t ask me to do a root canal and don’t ask me to do a surgical extraction because it’s not going to happen. It’s going to be a screw up, it’s going to be a massive screw up. And the dentist down the road is much better off doing it than me. Right. But I am better at doing clear aligners. And some will do their research and some will specifically say, I’ve looked on your Instagram, I’ve seen the work that you do, and they will come to you and they will find you. And they’re the best kind of patients, obviously, that we like. But it does frighten me when I see the level of skill of some of the dentists that are providing Invisalign. It frightens me a lot is that they don’t have the support. They are blindly going into some of these treatments and I think it honestly gives me the heebie jeebies and they might be charging more than me, but that’s fine. So that’s how I feel about that.

[00:46:00] Regarding that, do you think this this Invisalign should spend a bit more time and a bit. More skill and effort on treatment planning.

[00:46:09] I think at the end of the day in educating.

[00:46:14] Know well you know that clean check that comes back.

[00:46:16] You see they should be responsible for the treatment. No, not not legally.

[00:46:20] But, you know, nowadays people are saying, well, look, the clean check that comes back from Invisalign, you can pretty much ignore. And you have to do your own do your own treatment plan. And then there’s a bunch of people outsourcing that.

[00:46:31] Yes. Yeah. No, no, I do my own. But I think the clinician should be responsible.

[00:46:40] Because the Clinton is is responsible legally. But my point my point on it is Invisalign is by far the most expensive product. Right. It’s the product that’s been there the longest. It should one of the value ads of Invisalign should be that the treatment plans are done really well. Yeah.

[00:46:56] But it’s that technician who’s producing that clean check going to understand what’s going on with the bio type and gingival recession and bone levels and TMJ function and occlusal trauma and all these things that we take into consideration when we’re planning on our treatment plans, short routes, all these kind of things. They’re not they’re not there to do that, and that is our job.

[00:47:21] But I think these guys who are going off the rails, are you saying some of the bad treatments you’re seeing? I guess they’re guilty of trusting that technician.

[00:47:29] To prove like it’s. There you go click approve. Yeah.

[00:47:35] Just says yes. Let’s let’s talk about let’s talk about that thing. Let’s talk about that offer now.

[00:47:44] So we sidestep that.

[00:47:45] No. So what’s the offer? What was the offer? You might as well for people who don’t know the story, just just tell us go through what was the offer and why did you get. Stick over it.

[00:47:54] And the Alpha. I loved that I got sick over that, by the way. It made me so happy because I thought, I’m doing something right. I’m getting under people’s noses. This is great. The ulcer was ending Invisalign, so we had like four, four, two, four, nine five, including whitening and with errors and a hygiene. And the stick that I got was I wasn’t quite sure what their beef was other than it was like, how are we supposed to compete with this? And da da da. And I thought, well, how you can compete is you can work your absolute arse off for 20 years to get to the position where you are, you know, getting a nice big discount from Invisalign and people want to come and see you and you can still do that and make a really good profit. And by the way, you can spend years refining your patient journey and recruiting the right people, getting your lead ninja, getting your TSO, getting other dentists to come in. Oh, you can by the way, you can spend another few years training all the other dentists that you got to come and work for you to learn how to do Invisalign. And you can do a diploma and you can learn how to teach Invisalign. So when you can do all that, then you’ll be in a position I’m in to be able to offer Invisalign at two, four, nine, five and still make a profit.

[00:49:16] What’s the what was the profit do you mind sharing with us.

[00:49:19] If I break it down? I think it was I think it was it was over 1000 times profit still, I think.

[00:49:25] Oh, really?

[00:49:26] Yeah. This is it, you know. And it comes and sees, right? I’ve got a brand new squat practise and you bums on seats I’ve got mouths to feed and they seem to practise loads and loads.

[00:49:37] Loads of people, loads of people jump to your defence as well. Let’s be fair about it.

[00:49:41] Yeah, it was really nice. I loved that. You know what? That post didn’t upset me at all and I was quite pleased that I was creating a bit of a stir because it made me laugh.

[00:49:50] And and I guess if you do in a fixed price for four light and fold, you’re taken into account. There’s going to be a proportion of light where your margins are going to be higher and they’re going to be a proportion of four way imagine will be slightly less. And it all works out in the mix, right? So if you get more lights through the door, you’ll know more than anyone else what proportion are going to be lights versus full. Right. In terms.

[00:50:13] Of, you know, I have a business model that makes sense as well in terms of the way my set up was with my associates and the way that they get paid for the cases and the support that they have from assistant dentists and the support that we give them in terms of education and study clubs and support with the clean tech planning in house, everything’s in-house. And you know, I’m here as a mentor, as a teacher to these people, but I’m then able to attract those dentists that are willing to work for less of a wage. But in return, they’re getting experience, they’re learning the growing, they’re getting support. So I got myself into that unique position, which.

[00:50:54] Is that £1,000 is then split with your associate.

[00:50:58] No, that’s not my business model. That’s my profit.

[00:51:01] That’s your as the owners profit.

[00:51:03] Yeah. So they, they get paid on a case rate. Yeah. And then I have like we have levels of dentists, so we have like a level one dentist who does the IPR and the attachments. Then you have like a level two dentists who’ll be in charge of the case. They’ll do the, the planning. You know, they are they start the case and finish the case. They’ll do the refinements, all that. But they can refer to the level one, dentists, things like attachments, IPR, simple fillings, and those level one dentists are on a day rate. So the set up of the whole practise allows for me to be profitable from that case.

[00:51:39] And what’s in it for the level one dentist that he’ll eventually become a level two dentist? Is that the idea?

[00:51:44] Just a pathway to growth to learn, to grow, to become a good dentist? And that is the whole ethos behind my new practise. Is that really that whole education pathway that grows pathway for associates to come through and learn to be really, really good dentists with the support that they wouldn’t get anywhere else.

[00:52:06] So let’s let’s talk about the squat, the Dental guy, the architect. The Dental architect. First question why did you decide to change brand? Why didn’t you say another one?

[00:52:17] Yeah, why didn’t I keep my. So the other practise is called the Dental Studio. It’s a completely different beast. And I obviously I did think about keeping the brand and having a sister practise, but it’s just not the same. Like it’s my wait for practise is Heart of Yorkshire, you know, farming community combe, old coal mining community families, very, very long term loyal patients. The dental architects is slap bang in the city centre is compared to Wakefield, which is a couple of terraced houses not together. It’s a beautiful grade two listed building, it’s an old leather warehouse and it’s just, you know, the whole demographic of our patients is different. It is office workers, it is students. It’s a younger kind of generation of patients. So the branding that I have for the dental studio just didn’t fit with what I wanted for here.

[00:53:25] And how long was it from when you said, Right, I’m going to do this to the day that you opened your doors?

[00:53:31] Do you think it was about 18 months, I think.

[00:53:35] And take us through some of the. For someone who’s never done a squat.

[00:53:38] Yeah.

[00:53:39] Take us through that process.

[00:53:42] Well. I mean, how it came about was. My husband is a property investor and I don’t really take much notice of what he does for a living. But one day he invited me to come and look at a new property that boy needs. So I was like dragged along. And I walked in and I wasn’t looking for a second practise, something that had been on the back burner for maybe ten or so years but had kids. I never really made much of it. And I walked into this completely derelict building, which is on a really, really busy street and leads literally a minute’s walk to the train station. And I just it hit me like a ton of bricks that this was going to be this should be a beautiful dental practise. I’d just taken the grout. I was just going to have the ground floor. In the end, I ended up having a ground floor in the first floor. It’s a five story building. And really that was that was it. And I said, I have stupid ideas. And then I get in too deep and it’s too late to turn back. That’s what happened. But it was, I think to me when I reflect on why I did it, why, you know, why did I do it? I asked myself that question a lot. I think a lot of me did it just because I could. I knew what I wanted. I knew what I could do. I had the experience of running a practise. And I knew what I could create and I could see more important than all of that. It was that I saw the opportunity and I took it. And that’s what happened. And at the end of the day, I think this practise because it’s mine from very the roots of it I think it’s been an expression of me actually was I was quite sound quite deep but I think it’s my creative expression of my values, of what I’m about, the aesthetics of it.

[00:55:43] So is this your magnum opus? Like every dentist, every dentist has this dream of like this ideal practise, I think is this is this is this what it was for you?

[00:55:54] Yeah.

[00:55:55] Amazing.

[00:55:56] What did the name come from? Well, you know, when when I when I’m approached by either wannabe practise owners or people who are in that discovery phase, like, you know, there’s there’s every spa, studio, spa, studio, smile, spa, smile, practise, smile, clinic. All the names are gone, right? And so picking the name is you can go and then you go look at domain names and all the rest of it. It all goes through that process.

[00:56:26] You know. Well, picking the name is actually if I was to write a book on how to start a squat, I would say the first thing you need to do is pick a name, because until you pick a name, it holds up everything. You can’t do your branding. You can’t do your interior design until you’ve done your branding. You can’t design your final build until you’ve got your interior design. It’s like until you’ve got that name, nothing else can actually follow. Yeah. So the name is obviously one of the first things that I did. I had this really good branding consultant I work with. She’s called Car Abandon. She deliberately all the people that I’ve worked with throughout this whole project, apart from like very specific dental supplies, mentors that I’ve had have got nothing to do with dentistry. They’ve never done a dental practise before because I didn’t want it to be a cliché name, I didn’t want it to be a cliché brand. I wanted it to be very, very special and unique. And she, she we did have that whole kind of discovery process of a name. And in the end, I did spend a whole afternoon with her on this whole discovery process and the name and everything. But that name had been something that I’d already thought of before that process. And I’m glad, I’m glad I still went through the process with her to know that that was the right name, but it was my favourite name and a lot of people said they didn’t like it, they couldn’t spell it and all of that, and I just stuck with it. And it’s like one of those things where I was like, No, I’m going to go with my gut. I really like it and I’ve had so many compliments ever since on it. And the architect, the name architect kind of comes from the building itself, the beautiful building. But the fact that, you know, we we are the architects of smiles. So it was all kind of stuff really.

[00:58:15] And I think the branding and everything just flows beautifully when when you think of the name, just the logo, everything that you’ve seen in evolution on social media is your brand and your and your. We’ve all shared that. It’s almost like we’ve been on that journey with you, right? Because we’ve seen all the little steps and the little reels and the images and stuff like that, that, that, that whole brand has come to life. Yeah. And you right, you nail that name and everything else has followed after it and the brand is so suited to what you see.

[00:58:51] I always felt, I think before as I was starting the project, I felt like the name was like a bit of a luxury to be worrying about the name. But looking back on it, it was so important to get that name nailed and be comfortable with it. Right at the very beginning, because if you change the name, then your branding changes and then everything else changes.

[00:59:10] And what’s been your lowest moment in this whole journey of launching the Dental architect? You said you. You said you found the building. And then you got into deep and then you thought, Right, I’m in now, so I might as well figure out whether I’m going to sink or swim. Were there any sinking moments during this journey?

[00:59:33] Yeah, there’s multiple sinking moments. That was the build is starting work before I even had the funding. So, you know, I said about, like, holding your nose. Oh, man, I held my nerve. I walked into that building site every day, not knowing how I was going to pay the builders. I was like, I’ll call this mine. So for a long time, I didn’t have the funding. I think my, my, my, my absolute lowest moment was a clash I had with one of my the people that I was that was providing me a service for the bills. And we had a very big clash. And I was literally ranting and raving down the phone to him and bawling my eyes out and crying. And because everything had just got so much and everything was being delayed and it was like day after day after day, a new kick in the teeth. And it really has been an exercise in getting kicked, knocked down and getting up again and just doing the same again. And it takes fucking so I don’t know if I’m allowed to sweat balls and it takes grit and I’m not picking myself off it. I’m just putting it out there so everybody knows.

[01:01:05] What’s in it. Give me a bit more detail. Go on. What happened.

[01:01:08] About this?

[01:01:10] Yeah.

[01:01:11] Confrontation. Yeah, I don’t I don’t want to know because I don’t want to badmouth anybody in the industry.

[01:01:19] Don’t, don’t mention the name.

[01:01:21] Well, it’s like, I think if I tell you what it was about, I might give it away. It’s a company that I worked with, but it was just it was a big clash. And, you know, it was just it was it was about you can get over building problems and problems with the QC and staffing problems and all this kind of stuff. Funding problems. I can’t even think of the millions of things that held me back on a daily basis. But it’s that really it’s the relationships that you have along the way. And when that breaks down, that’s what really kicks you in the gut.

[01:02:00] Yeah. Is it a trust thing, Martin? It was. It was it that there was there was some kind of trust there that was broken or a promise that was made?

[01:02:08] I felt that that. I mean, there’s two sides to this story, but I felt like I’d been let down big style.

[01:02:15] Martin Are you the kind of person who works on a handshake or are you the kind of person who sets out the sort of the milestones of what’s going to happen? So if, for instance, for the sake of the argument, if you’re going to have a website, which would you say right by this date, I want this done by that date, I want that done, or are you more intuitive? And if you trust the person, let them get on with it.

[01:02:38] You have to have a timeline. When you when you’re building a practise, you have to have a timeline. And the timeline becomes I’ll tell you why. The reason I got upset with that person was because I was letting down other people and it was delaying the opening of the practise. And, you know, when you’re hiring associates, they need three months to you know, you need to give them three months notice. So you have to pick a date and you have to go with what you told within a day. You know, and what I got so upset about was, yeah, okay, the employees can’t start yet. That’s fine. I can pay them. I don’t care that I’m losing money and I’m, you know, handing the notes and they’ve left the job so I can pay them. But it’s so since you come on and I was just so gutted that these people had left their jobs and followed my stupid dream and believed in me and trusted me. And I felt like I was letting them down. And that’s why that is why I was so upset at that point, because I knew it was going to delay the opening. And I forgot your question. So so in terms of you have to have these timelines, if you do, you do you have to be quite organised. You have to plan in advance and you have to say, right, my landing page needs to be ready now because I need to start marketing now because my TCO needs to start doing virtual consultations now. So I need this, this, this, this and this in place before my TCO starts doing virtual consultations. And so you do have to.

[01:04:02] Be so how much how much ahead of time? How much ahead of opening were you doing virtual consultations?

[01:04:07] Well, in the end, we did. We were supposed to just do a month that we did six or seven weeks because we opened late, which was no bad thing because it meant we got more patients in the chair when we opened. But yeah, so we started running, so we started doing the consults. Now if I did it again, I probably would say six weeks before opening, and then we started running the ads a month before that. So my lead ninja, my new patient coordinator, was booking in with the CEO for the virtual consults for that month before.

[01:04:39] I mean, how involved do you get in the creative? For instance, they’re putting ads out on social. Yeah I help who comes up comes up with the words. Is that you.

[01:04:49] Yeah, I do. Yeah, I have I definitely have a lot of input.

[01:04:55] But then, you know, the process, how the process is where I mean privacy expert. Right. But the process where they try lots of different words and try lots of different pictures and split test.

[01:05:03] They can do that. I’m not that’s that’s for the professionals to do.

[01:05:07] So you give the basic tone of voice. Yeah.

[01:05:10] Yeah.

[01:05:12] Yeah, I get it.

[01:05:13] I think because I think I’m a little bit I’m okay. Like, if I thought it was a bit crap at it, I wouldn’t do it. But yeah, like you say, I’m not going to be A and B testing the arts. That’s for the professionals to do.

[01:05:24] Yeah. And plus, it’s a reflection of you, right, that’s going out there.

[01:05:27] It’s my voice, isn’t it?

[01:05:30] Yeah, it’s. It’s got to be it’s got to be close. I mean, it’s interesting, because sometimes someone else can do your voice better than you. It’s interesting. Perhaps I’ve got a guy. He’s he’s.

[01:05:41] A podcast. I can’t remember the name of the guy. He’s he does loads of implants and stuff. It’s quite a young guy. And then you were talking about. No, no, it was it that one. No, you it was one of your podcasts about building a website and you have a guy that writes everything for you. Just crap. So it sounds.

[01:06:00] Amazing. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:06:02] Word ninja. I feel like everyone’s a ninja word. Ninja.

[01:06:08] Just that phrase.

[01:06:10] But this guy, Martin, this guy, for instance, when he’s writing, he’s writing copy for the owners website here. You can literally hear his voice onto he wrote it and write it, the particular thing that he’s written. But you can hear Ronan’s voice. It’s like you can hear it in Ronan’s accent and voice. And then when he’s writing copy for Enlighten, it’s not my voice. It’s enlightened voice comes over and it’s the same dude sitting there saying, Yeah, yeah, I guess that is a pro, right?

[01:06:40] It’s you. Sometimes other people can express you better than you can express it.

[01:06:46] Just just like right now. You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t sell yourself.

[01:06:50] No.

[01:06:53] Well, let’s stay on the dark side.

[01:06:55] Well.

[01:06:56] What’s been. What’s been your darkest day in dentistry?

[01:07:00] Oh doc dentistry.

[01:07:04] If you want wrap it into your biggest mistake clinically or you’re the patient that that complained the loudest or caused you the most pain or any of those sort of things.

[01:07:13] Yeah. You instantly think of something when you say that. You think of that patient, don’t you? Yeah. I don’t think we did any. It was yeah, there was a really, really horrible patient and she complained about literally all the dentists in the practise. And she made me feel anxious for months. She was a lawyer.

[01:07:34] Oh, God.

[01:07:36] It was horrible, horrible, horrible. I haven’t had many, honestly. Oh, mistakes. A million. Of course. Of course. But you know what’s so important? You know, if you would tell young Dennis, what’s the most important thing you can do in your career? The most important learning point is to build those relationships with your patients, because when you do screw up, they’re a lot more forgiving if you’ve got a relationship with them. And of course, yeah, I made hundreds of mistakes. Yeah, but I haven’t had many dark days and I’m sure I’ve had a wonderful career. I love my career. And have you.

[01:08:12] Never had a member of staff let you down big time steal from you? Something like that?

[01:08:18] Not still, no. I mean, I’ve had just. Incompetent members of staff. And just looking back fondly. So. But no, I’ve never had. Yeah. I’ve been very lucky.

[01:08:37] I’m not buying it.

[01:08:39] Well, the gnomes have stolen from me.

[01:08:41] No, no, no. You’ve never had a dark day.

[01:08:43] I can’t. I would say this.

[01:08:46] How can you go 20 years without a dark day?

[01:08:48] No, not so dark days, I’m sure.

[01:08:50] Come on. What stands out? What stands out as dark days?

[01:08:54] Oh, I don’t know. Patience can be annoying and all that and horrible, but I think for me it’s the relationship with your team and I think that would be the thing that upset me the most is if I upset a team member or hurt a relationship with a team member or broken a relationship or done something wrong like that, that’s more important to me. I think with patients, you can you can get over it a little bit, I think.

[01:09:20] I feel like this dark story you’re not telling us honestly.

[01:09:24] I’ll think of one. Ask you is I’m sure.

[01:09:27] All right. All right. When it comes to you.

[01:09:31] I’m never I don’t want to say that I’ve not ever had been sued or anything because then I’m going to get sued. It’s about the way you do allegations, isn’t it? Yes. In dark days.

[01:09:42] It might not just be a patient thing, right, Martine? It might be something unrelated to patients, but it’s in dentistry, right? But I see dark waves manifesting themselves in two ways. Have you ever seen the movie Falling Down? Michael Douglas.

[01:09:56] Yeah.

[01:09:57] Walks into McDonald’s and it’s 5 minutes past breakfast time in the world. Give him his breakfast. Right. So he pulls out his machine gun, pulls out his machine gun and goes batshit crazy. Right. Because he can’t get breakfast. Right. So that’s one that’s one way of manifesting your dark day. And then the other. The other way I see is just crawling into a corner and crying and thinking, what’s the actual f? Why? Yeah. Can you relate to either of those moments, either a falling down moment or just burying yourself?

[01:10:31] I’m sure there’s many days I wanted to get my gun out and shoot everybody in the process. And all the patients and. So like you said online.

[01:10:51] No, no, no. Okay. Doesn’t matter. Let it. Let it. Let it. Let it marinate.

[01:10:55] Dark days that have been dark moments.

[01:10:57] Let it marinate.

[01:10:57] Let it let me.

[01:10:58] But let it marinate for a while. What’s your biggest weakness?

[01:11:02] You. I do know that I’m very good at making plans and things happening in my head and not telling anyone else about it. So like with my team, I would be, you know, I come up with all these ideas and all I have conversations and I’ll agree something with a team member and then not tell anyone else about it. Because I, you know, I just think that they can read my mind. I’m really moody, but I try work, I try and you know, you put on a show, don’t you? But at home, I’m really moody, very quick tempered.

[01:11:41] Really. I will ask for one, but keep going.

[01:11:44] I know I can keep going. Yeah, I think it’s really annoying to my team sometimes.

[01:11:51] What’s been your biggest mistake?

[01:11:55] In life or in life?

[01:11:57] Both.

[01:12:03] I don’t really believe in mistakes. Or like grapes. I think everything in life should be a learning experience, but I do wish I’d had the confidence I have now. But when I see all these young dentists out there doing crazy, amazing stuff and achieving all these amazing things, and I think, oh, this I’d have that confidence 20 years ago. Imagine what I could have achieved.

[01:12:33] Yeah, I know what you mean. I interviewed a fourth year dental student for this show, and he’d figured some stuff out that I figured out last week pissed me off a little bit.

[01:12:48] I think that, like, these young dentists are so different to how.

[01:12:54] Yeah, but they’re big stress heads. They’re big stress heads. Well, I was going to go on to the empowering women in dentistry. Yeah. How did that come about? Was that was that kind of this thing that you found yourself? You found your confidence, then you wanted to share that with other women.

[01:13:12] So what happened was I went into this into Costa Coffee and Weatherby, where I live, and there was this. Amazonian glamorous women stood in front of me in the coffee cake, and I looked at her. I was like, Oh, it’s Andrea Eby and Andrea Eby. I’d always this top 50 dentistry failure, like every last 20 years it’s been coming out. I’ve been reading it, and she was always in it. And she was she was quite the trailblazer, you know, in terms of marketing and all this kind of thing. And I’d followed her for 20 years, never met her. And so I introduced myself. I said, Oh, hi, I’m a dentist. And we just hit it off and we got chatting and then we met up again and we sort of both female practises, owners of which obviously we are outnumbered by men in terms of practise ownership. It was it was a real delight to to speak to another female practise owner. And we both really enjoying our conversation and the way that we approach running. Our practises seem to be different from maybe the when the way that men do it. And we felt like there was this big need out there for women to come together in dentistry because we recognise this huge lack of confidence amongst women and this kind of imposter syndrome, this feeling that you’re never, you’re not what people think you are and you’re never going to achieve what people think you can and all this.

[01:14:44] And it’s huge. It’s a huge problem that I’ve always suffered from as well. And we just felt like it would be fun. It was like, Yeah, it’s just one of those stupid ideas. Again, it was like, Oh, wouldn’t it be fun if we just did a conference and got loads of women together and got some cool female speakers in and just tried to be a bit inspiring to women and tried to help other women in the way that we were helping each other and that Andrea was helping me and growing my confidence. And so we did. And so we started doing it and we got this really amazing response and through lockdown and everything, it was really incredible. So that’s how it came about, really. It was just seeing that kind of opportunity and seeing this thing that was missing.

[01:15:26] Who spoke at the conference.

[01:15:29] What we had. So we had mind Ninja Lady, we.

[01:15:35] Had Maro.

[01:15:38] Lawson. You have Sally Garneau. She was like our keynote speaker. That was amazing. She took us through that whole mindset of how she won gold at the Olympics, at the 100 metre hurdles. And that was crazy, like the way she rehearsed that in her mind thousands of times before she did that run. And she just every set, every step was rehearsed in her mind. And it’s that a whole kind of visualisation. And I think successful people do that a lot this visualisation of of what it is you want to achieve because you naturally think about your goal all the time. So inevitably it becomes something that’s going to happen. But yeah, we had some amazing speakers. It was a fun day.

[01:16:24] Would you say juggling motherhood and business ownership has been a challenge to you?

[01:16:32] Yeah. It’s a challenge because it’s a psychological challenge to me. I have huge working mother guilt and I have a massively supportive husband without whom I couldn’t do achieve what I have achieved. He’s very flexible in his job and he’s very willing to do a lot of the childcare. But every day I struggle with my guilt of not spending enough time with them or not being present enough. But this comes back to this, and I think I do, by the way, I do think I do spend a lot of time with them, but I’ll never stop feeling guilty. But then that drive side of me knows and my husband knows that if I was to give it all up, which, you know, I want to do every day sometimes, but if I was to give up doing what I’m doing, I would be miserable, depressed, very bored person.

[01:17:34] I was I was reading I was doing some research on you. And I came across some article in dentistry where he said, every Sunday I go to the spa and recharge Sunday evening. And I think it’s such an important thing because too many ladies in particular, I think I’m sure there’s some men like this too, but too many ladies in particular are sort of martyrs to the everything that they do, and that leaves nothing for them. And there is some there are some particularly sort of more, I call it enlightened or forward thinking people who realise that that there’s like if you’re not taken care of, you can’t take care of anyone else. When? How long? How long ago did you do that? He’s still doing that. He’s still going to do that.

[01:18:23] Excellent. Let’s go to something I like. I cook some more dinner. We’ve had a nice weekend, and then I just go off to the spa for 2 hours, and I just sit there and think about stuff, and it’s the only time I get headspace sit and think of. Unusually, I think about work, my next idea. But yeah, it’s just my headspace, really.

[01:18:44] And would you would you would you say more people should do more of that? I certainly think so. I mean, whatever.

[01:18:48] It is that gives you headspace, it might be fishing, it might be running.

[01:18:53] Yeah.

[01:18:53] Whatever it is you need, you need that moment. Like I’m addicted to my phone, mainly because I just sit on there and actually probably don’t think for half an hour. Which is also good for you.

[01:19:08] Definitely. I think we’re coming near the end of our time. I do want to ask you about the future. Have you got plans? Are there going to be many more of these architectures? Are you going to start teaching this process? So. Oh, God, I bet it would work. I mean, if you put on a course on how to do a squat, I’m sure. I’m sure people would want to to check that out. But, you know, putting a course on, it’s hard work, too.

[01:19:35] Yeah. I mean, I’ve never been someone that has long term goals. Actually, I’m an opportunist, I think. And I like to grow organically and go where my whim takes me, whether it’s teaching or speaking or building a practise, whatever it is. I just like to be passionate about what I’m doing and enjoy what I’m doing. And so I don’t make long term plans. And, you know, you never say never right now I’m saying never, never again. I think I mean it, but I’m just going to carry on with that journey and spotting those opportunities and and going where those opportunities take me.

[01:20:24] And you said when when when you had the stick about the offer kind of made you happy. Which is kind of counterintuitive. A lot of people would have said, oh, that was horrible. But but but there’s sort of this mischievous side of you, I guess. Does that come from.

[01:20:44] Because I thought. Well. If people are sitting up and taking notice and getting annoyed by this. It must be because I’m doing something right.

[01:20:57] But why would you say that? I mean, a lot of people would say it must be because you’re doing something wrong.

[01:21:02] I don’t really care what other people think. Like, I just I do my own thing and I never really compete with other practises or, you know, I look at, I still look at what the practises are doing and stuff, but it’s my thing, it’s my practise. I’ve got no interest in competing with anyone else. All I want to do is fill my clinic. So I do really care what other people think about what I do as long as what I’m doing is ethical and I’m not hurting anybody and I’m giving these patients an amazing service, like it’s somebody I tell them, I’m like, This is incredible. You won’t get this anywhere else. I’m not just saying, you know, and you’ll get.

[01:21:43] What I mean. It’s clear that that’s the kind of person you are. But why?

[01:21:47] Gosh. It’s just the depth to me, isn’t it? So I.

[01:21:53] You know, you know this thing about women and confidence. A lot of women would would would be very scared about that that level of attention. I know why I’m saying women, but it’s true, right?

[01:22:06] Yeah.

[01:22:07] And and and yet you you go on and you love it and you come out and say, yeah, I am doing it. And you go and set up the Women in Dentistry Empowerment Group. Why? Why? How did you become this cat? Like I want to do. I want to. I want to teach my daughter.

[01:22:27] You can’t teach. You can’t teach it. I love having the drive that I have. But sometimes I wish you could just take it away. And I could just be. And I could just sit and I could just be. And I could not constantly want more and bigger and better. And I’ve had a wonderful life. I’ve had a wonderful childhood. I have wonderful, supportive parents. I’ve never had trauma in my life. I’m was going to say blessed to that word, but I am. And so there’s no kind of there’s no yearning in me for something that I’ve missed out on in life. It’s just a me. There’s no I don’t think there’s a secret to it.

[01:23:11] What about what about an inspiration? Did you have someone?

[01:23:15] Oh, I’m always inspired by people I love seeing. So like, I don’t know, I was seeing I got into Invisalign and then I was seeing like these, these speakers for Invisalign. So one day I was like, I’m to be Invisalign speaker. And that was, you know, in my head I wouldn’t do that. So then you just make it happen. You do what it takes, you take the steps and you make it happen. And I saw what they would do and I was like, What are they doing? How did they get there? I’m going to do that. So. Yeah. I’ve gone off again. I don’t know what we were talking about, but.

[01:23:55] Okay. Well, I still I still think you owe us a traumatic story.

[01:24:01] But I think of it. I miss you.

[01:24:04] Yeah.

[01:24:06] I mean, I’ll tell you what. I’m going to start. Yeah, right. Oh, excellent. All right, here you go. Excellent. So I was born dysplasia. So it’s where your hips deformed and the. My finger was deformed and the peri acetabulum, which is the bone that goes around it. Right. And I didn’t really realise it was problem until I was in my early twenties. I was living in London and I was walking around and my hip kept falling out my hip socket. So I’d be walking along and I’d collapse. And for some reason I just thought, this is normal. Don’t know why. I just got too busy. I was like hanging with stuff, so and it really started to happen. It’s awful in London cause you have to walk everywhere, so it’s crippling. I became really crippled with it and I could hardly walk. So eventually I went to the doctor. They took an X-ray and like, Oh, he’s got hip dysplasia now. Oh, okay. Well, at least it’s a thing that I’ve got. And so I, I had to go through a lot of surgery and it was big, nasty surgery and I had quite a few of them and I had my hip, my femur. They cut it in two and they re angled it and then they stuck a pin in it. And then the first time I remember like three months later, I still couldn’t lift my own leg. And I had this horrendous limp and I remember my best friend coming to visit me. I was like, Look at me walking. I was so I was so pleased with myself. And she was like aghast. Look, she’s like, What’s it to you? Well, I was doing quite well.

[01:25:45] So I got to the doctor and he took the X-ray and the two parts of the femur were completely separate. And I’ve been trying to walk around on these broken legs for three months, so he had to then redo it. And then that really didn’t help my symptoms and I was still quite crippled with it and I couldn’t really walk, I couldn’t do it. And I was in constant, constant pain. And this went on for a couple of years and it really affected my life. And then I had the final surgery, which was the peri acetabulum, so it’s your hip bones. So they took a big chunk out of my hip bone and then re angled that and I was laid off in bed for three months and I was getting married. And I organised my whole wedding from back from my bed and my goal was to walk down the aisle without crutches. That was my goal. So I kind of even hired the band without hearing them. I did everything. The Internet hadn’t been around all that long, but I had a laptop and I did it all. And what was really interesting about that period of time for me was not only firstly finding out who my friends were, the people that were there to support me and my husband who supported me all the way through and my family and going through that crippling period of pain for three or four years, not knowing if I was going to be able to walk at the end of it or if I was going to be in a wheelchair. They were. Yeah. There you go. There’s some dark days for you.

[01:27:18] I forgot about that. That qualifies.

[01:27:22] But I got there and well, that was nearly 20 years ago now. And I can’t run and I can’t walk very far. But I can get on my bike and I can day to day I can get by and I’m not in pain. And every every day I am grateful for the body. I’m in the ability it has to get me from A to B and for me, you know, the opportunity that that gave me to be grateful for for every breath that I take, because we take our bodies for granted until something like that happens. And to go through that when you’re quite young and you’re out clubbing and all this kind of stuff and you can’t do it. It was really hard when you’re 23 now, but I’m forever grateful to that surgeon who who fixed me and it’s still working.

[01:28:17] What an inspirational story, Martina. Just the whole story. Not not this justice, but the whole thing. You seem you seem to carry stuff off with relative ease. And I don’t know, I guess it’s the way you put it over, because nothing, nothing significant is easy. As is never easy.

[01:28:35] Not all.

[01:28:37] Let’s. Let’s end it with the customary final questions.

[01:28:43] Martina. She stay on the planet. You’ve got your kids, your beloved ones around you who’ve been there, supported you, and you’ve got to give them three pieces of wisdom, parting pieces of wisdom for life. What would they be?

[01:29:03] So. The first piece of advice that I would give is. If you want to be successful, if you want to grow and you want to become a better person, I think you have to spend every single day out of your comfort zone. And that is why I do. And, you know, it’s not always a pleasant place to be, but very great fun things can come out of that. My second piece of advice, I think, is something that I we talked about earlier, and it is to be true to yourself and to learn to trust yourself and your own values and your own instincts and learn. And it’s a hard thing to learn, but to learn when to listen to other people and to when to when to listen to yourself. And if something doesn’t feel right and it’s not comfortable to you. Then it’s the right thing is is to do what is comfortable to you and how that you treat other people, the work that you do and and the people that you surround yourself with. And what would be my third piece of advice? I wish I could take this advice myself, but I would. Just to learn to be. Just to be. Sometimes. To sit and look around everything because it’s a wonderful, wonderful world. And I’m incredibly lucky. And sometimes I think I take it all for granted because I’m too busy trying to do more. Just be.

[01:30:54] Lovely. Lovely.

[01:30:56] Especially that last piece.

[01:30:57] That last piece. But and also what you said about comfort zone. It’s quite interesting that being comfortable outside of your comfort zone sort of it’s a cliche, but what you said about interesting things come from it. I think that’s a key point because you’re you’re bloody uncomfortable. Right. So that’s an uncomfortable thing. But then when you when you’re looking forward to the interesting things that are going to come from it, at least you’ve got you’ve got that and then interesting things always do come. I remember when me and I said, let’s do a podcast. It was bloody uncomfortable. But then once you’ve been out of your comfort zone a few times and then you know, some interesting stuff is going to go, you might not know what that stuff is yet, but some good stuff’s going to come from it, and that’s the best way of getting into that position.

[01:31:42] Exciting. Yeah. An exciting place to be and to say yes to things even though you don’t know how you’re going to achieve them or do them.

[01:31:50] Yeah. And they’re stopping and stopping and spending the roads is certainly. Yeah. So my final question. Fantasy dinner party.

[01:31:59] Yes.

[01:32:00] Three guests, dead or alive. Who would you invite?

[01:32:03] Right. My three guests. I would have Professor Brian Cox.

[01:32:12] I like him.

[01:32:13] I love him. I just could listen to him talk about black holes and dark matter. And I have no idea what he’s saying. Yeah, I could just. I could. I understand it at the time, but then if you ask me to repeat what he said, I would have no idea if I could listen to him. I would just love to listen to him talk all night about dark matter.

[01:32:37] Is such a cool dude. Used to be a pop star as well. Yeah.

[01:32:39] He was endearing. Yeah.

[01:32:40] Amazing.

[01:32:42] He’s such a cool dude. I’ve seen him, like, twice live.

[01:32:45] Yeah, I speak to that pretty good.

[01:32:48] And my second guest would be, I think I just Tom Hanks because he’s my favourite actor and I just. I just love everything that he does. And I just think he’d be really, really interesting and I just think he’s got a really lovely way about him. So I’d have Tom Hanks. I don’t think my identify, I guess exciting. Really.

[01:33:12] What’s what’s your favourite Tom Hanks movie?

[01:33:15] I really like. Is it, Captain Ways? One way.

[01:33:23] So the desert islands. He’s on a desert island somewhere.

[01:33:26] Oh, no, not that one. That’s what with the ball, Wilson. What’s it called? That one.

[01:33:33] Castaway.

[01:33:34] Captain Phillips. Captain Phillips. I really like that movie. He lands a plane on the Hudson River, doesn’t he?

[01:33:42] Yes.

[01:33:43] Well, that’s really good.

[01:33:44] Yes. Brilliant. And the third.

[01:33:46] Guest. And then my third guest. It would be Freddie Mercury because. Yeah. You know, you asked me, like, what am I, you know, you didn’t ask me regrets. I think one of my regrets is never having seen Freddie Mercury live. And I really, really wish I’d seen Freddie Mercury sing live. I know you can go see Queen now. It’s not Freddie, is it, to have been at Live Aid? Wouldn’t that have been a thing? I remember watching it at the time.

[01:34:17] Yeah, yeah. Incredible. Once that was.

[01:34:20] Yeah.

[01:34:22] It’s been so nice to have you. And I know how busy you are. And the fact that you found time for us is really, really feels like a privilege. Thank. Thank you so much. Thank you.

[01:34:36] You would help me. Thank you. So I really feel like I’ve had a good therapy session.

[01:34:41] So many lessons in all of your loads to be loads. Thank you so much, Martina. Thanks for doing. Thanks for me.

[01:34:49] 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.

[01:35:05] 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.

[01:35:20] 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.

[01:35:30] And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Things have come a long way for Kailesh Solanki since he last joined his brother Prav for a chat on the podcast and talked about winding down his clinical hours to focus on business. 

So how are things going?

Kailesh has been busy since his last podcast appearance, finalising an exit deal for his Manchester-based Kiss clinics that will see him staying on with the brand to open and develop ten new practices.

Kailesh talks about his ambitions for Kiss, discusses the challenges of exit and reveals big aspirations for the next ten years.

Enjoy! 

 

In This Episode

01.15 – Catching up

04.26 – The exit

09.54 – The Ten Clinic plan and the partnership model

14.00 – Loss and control

20.29 – Changing challenges

24.24 – Ideal partners

33.07 – Purpose

35.44 – The next ten years

39.01 – Structure

47.38 – Existing practices Vs squats

52.23 – Patient offer and processes

59.19 – Maintaining the vision

 

About Kailesh Solanki

Kailesh Solanki graduated from Manchester University in 2003 and went on to gain implantology qualifications.

In 2005, Kailesh purchased a practice in central Manchester, which he rebranded under the KissDental moniker and quickly expanded the clinic to a group of three. 

[00:00:00] And with their infrastructure, the things that they’ve already got in place, their existing head office and allowing me to create my own head office, my own infrastructure as well. I just felt like, although yes, I’d lost majority share of my business, I gained the ability to grow a much larger business. And I felt I’d rather have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie as such. She’s, I suppose, the old saying but you’ve got to think bigger picture. If you’re going to do that, then kind of say I’ve got three highly profitable clinics, which I had with a very, very good EBITDA, which I had, and I could sell the whole thing. One hit for a big figure, but then where do I go again? And so this, I’m hoping, allows me to partially exit, partially exit again, partially exit again, but in a business that I love in a bill.

[00:00:57] 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.

[00:01:15] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Kaley Solanki back onto the podcast for his second visit. Since the last time we had Kaylee Sean A lot’s happened for for him and you know, we’ll perhaps brother, I think that regular listeners will know that Katie has gone through a process of investment and now looking to grow. How you doing, buddy?

[00:01:39] I’m good, thanks. Hey, how are you?

[00:01:41] I’m good. Good. Good to have you back. So the last time we spoke, I remember there was a lot of tears. Hopefully there’ll be some more tears this time as well. But I remember Prav asking you, so what’s the plans for the future? And you said, look, I want to I want to spread my knowledge. I want to get some more people to do the things that I can I can teach them. And what you’ve done is you’ve sold Dental or sold a percentage of it.

[00:02:14] Yes. So obviously, when you guys had me on the show last time, I mean, it was it was great to be on it. And we were going through a really kind of strong transition of kind of rebranding the clinics I was in, not just probably the maturity of our Academy programme where we were teaching. I think by that point we kind of had four or five vets come through our kind of dental private system. And to be honest, business could have never been better really. You know, the clinics were booming, we were out in chairs and growth was going up, profit was going up. So everything was going in the right direction and kind of where I wanted to be and how we discuss things and the last show and kind of moving forward, we wanted almost like an educational platform and we created KIS courses, which was really well received. And you know, we run I think 12 or 13 courses last year and we had we had full uptake of every single day. It was small groups, but it was really nice. It was great to kind of lecture again and be on that side of the table.

[00:03:29] And so, yeah, it was, it was kind of I felt like everything was going in that, in that direction of how I’d kind of envisaged it going. But you get to a point like in anything where you kind of run out of time, run out of not not energy is thought. It’s just time and it’s just the ability to kind of keep on pushing stuff. And so a decision kind of had to be made on What do I do? Because as we discussed last time, I do a lot of clinical dentistry, I then do the teaching, I’ve got the vets and try to have a bit of private life as well, try to socialise every now and then on the MSN course with you. And you know, there’s all these different little avenues that I do, but at some point you kind of think it’s 11:00 at night and I’m not stopped and I’ve not stopped for months and months and months. And so I kind of really wanted to just evaluate where I wanted to be and where I want it to go.

[00:04:26] So you sell to dental, dental beauty partners or you sell, what, 60% of your business to dental beauty partners?

[00:04:32] Yeah. So kind of what happened was probably pre-COVID before I decided to grow and rebrand and so on and so forth. And there was some offers on the table from, from other corporate groups at that time. I kinda was a little bit down and out about dentistry. I’d been doing it for a long time and I think I’d just worn myself out and for many reasons, some not due to me, others due to decisions that I made. And none of those deals kind of went through. And I think in my heart I just didn’t want to sell the whole business. I just didn’t want to be the guy that sold and then worked out for three or five years. And then for what I do now. And then Dental Beauty came about by a broker called Max from Pluto Partners that basically I was quite tight with. And he kind of came to me, he said, I think we’ve got a good deal on the table here where you can sell it. You know, you’ll have to sell a majority share of your business. So 60%, which is what was on the table. But they want to then look at using you as a vehicle in the northwest and really expanding your brand and pushing dental out and and doing all the things that you kind of want to do, but just, I think don’t have the infrastructure, our energy to do.

[00:05:51] And so, so yeah, it kind of just fitted far better for me because I was at the time 41 I still feel I’ve got a lot to give in a role where I feel a need to be kingpin of the of the of the clinics that I run and. Have a lot of kind of knowledge to give to the younger clinicians, and I didn’t want to lose that at this point. So it was just really important that the deal structure had to be right. Which which men then, you know, dental beauty or a large group now 30 practises, I believe in the South, but mainly mixed practises that their idea is by mix practise and revamp it, let it grow, double the turnover. Bosh You’ve got more profitability and we move on to the next one. And Chris essentially is fully private, no NHS. We are aiming for very high end dentistry. We aim for those patients that are very like discerning patients who really want that, that top end treatment.

[00:06:56] Our model is more squats, our model is more built from from the ground outwards, but using our our heavy branding and marketing to really push those clinics forward. So we weren’t going to step on each of us toes. And I think it was just going to be a very, very good fit. And with their infrastructure, the things that they’ve already got in place, their existing head office and allowing me to create my own head office, my own infrastructure as well. I just felt like, although yes, I’d lost majority share of my business, I gained the ability to grow a much larger business. And I felt I’d rather have a smaller piece of a much bigger pie as such. She’s, I suppose, the old saying, but you’ve got to think bigger picture. If you’re going to do that, then kind of say I’ve got three highly profitable clinics, which I had with a very, very good EBITDA, which I had, and I could sell the whole thing for one hit for a big figure. But then where do I go again? And so this, I’m hoping, allows me to partially exit, partially exit again, partially exit again. But in a business that I love in a bill.

[00:08:10] I think when I was when I was speaking to you about this pro and we were having conversations of what next? You were entertaining conversations from the usual suspects or the different offers on the table. And it was like, okay. Sells. He gets a large sum of money in the bank. But you’ve got you’ve got something that I definitely don’t have at this age right now. You have just got a crazy amount of energy and it almost felt too early for you to do your big exit now because you’ve got so much more to give, so much more ambition to grow. And, you know, I think there’s one thing that Max told me right at the beginning when when we were talking about our exit and it was, you know, the right deal has got to be the right deal for the right person. So the right deal for me was getting out of the game. The right deal for you was, I think, doing what you did, you know, getting some money, getting some cash in through the door so you could sort of, I guess, have a nice cushion beneath you. But then having that vehicle and that infrastructure behind you to just go again and I’ve seen it myself, you know, it’s almost like the drive you had back in 2005, 2006 is back again. That’s what I am saying. I’ve seen that that clash with that drive, that ambition, that that, you know, new start of ambition you had in 2005 and six with a degree of aggression is back.

[00:09:39] Yeah. Can I kind of.

[00:09:41] Kate what do you think they bought. I mean the brand I get that but you write I mean these these these ten, ten clinics you want to open.

[00:09:53] Yeah. I mean.

[00:09:54] What’s going to I mean, have you discussed what’s going to be the different roles and what’s going to happen? What’s Dev and his team going to do and what you’re going to do to spell that out for us?

[00:10:02] Yeah. So I think to answer your first question, you’re right. I think, you know, they as the as the as the dance team told me, like a 16 page dossier about me specifically to Nordic Capital and EDG, who were the fund they’re funded by on the basis that they wanted this deal. But I think essentially when you break it down, they kind of wanted me. So it’s one of those that I kind of think to myself, you know, that’s great. But there’s still that degree of pressure on because, you know, you’re in that situation now where you are now saying, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do the ten clinics and I’m going to, you know, in the next 12 months. And I want them to be profitable, as profitable as my existing businesses are. And that’s what this business plan relies on. So for me, there is some pressure. But then, you know, Devin, the team that’s really helped me. So the helping with finance, the helping with HR, the helping with payroll, the help him with, you know. The ability to just sometimes bounce ideas off people that are in the in a similar situation and kind of get their take on how we can progress and how we can build. And sometimes that little bit of information is pretty invaluable.

[00:11:22] Yeah. What would you say is the difference in the approach of dental beauty to what you would naturally do?

[00:11:31] I think I call both both clinics. Both groups are very aligned to like wanting patient care to be there and which is why they they use the partnership model. I really think the partnership model for kids is going to hopefully work super well. But I think like the difference is I suppose are because there’s so much more ahead in respect to I suppose what they do number of clinics, number of partners, infrastructure, you know, a lot of it is is kind of geared by numbers and by spreadsheets and by, you know, all the kind of business stuff that goes on with all of that. And at the moment, KISS is in the infancy of that. And so aspects of it I love because I can kind of now see kind of what our KPIs are or what they should be and what what our targets are and how are we going to be driven and, and how, how infrastructure in a larger organisation works. And I love that because it gives me a thought to say, well we need one of them or a need and integrations manager and I need an operations manager and I understand the reasons why we need these things now.

[00:12:48] Whereas I would just generally get one of my existing staff and stick them in a different role, and you do it because you trust that person. But maybe that in might not be the right person for the job, but then you don’t want to really bring someone else in. And recently we’ve just brought an M&A manager in for KISS and she used to work for BUPA, but she she’s come as an external. But I believe we need that to grow and to find sites and to find existing practises. And so it’s kind of what I really like is as opposed to differences. The main difference, I suppose, is their business strategy or them strategy and how they grow against the strategy and how this is going to grow. But I think everything else we can really work together to to hopefully produce a really strong secondary group in the north, you know, in my view, is to really combat the Northwest, whether it be Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Yorkshire. Those are the kind of key areas that I want to be in in the next next year to two years. Really.

[00:14:00] So. Okay. Did you go through that traditional thing that entrepreneurs go through when they sell their business? I know you haven’t sold it all and I know you’ve got plans for the future, but that that sort of sense of loss that people talk about.

[00:14:13] Yeah.

[00:14:14] You do know you’ve been you’ve been working at this for 15, 16 years now.

[00:14:18] Yeah. It’s you know, it’s a tough thing because when it’s all yours and you kind of feel like, well, I can do that. I can make that decision because it’s my decision to make. And if it goes well, then amazing. And if it goes really badly, then I’ve only really got myself to blame and kind of moving forward. It is tough that when you sell because you have this relief. I remember when I first set up the very first kiss, I think I had 900 or £800,000 worth of debt tied into that first clinic. And then you get to this point where your debt you’re a debt free business, which we were and we still are. We did big numbers and made very good money yearly. And, you know, life life is good, but, you know, life is good because you look at it at a snapshot in time. And, you know, we go back two years and every clinic in the country was closed. Then it was COVID and life was not good and things still needed pay in and this needed to be done. And, you know, to be brutally honest with you, to have a decent lump sum in the bank so that you don’t then need to stress about things is is a really important aspect of why I considered to pull some cash out and do a partial exit now. But yeah, it is sad because it’s sad you feel like you’ve lost a little part of your baby. But, you know, I kind of was was also excited because of the way it went down. And I think if it didn’t, wasn’t this deal, it wasn’t this structure. I genuinely feel like I probably would have lost my mojo pretty quickly, whereas now I’m probably working harder than I ever. I’ve been because as I’ve said, I’ve got that almost that fight back to to ensure that this next level this next step for Chris Dental is a is a really successful one.

[00:16:18] What have been the challenges to you? But I know we’ve we’ve just brought the concept of grief and loss and that that letting go, you know, you’re a control freak. You like to be in control of things and now you’ve let go. You’re not you no longer in control. I guess you’re in control of certain elements. And so what’s the plan for the next part of your growth in your ambition for what? For what you’ve got the fire for? You know, the two groups are different, the kiss and the dental beauties you’ve identified. But what is the plan now moving forward and what and what timescale do you want to achieve that?

[00:16:54] And I think I suppose like control is, is one of those things that you feel like you’ve got or you don’t have in any business. You know, we laugh and we joke and sometimes look at what’s going on around me. And I’m sure most practise owners can can kind of sympathise with me. But you sometimes go into your practises and you think, who’s made all these decisions because they’re terrible, you know, and things are going on around you and the place is falling apart. And then other times, you know, you kind of things are going amazingly and you’re like, Yeah, of course this is all me. And so I think control is like very, very perceived, perceived by many in very different ways. I never really was that control guy though in KISS majority of his staff, if you spoke to them, said, yeah, you know, they respected me when I made decisions. Those decisions were definitely done. So the hopefully, generally the great good of the business. But I do believe that, you know, because I’m still there, because I’m still CEO or clinical director or whatever you want to call me, I’m still the boss there. And to be honest with you, that day to day running, that decisions that we need to make to make sure the business stays successful kind of Dental be a pretty cool they like.

[00:18:14] K You just do what you need to do and you make sure it carries on doing what it does. But then if we talk about me personally and my ambition and my my drive and what I need to do and actually I need to do less than industry. And that is the long and the short of this whole next chapter of my life. Because as much as I love doing the teeth, I kind of need to drop my clinical time down to probably two days a week, really in the next year. I’ve already dropped down to three as soon as the deal went ahead. And that’s hard because you’re right. I’ve got the biggest thing for me is not business control, by the way, is actually clinical control, wanting to do the big 24 veneer cases or the full mount rehabs or the all the armfuls of dental. That’s what I want to do. I want to control that and I can’t, because if I carry on doing that, I will be working solidly in the business. And as the old saying goes, not on the business.

[00:19:14] And unfortunately, it’s really pinnacle imperative that I now work on the business to to grow it and grow it well, really support my new partners that we’re going to be taking on board. So they grow their businesses as well. And I can’t do that if I’m starting my surgery five days a week. So that’s, I suppose, the biggest loss of control. But then for me, ambition wise, the biggest ambition is to be that next leader, not the leader in clinical dentistry, just the leader in both the clinical side still giving support and ensuring that standards of care and showing that dentistry is done to exacting kind of standards and quality, but also making sure the groups, the teams that we build now are going to be super happy and kisses. The brand stays as that happy, friendly kind of brand that people come and see because they love the staff and they love the environment. And you know, everyone smiles and that kind of thing. And, you know, pay has been to our clinics many a time and he always comments like stuff just lovely me. Then I tried to hire the people I think I can get on with and I don’t want those things to change.

[00:20:29] What are the challenges you face as a different type of business owner? So you’ve gone from this guy who’s like super clinical and it’s almost like you’ve changed as a business owner. You’ve had to adapt and develop new skills, whether it’s interviewing new partners for these next ten clinics or having meetings or having structured, I guess, working on the business more so than you ever have done before. What are the changes and adjustments you’ve had to make and adapt as a business owner?

[00:21:00] I suppose it’s like it’s like anything. When you start going more into business, you’ve got to understand numbers, you’ve got to understand spreadsheets, you’ve got to understand balance sheets, you’ve got to look at projections, business plans. And to be honest with you, when you start looking at these things, I’ll be honest. I just wanted to go back to doing teeth because I’m like, Fuck is all this, you know? And people are like, like sending me like, right. We’ve muddled up this clinic that we’re going to be setting up for our partner in Bolton. And I’m looking at it and I’m thinking, just where’s the bottom line? Where’s the bottom line of this? But really not the be all and end all, because I’m kind of seeing how it needs to be modelled out and I need to then actually sit down with that partner and be able to explain this business plan to them and explain this is how we get to these figures. This is what we’re expecting to spend. These are the reasons we’re expecting. And to spend it. And if you do what you say, telling me you can do and we market as we’re going to market these the numbers on a month on month year on year basis which is why you’re going to get this dividend and it’s why you can earn this money and it’s why you’re going to at some point exit for X.

[00:22:13] And that was the probably the hardest thing for me to comprehend and get my head around and kind of now it’s almost like second nature to me. So when someone sends me, you know, at the times and the financial team had done CBC will send me business plans and and models I’ll I’ll scrutinise them and I’ll say I think we’ve got this bit wrong and I think this is this needs to be increased because I think we need to spend more here or I think, you know, this associate actually who’s going to be a partner can grow better than that. So we need to have this. And so yeah, I suppose understanding that which was a, which is more difficult for me because I’m not geared that way. It’s probably been the hardest kind of change to what I do, you know, talking to partners, talking to dentists. I just genuinely believe that I can do that. I’ve done it all my life. I do genuinely believe I’m passionate about something. People are passionate around me about it and they kind of want to be in with that which is which is great because I genuinely believe bringing partners in and, and the right partners to partner up with our new clinics is not going to be the most difficult thing.

[00:23:22] It’s finding the right ones to ensure that everything is met. Quality, looking after my team, looking after the staff, looking after the patients. That’s the most important thing for me. So those things I think have got that skill set already. But it was more the kind of business side which was which was hard to get my head around initially. I mean, death is like a frickin numbers genius, so you kind of sit and chat with him. He talks so fast, it talks like a million miles an hour about and this manoeuvre and I’m like just going way over me and I’m like, You need to slow down, dude. Just simplify this for me. Tell me what’s going on. But that’s him because he is very much more geared as a businessman, I would say, you know, it’s more natural to him. He can look at numbers and accounts and stuff and he’s like that on it. He’s just quick, but not everyone’s got that skill set. But as long as I learn that and I can understand it and I can compute it in my own time, it allows me to then at least be on the same level as these guys.

[00:24:24] Okay. For this for the partners that you’re you’re going to choose, what would you say is this? Let’s start with the minimum skill set that you think a partner of kis dental would need. And then give us what would be your ideal partner? What how many years out, what doing or what kind of work? What kind of person?

[00:24:47] I kind of want partners who can do an all round level of dentistry. So, you know, and I talk about a lot and I genuinely believe the world is going Invisalign bleaching, bonding, mad, which is fine. I believe it’s a very good treatment modality. I’m super happy to provide it. Obviously our practise is provided in a very high, high amount and with all our clinicians, but that isn’t the 8 to 8 is at a dentistry. And so I want my partners to be able to almost be a leader in themselves. So be the guy that if if someone says I’m who’s a little bit maybe less senior than that person, what you think about this? What would you do? Like let’s talk about treatment plans. Let’s talk about this. You know, sometimes you can’t just throw Invisalign. That’s it. And that is something that I need them to be able to do. I want them to be an all round clinician that can do ceramics, that can do bonding, can do orthodontics with Invisalign fine, even if it’s fixed and fine, you know, but can do also general work and understand the more complex stuff. I’m not asking them to be able to achieve that. We’ll have clinicians at different sites to be able to refer to, to be able to do those things. I don’t want them to be amazing implantable objects or anything like that, but also understand the concepts of implant ology.

[00:26:16] So dentistry, I just want them to be decent. All rounders don’t want it. I don’t really want superstars. I don’t want the guy that grosses 200 grand a month. It’s lovely to have that guy. But all the clinics I’m trying to set up a partnership clinics. And what that genuinely means is that guy who can do that 200 grand a month or 150 grand a month or whatever they grow, which is very big numbers, by the way. That guy can keep on doing that the rest of his life. And his options are. He carries on because why would you buy? How would you build a clinic or buy your own clinic? You’re doing that kind of level with no hassles, no problems. Probably walk around with over half a million quid a year with no stress. So option one is crack on and keep on doing it for the rest of your days. But you are it is labour intensive. And I know that because I’m one of those guys and I’ve been doing it for 16 years and you get knackered. And then your next option is do what I did. And bye bye clinic or set clinics up. Back in 2004 2005, believe me, market was different, marketing was different, and there wasn’t many people doing it and doing it well. So I hit the ground running, really doing that now with a squat and trying to get that level of new patient influx and gain turnover and stuff.

[00:27:49] It’s going to be more difficult. Now, this guy that’s doing 200 K is probably pulling 100 K a month just on overheads. So the only way he now makes is half a million quid a year plus is get more dentists in, build a big machine, have to spend more money on marketing. And it’s almost like this vicious circle. And what does he do then? All. The third option is kind of what I’m offering, which is like, you know what, let me go into a clinic which is already well branded, which has got all the infrastructure, which has got the marketing machine behind it and, you know, not telling anyone things that they don’t know. Kiss brings in 300 ish private patients a month. Now, from my point of view, we all have a level of marketing and that will just increase in the areas we set up. So now you’ve got bums on seats straight away. You can still do your decent numbers, but if you don’t want to go so hard. That business should still accrue some money for you. So, you know, 16 years down the line, you’ve got an asset. You’ve earned good money still. You’re probably still doing your half a million quid a year. You can exit for a decent wage at the end.

[00:29:10] Kate. Kate. The kind of guy who’s who’s grossing 100, 200,000 a month has got many, many options. Yeah, you’re right. He’s he’s doing very, very well already. But I’m more interested in the kind of guy who, by the way, I know in your world, doesn’t sound like the kind of guy who’s grossing 40,000 a month. That’s a decent gross. 2000 a day. 20 days. Yeah.

[00:29:36] Yeah.

[00:29:37] Are you interested in talking to that guy or you’re not interested in talking to that guy?

[00:29:40] Yeah. 100% interest in talking to that guy. Would that guy straight away be a partner for us? I think what I’d want to do is bring him on as an associate. To start with, I believe, a guy that’s doing about 40 to 50 a month. Gross I can probably get them up with some education, and that’s not dental education. That’s not me telling them how to drill teeth or whatever. That’s education and understanding how to treatment plan more methodically, how to get better uptake and and just understand what I think cosmetic dentistry sometimes requires. I think at that point then that person will grow to 60, 70 a month easily. And then we sit down and we then say, I think you’re at that point now, I think well rounded. You’re doing good numbers. Let’s consider a clinic for you and bring them then on as a partner for a new clinic. And I think that is kind of that process. But you don’t want the guys, if I’m being honest with you, pay that, do those massive numbers because you’re also asking them to run the clinic. And so they’ve got to cut down their clinical time to be able to really put energy into looking after the staff and looking after the team and understanding again the numbers and making sure targets are met and all those different things that a good partner would do.

[00:31:10] But you’ve got to support them to do that. So the guy that’s doing those super, super big numbers, all they’re thinking about is I want to create this vehicle with kis dental to just be able to do those numbers there. And I’m kind of educating them and saying, listen, dude, like you don’t need to do that all the time. Like it will kill you in the end, like. Gross Like, if you’re doing big numbers. Gross 100 K, do three or four days a week, really concentrate on that business, grow that business with all the guys that you can teach because you have got an exceptional skill set. You’ve got a skill set that patients trust you, you do good treatments and you do good numbers. So now teach the other guys how to do that and and pull back some dividends at the end of every year. And now you don’t have to work at that. And no, Dennis is going to say hand on heart, five, six days a week solid. They love it.

[00:32:03] They’re doing 12 hour days. It’s hard. Graft is it’s labour intensive. And so from my point of view, it is genuinely important to kind of get them out of the mindset. You know, I’ve got I’ve got a really good associate, you know, he’s my cousin Caution. He grosses really big money. And I’ve said to him, I’ve said like coach, like, dude, this is great and you are exceptional at what you do. His work is beautiful, so it’s not like he’s quick, fast and shit. He’s quick, fast and very, very good at what he does. And that’s how we can do the numbers he does. But ultimately, I said to him, Are you still going to be doing this in ten years time because you are breaking your back, doing what you’re doing now, you can’t physically do any more dentistry. So at some point you want something else which is going to give you an out, which allows you to just still love what you do. Because the guys that do that level of dentistry, genuinely, I believe that don’t just do it for the money. The money just comes because they’re great at what they do and they actually love doing the dentistry.

[00:33:07] Yeah, yeah. Kate, I actually want to get to that. Yeah. Because I remember you when you started. Yeah. If we, if we go down the sort of the purpose led part of dental, your purpose back then was to change the face of dentistry, to turn it into something exciting and, you know, fun and all of that. And what I’m getting from you now is your purpose now is to teach other people. Would that be right?

[00:33:37] Yeah, I kind of I say to all my associates and obviously all my sales is super younger than me. And I kind of say, listen, you can guys can do what I did. I did it. I’ve done it for 16, 17 years. And don’t get me wrong, they all know I’ve led a very good life and I’m very thankful for all of that. And I’ve done amazing things and the profession has allowed me to do all of that. I was like, But wouldn’t it be really nice that in five years time, which I’ve never had in five years time, you can earn really good money every year, and then in five years walk out with a couple of million quid in the bank, solid set. And I was like, When are you going to get the opportunity to do that in dentistry? Staying in dentistry and I, I understand there’s, there’s dentists out there that are businessmen and they have all the other things in all the pies and all those different things and make a lot more money from those things than they do in dentistry. But what we got to understand is the majority of dentists, they’re not like that.

[00:34:41] The majority of dentists are dentists. And that’s all they know. That’s all they understand. And it’s the only way they can make money and make a living. And so it’s a matter of for me getting them to understand that yet you can keep slogging your bollocks off and you can keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll earn a good living. But if you get ill, if something happens to your hands, if something happens to your registration, you’re in a bad place. Whereas with this ideal, you know, I’m trying to create something which is going to give you a real nice nest egg at the end of it. It’s going to allow you to carry on doing the dentistry you want to do in an environment that I believe is still all those things I wanted them to be in 2004 2005. Exciting, fun. You know, vibrant and with our new branding and and kind of just re revisiting everything that we do at case I do genuinely believe we still have all those qualities at all our clinics.

[00:35:44] So what does the next ten years look like for you, bro? Is that you? Out, done and dusted.

[00:35:51] No like kisses. Kisses obviously evolved. We started off, as Pei said, as this clinic, which was like, Yeah, I would probably say super fun at the start, you know, completely different to anyone else had done. The marketing was completely different and blew people out of the wall and they didn’t like it really. And now we are aiming to do that on a much larger scale across more areas and more platforms. But my ideal is to just keep growing it. Like, you know, I’ve got probably I’m 42 today, by the way. I’m doing this podcast on my birthday.

[00:36:29] Happy birthday, bro.

[00:36:31] Sorry.

[00:36:32] But it’s kind of one of those things that. Yeah, of course, I just want it to grow now. I want it to be successful, you know? Edg The European Dental Group have, you know, expressed interest in, in the excitement of the model that I’m proposing, but also expressed a little bit concern and worry because it is very bullish. And so we got approved that right now we’ve got to prove that that model works. I believe it can. I believe we can do what what I’m going to set out to do. We complete on our first partnership practise today as well, which has been super I’m super, super happy about. And it’s with a really close friend of mine and Dr. Randy McLean, who is going to be our first clinical director, our first 5% shareholder of our first partnership clinic. So, you know, things are going in the right direction for me and I just really kind of want to now like build on that and grow and grow and grow. And even if like old P firms flip in the next two, three, four years, if I have the ability to stay on and carry on building my business and building my empire, that’s kind of what I’m going to do because I haven’t done this to then exit in a couple of years time and be done.

[00:37:49] Otherwise I might as well have just been done. I could have got a decent pot of cash if I wanted to and sold the whole thing now. But that’s kind of not my my end goal. My end goal isn’t really, really about the money. Believe me, I’ve got everyone has a number and I’ve got a number in my head where I want it to be in five years time. And and if that is good, then, you know, that number is life changing. But ultimately that’s by the by really. Like I’m comfy now. I just kind of want to make sure I can I can grow this baby and I can make sure that I just want it to be about like, obviously I’m probably quite precious about it, but I want it to be everywhere. I want it to be in most cities. I want kids dental to be the known clinic to go to for cosmetic dentistry, and I don’t think that’s unachievable. I genuinely believe we’ve got the strength in the brand and with our branding team, with our marketing team, we’ve got a really strong in-house team now. We’ve got a really strong external team headed up obviously by to help. So there’s a lot I just think, you know, all in all it can be unstoppable really.

[00:39:01] Can you set up you set out what it means for the partner. I’d kind of like to go in a bit more detail about that, though. First, is the 40%, the deal that you’re going to do with everyone, is that is that the way it’s going to be that the partner will have 40%?

[00:39:17] Yeah. So ideally for us, because what we do in the moment is we set up squats, what we what our aim is between myself and Denzil Beauty. We will we will hold 60% of the clinic and the partners would hold 40, I think, kind of giving.

[00:39:34] And so the cost to me through the costs part, so the squat is going to cost X to make to build and all that.

[00:39:43] Yeah, if we just talk basic numbers, let’s just say a squat was going to cost half a million quid to me.

[00:39:49] Yeah.

[00:39:49] Then on the basis of that cost because there is no there is no business there per say, it is all equity that goes in to ensure that that that clinic can be built and so on. On the crude is the terms you probably looking at the partner putting in a couple of hundred thousand myself and then still putting in the 300,000 and we’ve got the money then to kind of get this clinic off the ground. That clinic.

[00:40:19] And then what about the. What about the the the the the working capital?

[00:40:24] Yes, the working capital goes in generally by the by the group. So we would generally levy a little bit of debt for working capital and things like that. And that would come from ADG, like the European Dental Buying Group and Dental Beauty, essentially. And so the working capital would be considered all build costs of furniture costs, all equipment, cost, marketing spend. Everything is considered even down to staffing, recruitment, the full, the full.

[00:40:55] As the partner as the partner I’ve put in my 200 grand. Yep. Is that it or do I have to put in more.

[00:41:01] No, no, no, no. So you’re done. So is the partner you you now your 40% you’re 200,000 you’ve invested in. You get the full kiss dental machine. That’s what you get. So you are now clinical director of that clinic. I tell every partner you are responsible. I am not here to kind of I am there in a way to hold your hand if you need it, hold it. But essentially we will train that partner. We will ensure that they are well versed in in all the basic aspects of running that clinic. It is on them the decisions they make, the staff they hire, the offers they run. The marketing may be internally that they want to do. It’s on them, but we will support them along that way. We will support them with the main external machine, both in respect to integrations, operations, marketing, payroll, everything, HR, the lot. And they don’t pay. They don’t pay anything.

[00:42:02] Let’s say let’s say three years in my circumstances changed and I’ve got to off I’ve got to move, move country and go somewhere else. Now I want to sell I sell my 40% to a new partner. Is that how you envisaged it?

[00:42:17] Generally, the first consideration is no, that’s not how we envisage it. So it’s usually a five year deal. And so the five.

[00:42:26] Years, let’s say so after five years, let’s say after five years, I want out, I sell my 40%, which is now worth a lot more than it was on day one.

[00:42:35] Yeah.

[00:42:35] To a new partner. Is that the way you.

[00:42:37] Yeah. So the way that it works is actually, we would look at buying you out at that point and we would give you a guaranteed seven times multiplier on your on your value share as long as you are what we would classed as a good lever. So you just need to ensure that this clinic isn’t solely which is again going back to why I don’t want the superstars grossing 200 grand them on. I kind of need that partner to to almost have signed out of that clinic. They’re kind of earning the dividends from everyone else working and it is generally associate led and if it’s not associate led at that point, take 12 months, get it, associate led because if you sign out now I got back to you in and what you do and take that out of my calculation and what I’m going to pay you times seven times seven. So ultimately it’s in your best interest to ensure it’s a very associate led very quickly. And if you look at the model in dental beauty, that’s why if you look at the majority of partners with Dental Beauty, they own two or three clinics. And why do they do that? Because they understand that actually I’ll do one day a week. They’re one day week, they’re one day a week. They’re clinically. But then enjoy the time. I want to run these babies to make them super profitable so I actually make my money without doing a great deal for my dividends per year. And when when I do want to exit, I can exit quickly, cleanly and actually to a high, high level of profit.

[00:44:09] All right. Now, let’s take the other scenario where, I don’t know, dentists or my dentist or someone comes along and buys dental beauty partners. And I’m one of the partners. What happens there? I still own my 40%. And this this new buyer owns the other 60%. Is that how it would be?

[00:44:28] Well, kind of when when the actual P firm flip so if you imagine European Dental buying group now decide to decide to sell. We all we all have faces. Yeah. They all we all basically have an initial push. The initial kind of push is is 20%. So everyone at that point has to relinquish 20% of their shares. Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s across the board. That’s myself. That’s all the partners of Dental baby. That’s all the partners of KISS that all of us. And so what we what we left with. But when we do sell that, do that sell. Whatever that EBITDA is, they’re getting seven times guaranteed. If they put in 200 grand and now they’re I don’t know, the day’s worth 200 grand. I’m going to get seven times that minus that 20%. You know, a lot of these a lot of these deal structures, the walking out on the first push with a clean million quid.

[00:45:34] Yeah.

[00:45:35] And then they’ve still got 20% in skin in the game to ensure that they are still running that clinic, pushing that clinic, getting dividends yearly on that clinic. And then it’s their decision at the end that five years to carry on, is it just making good money that they’re one day a week it’s been run by everyone else? Or did it say, actually, I’m now in a position and kind of want to sell out and get get rid of my remaining 20% and they’ve got the option to do that.

[00:46:02] It’s interesting.

[00:46:04] So it’s not a lifelong commitment. Well, it’s it’s a real nice way to from their point of view, to do what they’re doing now, to understand the running of a dental practise, which I think is a growth in itself for a person, and hopefully to accrue a decent level of capital over a short period of time. And if you put in 200,000 in and at the end of it minus your earnings, the business does well. And you and you come out with, let’s say, 2 million quid plus what you’ve earnt, plus your dividends. You’re essentially looking at a ten times multiplier on your money, which over five year period, if I offered you that deal, you take it, take it. You know, and so and that’s the deal. That’s generally or at the moment on the table. And I genuinely believe the numbers I’m talking to you about at this point. That’s those are realistic numbers. They’re not inflated numbers. They’re not picked out of the sky. They’re numbers that we’ve methodically gone through price per patient, new patients coming through the door. So how many are coming through the door per month, on month? How does that increase to get to a turnover, to get to profitability, to get to an EBITDA, to then say we’re going to go for a multiplier of that and that’s how you’re going to get to that ten times or 12 times or seven or eight times your initial investment at the end of that five years.

[00:47:38] And then pro, what about existing practises? So we’ve been speaking about slots and you know, a partner say putting 200 grand in they they become a squat and whatnot. But what about a practise that’s doing okay and not breaking any records? And they say, you know what, I’d like to rebrand 16 or I’d like to become a kiss dental. Is that an option in your mind? If that is an option, what’s the what are you looking for in that practise?

[00:48:08] So firstly you’ve got to look for Expandability. So you look at a clinic, if it’s a two or three surgery clinic, and there’s no ability to expand it. And we look at run rates. So if we look at the run rate of the three chairs that they’ve got and the run rate, the chairs are at 400 grand each a year. You know, the business is doing 1.2 mil. I mean, how much more can I grow that I might able to grow two of the chairs because one of them’s going to be a hygiene chair. I’m going to probably grow two of the chairs to maybe five or 600,000 a year. I might get a super associate and grow one of the chairs to 800 grand a year. But ultimately, I haven’t got the ability to put a fourth or a fifth chair in to get my run rate higher and to get my growth higher. And also a practise like that, I’m buying at a quite a high rate because because dental practise is going for decent money at the moment. So on the basis of that, it’s really difficult to then say I’m going to buy that on the basis on the basis of it’s just mulling over because yeah, I can increase fees, I can introduce treatments, I can get better clinicians in. How much more is that clinic going to grow? Whereas if I then look at a clinic and things like that, but there’s expandability of four or five chairs, then we start to speak, then we start to think, okay, there’s an ability, because even if we stay at £400,000 run rate per chair, but now I’ve got five chairs running at that.

[00:49:44] I’m already winning. And then on top of that, I’m looking at the partner who is the guy that’s going to be running this place is the existing principal running it to the ground. So he can’t be the partner here. Does he want to stay on? If he wants to stay on, is he going to be cool with me bringing someone else in and saying this guy is going to run the show from now on? Or can I maybe speak to that principal and say, if you’ve got the belly to run this in a different way? And so it is more difficult with existing clinics, as everyone knows, you buy existing clinics, you buy existing baggage. And that’s unfortunately the nature of that beast. And I’ve done that myself personally. And sometimes the gold mines, if you can get past that and get through that. But that’s why I find the squat model more attractive. I’m none of my clinics that I’m setting up are going to have any debt. So when we do go to flip, when we do go to sell, the actual level of that business is going to be much stronger. And so I’m not saying no to existing clinics, and I’ll be brutally honest with you, in the last three months, I’ve probably been to look at 15 existing clinics in the north west, and I pretty much turn the majority of them down.

[00:50:58] A lot of them are old houses that have been converted into practises. You know how difficult it is to convert that into something that flows and that works with the how you want to now create a patient journey and a patient flow and and kind of get them to integrate through with a coordinator and with a, with a finance team and all these different things that you want to try and guide them through to ensure that patient feels special. You can’t do that in a tube down. It’s just physically impossible. And so can I. Then look at that site and go, actually, 2 minutes down the road, there’s a beautiful commercial unit which is 3000 square foot guaranteed to put five surgeries in it. And I can produce the most beautiful clinic there. And now I don’t have to buy a clinic for six, £700,000, but I’m still in the same area. The only thing I don’t have is that existing patient base. But if a market well in that area, does it matter? And so for me, that’s the reason the squat model for me works better. I understand why the existing clinic model for the dental beauty team works really well in the South, but I’m not interested in buying mixed clinics. And so for me it’s got to be high and private clinics and the majority. I already run a decent rate anyway.

[00:52:23] Okay. What about the patient offering as. As a patient? Why do I choose kiss dental?

[00:52:30] And I think in the Northwest now, you probably choose kiss dental because it’s it’s known it’s a well known brand. We’ve been treating patients for 17 years. So the majority of people I had three consultations today while I was working actually, and all three came because someone they know has had dentistry, a kiss. And so the growth of that is just exponential. Over the years, it’s just been something that has just increase and increase and increase. And then on top of that, they come to kiss because it’s the visuals. Why did we rebrand? Why did I spend last last year over £1,000,000 rebranding my three clinics? I did that because now when we run our social media campaigns, when we run our videos, our stories, all the different levels of sort of marketing. It’s a beautiful environment to be in. And if it’s a beautiful environment to be and people want to be a part of that and people want to be at the latest launch, they want to be at the best restaurants. They want to be in the nice shops. They want to shopping Louis Vuitton, they want to do all those different things.

[00:53:40] And why? Because it’s attractive. It’s very it’s a very nice thing to be done. And when someone says, where did you get your teeth done? You want to be aligned with that. You want to be the kiss. And so that’s what we’ve aimed to set up. And so the patient offering from our side is the quality of dentistry. We showcase our dentistry on a day to day basis, and the dentists that I hire, the dentists I train, I genuinely believe they produce some beautiful work in the note and some of the most beautiful work in the north west. And I stand up to that. You know, there are clinics in the north west that are, again, really well marketed, but, you know, dentistry wise and not not on par. And so dentistry for sure. But then secondarily, I do generally believe marketing is a big pull and then reputation is the third pole. And I think those are the three things that we are we are wanting to utilise to really push forward in the new areas and I think patient offering is going to be I want to be a part of that.

[00:54:47] You know, marketing has always been a centrepoint for Kiss Dental, whether it’s the brand, your socials, the content creation, the team that you’ve now got internally. But one of the evolutions that I’ve seen or the changes that I’ve seen in KISS is that you’ve gone to this call centre model, right? You’ve taken away the hustle and bustle of the practise away from the practise so that the the patient experience is just that. And the back end or the back office, the, the chasing, the leads, the lead management, the.

[00:55:21] Tko.

[00:55:22] Management, all of that is now in a separate location. Just tell it tell us a little bit more about that process, how you’ve gone about putting it together, the team you’ve put together, and how that’s go with. Because it’s still early days, isn’t it?

[00:55:37] Yeah. I mean, to be honest with you, it was something I wanted to do about I would probably say about six or seven years ago. I genuinely believe that the worst thing on a reception is a telephone. I think the second worst thing on a reception is a telephone. And I think the third worst thing is the telephone. It’s a nightmare, isn’t it? Because you want your patients to have a very bespoke experience and they’re waiting because someone else, your receptionist is on a call with someone else. And that call could be talking about all sorts of stuff, inclusive of private stuff, monetary stuff, and you kind of just feel like this is really bad and just I just feel I feel for the patient. And what I wanted to do is create a reception desk actually to just be me angry. I welcome to this demo. Let me take you where you need to be today. Have a seat. Do you want a drink? Give us a bit of time. Then she’s going to see shortly. Job done. And that is essentially what a receptionist should do. And for me, we’ve really invested hard in our reception team and not from the dental sector. We’ve taken it from hospitality and recently we’ve hired managers from like the Ivy and and really good quality hospitality institutions to ensure that the people that are our meet and greet guys and girls are very good. But that’s all they do. You’ve then got the team in there in private zones. Are you receptionists, your CEOs or whatever you want to call them that then will look after that patient from that point and they will take money in a private area. They will talk to them about treatment and they will book appointments.

[00:57:26] And that’s literally all that happens front of house in a dental practise from my point of view, because everyone else passed that. We have set up a head office in in Greater Manchester and in that head office we’ve got a team that just looks after new patient leads. So all calls go to her or to them all Instagram enquiries, all Facebook enquiries, all email enquiries, all internet enquiries, all go to them. They then talk to those patients, discuss treatments, discuss ideas and consultations, and get consultations booked in. We then have patient care managers that once those consultations have been conducted, we track them. We know if they’ve gone ahead and at that point they get introduced to their patient care manager again, who is remote, who has a personal mobile number, a personal email address, and they then look after that patient’s journey from start to finish. And then we’ve got the social media team that at the end of that journey will then talk to them about what they’re would be happy to do in respect to marketing. And the journey is over and they go move on to maintenance. But all of that is done remotely. All of that is away from the clinics and what it does, apart from taking calls, the odd call in the clinic, in the back offices about maybe an ongoing treatment or making some call work. Everything else is done in the head office, which allows us to really take away that that level of hustle and bustle in the clinics, and it allows it to be much more patient focussed. And so that patient offering, again, that payment was discussing, becomes much more personal and much more private.

[00:59:16] Okay. A couple of things.

[00:59:18] Yeah.

[00:59:19] You’re your day to day in managing this group of it’s 13 next year you’re saying and who knows where it might go? It might be 26 and I might be 132. Who knows? Yeah. But your day to day, your day to day is going to be very different from what it is now. You talked about reducing your clinical days and your, you know, your daily activity. Some of it will include. Looking out for these partners and looking out for these clinics and making sure everything’s working. And you do see it sometimes where an amazing I think of it from my own experience is like this amazing cafe in Hampstead. And then they, they branched out and they opened loads and it changed. It wasn’t as good.

[01:00:09] Yeah.

[01:00:11] It’s a real danger. Something you need to really, really consider. And the fact that your life and your skill set are going to have to be tested again. And this whole new discipline, I guess I guess the word is discipline, isn’t it? You’re obviously disciplined at what you do clinically. You’re obviously disciplined in the gym and all that, but it’s a new discipline that you’re going to have to put towards this. And the question the question is when it’s going to happen to your idea that something’s going to happen at a Dental that is going to break your heart, you know, so someone’s going to, I don’t know, not return money to a patient who deserved it or something, something you definitely would have done, you know. Are you are you thinking about that? You prepared for that idea? It’s going to happen. Is that the screw.

[01:01:04] That’s yeah. And I get that. And and that’s that I suppose loss of that degree of control again. And I suppose why it’s so important to me is, is the growth is important. Like obviously I’ve got numbers in my head, I’ve got targets in my head and I’ve got to be that way to ensure this is going to fly like I want it to fly. But then there is the other side of it, as you rightfully said. And for me, it’s going to be so important to to cut down my clinical time. So I’ve got the ability to support on those levels. You know, I’ve said to every partner that comes on board, you know, and my first few partners, fine, I’ve got Andy. As I’ve discussed, he was our first partner, Will and Jade, who are going to be our second partners in our Alderley Edge site. We’ve got Coach, my cousin, who’s me, a third partner in our Liverpool side.

[01:02:01] Of course, moving to Liverpool.

[01:02:03] So he’s not he’s going to stay in Manchester. I think he’s going to carry on working at three sites in Manchester at the moment. He’s going to do some work also in the Liverpool site, but again keeping it relatively associate led. So we’re going to gather all the clinicians in there, the decent clinicians that are going to help to start to really drive that Liverpool clinic. But yeah, he’s going to be the clinical director, the shareholder in that clinic and he’s going to it’s a lovely clinic. It’s, it’s a lovely road, beautiful location. So I’m super excited actually about that clinic. But going back to what you said, the reason I’m telling you that is these initial partners have all done a stint at KISS. Yeah, they kind of understand the ethos and the ethics. I go by how I want the patients to be looked after and how I want the brand to be respected. And genuinely, if I’m being brutally honest with you, pay like I’m going to hope that I can keep doing that with with my new partners coming in. And I’ve kind of said to them, I’ve got a couple more partners that that want to be part of this. And I say to them, Give up where you work. You come full time with me for six months first while your clinic is being built and these clinics are taking 4 to 6 months to be built, because I would need you to understand what I expect of you, and I need you to understand what Chris expects of you. And I think that’s really important. And I still don’t think genuinely it will it will stop what you’re saying. But I hope it will take it much further to a point where they will they will think about the decisions they make. They might even ask me and say, okay, what do you think I should do here? And I’ll always.

[01:03:52] Be. Definitely. It’s definitely doable. It’s definitely doable. You walk into McDonalds in New Zealand and you get the same experience as you walk into McDonald’s in Moscow. Right? Money. More Moscow but somewhere else. Yeah, it’s it’s definitely doable. But, you know, it’s a case of executing on this.

[01:04:11] Above.

[01:04:13] Many other things because like I say, what did he buy? He bought the brand and he bought you and, you know, and valued that huge amount of money. And, you know, he put a lot of emphasis on on getting the brand and getting you. And so it’s something that, you know, my my worry for you is this thing that you said before about you were the kind of guy or you are the kind of guy who makes the decision about a person. And if it’s right, it’s right. And if it’s wrong, it was your decision. And being able to have that freedom to do those things. And I know Dev is a very practical guy. He’s the kind of guy who’s going to leave you alone because, you know, he’s got a lot of pies to other pies to be, you know, taking care of. Yeah, but in this area, yeah, this area of keeping standards going in these multiple sites, the managers will be key. I mean, you’re right about the partners, but the managers will be key to set, you know, like you said, get managers who’ve done a stint at KISS, the main kiss.

[01:05:18] And that’s what we do as well. All the new managers are actually trained up at our core three, and we’ve also got regional operations managers and regional integrations managers, and both of them have worked for us for over ten years. And so for me, they’re going to be first line support for the for the new managers and also first line support for the partners with me. And so as well and I’m not saying we’re going to do everything right and it’s going to be a super learning curve, and I genuinely believe that. And there’ll be some ups and downs, I’m sure, but I think in principle I’ve got my masterplan in my head how I want it to be executed. My team completely understand it. And you know, and with me, they’ve been with me for ten years plus and they want to be with me on this new journey. And I honestly believe we do have the team and infrastructure in the north west to to kind of execute this to a good level to ensure things as a map, standards and map, but more the partners and stuff understand really what what this is about. That’s the most important bit for me.

[01:06:27] I like that. Well, I think we’re coming near to the end of our time. It’s been. It’s been. It’s been less emotional than the last time. Sure.

[01:06:40] No, no, no tears.

[01:06:43] You, buddy, you’ve changed. You’ve become a business like a proper business, dude. You know.

[01:06:48] I don’t think. I think any more about three times.

[01:06:52] Yeah. I did it last time. The count was like 100.

[01:06:58] So, yeah, I know.

[01:06:59] You’ve become a corporate. You’ve become a corporate dude, man.

[01:07:03] Well, I’ve just had media training. Now you say, let’s have media training. I feel like the first time was like David Beckham when he was 17. And now, you know, now he’s like a trained animal when he when he gets in front of a camera, kind of like what I’m like now.

[01:07:21] Did I tell you partying in Manchester without you did feel weird. It did. I mean, you know, I still manage to have a good time, but. But it feels weird, buddy. It felt weird, dude. Not being. No, if I took your job at MSB and I did the lecture. But again, next time you go to.

[01:07:40] I’m still here, brother. I still. I live for those nights. I live for those nights.

[01:07:48] It’s been a pleasure to have you again, but and really good luck with it. And what I hope is we do this one more time in a year’s time, see where we are and the 13 clinics are in place. Yes, the 13 clinics are in place. The partners are in place. And you know what you said about one partner taking on several clinics? Yes, I think that would be the ideal, you know, like maybe five, six partners who’ve got one or two or two or three each, you know, something like that. Close, close knit.

[01:08:17] Yeah. And I think if you educate these guys well and I don’t mean not in a condescending way, I just genuinely believe, like said, dentistry is great and people that do it and do it well, I know love it, but it is hard. It’s hard on the body, it’s hard on the eyes and it’s hard on the brain. And I think if they’ve got an ability to still do what they love, choose the cases and and also have have a business at the end of it, which which will give them a nice a nice earnout. Then you’ve got the best of both worlds in a profession that is still loved by many. And that’s kind of what I want to try and achieve, really.

[01:08:58] Amazing, buddy. Thanks a lot for doing it again, buddy. Cheers, bro.

[01:09:02] All right.

[01:09:03] Guys. Enjoy the rest of your birthday, Arket.

[01:09:05] And our curry time now. Lots free time.

[01:09:09] Hope you have a nice time. All right. Take care.

[01:09:15] 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.

[01:09:31] 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.

[01:09:45] 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.

[01:09:56] And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

In 2017, Hannah Burrows and Jay Shah set out to solve a problem that takes up hours of dentists’ time and designed a platform to automate clinical note-taking.

Some five years on and Kiroku is going from strength to strength. Jay and Hannah chat to Payman about the challenges of starting out and their vision for Kiroku’s for the future.

Enjoy! 

In This Episode

01.20 – Kiroku

07.20 – Meeting and incubation

11.56 – Early days and getting feedback

17.07 – Dentistry Vs changing the world

20.42 – Influence and impact

22.42 – Day to day running

25.44 – Motivation

28.36 – The mom test

33.14 – Scale, pricing

40.12 – Future vision

43.17 – Blackbox thinking

47.18 – Weaknesses

53.13 – Mistakes

55.06 – Investors

56.55 – User stories

58.14 – Backstory

01.03.21 – Exit dreams

01.04.56 – Last days and legacy

01.07.43 – Fantasy dinner party

About Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah

Dentist Hannah Burrow and machine learning engineer Jay Shah are founders of Kiroku automated note-keeping platform. 

 

[00:00:00] We knew an awful lot.

[00:00:02] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just built something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise just by listening to people and watching the media, we learnt so much. Yeah. So the first two years was pretty slow. I think we had a to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks, I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there. There’s this big snowball effect from that point and.

[00:00:28] And like I think I’ve said this before, but I just I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like, we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.

[00:01:02] 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.

[00:01:20] Gives me great pleasure to welcome Hannah Burrow and Jay Shah onto the podcast. Hannah and Jay are co-founders of Karaoke, a platform, a platform that aims to save dentists time by kind of writing their notes for them as it listens to what they say. Sounds crazy and impossible. But I first met Hannah something like three years ago when she was pretty much starting this business. I guess you were one year in, and when she said it to me the first time, I thought, this can’t can’t be real. And now it’s a fully fledged business. So lovely to have you both.

[00:01:58] Lovely to be here. And I’ve got one slight, slight a caveat there, which is we no longer actually focus on the voice technology. We do actually automate record keeping. Everything else was was right. But we do it through kind of different technology these days. So one, one, one change over the years.

[00:02:19] To what you do now.

[00:02:21] So now Kyriacou learns from how you’re entering your notes, what you’re doing over and over again. And then it makes suggested changes to your to your crew who workflows based on that. So it is learning to the individual over time and it allows the dentist into the notes in a really easy kind of clickable way. But it’s also doing all of that learning in the background.

[00:02:44] So what happened with voice? Was it too complicated?

[00:02:47] So it was actually kind of a variety of different reasons. I think the thing that I was always kind of awestruck by was the quality of the technology that Jay built. And I say Jay because I had nothing to do with it early doors. But I think the thing that we actually found really challenging was in a loud clinical environment like dentistry, where you’ve got the chair and aspiration and everything going on. It was so, so difficult to get good quality audio through and therefore actually any, any cool technology you built was was reliant on that. And then that was kind of one area of challenge and then another area was each dentist, even if we’re kind of following a similar flow, still has a unique way of doing things. Might use certain acronyms and a certain structure, so it needed to be a little bit customised to the individual. And so we created the platform that allowed that. And as soon as we did that, our dentist just found that with this kind of really clickable, easy to use workflow, they actually didn’t need the voice anymore. So it became something that our user users led us away from.

[00:03:51] Voice Yeah, we realised there’s a huge element to, I guess control of your notes where with the voice system you didn’t have full control because it was almost like magic in the background. And there’s a huge trust element that if your notes aren’t perfect 100% of the time, then you start to take away the trust and they start reviewing their notes. And that takes even more time than writing them from beginning. And with this new way, it’s completely their input and what they want to have.

[00:04:17] To walk me through it. I’m going to do a Crown Prep. What happens next? I’m going to write my notes at the end. Right. You go. Yeah.

[00:04:25] Well, because everything is kind of clickable and you’ve already got this structure for your note entry. You all actually your nurse can just go through and knows what needs to be filled in. So one or either of you will just go through and click the relevant things. And the example might be, okay, so you’re doing a Crown Prep on an Upper Six, let’s say. So automatically you could make an assumption that you’re going to use a certain type of LA, you’re not going to be doing an ID block, you’re going to be doing an infiltration. So it’s able to then populate that information for you. So rather than you having to type all of this information, make these decisions, it’s just guiding you through that.

[00:05:05] So go on, though, literally. Walk me through it.

[00:05:08] Okay, fine. So you’ve got okay, you’ve got a clickable option for a patient has got no complaints medical history you select no change tooth that we’re treating today X risks that we’ve been through and you can click through as many as irrelevant.

[00:05:23] They’re already there.

[00:05:24] Already that exactly so you don’t have to think because everything is there for you. And then let’s say that you are routinely using a certain material, using a certain lab. It will learn that for you. So we’re doing a restoration on a posterior tooth. You only use Emacs, so then it’s going to input that in for you when you’re doing an immaculate only using X lab. Okay, it’s input that for you. So you’re not having to go through and think all of these things that yes, are very repetitive but still take your brainpower. And so this is just so easy. You click through and notice it would take minutes. Take seconds with Heroku.

[00:05:59] Yeah. And everything’s customisable. So if a dentist prefers one way and another dentist prefers another, they can customise their templates and the system will learn over time to make it more and more personal to them.

[00:06:10] And then how do I input that into my software programme?

[00:06:13] You don’t need to. So we’ve kept it as simple as possible so it runs in Google Chrome. This doesn’t need to be a practise wide decision. You just open Google Chrome, you go to the website and you’re able to do your full notes on Google, and then you’re able to just export it into the text box of whatever Dental software you’re using.

[00:06:30] We’ve got a button on one platform. You click that button and it’ll copy it to your clipboard.

[00:06:35] And you see like a copy and paste.

[00:06:37] Yeah, exactly.

[00:06:37] Exactly.

[00:06:38] Perfect. Actually, quite sort of the simplest thing.

[00:06:41] Yeah, exactly. We’ve kept it simple because funnily enough, it’s just not something that actually causes our dentist’s much of an issue. So we’ve kept things as simple as possible so that the dentists, the autonomy of whether they want to use a new software, whereas if we create creating integrations and things like that, it has to be a practise wide decision and that can be limiting to me.

[00:07:02] Back to what were you doing, Jay, before you met Hannah or where did you guys meet in the first instance?

[00:07:07] So yeah, we met about five years ago now. I was at university, in fact, so I studied computer science. I was here in London and then I went to study Natural Language Processing, which is an arm of artificial intelligence, where they focus on language and how machines understand language. And then after I graduated, I was trying to figure out what to do in my life. I had a few options for carrying on for a PhD or to had a few offers at banks and like bigger firms. And then this programme came along called Entrepreneur First. That’s where I met Hannah actually.

[00:07:38] And yeah, so an accelerated programme just for context is a programme that you can go through where they provide you with individuals who’ve exited large companies before, basically people who’ve done it before, and they can provide mentorship to starting a business, particularly sort of tech technology businesses. And if they believe in you as you go through this programme, they’ll provide investment for you as well. But the most important thing is they actually find 80 other individuals who want to start a company and have got these very interesting backgrounds. So you actually have the opportunity to meet people who you might start a business with. And so yeah, that’s where, that’s where we met. Yeah.

[00:08:18] So I guess I got quite lucky there because I met in the first few weeks, I knew nothing about the industry at that point and Hannah provided me kind of all the realms of dentistry. And how about how dentists hate taking notes? And I think that’s a huge part of it. As a patient, you don’t really see you don’t see all the background work, all the screen facing stuff when you are a patient, but also what happens at lunch time and off the work. And then I was quite lucky that I focussed on a similar problem at university and yeah, we put the two together and we started working.

[00:08:48] So that’s like they call it an incubator. Is that what that is?

[00:08:52] Yes, exactly.

[00:08:54] So then they give you funding as well as know how.

[00:08:57] Yes, exactly. Is that what happened? They don’t. Yes, that is what happened. So they don’t kind of promise to fund everyone. But if they if they believe. Yes, exactly. Then then then they will fund it.

[00:09:10] And so, you know, you went into that with the idea.

[00:09:14] Yes. Actually, no, because I went in with just a knowledge of certain areas of inefficiency within dentistry. And honestly, the thing that I was focussing on when I first applied for the programme was actually quite different. It was a way how could you provide consistent preventative advice to patients when we’re not actually kind of incentivised financially as dentists to do that? That’s what I was thinking about is kind of the area of inefficiency. And actually then I went through the process and I realised two things. Number one, that isn’t that meaty a problem to solve. And then the other thing was actually that wasn’t the biggest problem. And I went and interviewed so many dentists and what, you know, what is the biggest problem? And, and I was so biased to the answer as well because they were saying, oh, it’s note taking. I spend so much of my time doing no taking. I hate it. And I was like, Are you sure it’s not giving positive advice? And they were like, No, no, it’s definitely no, it’s not like, okay. And it took interviewing so many different dentists for it to finally drill into my numb skull. And that is kind of the the as we came to the problem and also by that point as well and you knew Jay’s area of research and so I knew that there was actually a solution to it. So it very much was born out of the kind of environment that I discovered that in as well. And meeting Jay.

[00:10:36] To be honest, even when he told me about the problem, I still didn’t believe it. And we did a survey, I think, to about 200 dentists to ask how much of their time did they actually spend taking. They came up with much higher than I expected, 20% of the day.

[00:10:49] 25%.

[00:10:50] 25% of the day.

[00:10:51] When you were adding it up from there, I.

[00:10:52] Couldn’t believe it. I can believe 25%.

[00:10:55] Yeah. So it was significant.

[00:10:58] The thing is, around the time you guys started, when was that 2018 or something?

[00:11:02] 2017, actually. End of 2017? Yes.

[00:11:05] 20 around that time was when when it became that you had to write essays for your notes.

[00:11:10] Exactly.

[00:11:11] And when I was a dentist, it was literally, you know, two lines and that was that. Yeah, actually, I bet abroad it’s like that too. Which limit the size of your market a little bit.

[00:11:22] Surprised actually it’s it’s.

[00:11:25] Actually in some country more.

[00:11:27] Widespread of an issue and increased like all countries seem to be going in that direction as well that it’s getting increasingly litigious and they have to write more and more detail within their loans.

[00:11:38] Yeah, I get it. So, so then so have you done other languages or is that not yet?

[00:11:43] So actually we’ve had our dentist translate it into different languages themselves. So we’ve got German dentists. We’ve got Danish dentists on the platform, but they’ve actually just gone through the Heroku workflows and they’ve translated it for themselves, which is pretty cool.

[00:11:56] Oh, nice. And so when was it from the moment you two met to the moment you got your first customer? How many how long did that take?

[00:12:05] So. I like customers. My first customer here so we.

[00:12:08] Don’t pay some painful price.

[00:12:10] Yeah. So I guess our first non-paying customers in a couple of weeks and that was for that initial voice product. And then I’d say our first actual customer that was paying us.

[00:12:19] Actually the first I don’t think I should say the name because I don’t know if I’m allowed to, but it’s someone who’s been on this, on this podcast, who was our first paying customer and who was loyally supported us from the get go.

[00:12:31] I think.

[00:12:31] That’s the name.

[00:12:33] I do know. I don’t know if they would be annoyed.

[00:12:35] Go. Can’t say the name and then we’ll edit it out.

[00:12:37] If it’s fine. It’s Martin one day.

[00:12:39] Oh, really? Yeah.

[00:12:41] I’m next, in fact, as well.

[00:12:42] Actually, I’m not completely, completely. Both of them. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.

[00:12:47] Actually, they did.

[00:12:49] That in 1980.

[00:12:52] Yeah. So because we were spending all that time focussing on voice and because it was so difficult to get that product to a point where people could actually use it effectively. Really? We didn’t start any proper commercialisation until we had the product as it is now. So that was more like 2019. 2020.

[00:13:09] Yeah.

[00:13:10] So so in that period where you have no customers and you’ve got I guess a team of developers, right? It’s not just you is it. I mean it must be low.

[00:13:20] Gravity versus not. Yeah.

[00:13:22] Yeah. Then, you know, did you get the points where you were running out of money and runway and all of that or I mean, is that your side hammer raising money?

[00:13:32] Yes, I suppose it’s both of ours. But yeah, I think we’ve we’ve been through a we’ve raised money a couple of times and actually, no, we’ve never been like dangerously close to running out. We’ve been extremely lucky in that we’ve got people who believe in us as people. And I think that’s ultimately what it comes down to, because when you’re that early in a business, they’re not investing in metrics or anything like that. They just do. These people seem like people who are actually going to do what they say they will. And so the thing that was most challenging, I would say, in that time was without any feedback from customers, you’ve got no you’ve got no understanding of whether you’re spending your time on the right thing. And I think motivating yourself when you’re getting no positive or even negative feedback, that that was the most difficult and challenging time of growth for me when we were putting effort into something and not understanding it was just like shooting in the dark.

[00:14:24] Yeah, I’ve been there. I know how that feels. And you know, there’s things like what they call it, they call it product market fit, right? Where you’ve got this brilliant product and the market just doesn’t want it or the price is wrong or or whatever it is. Did you know from the beginning that it was going to be like the SAS model?

[00:14:46] I wouldn’t say we knew. We knew an awful lot.

[00:14:50] We didn’t know much at all when we started, but we we just felt something that people wanted and thought we did. It took us a while to get there. And then, as I said, once we got our first customer, it’s like a snowball effect and we didn’t realise like just by listening to people and watching the media product, we learn so much. Yeah. So the first two years is pretty slow. I think we had attempt to attempt as soon as Martin came on board. It was a few weeks I think to the next customer and then it carried on from there was this big snowball effect from that point.

[00:15:16] And, and like I think I’ve said this before, but I just, I can’t tell you how much our customers have like made a difference in, like we try and listen to everything our customers are saying, everything our dentists are saying to us, but they are as much responsible for like the direction that the product has gone in, more so than we are, because it’s their feedback and then being generous with their time to tell us what they need from the product, which is what what has led us to this point. So yeah, it’s been a process.

[00:15:45] But they haven’t randomly been contacting you, have they? I mean, it’s part of your process to contact them and get the feedback right?

[00:15:52] Absolutely. I mean.

[00:15:53] I think it’s a bit of both really. So for example, last week we’re at the Media Showcase and so many of our customers just came up to us and some of them were asking us if we can log into their account. So they want to show us specific parts that they they’ve built on our platform. Some just want to give us see about there and then. So yeah, it is a bit of both. Yeah. I think the part that we can control is how we take that feedback and what we do with it.

[00:16:16] And I think also trying to I mean, I always try if I’m speaking to a dentist who you need to scroll you to make it absolutely clear that we want this feedback so that they know that it’s well received if they’re giving it. And I hope that helps.

[00:16:31] You do fine once you only find customers that once you act on their feedback, they’re willing to give more. Because I think they know changes. Change will happen. Yeah.

[00:16:39] Yeah. Very true, man. Very true. I remember once early on, Enlightened, someone said something about our leaflet. I think it was.

[00:16:47] Yeah.

[00:16:47] And I changed it and he came back to me and said, you know, anyone who’s ever listened to my feedback. And he became one of the key guys, actually, Julian Holmes, who unfortunately passed away. One of the key guys who used to give me advice in the. It’s early days. Tell me, Hannah. You know, you could have just been a dentist. Yeah, like, you know, wet fingered dentist. What made you go on this particular tangent so early in your career?

[00:17:20] It’s such a good question, and one I don’t have a very neat answer to because I’m as surprised as anyone that I’m not a full time dentist. I did dental school. I did my love dentistry. Like, no part of me is not doing dentistry because I don’t enjoy it. But I think.

[00:17:39] When you study.

[00:17:40] At.

[00:17:41] Bristol, Bristol.

[00:17:42] Bristol Dental School and then did my feet in central London and did my teeth at Barts. So I’ve been in London for a while now. I think there was a couple of things where I could just see that things were being done in a really inefficient way. And I think, again, to go back to your point of that was the time when the notes became kind of essays. I think I was graduating in a time when that was happening, and we were constantly being given lectures from indemnity companies or from our from our university, saying that basically the message was no amount of detail you’re going to include is enough. You’re going to get sued. So just buckle up and write down.

[00:18:21] It didn’t happen. All of that.

[00:18:23] Yeah, exactly. All of that. And I think that just that just like put me into a work environment that was always more stressful because it just felt like either you were prioritising patient care or you were prioritising looking after yourself from a legal perspective. And I think that kind of frustration or resistance is what led me to think surely there’s a better way of doing certain things.

[00:18:50] And then here but Hannah, I mean, every single dentist is frustrated with some aspect of that. You know, I don’t need to tell you. Oh, wow. Bloody Matrix Band is ridiculous, isn’t it? So ridiculous, right? The fact that that hasn’t been I mean mean we all get frustrated every day. I get frustrated with almost every day. I’m frustrated with this microphone right now. But it takes the type of person to, you know, get up and do something about that. I mean, what was it in your sort of outlook on life that said, I’m I’m going to change the world? You know.

[00:19:28] I definitely I couldn’t possibly say that. I was like, I’m going to go out and change the world. I think what I did think was this feels like there’s something that could be exciting here and something that is going to I’m going to expand myself as a human, even if in six months I’m going back to dentistry. And I also thought and honestly, this is my entire journey with career. I’ve always been like, you know what? I’ll do this for three months. And then when I fail that, I go back to dentistry and it’s all good. And that’s genuinely and then, you know, when I actually met Jane, we had a company, I was like, okay, cool, we’re going to do it for another six months and then we’ll see what happens. And it’s just extended because I genuinely felt if I don’t do something different now, I’m never going to do it because then I’ve got a dental salary and it’s a double edged sword because it’s so well paid. So it’s addictive. Exactly. And if I don’t do this, I’m going to get a mortgage and then I can never make this decision to do it. So I was like, I’m going to do it now. I’m going to see. And I think the thing that actually drove me to do it and this can make me sound quite selfish, was not I’m going to change the world. It was I want to I want to widen my own skills. I want to learn more about myself. And so that was kind of a thing that pushed me towards.

[00:20:42] You had an influence, though. I mean, you must have had an influence on you, whether it was a friend or family or, I don’t know, some famous businessman. You must have been influenced by.

[00:20:52] Something, I think. I don’t come from a family of doctors or dentists. I come from a family of technologists. So my parents are retired programmers. My brother works at Google. My other brother’s an actuary. So I think I was I was like, okay, there’s different things out there. And and I also got all the reasons coming out now, but I also did a year of public health. My role had a mix of public health. And I think that just gave me a view of, okay, this changes that you can make that actually affect hundreds of people rather than an individual, like doing an individual feeling for an individual person. And I think that was also something that was slightly addictive that I was like, Okay, yeah, exactly. What can I do that causes a bigger impact? Perhaps that was an element of it as well.

[00:21:38] Jay, what about you? You could have gone and worked in Google or whatever with your skills. What made you go down the entrepreneurial sort of Start-Up route?

[00:21:46] Yeah, kind of similar to how to be honest. It’s poor people selfish to improve my skills, I would say I always go back and get a job and that was something that entrepreneur first convinced me on. They said, If you really want job, go in six months and get one. You might as well try this out. And I think I’ve always been interested in the entrepreneur part. So I started a few. I was in very small business as well as at university, at school, and then I thought, This is great, this is fine. And I think I would particularly like a project like Out of Hand. I think when I started it was, you know, Yeah, we’re just having fun, let’s see how it goes. And then as we started it, we’re like, okay, this is a bigger and bigger problem than we thought initially. And the skills I was learning, what I was learning was unbelievable rate. And I still am. You know, the day never looks the same for us. Right. And I think as you get comfortable in what you’re doing, something changes and you learn something new. And I think that’s kept me going over the last five years. Like, I feel quite lucky in the fact that I’ve got the job that I’ve always wanted and that sense.

[00:22:42] So I get the basic picture. J You were Chief Technology Officer and you’re CEO. I guess Hannah is right. So, so day to day, what does that mean? Does that mean that you’re taking care of all the IT brains and hands, taking care of the commercials?

[00:22:58] I’d say on paper, probably, but in real life, I think we’re both just founders at the moment.

[00:23:02] Yeah, I’d say it’s like they are kind of titles, but ultimately we’re both just doing you’re doing.

[00:23:08] Everything we’re.

[00:23:09] Doing. That’s exactly it. And we’re doing we’ve kind of managed to find a balance of certain things. It’s like one of our strengths and certain things that might be another. But really we both have a hand in a lot of it right now. I think as we grow as a team, that might change and probably something for us to be aware of. But right now it’s kind of all hands on deck.

[00:23:29] So how many people are you?

[00:23:31] So we’re our full time team is seven. So we’re not we’re not massive. We’re a small team, but we hope to be growing over the next three months.

[00:23:40] Yeah.

[00:23:40] Did you have an outsource team as well?

[00:23:43] No. So all of our developers and everyone’s in-house. What we do have, though, is it kind of part time Dental team. So a lot of in fact, a lot of them are early customers, Heroku, and they just reached out saying they want to be involved. And we’ve got kind of a way of bringing them in where it’s flexible so their full time jobs is being a dentist. But a couple of hours a week they help us in what we’re doing, give us input, feedback and help with some of the customer support and new features that we’re building. We’ve got about, say, about 7 to 10. Yeah.

[00:24:14] And so do you run that sort of classical sort of iterative process of, you know, sprints and all of that?

[00:24:20] Yeah, yeah, we do. So I think one of the things that we’re quite proud of is a lot of the software in dentistry I found is very old school. Yeah, we can do this. We can move fast, like faster. And most of the companies are already out. And the way we do that is we’re a small team. We can talk to each other, we can do like the first 50 customers. I would probably speak to them personally and so would Hannah. And now we try to talk to as many as we can, and we can feed that directly to our team and get something out within weeks.

[00:24:48] And I know this kind of thing is never really finished because you you have to keep on improving it. But how long will it be before you sort of I’m sitting back as the complete wrong word for it, but where you’ve got a version of it that you don’t doesn’t need more and more developing for a while until the metaverse comes along or something.

[00:25:11] Then I think again, it’s just kind of how long is a piece of string because parts of it we’re now not embarrassed of, but most of it we still are. And and so I think it really is it’s just like pushing it’s pushing a rock up a hill, basically. I don’t think I don’t think it’s going to we get to a point where we’re like, it’s ready. But yeah, there’s the core product I think we’re not cringing at anymore.

[00:25:44] And you know, in that in that sort of period where, you know, you said that sort of frustrating period where you’re not. You can assure if you’re asking the right questions and you’re working your butt off and you’re not making money, you’re spending money. What is it that keeps you going? I mean, do you have that sort of mission focussed? I want to make the world a better place now. I mean, you both look like you’re enjoying it. You’ve got kind of smiles on your face. When I was when I was at your place, I was hating my life because I was expecting something different to what I got. I mean, maybe in that entrepreneur’s first thing, they train you to understand what the process is. But I don’t have any of that right. I was just like working my butt off and losing money, and I hated it. We never raised any money. Of course, it’s a bit different. What keeps you going? Do you have that sort of purpose led sort of idea?

[00:26:40] I think for me it’s kind of two things. There’s the big mission of what we’re trying to do as a company and yeah, leader from the beginning. And that’s to obviously I’m not a dentist, but I am a patient and I’ve seen the impact that our system has on patients. And, you know, I’m quite proud of this year is that we’ve been seen by a million patients. So a million appointments have been done through. And I think that’s for me, that’s great because I’ve obviously received the care from a dentist or a doctor and you can tell the difference when somebody is giving you attention and focussing on you, your of, you know, what’s actually wrong with you compared to somebody who’s on the screen. That’s the second part. It’s much more than just a team I’m around because they definitely had a the rest of the team is is fantastic. I’m surrounded by people that inspire me every day. So it keeps you going quite easily.

[00:27:26] Conan I would say kind of like very similar, I think. I believed in what we were trying to do because I could feel myself that it was a problem that needed to be solved and also team and being around people that you like to work with. I think also for me and to my detriment as a person, sometimes I actually don’t know when to quit and sometimes I will do things when it’s actually too much pressure on me. But I just I don’t see quitting as an option. And I think that really sustained because I do genuinely think during that time when you’re not getting that feedback and you are kind of spending money and the the way that that felt to me as an individual then was not frustration, it was actually just self doubt. And it was it was I’m not good enough for this and I’m not spending my time on the right things and I’m being too lazy or whatever it was. And so they were the voices that I was finding quite difficult to, to contend with during that time. And then I think as soon as you then get that feedback awake, someone’s actually appreciating what you’re doing. That is the thing that kind of passed me through that.

[00:28:36] It’s very true because, you know, I bet they talked about this in the incubator because in the end, you know, you can bring in an expert. You can you can change as the early founder, you really can pivot. Right? I mean, pivot is a big thing. I guess you guys did pivot right from the voice to the voice. And I find sometimes what you said before about, you know, your preconceptions of what things should be like compared to what they’re actually like. And being stuck to those preconceptions can cause a lot of delay. A lot of delay. At the same time, what do you think about that sort of Steve Jobs idea of you can’t ask people what they want?

[00:29:19] I think only Steve Jobs can do that. To be honest. I thought about asking people what they want you to build. It’s asking what the problems are. Yeah. And then need the solutions to get to you. Yeah, I think it’s a thing of constantly testing your solutions as well. I think it’s a book that we try to live by which is this sort of yeah, it’s an idea is obviously iterative development. Don’t build something that takes you months and release it. Yeah. In stages where you validate validate what you’re doing the quickest way possible.

[00:29:53] I also have another book recommendation actually, which every dentist who’s ever kind of reached out to me, I think I’ve sent it to every single one of them, but it’s called the the mom test. And it’s kind of in complete agreement with that, that Steve Jobs quote, which is if you ask people if they like your business idea, they’re inherently nice and they’re going to say, yes, that’s a great idea. You should definitely pick you should definitely build a tinder for dogs or whatever it is. And instead what you should say is, okay, does your dog have an issue meeting other dogs? You don’t even say that. You really need to just go super broad and say, okay, what are your dog’s main issues in life? And you just go very, very broad and allow them to lead you to the problem. And again, like and yeah, I highly recommend that if there’s anyone who listens, who wants to explore a business idea.

[00:30:42] What was it called?

[00:30:43] It’s called the mom test.

[00:30:45] The mom.

[00:30:46] Of my.

[00:30:46] Mom. Which is why I said just. Yeah.

[00:30:50] Yeah. I mean, I think I listened to someone who was it? Some, some venture capitalist on some podcast. I was saying. He was saying, yeah, if you ask people about your idea and everyone sees it and everyone gets it, then it’s a really bad idea because there’ll be loads of competitors. Yeah. And if it’s such an obvious problem, there will be loads of competitors. He was saying if you ask people and no one gets it, that’s also a bad idea. Yeah, that’s going to be very difficult to convince that you were and he was saying this is in between where some intelligent guy might get it or some some thinking out of the box person might get it. But he was saying as a general, when everyone thinks it’s a good idea, it’s just too much competition. Yeah, if you had any competition.

[00:31:40] So yeah, we actually have. So more recently we’ve got other companies that are trying to do kind of similar stuff to what we’re doing. And yeah, I suppose it’s just something that we just need to keep our head down and we need to keep listening to our customers and make sure we’re building something for them that is actually genuinely solving their problem. Because that’s the thing that is going to best protect us from any competition.

[00:32:03] Is that IP in this environment or is that.

[00:32:07] Ip is actually quite a difficult one because I think a lot of a lot of people will quite often say, you know, do you have a pattern and things like that? But actually patent on software is very difficult to enforce.

[00:32:20] Building something is very flexible in the way you can do it.

[00:32:23] Yeah.

[00:32:23] And there’s a million different ways you can code something and do something.

[00:32:26] Exactly, because if you’re applying for a patent, you have to say, this is what we’re doing. And then as soon as you’ve made that process public. You know, just a different way to skin a cat. Someone else can just do things in a slightly different way. So I think the thing that can best protect us is actually just having a product that is genuinely solving our customer’s problems and always striving to do better. As I said, I think that’s like the best equivalent of a patent we’ll ever have.

[00:32:49] Yeah, I agree. I agree. It’s strange with competitors, though, because, you know, sometimes there’s a there’s a place that a part of the market that you’re calling your own and a competitor will jump into that. And then then it’s like your communication strategy has to change. Also, you know, tell me this. How many users do we have now?

[00:33:12] So we’re in the thousands now.

[00:33:14] Oh, wow. Really? Wow. That’s quick. So. So how did you manage to sort of distribute it? I mean, what’s the mechanism?

[00:33:24] So I think over I think we really took off over the lockdown period. So we we set up the first commercial kind of launch was, I think October ish. But we were really slow at the beginning. And then in March, we just started to release kind of a payment model. And then about two weeks later, the pandemic hit. And we were just like, well, it’s unfair. Nobody, nobody’s working, so they shouldn’t pay. So we just made it free for everybody during the pandemic time. And I think.

[00:33:49] That’s a great move.

[00:33:51] Well, it was like we genuinely didn’t do it as a move. We genuinely did it because it’s what felt right. Yeah. And I think actually probably we only did it a week or two earlier than other companies, but the response from our customers was so positive that they felt really moved that we had kind of proactively made that decision. And I think that really bought a lot of goodwill with our customers.

[00:34:14] What was interesting, we thought, great, the pandemic’s hit. We’re going to be out of business, like just can’t use our products. We’re not going to get any customers, we’re not going to get the traction we need. And weirdly, it was the exact opposite where our product needed a bit of time investing. So like we tell anybody when they sign up, you need to spend about half an hour and you can do this at home, just learning the system, making it perfect for the way you do this, and suddenly you don’t have a lot of time on their hands. They were at home, they weren’t doing much. And so so we had a huge uptick in sign ups over that period where people were really trying out. I think it was around June, right. When people start to get back into work. Yeah. And our numbers just shot up reading thousands of women’s every day after that.

[00:34:52] Yeah, but how were you. I’ve seen you’ve done some paid ads on social. It was that the main way.

[00:34:59] So, so that is a channel we use but I think our strongest channel is actually just word of mouth, our dentist talking to their friends and colleagues about how they find it. And really that is that is the strongest thing that we have in our favour. And I mean, we’re already as I said, you know, other people have translated translated it into their own languages. We’re not just in the UK as well. And again, that’s happened purely through word of mouth of dentist telling each other and it kind of spreading internationally in a small way still. But but from that point, yeah.

[00:35:32] Hmm. That’s lovely, man. That’s that’s quick growth. That’s quite good, considering you said the final sort of your first customer came about two years ago.

[00:35:42] Yeah.

[00:35:43] Yeah, yeah.

[00:35:44] That’s quick growth, man. Let’s go a long way. Continue. How do you charge for it? So how much is it?

[00:35:50] So it’s for basic, which is the kind of product that we’ve talked about. It’s $24.95 per dentist per month. We charge per individual clinician and then we also have a pro tier. And largely, I suppose the most notable thing within that is the ability to automate your follow up letters. So particularly for our specialists who do lots of referral letters back to referring clinicians and to the patient that is entirely automated from their career notes as well. So that product is 69, 95 per clinician per month.

[00:36:26] Well, that’s a big job.

[00:36:28] It’s a big job, but it’s a lot more work that has to go in from our team. And it’s also an order of magnitude more time that we’re saving those users.

[00:36:37] Although, I mean, obviously you’ve done your research or you’ve got your your position on this, but for me, the £25 products too cheap.

[00:36:45] In terms of the amount of time we’re saving them. And what that equates to is I think I think I’ve worked out quite recently and it’s 100 X return on investment for our customers. So you could argue that in terms of the value that they’re getting and what they can do with that time, it is.

[00:37:02] But is there something in SAS that says that’s the magic number?

[00:37:06] No, not at all. And actually, I wish that there was something magical, in fact, that told you that. But it’s absolutely just figuring it out on the go. And us, we shouldn’t ever see pricing as something that is fixed. We should see that as something that we’re testing out and changing as well.

[00:37:20] But for me, if I was forward thinking enough, if I was a dentist, number one, if I was forward thinking enough to be the dentist who was going to try something like this in order to save me time, and then it’s saving me loads of time. I just think I should charge more. Let’s just say so.

[00:37:40] Dentists about half an hour per day. And so you can work out what that equates to. It’s a significant amount. If they wanted to fill that time with more patients, it’s extremely significant financially.

[00:37:54] It’s very impressive. So so to 70, the bigger what would you call that product to the pro? It follows up on referral letters.

[00:38:06] So if a specialist is filling in, let’s say a correctly workflow is about them doing a period console, let’s say.

[00:38:18] They’ve seen a patient, they want to go back to the referring.

[00:38:21] Exactly. They filled in their set of notes. And then actually what what these dentist are having to do is then spend 15 to 40 minutes after the appointment writing up the letter specific to that patient with karaoke. That is a click of a button. So they’ve done their notes. All of the relevant information is populated. Populated.

[00:38:41] This was, I guess, a by-product of of main product. So we what we actually do is we structure notes. So that really hasn’t been done before. So we structure the way somebody should write notes. We know what sections they’re in and how, how somebody writes it time and time again. And what that’s allowed us to do is a one click translation into a letter, and that’s really translated into humanised English that can be sent to the patient or to the referring dentist.

[00:39:05] And again, you might not want the language that’s in your medical record to be what goes out to the patient, you might say Upright six, but that doesn’t mean anything to a patient. So the thing that you want to go at in your letter is the upper right first molar tooth, and that’s fine because you can do that translation because it has that intelligence built in.

[00:39:22] Is it is it limited to notes and medicolegal or is there some sort of marketing application?

[00:39:30] I mean, right now, in terms of our areas of focus, probably for for the near term, we really are focussing on the no element and the and the actions that we can take based on that. So if you are sending follow up material consent information to patients and things like that, how can you very, very simply export that? So you’re not wasting your time on that. So we’re focussing on what actions can be taken from the conversation you’re having with your patient.

[00:39:57] So I guess the whole business is around taking away those repeated things that you do every single day. So your brain is focussed on that 10% of the day where you actually spend it on a unique case or, you know, a unique part of your notes even. Yeah.

[00:40:12] It’s what you see occurring.

[00:40:14] I mean, number one, I clearly don’t like to look too far ahead, just like to to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we’re increasingly believing and getting more and more belief that this is a business that can grow. And we want to provide it to as many dentists as we possibly can, both in the UK, but also internationally. And I think also an element that really excites us is eventually the technology that we’ve built doesn’t have to be limited to dentistry, it can be applied to other areas of healthcare, it can be applied to other professions where they might waste their time writing notes as well. So that’s how long term we see this business developing.

[00:40:58] Is that your pitch at the next funding round?

[00:41:03] Did if it sound like it turned into a robot to this.

[00:41:07] That.

[00:41:11] My eyes glazed over.

[00:41:14] Yeah. That’s quite early on that I seen as like it’s for me, the whole dental work is very new. But since we started releasing as dentists, we have a lot of GP’s coming up to us. Yeah. Yeah. We spent even longer than dentists writing notes. Why aren’t you building this for us? And the process is one step at a time.

[00:41:30] It’s one step at a time. And it’s making sure we don’t try and do too many things too soon and not actually focus on our customers. But yeah, long term that’s that’s what we see.

[00:41:40] I mean, yeah, if you could, if you could solve the GP thing, but I don’t know your experience with GP, but when I’ve been to the GP they’re not even looking at you at all.

[00:41:51] Exactly.

[00:41:52] They sort of kind of quick glance up. Quick question. And then and it’s mad because because you think like is he originally listening to the he’s you know, because we kind of know something about it, right? He’s kind of busy covering himself.

[00:42:14] So true. And I think something that genuinely, like moves me emotionally is with the thing of being a dentist or a doctor. If you could actually just focus on the the fantastic, the empathetic part of that conversation, actually providing care, actually listening to your patients and allow the repetitive things to be done by computers, then that is that for me is a human’s time when well spent, whereas us doing repetitive things, doing it over and over again, that is actually where a computer is so much better than us. So why not delegate that away?

[00:42:50] Yeah, I think what we found from correct a lot of customer sources that the end of the day they just had a bit more energy. I think the more we look into that is because of decision fatigue. They’re tired of making that same decision every single time and it does take that away from you.

[00:43:07] Yeah. With those sort of things you don’t, you don’t realise how stressed you are about them until they are taken away sometimes. Yeah. You know that. That’s very true. Let’s, let’s move on to the darker sort of side of all this we’ve got. I don’t know, if you listen to this podcast, we tend to move to the dark side around 40 minutes. What’s been your worst day at karaoke, each of you?

[00:43:33] What a good question.

[00:43:34] Then I think one day comes to mind. This was like two years ago or something where? We were fundraising. So like I said at the time, we would get for money, but we were excited by the idea of what we could be doing next and I think we had about three. So with fundraising, this is the first time we were raising money. You expect 90% rejections, so and all for different reasons. But we didn’t know that at the time. Right. So we were crashing. So I hadn’t I had about, I think three emails in a row on a monday morning and it just like, yeah, we’re not investing, we’re not investing, we’re not investing. And in that moment where we looked at each other and I think we wanted to kind of shelter the team from that side of things. So that was that’s the one that comes to mind straight away. We were just like, Let’s go for a walk and stretch ourselves up.

[00:44:22] Let’s go for a walk and have a cry.

[00:44:24] How many how many meetings did you go to? How many how many pitches did you do?

[00:44:28] Oh, God, I couldn’t count. Like, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was like 100 like.

[00:44:33] 190 said no.

[00:44:35] Genuinely, that is. That is that’s what you need to expect. But it doesn’t. You gradually get thicker and thicker skin like the longer you’ve done this. But it really is like for me, I’ve always found fundraising difficult on an emotional level because I find it quite wearing.

[00:44:50] And it’s tough. Like you’re, you’re getting rejection off and it’s for completely different reasons. Some, you know, some just might not believe in your vision or some might not believe in you or your team or and I guess another thing is back to what I said, I’m getting feedback. It’s really hard to get true feedback and that’s the most part, the hardest reason you don’t really know what the reason of the rejection is.

[00:45:10] How do you even set up these meetings? How does that.

[00:45:13] Work? Luckily, we’ve got really good network through through the incubator that we went through. So they have like created these they’ve made these introductions to begin with. And now you kind of you’ve got that network and you can reach out to those investors. But you also then because we’ve now got other investors that are invested in Kroger, they really are extremely powerful in terms of making more introductions, meeting new investors, and it really is just kind of back to back meetings, talking through your business, talking through, answering any questions they have. Quite often it won’t even be that they don’t believe in your business. It might just be that they aren’t the right investor to feel like they’ve got the knowledge to support you. But all the same, you do feel it. I think actually my day would be quite different of my my most difficult day of Kroger and it would come down to team. And when we had an employee who handed in their resignation, which happens, you know.

[00:46:09] It just wasn’t a good day.

[00:46:10] Though. It’s just part of part of the process. But when there’s someone that you really, really respect and they’re not continuing to work with you, even if it’s because they’re going to start their own business or they want to be exposed to a different type of technology or whatever it is, that.

[00:46:26] Sort of thing.

[00:46:27] Exactly like that for me felt like a huge failure of leadership or communicating vision or being effective at listening to not even sorry, not customer employees. So that was for me a really that was kind of a tough time.

[00:46:46] I definitely agree with that. I remember that day.

[00:46:49] That’s only happened once.

[00:46:51] So it’s not that we’ve only had one one resignation ever. We’ve had more than that. But quite often, you know, they’re coming. But it wasn’t even the first one, actually, it was just a particularly difficult one where we didn’t see it coming, whereas a lot of our resignations, we’ve known from early doors that they’re considering starting their own business or, you know, it’s been a conversation and I think it being unawares felt like a huge failure because it’s, you know, that is you should have been able to pick that up sooner.

[00:47:18] What would you say is your biggest weakness, Hannah? To the classic interview question.

[00:47:24] I think my biggest weakness and I’m giving you a really classic answer because I’m going to give a really I think I’m not going to say that because that’s just not true. But I think my biggest weakness is probably also a big strength of mine and is that ability not to not quit, not to give up, because I think sometimes that’s allowed me to have real grit. But I think sometimes I have put myself in situations where it’s not returning what it should anymore. And I haven’t called it because I just didn’t even consider I should quit. That would be a failure.

[00:48:00] Yeah, I’m the same. I’m the same. And you find a lot of times your biggest weakness is your biggest strength. Yeah, but I’ll give you example of that moment when you just would not quit.

[00:48:12] I think for me, actually, this is going to sound really like but like not a big deal. But I think it was just when I was I was working in a practise on Saturdays as well as doing Kokrokoo and to say it was 9 to 5 as is not the truth. So like doing a very kind of intense job and doing every Saturday and did it for two and a half years. And I think I just got to a point where I actually just wasn’t going out and seeing my friends. I wasn’t going out for dinners because I was just always so, so tired. And I eventually got to a point which was like, Why am I doing this? It just I hadn’t even considered that I shouldn’t be doing that anymore. And even if it was just kind of changing when I was doing it, you know, it’s not even that I’m not doing any clinical work these days, but I think that for me was me just doing the same thing over and over again and not considering that I could I could change it.

[00:49:00] What about you, J.

[00:49:02] You know what? As you ask that question, I thought I’ve asked this so many times to people. I never thought to ask myself.

[00:49:09] What your answer.

[00:49:10] Is. I’d say maybe sometimes paying too much attention to detail rather than just stepping back and. I think that’s know, I’d want to if I see a process, I want to know every single thing about it. I want to know how it works, what’s going on. But I don’t have time to do everything. And as much as I’d love to try and figure out every line of code and everything within view. I think part of it is actually just stepping back and realising that other people can do a great job better than me at that and letting go of certain things.

[00:49:40] Yeah. And you know, that sort of perfection paralysis thing and delegation paralysis will slow you down. Big time. Big time.

[00:49:49] Exactly. And I’ve learnt that a lot I think recently where there are times where I’ve done the opposite, where I’ve actually just left something and I’m like, Wait, no, we can run. Like it’s actually running a lot better than what I would have done. Yes, it’s kind of just.

[00:50:04] What I found. What I found is at the beginning, you’re doing everything. And then what happens is as you start to delegate it, someone does one little thing not quite as well as you would have done that thing. And that makes you go berserk and you forget the fact that they’re doing all of this other stuff. I tell you, though, it’s funny, because if it comes down to trust in a way, doesn’t it? Yeah, absolutely. And there’s no way you’ll grow if you don’t trust, right? There’s no way at all.

[00:50:34] Exactly. I think I’ve learnt that where we the biggest thing we can do is have the right people. I think the biggest impact we can have on Heroku and what we do is just hire the right people. I think we’ve made really good decisions at the moment with our team.

[00:50:46] I think we have and I think there is more that we can do there because I think quite often I allow myself to be overly busy when actually if the thing I’m doing is making myself more scalable, making myself slightly redundant, that’s actually a good thing for the business. But quite often it leaves you feeling slightly redundant. And I think a lesson that I could develop and I think I would be in a better place if I learnt this quicker, is actually I’m okay not to be really busy all the time. I just need to find the right people who can do this better than we can.

[00:51:17] Yeah, you know, you should take. I’ve learnt something recently and you know, don’t, don’t let it take 20 years for you to learn this. This message is that in a way if, if you’re doing anything, then you’re doing something wrong. In a way I’m not saying don’t do anything, but if you have to do any little thing, then why? Why is it that you’re doing that thing? Why isn’t someone else doing that thing? You know, and it’s an interesting idea because it sounds ridiculous, but but when you actually examine examine it, you know that you want they want to sell this thing, right? Yeah. And and you really want nothing to do with the day to day of it at all. At all. You just want to be leading the sort of the zoomed out plan. And the zoomed out plan means not doing anything at all. Yeah. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m doing I’m doing things. Don’t, don’t get me wrong. But the thought process, it’s quite empowering.

[00:52:20] If we if we aim for that, if we aim for doing nothing, that’s probably doing nothing but not being required for like decisions. I think that’s probably the right thing to aim for.

[00:52:32] And I think it’s really timely advice, to be honest, because now our team is growing and we’re at the stage now where we do have to take a little step back and bring in other people that can actually do this day to day things.

[00:52:42] But there is one big problem with it in that, you know, it sounds all well and good. Hire a guy to do that job, but that guy needs managing and then whoever’s managing, that guy needs managing. And in the end, that comes back to you again. And it’s sort of the difference between finding outsource people and having people in-house. Yeah, because there’s there’s benefits to both. But one of the biggest benefits of outsource people is that you don’t have to hire and fire in the usual way. Yeah, it’s a difficult one. What would you say should be been your biggest mistakes?

[00:53:18] Wolf. So many to pick from.

[00:53:25] To think of this one.

[00:53:30] It’s a bit early because you haven’t had time for, you know, to reflect, really.

[00:53:35] I mean, I try I try and reflect frequently, actually. Clearly, I’m not doing it well enough.

[00:53:41] What comes to mind, actually, is I think almost every company hears this at some point, which is start charging earlier, because I think the moment it came hand to hand, when we had our first customer feedback and charging, people automatically assume you give value to what you’re doing. And if someone’s for free, they’re not valuing it right. They’re not running it, but they’re starting to get feedback. And I think as soon as we started charging for our product, we got feedback instantly and then it kind of spun off from there. So that’s one that comes to mind right now. Whether you call that mistake or not, I don’t know, because I think it worked out.

[00:54:18] I mean, the voice thing was a mistake.

[00:54:20] Again, I find it hard to call it a mistake because I don’t think we would be here if it wasn’t for the voice. We stumbled upon the new product because as a consequence of the voice, it sells other ways to get here. Yeah, definitely.

[00:54:31] I think, again, it’s not like one clear mistake. I wish we’d got to that conclusion quicker because I think we would be know 6 to 12 months ahead of where we are now if we if learn those lessons sooner. But equally. You know, with first time founders, we didn’t. We’re learning this as we go. And I don’t really know what we could have done to have done that much faster. But but to me, if there’s one thing I wish we’d been able to do, it was drive for customer feedback far earlier however that was and realise that that was the problem.

[00:55:06] Without, you know, antagonising investors. What kind of role do they play as far as the day to day? Do they take a position on the board and advise and interfere?

[00:55:19] And I actually we have we are so lucky with our investors and actually genuinely, I would never use the word interfere. I would only use the word support. Yes, they might have a board seat or a board observer. See. So we will have quarterly meetings with them where we present what we’ve been up to. But largely they are there when we need when we need them and they in different ways. We’ve kind of got two main investors in different ways. They get very, very different types of information and support and feedback. And I couldn’t be happier. The people that we have as partners to build Heroku, they they are both supportive and wise and holistic in their in their advice.

[00:56:08] Well that’s that’s nice to hear because you do hear some horror stories.

[00:56:11] Yeah, you do. I think I think that because of the horror stories we were so careful in, I guess who we picked. Quite lucky, to be honest, in a way as well.

[00:56:18] I think luck.

[00:56:20] Is a huge amount of luck.

[00:56:22] But then every time, every time you raise more, you’re going to have a new person to deal with. Is that how it works?

[00:56:27] Exactly. And the unfortunate thing is, again, it’s like suppose it’s like hiring someone. You don’t really know what it’s going to be like. Work alongside them until you’re actually doing it. Except with an employee, if it’s not right, you can kind of do something about it. With an investor.

[00:56:41] You can’t really.

[00:56:41] There’s nothing you can do about it. So you have to pick right and try and try and maintain a kind of filter from your side. Even if you do, you do want the investment you need to make sure they’re the right investor.

[00:56:55] Tell me a couple of stories that your customers have told you. About using. You know, something something that’s changed the way they work.

[00:57:07] I think that it’s like one of the things that is just repeatedly said is like, I’m home. Like this is completely changed. I used to have keys for the practise and be the last person.

[00:57:20] Oh, just writing up all the crap.

[00:57:22] Exactly. And now I am the last person to enter in the morning. I’m the first person to leave in the evening. And I’m able to actually have dinner with my family and I’m able to pay attention when patients are talking to me. So it’s again, it’s so varied because different people use that time different ways. A lot of people actually just want to get home on time. A lot of people wanting more patients. A lot of people want to actually just pay attention to their patient.

[00:57:48] But I think for me, the idea of an idea of somebody getting home has been mentioned time and time again that before they would you know, I spoke to a dentist, in fact, last week that I built a little four day work every day at five in the morning to write letters, but with curfew. Well, now they get to sleep. So it was interesting, home and time, but nice stories were good to hear.

[00:58:14] Generally, we asked this question at the beginning of the podcast, but with you guys it just felt like the wrong time. Tell me about where you grew up, what kind of kid you were.

[00:58:25] I grew up in the countryside outside of Manchester. As you can tell from my accent.

[00:58:33] And the south or the north.

[00:58:36] South Manchester kind of peak district, the area so very, very kind of rural. But I went to school in central Manchester. And what type of child does I am the youngest of three siblings. I have two older brothers. And so I very much embodied the little sister character. I don’t know what else to say. Really gone. Very lucky. Lucky with my parents and lucky with the support I’ve always had from my parents.

[00:59:03] And your parents were it people you said?

[00:59:06] I think people. Yeah, both. Both programmers.

[00:59:10] But were they entrepreneurs as well?

[00:59:12] And no, they both work worked within kind of bigger corporations. My mum gave up working when she had us and so I know that she always missed her work because she was doing so well and I think it just came at a time when she was having kids. So I know that for her she’s kind of always instilled in me that find something that you love doing and don’t stop doing it because you have to have family or don’t do it unless you want to. I think she wanted to give up work.

[00:59:42] That’s fine. You hurried. Get this thing sold, kid. Where did you grow up?

[00:59:56] So mine. I was. I’ve been born and growing up in London. Yeah. For example, the accent kind of is very standard today. There’s not a huge amount. It like great parents. I was. I was in a state school. So, you know, for a variety of people, we had three, 350 people in our year. And there’s a variety of people from people that became athletes to entrepreneurs to a bunch of other stuff.

[01:00:23] Where did you study, Jay?

[01:00:25] So I was at University College London for my undergrad, and then I went to University of Cambridge for my first read.

[01:00:31] The what the I stuff.

[01:00:33] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:00:34] What was it like being in Cambridge with those brains?

[01:00:37] To find out. Just, I guess going from a state school. I thought I never wanted to go to Cambridge because I thought I just wouldn’t fit in. So I thought I’d literally go have no friends. Everybody would be very posh and I wouldn’t be able to click with anybody. And it was exact opposite. It was just a group of really smart people that love what they do. And I think as you get to post-grad you realise that a lot of people have chosen to do something in underground. Often you do find a lot of people that are in the, you know, studying for the sake of study, studying for the sake of somebody told them to. And it’s a good way to do things. I think when you go to post-grad, people will love what they do. And I find that really fascinating.

[01:01:12] Because you’re 18, aren’t you, when you go to university, I mean, it’s a child. What made you decide to be a dentist when with all these technologists around you?

[01:01:23] I liked sciences. I thought I wanted to be a doctor, probably because I’d grown up watching Scrubs. I did my work experience in a hospital and realised, Wait, this isn’t like Scrubs. And actually being on a geriatric ward is really, really sad. And so my school organised work experience in a dental practise and I remember my mum being like, I don’t know why you’re doing that, you’re not going to enjoy that. And I loved it. I mean, I was in work experience with the dad of someone who I went to school with and he was just a really, really nice, relaxed guy. And I think I just kind of liked his attitude and I just really liked that. It was like craft on a tiny, tiny scale. And there’s, yeah, there’s so much pride to be taken in doing that well. And I think I just thought that would be a good fit. Yeah. And like I said, I never regretted studying dentistry. I really, really enjoyed it. Just sad not to be doing construction on a tiny scale more these days.

[01:02:22] And Bristol, such a fun, fun city to be studying and it’s such a fantastic city. I was in Cardiff, but I love Bristol. I really.

[01:02:32] I.

[01:02:32] Love I.

[01:02:33] Love Bristol as well. I’m just waiting for the day where I can move back to Bristol.

[01:02:37] Really.

[01:02:39] It was honestly, it’s just it was so fun. It was really a good mixture of like good music. Yeah.

[01:02:47] Just great art scene.

[01:02:50] Exactly. There’s just a really nice mixture of culture and and it being a beautiful city in its own right.

[01:02:56] Absolutely.

[01:02:58] Yeah. I really, really enjoyed Bristol.

[01:03:00] Is your office London based now?

[01:03:02] Yes, we’re based in Moorgate.

[01:03:05] Oh, really? In that little hub of technology.

[01:03:09] Yes. Yeah, yeah.

[01:03:10] Well, they call it silicon something.

[01:03:12] Yes, Silicon Roundabout people roundabouts.

[01:03:16] It is kind of spread out now, isn’t it?

[01:03:21] In Cambridge, they call it silicon fen that bit. One last question before our final questions, which are always the same on this podcast, if this imagine, I don’t know, some company Microsoft came along and give you a billion. To walk away. Yeah. What would you do next? It’s hard. It’s hard question to answer.

[01:03:47] Is this what what would you do when they offered you or what.

[01:03:49] Would you do once they sold it? You walked away. You walked away. We can deal with yourself and and you listen. Everyone says the same thing to this. Yeah. They say charity holiday. Yeah. So outside of charity and holiday day to day.

[01:04:06] I think because I don’t think I would do charity, I don’t think I’d do like loads of holiday. I think the thing that excites me and I think maybe because I went from doing clinical dentistry to doing quite a different career, the thing that would excite me is like, What’s next? I’m only going to live once. Why not jump back several careers into one lifetime? And like, what else could I learn and start from scratch again? I genuinely think I’d kind of want to.

[01:04:30] I’ll just I’ll probably start your business and whatever I say, I would drag her into as well.

[01:04:35] So yeah, I don’t know. It’s so exciting that like you could, you could do a whole different thing. I definitely wouldn’t just.

[01:04:44] Take your money behind you so you can kind of do what you want with it as.

[01:04:47] Well. You wouldn’t take holiday. I like that. I like that very much. Let’s just end it with the same question. We always end up with the same question. It is it’s difficult with people as young as you too, but you’re on your deathbed. Yeah. You’ve got your friends and family around you. Three pieces of advice you’d leave for them.

[01:05:12] I’ll let you go first.

[01:05:14] Those are the ones. The ones that I thought of is this one. I really do try to live by it, which is just enjoy the journey. I think you never know what’s going to happen, especially both in business and in life, really. Just enjoy every day and what you’re doing and find a way to make yourself happy with it. Second one is follow your instincts and trust your gut. I think whenever I’ve done that, it’s always worked out somehow. So keep doing that. And then the last one is just live life to its fullest. Try and avoid being lazy and just realise like, you know, again, life’s short. Try and make the most of it.

[01:05:45] Lovely, lovely bits of advice on your death.

[01:05:48] What about you?

[01:05:50] I would say one is very important to me, as is stay silly like I do. I don’t want to grow old. My my grandmother. You actually like in the last couple of years passed away was like the most mischievous soul I know. And she was 80. She was 92, and she was just so silly. And so I would always remain silly and laugh at ridiculous things. That would be one. The other one would be, again, this is so like so generic that it’s almost pointless would be just be kind because you have to leave the world in a better state than you arrived in. And for me, that’s just how you treat the people around you. And if you just strive to constantly be kind in every interaction you have, if feel like you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing, you’re moving in the right direction. And the final one, I’m not sure. I think you’re going to have to think this one on the spot. I think this is this is rather than yeah, I suppose it is advice, but this is more just kind of me saying something that I’ve taken huge value from, which is immerse yourself in other people’s stories. And by that I mean I personally am an avid reader of novels, and the reason I do that is because I love getting perspective on other people’s lives and situations. I wouldn’t I haven’t been through myself. And so whether you choose to do that in the form of reading or watching films or listening to stuff, I think constantly prioritising, getting other people’s perspectives will widen your world and widen your your reaction to things as well, how you perceive the world.

[01:07:34] And of that walk in other people’s shoes, sort of.

[01:07:37] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, probably. That will help you with the kindness one as well.

[01:07:43] But I like that. The fact you know, this question, it’s not my question, perhaps question. It tends to give many of the same answers. But those three or kindness comes up a lot but Cillian shoes that they’re good ones they my final question is it’s to do with a fancy dinner party. Yeah three guests that are.

[01:08:07] Like I’m going to hand it over to you first.

[01:08:09] This is a question I always ask and always avoid giving my answer.

[01:08:14] I think. When do you ask this question?

[01:08:17] I think when things get a bit silent, the three to I said one is Sundar Pichai, who’s the CEO of Google. I think his story is just amazing that he grew up from nothing and now.

[01:08:31] He’s the current CEO, isn’t it?

[01:08:33] Yeah. Yeah. And the next one just has to be Steve Jobs. Yeah, I just I’m obsessed with Steve Jobs a bit too much. But, yeah, I had to pick up on this. And the last. I’m a massive Arsenal football fan, so it has to be Thierry Henry. I’m yet to meet him. It’s a one day.

[01:08:54] It’s an interesting dinner party going on.

[01:08:58] And I’ve actually only got two answers to this. I did actually try and wrack my brain, but two, two came to mind very easily. So I’ll actually just answer answer those. The first one is my grandma from my dad’s side, because I was so young when she passed away that I actually never got to interact with her. My dad speaks so highly of her. I think that would be so lovely to actually understand more about her life and therefore probably understand more about my dad and therefore probably understand more about myself. So that would be one. And the other one that instantly came to my mind is Anne Boleyn. I don’t know why I love the Tudors, but also I’d want to. Anne Boleyn for me, as someone who’s the way that she is told in history, is with a very, very sexist perspective and angle. So I would love to meet.

[01:09:49] The first wife.

[01:09:50] Second wife. She beheaded, beheaded yet, but clearly caused massive change to to England and history. But I feel like I’d want to understand what she was like as a person because she sounds like she might have been quite a powerful, impressive person.

[01:10:10] Yeah, I think I’ve had one of the answers was Henry the eighth, so you might as well invite Henry the eighth, all your other grandma. That would be the third guest.

[01:10:20] I mean, I’d love to.

[01:10:22] You can come. You can come back. Grandma did.

[01:10:27] Well, it’s been a pleasure. And I know I only met you for that 10 seconds in dental showcase, but. But. But, Hannah, you know, I really understand why investors, customers, employees are inspired by you. Just you give off this energy of sort of enjoying everything you do and really listening. I really do. I really do.

[01:10:49] That means a great a great, great deal, especially from you. Yeah.

[01:10:53] There’d be sitting but it’s just, you know, I know again, we’ve met each other twice. Twice, but both times. Both times are very, very, very impressed with you. So I’m sure your work is going to go from strength to strength.

[01:11:05] And thank you so much for having us.

[01:11:09] Yeah, thanks very much.

[01:11:10] It’s been a long time coming.

[01:11:13] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:11:29] 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.

[01:11:44] 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.

[01:11:54] And don’t forget our six star rating.

This week’s guest is the closest thing in dentistry to a media mogul. Ken Finlayson launched his first dental magazine in 1995, which quickly expanded to more than 20 digital and print titles under the FMC umbrella.

Ken chats to Payman about how it all started, discusses the challenges of hosting and judging awards, Dentistry’s Top 50 List and much more.

Enjoy!   

 

In This Episode

01.39 – Starting in publishing

04.00 – Backstory

08.36 – Dentistry Magazine

14.44 – Ruffling feathers

17.38 – Independent Dentistry

22.14 – Education and events

28.21 – Risk, ops and ideas

32.39 – Copy and processes

34.50 – Teambuilding and culture

39.28 – Buying and selling the company

46.25 – Awards

56.37 – The top 50 list

01.03.39 – Blackbox thinking, strengths and weaknesses

01.05.28 – The future of dentistry

01.11.40 – Remembering Kimberley

01.14.19 – Fantasy dinner party

01.15.38 – Last days and legacy

 

About Ken Finlayson

Ken Finlayson is the CEO of FMC, which publishes more than 20 dentistry related digital and print titles.

[00:00:00] I think the essence of the business is its culture and therefore the people coming in need to mould to that culture rather than the other way around. And that sort of drives itself and it moulds and develops people because in order to fit in at FMC, you’ll have to try hard. You’ll have to be fairly accommodating of your of your peers and contemporaries, and therefore they become FMC people. I’d say that’s why the momentum continues to be good, because the ones that don’t fit you probably never got to know payment because it just didn’t work. The ones that do fit stay long term and add to the culture and develop the business that way.

[00:00:45] 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.

[00:01:03] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Ken Finlayson onto the podcast. Ken is probably one of the most influential people in dentistry. The man who came up with the list of the top 50 influential dentists. But maybe actually I think I think you used to feature on that list yourself sometimes, Ken. But the last five or ten years, I haven’t seen you there. Media mogul, maybe the biggest publisher in dentistry with 40 titles. How many titles, Ken?

[00:01:34] There’s a few. There’s a few. Not as many as they used to be. But yeah.

[00:01:39] Notably dentistry magazine, private dentistry magazine, clinical dentistry, Irish dentists, loads of education awards events since since I started Enlightened may be the most influential person in my early career for sure. Was Ken and you started this company when Ken was it 25 years ago?

[00:02:04] Started the company in 1994. And it’s a little bit depressing, frankly, to say that I used to be I used to be an influence to you and no longer. But yeah, it was a while back, in fairness, and there’s been a number of things happen since then. But yeah, it was a long time ago. Kicking off with the magazine called Dentistry in the days before the Internet, in the days before digital media. And it was pretty popular.

[00:02:32] It really was, I think, when we started in light in 2001. But I was a dentist since 95 and even then, so between 95 and 2001, at that time, we forget we forget how how much things have changed. I remember the independent was it called independent dentistry at the time? Not not private dentistry, the magazine?

[00:02:57] That’s correct. Yeah. It was in those days, private dentistry was a dirty word. It was something that people were afraid of financially. And there was a sort of class resonance to the title Private Dentistry. Yeah. So we coined the phrase in a general sense, independent dentistry, which reflected the fact that it wasn’t solely based on NHS practise and it gave people, it gave people the options to, to think about with regard to non NHS treatment.

[00:03:29] I remember reading independent dentistry as a young dentist and just thinking, God, this there is a world out there outside of this sort of situation that I’m in at the moment and you know, being inspired by the quality of the quality of the print, the quality of the editorial, the the stories that were in that magazine. This podcast normally starts, Ken, with sort of childhood. Where did you grow up? What kind of a kid were you?

[00:04:00] What does it normally start that way? But not this time.

[00:04:03] Not this time. This story started with this is how we started with independence.

[00:04:08] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, just very briefly, Scottish. I’m Scottish. I moved to South Africa aged 14 years old. And that’s quite a tough move because if anybody knows South Africans and we all know many of them, they typically big people. So coming from Scotland to South Africa at that age was quite a challenge. But they’re so entrepreneurial and so go getting by nature. The South Africans, it was it was very significant in my life ultimately coming back to UK and getting into the publishing world. And I was looking for an opportunity. And I was lucky enough to bump into a legend called Les Paul, who was the grandfather of private industry in the UK. And I had a title called Dentistry Magazine, which was doing well. But in speaking to Ellis, there was an opportunity to create something more oriented towards the options in dentistry away from the NHS. And he was the forerunner of that whole movement and a phenomenal person that inspired me and many, many people. Yeah, for a quarter of a century thereafter, just through the work that he and I did, and he’d had a huge career before that. So he certainly is the guy that deserves most credit for the whole of the private dentistry work that we did, and I’d like to think helped a lot of people along the way. But he was the guy that really inspired the whole thing and deserves the credit for that.

[00:05:52] But how did you get into dental in the first place can.

[00:05:56] Dentistry? Well, I ended up working for a medical media business. So medical media comprises magazines and events typically around hospital medicine, general practise medicine. And that was the essence of the business that I was involved in. We did look at the dentistry area as well, albeit it was the small relation in the business and I was learning the ropes. I always wanted to be my own boss and felt that it was more of an opportunity to if I was going to do my own thing in the dental space because it was less sophisticated in media sense than medicine and there were less players operating in it. And quite frankly, payment, it was less expensive to get involved in the dentistry. So I decided to develop an idea in dentistry. I went to the US and investigated what the media was doing in the US. At that time. Everybody viewed American dentistry as ahead of what we were doing. The American smile was quite well known even back then, and their thoughts on cosmetic dentistry, on the brighter, whiter smile, on what they could do for people outside of just helping them get through pain, was was a big difference to what we were doing in the UK at that point and the media reflected that as well. So I then essentially took the ideas that I saw in the US, package them together in a more British style and launched Dentistry magazine in 1995. And at that point of time, amazingly, I was probably more amazed than anybody else, but we actually launched with huge success. I expected a very slow start, but in fact it did seem that there was an appetite for a less academic take on dentistry going forward, and a more accessible media, which threw up business ideas, looked a lot at the product opportunities that there were and different types of treatment.

[00:08:11] So before you hadn’t worked in any other dental before you started your own dental magazine?

[00:08:18] Well, I was with a medical media business that did have oh that didn’t work in dentistry. Yeah. Albeit was quite small. So that’s where I really got my experience and I could see that there was an opportunity there that was less intricate and less expensive to get involved in than the dentistry area.

[00:08:36] So, so dentistry magazine in a way, if you had to sort of position it as in the, in the normal sort of newspapers and magazines sort of way, it was, it was kind of it would be where would it be? It would be like sort of the on the sort of the I don’t know, it’s the wrong word because tabloids got such such such bad connotations these days. But on the more on the tabloid end, because up to that point, there was you know, there was there was journals, there was BTJ And I guess the probe existed.

[00:09:06] It Yeah, I mean, the the analogy doesn’t really ring true, as you say, with tabloids. Yeah. However, even in 1994, tabloids were very evident and not particularly well thought of, albeit there were very, very popular. The Sun newspaper in the UK was the most popular newspaper in Europe and a very powerful reader base. It had two. So what we launched was not down-market, but it was accessible and populist, and that’s something that I really wanted to do so that if you were practising in a high street or in Scunthorpe or anywhere for that matter, you could dip into the title and get things out of it that that you could implement into your practise. And that was really what we were trying to do. Whereas titles like the BBG, phenomenal, globally renowned media that it still is to this day and was then it was a little esoteric, article wise, and many of the articles wouldn’t be that valid to the average practitioner at any one time. And so we wanted to be more populist, more accessible, easy to access. And the reaction we got from day one was quite phenomenal actually, that it did seem to resonate and people were reading it in their thousands and we had huge responses. There were used to be back in those days, a card system that you put into the title. So for example, if people wanted more information about.

[00:10:49] Such and such an ad or whatever, yeah, I remember.

[00:10:51] Yes. A product or a product news story. Then we would get. Thousands of these every week sent back to us. And it was a very good feeling and very nice.

[00:11:02] What were you thinking regarding sort of business plan wise? I mean, did you have already lots of contacts, as you know, in the in the industry for advertising?

[00:11:14] Well, the plan was that it’s a fairly straightforward approach insofar as we we knew who the Dental companies were. And we had a list of I say we, me and one other person that was the organisation and I was doing that side of it was really I had a list is there was a list of the companies and you call them up and suggest that we have a large audience and if they want to promote their product through, through that, they could. So it’s, it’s quite unsophisticated insofar as getting to the customer base. You didn’t really need to have a lot of contact as such. You just needed to know who the companies were. And of course it’s quite evident by going to a practise, you can see the products that are being used and there are other magazines around that you could also look at to gather who was promoting through through those media. And we basically just contacted them all. The claims of fame we had at that time is when we launched in 1995. It launched as the biggest launch that there’d ever been of a Dental title, and that was because the industry really liked the idea. And even though we didn’t have an audience, insofar as nobody had actually seen the title until we launched it, the industry was very much behind it from day one.

[00:12:39] And the plan always from day one was you were going to send this out for free?

[00:12:43] Yes. So that was the model at that time payment in media for getting dentistry for a second meet. It was a very popular notion in the British media world that you create a good product, i.e. title for the set to your targeting. Give the group that media free of charge so that they read it and enjoy it. And then there’s an audience to market to.

[00:13:12] And did you have massive start up costs? I mean, in the end, you have to publish. You have to you have to print thousands of of these papers. Did you did you have a backing to start with or did you not know you’d lose money to start with or will you know immediately?

[00:13:29] Well, the title launched extremely well. The great thing about media back in those days and still the same, I suppose, with the digital media, but you don’t incur any costs of any significance until such time as the printer starts printing the title, then ultimately have to pay for the paper, the postage, the printing costs themselves. But by that time we already had the advertisers in there. So as soon as it produced it was profitable from day one. And it was it’s a scary place to be because day two we didn’t have another title. So we have to reproduce the magazine again for February and then for March and so on. So it was it was very, very uplifting and a great time in my life. But there was a great fear, as anybody who runs a business has, about how are we going to manage tomorrow? Will the customer base leave us? Will it be well received? Everybody has these experiences and I was no different. But from day one we were. I remember having the champagne when we got the first edition in the door and it was a celebration because we knew that it was a profitable business from from the outset.

[00:14:44] When I think back to my start and I think we lost money for four years at the beginning and the pain that we went through in that in that four year period just to get to profitability and to hats off to you must have ruffled a few feathers as well, though.

[00:15:05] Yeah. I mean, one of the issues that irritated my competitors and not naming them because it irritates me further. But the one of the things that was galling was the fact that we did get such a fast start. And even in media it typically takes quite a while to build enough traction that the industry will support you. So we did seem to to be of our time and that really, really rankled with the existing media who would be quite disdainful. I mean, I’m a very old man now payment is you know that that cared.

[00:15:45] How old were you when you saw started?

[00:15:46] I was 28.

[00:15:48] I was 28. Amazing.

[00:15:50] But the I was viewed as a very young man at the time against my peer group. And they really didn’t like it, didn’t like it at all.

[00:16:00] But, you know, that mantra is, is it was it Gandhi said, you know, first they ignore you, then what is it? Then they eventually and then you in what? First they ignore you, then they attack you or whatever it is.

[00:16:13] Yeah.

[00:16:14] You know, you know what I’m talking about, right?

[00:16:16] Yes, I do. Yeah.

[00:16:17] Yeah. I find it interesting because in that in that early phase, when people ignore you is actually a time to grow and, you know, to, to, to make moves that when they finally notice when compared to finding notices you, it’s then too late for them to do anything. Whereas you must have had people actually acting against you straight away because you made such a disruptive move. Did you was there any of that? Oh, no.

[00:16:44] Well, there was there was just a level of nastiness in a I’m sure I sound naive saying it, but that’s how I felt. People were just nasty about it. But the in the bubble payment, as you will recognise from your own business development, you’re just running as fast as you can. There’s a modicum of celebration and that’s momentary. It’s really a question of we need to keep running fast, trying hard, and don’t take anything for granted, which was the way that it worked. And I didn’t really pay too much attention to to the establishment’s views, albeit I knew we weren’t that popular.

[00:17:38] How long did it take before it moved on from one publication? One one title? When did you get your second title? How many years?

[00:17:47] Well, through that first year, I met Alice Paul, who I mentioned earlier. Yeah, I mean, we had a great start payment, so there was sufficient profitability to consider options and we staffed up immediately as well. And then Alice was just this inspiring character from Manchester who was running the show in what was called independent dentistry back then. And I approached him in a car park and just outside Manchester and stalked him and said, would he possibly be consider being editor of a new title I had an idea for and he’s such a great guy. He jumped at the notion. He ended up moving down to London because I couldn’t believe, because he was so established, so famous, you know, he would have been top of the top 50 back in the day, although it didn’t exist. But and just such an enthusiast for calibre things and leading people and thinking more deeply about subjects and teaching that, you know, he he made that a phenomenal success. Also payment. He was a guardian and a custodian of the title. So he really cared deeply and was very, very focussed on the level of calibre and the breadth of articles and such things. So the independent dentistry, which was our second title, had a different cachet to the populist dentistry magazine. And in fact we asked the audience to pay for it, which they.

[00:19:28] Did.

[00:19:29] In their thousands as well, which was another great success for us back in the day. And as I said earlier, the Alice was without a shadow of a doubt. The man who made that title and inspired you and many, many other people, it’s it’s amazing, actually, how often people come up to me and say, Oh, you were so instrumental in my early years of private industry and so on. And I think to myself and I didn’t actually do anything and Alex did the lot and really has had an impact in that upper half of the age group, I would say in UK dentistry today. He was, he was very, very pivotal.

[00:20:08] Can you say that you’ve operated this, this organisation. I remember even in the early days, I mean I think we’d got this bank loan, I think we borrowed £80,000, something like that. And there was a dental showcase coming up and I knew nothing about anything, right? So I thought, Alright, I’m going to buy some ads before this event. And I just went everywhere and bought ads everywhere I could find, just didn’t think was understanding what I was doing at all. Just put ads everywhere I could find. But all of those advertisers, your organisation was the only one where a human being then turned up. At my office it was an office. It was my flat where we were, where we were running it. It was actually Kimberly. Yeah, your late wife. But you’ve always had that, that and even as the years went on, that human touch of a relationship with the person that the other magazines didn’t have. And were.

[00:21:12] You.

[00:21:12] Because you were part of the industry before and you knew something about it, was that a conscious move that you were going to sort of that whole people buy from people thing? Because it must.

[00:21:22] I don’t think it was spamming. I don’t I don’t think it was a conscious decision. It is just my belief. People by people, as you say, and we will lie, Avis, try harder to make sure we make our points to to the potential advertiser or company that we link with and make sure we just do the best job we can. And I do feel and in any walk of business that our success was heavily linked to the fact that we give it our best shot. And it’s quite satisfying in any business, again, to look at competition and think, well, I know they don’t really give it their best shot and therefore that’s an advantage that we can bring to bear, given that they’re there pacing it a little bit and we’re going to give it our best shot.

[00:22:14] And then the next thing you guys did, I don’t know if it’s the next thing you did, but the next thing you did that really sort of resonated with me. That affected me was education. And I think back to those early days of independent seminars where you guys would bring a speaker from the US who not even I’m not even talking about the big names, but, but the big names as well. And on occasion there’d be a 600 people at this event that the guy was just talking. There was no, there was no hands on, but the guy was just talking. And more than that, I mean, I remember some of them were gigantic events. How did you first get into education? Was that were you looking at is that is that a standard playbook for a publisher? Is that what is that? Is that what happened? Did someone tell you, look, we haven’t got enough education because we certainly didn’t?

[00:23:09] Yeah. I mean, the the education went the same way that the original title did in that I went to the US and I followed the lead insofar as what were they doing that was working well? And I suppose the thing that typifies my approach to things is I appreciate, I don’t know best, so I’ll try and learn from the best guy I can and typically in the sector. Uk Dental Communications it’s not one of my rivals. So we’d go to the US and we’d go through every speaker we could find, go to the big conventions and watch who’s really pulling an audience. Where are the audience really engaging? Where do the the approval ratings look the highest? And we would bring those people back to the UK and many of them had never been seen in the UK before. A few of the pioneering early adopting type dentists would go to the US for postgraduate education. But Payman they were there wasn’t there weren’t many of them, and certainly not guys in the younger half of their career. And so we would bring these speakers across. They were honoured to be brought to the UK. They were very expensive but they, they pulled in a big audience and we were viewed to be innovative and, and connecting the audience with, with progressive thinking and different clinical techniques than were present at the time.

[00:24:44] So again, I think in the communications world it was a pretty typical playbook. But the way we did it, it was more my tried and tested approach. Go to the biggest market we can find and see what they are doing. And yeah, that’s there was a procession of global speakers actually that we brought to the UK in a time where the NHS dominated, where major league speakers weren’t really coming to the UK. So we became well known for that attitude and the stakes were quite high. Payman So if we could get 600 people in the room all paying, we could afford it. But if we didn’t, obviously it was a typical business risk that that would end up hurting. So again, and it’s really something that played out many times over the years, us against our rivals. Our rivals just wouldn’t do it. It was too much of a risk where I would do it every day of the week if I could. And, you know, I’m a risk taker and want to push to the boundaries and it went really well.

[00:25:55] So when you look back to those events, the couple that spring to mind that I was at was there was a Larry one. Rosenthal one that was packed. It was completely packed. It was I’d never seen an event that big in the industry before. And then I remember one of those world aesthetic Congresses that just I can’t I don’t know how many people there were, but it was it was a two or three days or something, wasn’t it whack? Was it two days or three days?

[00:26:24] Two days, two days?

[00:26:26] And it was it was an expensive ticket. I remember thinking that’s like that’s a new price for a ticket at the time. And there was hands on. There was there was five rooms of hands. So on it was like it was something bigger than a standard kind of BCD conference that you might go to today. It was it was a big, big, big event with excellent, you know, a V, your staff uniform, did a good food little drink at the end. And, you know, there was a moment there where I remember thinking, you know, we’d started doing a few events here and there, and I was running around sweating. And I remember looking at you and you were just totally calm and cool during these events.

[00:27:10] Yeah.

[00:27:11] Thinking back to those days, what are some of the highlights in your head? I mean, those in my head.

[00:27:15] But I think we share those moments. So they were great times and my philosophy in people is invest in people, support your people and let them let them do their thing. So in those moments they ran the show and I was just there enjoying it. So that was terrific feeling mean. It was a great feeling to feel that we were leading the line in terms of original speakers and a little bit of sex appeal was a bit of showbiz was coming into the sector. That just wasn’t evident before. People were also obviously getting a buzz out of it, the delegates that is, and didn’t begrudge spending the money which was. Expensive for a day, but it was really a lovely yeah, it’s a great period of time and certainly in my development it was it was great to see the team that I’d put together, use their individual skills to make these things really special. And I think the more I got involved, the worse it would have become. So I just stood back and enjoyed it. Yeah, and that’s really how it works.

[00:28:21] Ken, would you say you said you’re a risk taker. But where do you think that comes from?

[00:28:28] I think in Scotland it’s quite a conservative country by nature. So those of us who who are a little bit more in are not many of us as a percentage. But if you if you want to really sort of self-selecting, if you want to move on or try something different, you have to just take risks. The markets are too small in most sectors in Scotland to get anywhere. And therefore I just think I just have a competitive appetite to push myself. And leaving home, leaving. I live in South Africa when I first came to Britain on my own. I’d just like to try really hard and it just becomes part of the territory. I don’t want to have a conservative easy life. I just don’t. I want to do the best I can do so. But why? Just think it’s an instinct. Payman.

[00:29:21] You know, I mean, was your dad in business or something?

[00:29:24] My dad is in business. Yeah, he he was in corporate life. He’s a director of a large international company. And then he founded our family business, which is still going to this day.

[00:29:37] What was that?

[00:29:38] It’s a hospitality, training and restaurant business based in Australia. So he is an entrepreneur, very corporate to start with, and then entrepreneur then it’s just something that we like having a go at things and just I think very competitive by nature, just an instinct. I mean, I still play sport to this day and sometimes I ask myself, why do I do it? And it’s not for the love of the sport. It’s just I just like the challenge and winning, if possible. Frequently, not frequently. Not winning, but I’ll always have a crack at it, and I always believe I will win even when I don’t. But it’s quite a shock to me when I trudge off a loser having thought I win to the very last minute. But yeah, I think it’s instinctive. I do.

[00:30:27] How important do you think that is? I mean, it’s weird because you can’t it hasn’t got weight. You can’t hold it. It’s not it’s not a it’s not a it’s not a tangible asset. Confidence is kind of what you’re saying, right? That sort of. But at the same time, it’s so super important when when you when you’re doing something, the idea that that sort of optimism is one way of putting it, but it’s more than that. It’s confidence that you’re going you’re going to win it. This thing. How important do you think that is to have that attitude before you start a thing, a venture of any sort? I mean, when when you guys said you’re going to do education, I can imagine you saying, okay, we’re going to win it this year. How important is that moment, that that moment when you think that.

[00:31:10] Well, I guess it’s pretty damn significant. You don’t think it, though? I mean, you just I mean, my mantra internally would be, we will approach this and we will give it our very, very best effort. And the belief is it will work. You know, that’s really how it goes. I suppose the Avis we try harder notion pretty much sticks with everything we do. You know, we try harder, but we like to think the idea was strong to start with. So if you marry a good idea with a lot of effort, it should work out well. And I’d go into pretty much everything thinking that.

[00:31:46] Yeah, but, but you know, the kind of person who has a good idea isn’t necessarily the kind of person who organises for, you know, massive effort and efforts. A funny word, but you know what I mean. The ops guy isn’t usually the same person as the ideas guy. So which one of you are you both? Were you the ideas guy?

[00:32:06] I’d say. I’m not very creative in my ideas are always pretty basic and likely to work and I take them from from the experts so I suppose I’ll put it into practise. You know, you mould it to the sector, but the idea is pretty damn obvious to start with. And I suppose I’m a practical thinker, not an original or creative thinking. So it didn’t take a rocket scientist to come up with the idea, but in order to make it work, you had to really graft. Yeah.

[00:32:39] Even even in the when I, when I pay attention to the way you guys operate in terms of the copy, when, when I say copy, I don’t mean the editorial copy. I mean, I don’t know. You’re trying to sell me something. Yeah, that that that never works. We’ll talk about that later. But but the copy, the follow up process, process wise, yeah. I’ve noticed over the years the people might have changed. There’s some now there’s some young kid doing something. Yeah, but the process is actually the same process as you are following before. It’s a tried and tested process. So you, the guy who sort of was the architect of that process and do you get involved in the very words themselves or or as they’re someone else? How how did it all come about this this this thing?

[00:33:35] Well, there’s about 40 of us in the business right now. And, no, I don’t get involved in the processes at all. And I don’t even understand them. I don’t really understand them, frankly. And I don’t, you know, a bit like you saw me at the conferences. I don’t really understand exactly what’s going on. Yeah. I mean, I really believe in people and try my best to support them and make sure that they can be the best of themselves. So if they’ve got the role of producing things, then they’ll make that process for themselves and and hopefully excel at it. I would say there is a fairly significant evolution there. I don’t quite know what it is, but it’s certainly more more digital and tech oriented than it used to be. A lot of it’s automated, whereas it never was before. But it’s really again, that that’s one of the reasons I think why we’ve managed to hang on in there as long as we have, is that the people really drive it through their own areas, not it’s not me and I just want to make sure that I keep them as upbeat as possible and support them as best I can so that they want to do that. And then it’s their effort and initiative rather than mine.

[00:34:50] Well, you’ve always attracted good people and kept good people, and I guess, you know, developed good people. What’s what’s what’s your view on recruitment and how do you pick these people? Where do you find them and what are you looking for when you’re hiring?

[00:35:04] Well, I think I mean, we’ve made many mistakes, too, but hopefully, on balance, the recruitment process works. But with your business payment to all businesses that survive, I think the essence of the business is its culture. And therefore the people coming in need to mould to that culture rather than the other way around. And, you know, that sort of drives itself and it moulds and develops people because they in order to fit in at FMC, you’ll have to try hard. You’ll have to be fairly accommodating of your of your peers and contemporaries, and therefore they become FMC people. I’d say that’s why the momentum continues to be good, because the ones that don’t fit you probably never got to know payment because it just didn’t work. The ones that do fit stay long term and and add to the culture and develop the business that way.

[00:36:03] But how much do you get involved in in I mean, at what level is Ken going to you’re going to meet Ken in an interview process.

[00:36:12] No. The answer to that? No, no, not.

[00:36:16] Even if you’re buying that, you’re getting yourself ahead of sales or something or you internally promote those guys.

[00:36:21] That guy’s been there for years. Yeah, but the. No, I mean, again, I mean, that’s really, I’m sure in practises across the country, certainly the ones I’ve met and what I do in my business too is it’s I just really back to people to make the decisions. So it’s no need for me to be there or to, to get involved in that and it doesn’t work very well in it. I’d be too strung out and meddling with people. People that in that work with me will will make their own decisions and hopefully get it right.

[00:36:59] Well, I mean, it’s interesting that, you know, you say culture. I find culture as a thing that just happens in a way. It’s like it’s such a buzz word, isn’t it? That’s sort of for me, though. The culture ends up being what it is. It’s I don’t go and sit there and say, Oh, I the culture here will be X and then make that happen. You know what I mean? I feel like it. It’s a reflection of who you are in a way.

[00:37:30] I think there’s a lot to be said for that, for sure. Yeah. I mean, I’m from I can still remember there’s early days of me sketching out how the company would look. And I am quite a planner in that sense and work ethic, you know, compatibility with one another, you know, going the extra mile, you know, trying to innovate on an ongoing and constant basis. They would be hallmarks from day one, I would say. And they still are, hopefully. And the people that fit the business will will work with those principles too.

[00:38:05] So I visited an office before your current office. The house.

[00:38:12] Yeah.

[00:38:13] Was that your first ever office or was there one before that as well?

[00:38:16] No, that was the first ever office. It was it was next to the funeral parlour, just across from Mill Hill. Broadway. Mill Hill. And. Yeah. And you know, you remember those first.

[00:38:29] You were bursting point when I first got there, so maybe that would have been.

[00:38:34] 2003 or something. We would have been happy to leave. I think 2000 won.

[00:38:42] You left in 2001?

[00:38:44] I believe so, yeah. I mean, the I had a picture in my mind’s eye of a basic rundown dilapidated office in the London postcode area. And that’s exactly what I got and that’s exactly what I wanted. And it really served us well. And I passed that office all the time. I have huge affection for it. The windows didn’t actually open at all and it was cheap and it served us really well. So yeah, that was lovely times there and it was a great triumph to leave though. And we bought our own offices in next to the Arsenal training ground in Hertfordshire and felt like we’d come of age, came in and we’re still there.

[00:39:28] And Ken, along the way you’ve sold this company and bought it back a couple of times.

[00:39:33] Yeah. I have. Well, as anybody who who set a business up knows, it’s a daunting process and you’re always in fear of it going pear shaped for whatever reason. And I’m no different to that. So basically we had a lot of success one day. I had four children at the time. I’ve still got four children, actually, but they were all under five and it’s very expensive and exhausting and all the things you get. And somebody offered me a significant amount of money out of the blue for what they thought was a burgeoning organisation. And in the moment I initially said we weren’t for sale as I read in the book, that’s what you’re supposed to say. And shortly afterwards I capitulated. But but it was really through fear, frankly. You don’t know what the future’s going to hold in store. And and I regretted that. Thankfully, I managed to stay in the company as an employee and did a management buyout the year later, which was an interesting exercise. And then I developed the business further. And a few years later, tragically, my dad died in Australia. As you know, running a business takes a lot of your time up and here we are 8:30 on a monday night and I felt very guilty that I let my dad down and that I hadn’t been there enough for him, even though he got on extremely well.

[00:41:02] And I thought to myself, I don’t need to put this level of effort in anymore. So I decided to sell the company again through an emotional connexion. And it was very, very sought after by the major media businesses in Britain at that time, and I didn’t think I’d ever come back payment. And then a few months after that I’d gotten over my dad’s passing and realised how much I regretted selling the company and was lucky enough to be able to repurchase it, which is where I am now. And that’s probably those two are regrets I have in business. You know, there’s no need to do that. You need to take a deep breath. You need to maybe go away for a bit. And which is what I did in my last tragedy, which, you know, you need to take a bit of time out that you don’t need to panic with the business. And I certainly learnt some lessons over the years this time.

[00:41:55] That was the time you sold to Springer Group, right?

[00:41:58] That’s correct, yes.

[00:42:00] So the process of selling to a giant organisation like that, though, I mean, that’s that’s a proper you must have gotten corporate finance people. I mean, they don’t buy companies quickly, do they. They kind of do do all their due diligence. And all that was it was it was a purposeful process. It wasn’t like someone just made you an offer you decided to sell.

[00:42:20] Yeah, it was a calculated process on my part.

[00:42:24] But I don’t think it was. Once you’d sold it, you felt like you made an error.

[00:42:28] Well, as I do in most things, it was a process, so I thought about it. Enlisted corporate finance. As you say, we did a beauty parade. It was all it was all planned and organised. And I’m delighted to say that nearly every major media business was interested in us at that point. And we finally sold to Springer, which is a multi-billion dollar organisation based in Berlin as a headquarters, but they’re all over the world. But the. Yeah, and quite frankly, I mean it was a, it was a seamless exercise. It just just went exactly like we’d hoped and planned. And it was a smooth process, actually. It’s only afterwards when you realise you’ve got nothing to do and no real purpose that you realise maybe that was a little premature and I’m much happier now.

[00:43:22] I fully understand the derisking thing that you’re talking about because a lot of times the business you’re teetering on the edge of becoming a multi-millionaire or becoming bankrupt at the same time is kind of a weird, weird feeling in business that you have because like you say, you take another risk even even even when things go very, very well, you can ruin it all with a very, very big risk. That was miscalculated. Right. So I do get that that sort of idea of sort of de-risk take some money off the table. But but I’ve never sold the company, so I don’t know how it feels. So is it that cliche thing that people talk about? Is that what it was that you felt empty and all that? And if it was, why didn’t you do something else? Like, why didn’t you open a restaurant or something? I know you’re not a restaurant guy, but you know. You know what I mean? Why? Why the same business again? Because you loved it so much.

[00:44:14] Well, the interesting thing there is I actually started multiple businesses after leaving.

[00:44:20] Oh, you did? Yeah. Go on.

[00:44:22] I realised how incapable I was at that over the course of some years. So you go back to what you’re good at? Yes. I’d had a lot of success and I enjoyed it a lot. I really do enjoy what I do. I mean, I have a lot of social time within the industry. You know, the great awards nights are great fun and and I missed all of that and I always had fairly good earnings as well. Over the years the company’s been been well positioned and profitable for a quarter of a century. But but I didn’t need much of anything and my life was just a lot more dull. So I started up by businesses. You know, some of them are still going, but.

[00:45:08] What would you call them? What did you do?

[00:45:11] Well, I started a. If you’ve ever.

[00:45:15] Heard of me.

[00:45:16] Pimlico Plumbers.

[00:45:19] Yeah.

[00:45:20] I didn’t start that. But I looked at the model really carefully and I decided to start a company called the London Tree Company.

[00:45:28] A tree surgery, I remember.

[00:45:29] Which is it was branded tree surgery for the the London brand, whereas much like Pimlico Plumbers did that for Up-Market London, that’s really where we’re going. We had contracts with Wembley Stadium and other aristocrats in the area, so but I realised how dangerous it was. The idea actually did work very well but it was a hell of a danger. So I decided to get out of that and on it goes. There’s a number of different things. I did an advertising agency, a PR company, some other things, and they were unfulfilling for me. I think for the people I was working with, it worked quite well and I’m very happy to that. But for me it wasn’t, quite frankly, I wasn’t a significant in what I was doing as the experiences that I’d enjoyed within the dentistry world. And and I really yearned for that without even realising it.

[00:46:25] Over the years, Ken Phelps’s had some stick over awards. Sometimes, I don’t know. You’re probably not part of the Facebook groups that I’m reading where these things come up, but I’m sure someone’s pointed it out to you where people worry about what’s it? What is it? They were, they weren’t. They worry about who says this practise is the most innovative practise or that that whole thing that people worry about with awards.

[00:46:53] Yeah, well, there’s a lot of Chinese whispers and talking in the corridors about it, and I understand that they really understand it just out of interest. The idea came from the media industry where FMC has been a regulator as well. We’ve entered the awards. We believe in the notion of being judged by our peers and and it’s a great feeling and uplifting for an enthusiastic business to get that accolade. And so we believe in the notion of it. So I introduce it to the industry because of that. And I knew the impact it could have on someone with, with, with a mentality to, to want to be appreciated, if you like, and to learn. And I realised also when we entered the Media Industry Awards that when you have to look at the entry forms and actually put down what you have actually achieved and what your standards are, then it does. Sometimes it’s quite an illustrative experience experiment where you think.

[00:48:03] Holds a mirror up to you, doesn’t.

[00:48:04] He? Yeah, that’s a great way of saying it. Payman You think we’re not as good in that as I thought we were? We need to try a bit harder to. I believe the process is one that benefits whoever does it, and I don’t care how good people are. If you really are looking holding the mirror up to your face and really examining the creases and cracks in your face, you might take some more action and maybe stay out of the sun a little bit more. But the you know, you learn from from the experience then then I mean, as you say, I hardly do any social media, I’m glad to say. But the I do hear time to time and people are entitled to their opinions. It’s absolutely fine. I go to these occasions, not always, but usually I go to the awards nights, the ecstasy on people’s faces and the practise enjoyment that they get. It’s just lovely to be part of and people enjoying their work and they’re their colleagues and enjoying the success that they feel they’re getting is lovely to be part of. And I feel quite. Listening for them, then I know the process as well. It’s where the zealots for making sure the process is above board. Several times. I mean, many, many times, to be honest. I’ve heard people saying if you don’t buy a table, you don’t win, and all that sort of stuff.

[00:49:32] And where does that come from? Well, I mean.

[00:49:34] But I think it’s just a misunderstanding. I mean, people just guessing that’s the case. And maybe a few people quite enjoy putting us down and stuck sticking that into the mix. And I’ve certainly seen that on LinkedIn and other things where people, some of whom have got a significant amount of influence, will see those sorts of things to try and do us down or get some sort of competitive advantage. They think it’s a shame though, because we don’t do that. And if anybody, for example, was to turn up to the private industry awards judging day, when something like 38 different luminaries from the sector are there poring through for hours on end the different submissions they’ve received, and if there’s any conflict of interest, they have to eliminate themselves and so on and so forth. It’s a it’s a tough process to do these things. And at the end of the day, Payman, you know, does the practise is it definitely the most innovative practise in Britain? Probably not. However, it will have tried hard and it will have innovated and it will have have progressed itself. And therefore, if they’re getting a positive reaction for that, I think is a great thing. There’s really no no harm done by it. And.

[00:50:55] Well well, I think we do need to in order to understand this. Yeah, we do need to separate the sort of the ridiculousness from the what could possibly a reasonable person be worried about this? Yeah. So the ridiculousness. I totally agree with you. I mean, the notion that you would try and fix this event from a from a business perspective is a complete, ridiculous idea. Why would you bother with that? It makes total sense for you, for the organisation organising the event to have nothing to do with picking the winner. Just it just does that, that separation just makes much more sense financially for a business. If profit is your only motive even. Yeah, but I guess what people are saying is something around patients. You know, patients are being misled by practises claiming they’re the best, whatever, be best young dentist, London or whatever. What do you say to that? I mean, I don’t even want you to refute it. I want I want you to understand it.

[00:51:56] Yeah. And I think if professionals are intent and hell bent on exaggerating their skill set to people and making a deal of it, they’ll do it. And the Instagram’s awash with such things and self-appointed experts or whatever that type of immoral approach happens, whether we do anything about it or not. If the guys win it through us or girls win it through us, well, at least they’ve gone through a rigorous judging process. And in the case of young dentists, there’ll be it’s probably the most popular area there is to enter. So in order to win in that area, you have to work very, very hard at your submission, if nothing else, and fooled a lot of people who are experienced and focussed on making the right decisions. So yeah, I mean we, we can’t go in everything and ensure that, that it’s, it’s the best it can possibly be. We do our, our utmost to, to judge it appropriately and zealously. And anybody that knows David Houston, for example, is a hell of a guy that cares the private industry awards. Nothing gets through that net unless it’s complied with every single thing that we can put their way. And as I say, if people want to be unscrupulous about anything and lie and cheat, they can.

[00:53:25] And they’re probably wrong for lying and cheating. I mean, they on their website say winner of London’s best young dentist, that’s not lying or cheating.

[00:53:34] That’s no. Well, if they’re one, then they’ve got through a rigorous process payment. And one suspects that in order to fool that many people, if that’s what they’ve done in other ways, either they are a very good dentist and they did win it and therefore they deserve that accolade because they did or they’ve duped a whole lot of people to get the accolade in the first place, if you see what I mean. I mean.

[00:53:55] I agree with you. Look in so much as far as the harm this might be doing. Yeah. When, when I walk past a curry house in, in Manchester and it says winner of the Curry of the year, whatever. I don’t think to myself this is the best. In the world. Yeah. Don’t I think. Well, this must be kind of a good curry because he’s won something. Yeah. Yeah, I think what the, the sort of the criticism that people level is that patients are in a, in a in a situation where, you know, they it’s a more important decision than than my curry. And they’re in a situation where they haven’t got any information at all or enough information because it’s a scientific subject and it’s a different lingo and all of that. And so patients come to rely on this instead of relying on other variables. But the thing is, you know, what other variables? What else is there a sensible person, if they’re going to find a new dentist, will talk to a friend who’s been they get a recommendation, right? That’s the right thing to do.

[00:55:00] Well, I say I mean they go through a rigorous process to Yeah.

[00:55:05] To withdraw the award in the first.

[00:55:06] Place and one surmises that the people that really aren’t up to it wouldn’t enter in the first place. It is a little self-selecting. That’s how it works in media as well. We don’t bother putting some of our things into the publishing wards. We know it’s not going to win, it’s not good enough. But some things we do think are good and we’ll self-select the best elements we have and sometimes we don’t enter, you know? So I feel that goes on to the other side of it is, is, yeah, you know, people will go on a myriad of different routes to make the decisions trustpilot and all sorts of other things. I don’t even know what they do, but you know, it’s a free country.

[00:55:46] I think it’s interesting as someone who who who would want to put themselves up for an award, it’s there’s a lot of downside here because unless you win. You didn’t win. So know you have to have respect for let’s say ten people put themselves up for best practise north or whatever it is, whichever the category is. Nine of those people are not going to win that and they’re going to go through the process and not win. And so the winner does deserve something, you know, some accolade there in beating those nine. But but for me, taking the risk in the first instance to even go into that thing, knowing that the chances are you’re not going to win it, you know, that that’s that’s the important thing. Let’s go on to the other controversial thing, which I think was your idea, right? The top 50. Was that your idea? Ken’s own idea. It was a bit controversial, too. Yeah. Do you understand the reasons for that?

[00:56:47] Yeah, I understand the reasons for it, and I also understand the level of misunderstanding that it throws up every year. And people believe they understand the process and they don’t. And somebody’s grandmother sister told them, this is what happens. And, you know, it’s not that at all. And then and then obviously, you guys on social media, you know, love throwing, you know, ridiculous notions out there about it. You know, some some people do. Anyway, the the reality of the history of that just, you know, was the Sunday Times. Yeah. The most popular edition of the Sunday Times annually is The Rich List. So I was inspired by that. I saw I was fascinated by it. And, and, and then I thought, well, how could we do that within our sector? You know, and I thought through a few areas and then I came up with a brainwave. I say that slightly sarcastically, the naive notion that we would just ask the dental world to vote for who they figure was having the best or most significant impact. And we could create a list through that. And I naively believe that to be an irrefutable way forward after two or three years. And I would always meet the person who came out top and it was it started off a few hundred people. It ended up being thousands and thousands of votes. It became probably the most popular thing in the dental media all year with that list. Love it or loathe it.

[00:58:22] Anyway, everyone’s going to read the list, aren’t they? Every that day your website gets the most hits or whatever they do. You mention also.

[00:58:31] Payman. You know, to a certain extent our job is to create audience and to create, you know, traction with people. You know, people can take from it what they will. But we need to build as big an audience as we can, and we want to do it appropriately. But if some people don’t like it, it’s not not a disaster for us, frankly, anyway, the I must say the funny side of it. So I would take the winner of the list to lunch every year. I mean, they probably didn’t even want to do it with me, but they usually go along with it anyway. So I remember meeting one of the winners in the early years, and I believe in this list 100% at that point in time. And then over lunch, the person who obviously shall remain nameless said to me, Yeah, I worked really hard to get that. I said, You worked hard. How did you do that? I said, Well, I spoke to as many people and wrote to as many people as I could to generate the the and I had no idea that this was going on. And it became evident to me that it was corruptible. And frankly, that wasn’t used to me at that point. I thought before that it was just an innocent sort of reaction from people. So we’ve been evolving it ever since and trying to to cut out the sort of people using, you know, IP addresses from abroad and all sorts of stuff that goes on and lobbying and all sorts of stuff. And at least as it stands today, payment, I believe it’s out very shortly. We actually.

[01:00:02] Am I on it but.

[01:00:03] You you you might be. I’ve not been to the office for many months. For all I know you are on it. I might as well.

[01:00:12] We should do though. You should. You should, you should. You should make your own note. Did you used to do this? That was it. Like there was the top 50 and then these were the next 50 GS to do that?

[01:00:23] Yeah, I think we did do that.

[01:00:25] We expanded out, make 50 more people happy as well, you.

[01:00:28] Know what I mean? Well, we meant well, but now, now just for the record payment and I’m quite happy to say this to the however many hundred people listen to it, but the the the one coming out shortly is, is really it’s our view as dentistry where where we spend our lives listening, watching, seeing who’s creating an impact, seeing who’s coming through. We mean well. And there is no ranking in the list anymore. It’s 50 people who we feel have made a big impact, some mostly for good reasons, some through infamy. But but the idea of the list now is, oh, is it changed?

[01:01:09] It’s not a it’s not a voted thing.

[01:01:11] Well, people can vote, which gives us some currency to look at. But the editorial board and the office, I mean, I’m not part of it, but the office themselves sit down and think about whether payment Langroudi should be on that list or not. And I don’t know Payman I actually have no idea. As usual in my life, I don’t know what who’s on the list, but I know, I know the positioning of it is, is, is around some fireworks going on is is who’s made an impact. And it’s 50 people who we believe deserve to be recognised for having that impact. And if anyone’s going to criticise it, they can say it directly to us because we’ve picked it. We’ve been helped by people out there in the UK saying We think this person, we think that person and they voted. But but we’re making it clear that it’s it’s not just the list. It’s not just about it.

[01:02:06] I mean, can any time you do anything significant, there’s going to be some sort of unintended consequence of that. It’s just you just take that for granted once you get.

[01:02:15] Your head above the parapet. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:02:18] Even even a simple, I don’t know, a simple performance related pay scheme that I put in for my sales people in. In the end, that itself produces some unintended consequence. Sure. And then you try and address that and then it produces a new identity because like anything you do does have an unintended consequence sometimes in media. I guess one of the things is that you’ve got you’ve got a lot of people who feel like they can attack it. You know, that’s I guess.

[01:02:49] Exactly. And I suppose if you’re trying really hard, you’ll have a few more people having a puppet you than than if you didn’t. I mean, there are media out there that I never hear people complaining about anything they do, and I don’t seek it. But if people are making a deal, if the industry 50 list is not necessarily a bad thing payment and I know our heart is in the right place, we’re trying to help and I think generally speaking it does have a positive impact and that’s as good as we can do, but we can’t always get it 100% right. But we’ll try our best, but also to innovate. You know, the old thing about let’s do some market research, let’s ask people what they want. They don’t know what they want. We have to take a gamble and and.

[01:03:35] I’d say that was a very successful gamble. Is it can.

[01:03:38] Yeah.

[01:03:39] Mostly, yeah. Tell me about mistakes you’ve made and things you would have done differently. You undersold it twice.

[01:03:48] Yeah, they’re the biggest mistakes. I thought about that over the last night when I was considering this podcast. I didn’t need to do that. I lost a few years of my life in the wilderness as a consequence and actually Payman in a candid note, when I wasn’t in the sector doing, you know, I worked pretty hard and I don’t go to the office anymore, but I’m still working all the time. It is I wasn’t as purposeful in life in general and the consuming world that I live in with this small organisation that I’ve developed, it takes a lot of concentration and is a good thing for me as a human being. I think so. I do. It’s the biggest mistake I made. I don’t regret it, but it was a mistake for sure. No need for that.

[01:04:36] What would you say? What would you say is your biggest weakness as an operator?

[01:04:41] I’d say. It helped me hugely through my career, but I’m a hell of a tolerant guy.

[01:04:50] I’m the weakness.

[01:04:51] Yeah. I’m the most tolerant guy I know. Now, you imagine being in the same job for 78 years or something like that. Payman If you’re if you’re a very, very tolerant person, as I would say I am, then that that can that can cause trouble. It typically works, but it’s it’s you know, it can’t be construed as a weakness.

[01:05:14] No, you’re right. I mean, a lot of times your biggest strength is your biggest weakness as well. Yeah. You know, you could say, hey, I’m a kind guy, but then two kind in work doesn’t work either, does it? Yeah, that’s the thing.

[01:05:26] So I’d say that. Yeah.

[01:05:28] I want to talk about what you think is going to be the future of dentistry and the sort of the short to medium term. You’ve got a unique sort of position if you’ve watched it, do what it’s done in the last 25 years.

[01:05:43] I’m really excited. Payment for the sector. I’m really excited. I think if you look at the per capita spend on dentistry in UK compared to Germany, compared to Spain, compared to Italy, compared to France, we are way down. I know that the NHS has played a significant role in that, but I believe that the population is prepared to invest more heavily in dentistry and that throws up huge opportunities for for dentists and dental professionals. And training is going to play a huge part in that. Skill development is going to play a huge part in that learning and listening to the innovations. But, you know, it’s just it’s a really exciting place to be. When I look at my children, all of whom are in their twenties, they all have dental work in progress. They’re all their peer group. Their friendship group has. And I think me at that age and my friendship group, we weren’t doing anything in that area. And it’s and they love it and they’re enjoying these developments. And I think there’s so much to be excited about in terms of of private and cosmetically oriented dentistry. There’s a huge demand I know the Conservatives are in in terms of type of person. I don’t particularly like that notion, but I think consumer demand is massive for that and appropriately done and ethically done. You know, dentists can help even more people be more happy and more confident in life than ever. And there’s good revenue to be had there too, if done really well.

[01:07:24] See, can I get where you’re coming from? Regarding, I don’t know. A waitress in a bar was, was, was offering me a drink and she was wearing Invisalign. Yeah. And, and that’s a £4,000 treatment or whatever it is. And you’re right, 25 years ago, no waitress was spending £4,000 on her teeth. No way at all. But you grew up a bit in South Africa and you recognise what I’m saying about in some countries because there hasn’t been an NHS or for whatever reason it’s clear people save up for their teeth or they buy insurance for their teeth or you know, that people think I’m going to have to spend money on braces for my child. It’s in the culture, it’s there. Whereas here that you feel like, you know, it translates the fact that that waitress is buying the cosmetic thing. Do you feel like now we’re at a sort of inflexion point where more of the population will will actually think that I’m going to save up for my teeth? Absolutely. You know, we’re not there in health care and I actually don’t want it to get there in health care necessarily. But in dental, you think there is that inflexion can happen?

[01:08:39] That is my take on it and the research that we do amongst the profession to ascertain what are the trends, what are you being asked to do more of, what are people coming in and asking for all points towards that as well? There’s going to be geographic differences and variances for sure. But I was in Edinburgh yesterday, my daughter’s at Edinburgh University and you know, the brighter, whiter Smile was very much in evidence there. And I went to school in Edinburgh too for a bit and it wasn’t, it wasn’t evident then, but the I can assure you, and I feel that there’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world, in Britain and everywhere about, you know, after the pandemic. And it’s going to be terrible and things are going to go back. And I don’t see it. I just think that I’m very excited about what’s going to happen in UK dentistry over the next few years and see me through my career. I believe that it’s going to be higher up the priority list in the population and you know, there’s great opportunities for dental professionals and media for that matter in that development and I can’t see any other options. I can’t see going the other way.

[01:09:46] I mean, one thing we can be clear on overall. Covid was very good for the professional. It’s a weird thing to say, but it’s true. And so you’ve been through how many recessions now? 2001, 2008? There was one before that, wasn’t there? You’ve been through you’ve watched the profession go through three recessions, at least. And if there is one around the corner, what’s your view? What’s your what’s your advice to young? I mean, there’s going to be some dentists who’ve never seen recession, right?

[01:10:20] Yeah.

[01:10:21] Well, as a profession, we seem to fare okay in a recession. Do you agree?

[01:10:26] I’ve not seen the same major problems in dentistry the whole time I’ve been in the sector. Yeah, frankly, I mean, we hear in the national media, but dentistry has never been particularly hard hit. It’s as far as I’m aware. And my thinking in terms of young dentistry going forward is the diversification of offering. So segment the local community into different types and target those different groups rather than specialising in one element is to offer, you know, the older people such as myself our type of care, the younger 20 something group, a different type of care and so on and so forth. So by segmenting the options, I’m just convinced that there’s a fantastic ethical and business model for young dentistry better than there ever was. And more satisfying to the amount of dentists that’s spoken to me is that, you know, I still much prefer the way it is now because I can implement skill set skill levels that when I just used to do NHS dentistry I just couldn’t do and it’s much more fulfilling, is nice to hear. So I think it’s a blend of that, but I think it’s, it’s very good times ahead.

[01:11:40] When at the end of our time can. I do want to talk about Kimberly, your co-founder, your wife in many ways the heart and soul of FMC, who was taken by COVID, one of the first UK citizens to be taken by COVID before the first lockdown.

[01:12:00] Yeah.

[01:12:03] Was losing her meant to the to the company and then with the family, the kids and all that.

[01:12:10] Yeah. I mean, losing Kimberly was an absolute. In a disaster for us in every element of her life, business, personally, the children and so on. Her memory lives on, though. You know, we talked about culture earlier in our Kimberleys. Culture runs right through the middle of that business to this day. It’s a very generous, very creative individual. And, you know, we still are inspired by that on an ongoing basis, you know, and I think that like it would with me, I think payment, you know, if I was to to pass away tomorrow, I think the business would be fine for the fullness of time. But the the it’s hard the children very, very hard. She’s terribly missed. And the there’s not much more you can say but in the business and what we do there, I think her effect will be there for the long term. One of the things I’m very proud of, though, you were a great support of this payment. Many, many people were. Is that in communities memory, we managed to raise a significant amount of money and her memory has has has meant that we’ve been able to purchase a significant bus for Dent Aid, which will have Kimberly’s name on the front of it and will help homeless people, people that need dental treatment across the country for many, many years to come as well. And that’s very comforting for me and the children, the people at FMC as well, that that.

[01:13:51] Kimberly’s.

[01:13:52] In essence of her, we’ll be driving around the country helping people as she did when she was alive.

[01:14:02] I’m sure she’ll be missed. I’m sure she’ll be missed. She really was a life force. Was. That, as I say, the first person I met at FMC. Yeah. And, you know, I hope your kids are managing. We end it with the same questions every time can. You open your mind to some fancy dinner party? Three guests. Dead or alive?

[01:14:33] Dead or alive? Well, you mentioned him earlier. A huge power in the world. Spiritual force. Gandhi. I think spending time with someone like that would be amazing and inspiring and. That’s that’s something I also really enjoy and enjoyed. I don’t know if he’s if he’s on as much as he used to be. There’s a rabbi called Jonathan Sacks, who and.

[01:15:01] Another rabbi, Radio four.

[01:15:04] And again, I just love the thinking. I love the the way the way he sees things. And any time with wise people of that nature, it’s just. Inspiring. And the third one would be I’ll just take Kimberly back for that moment. And she’s such a humorous, wise, fun, energetic, lovely person to be around. I think we’d have it nailed with those three.

[01:15:38] Perhaps. Final question. On your deathbed. Three pieces of advice for your loved ones.

[01:15:47] Well, I felt like I’ve been there, but I managed to get away with it. But I’m still I’m still here. So. So the mantras that I try to preach to my kids are you. Be you. Just be yourself, but be the best of yourself. So make sure you just leave your imprint. A favourite one for me. Payman. Which again obviously I do talk to my kids all the time and as a single parent is really key at this time to do that. But the I don’t like the notion of worry at all either. Don’t worry about anything. Take action where the problems are. And lastly and obviously I’ve had the pain, as we all have in life, losing people and so on, and just love the people around you and love the day you’re in because you never know what’s going to happen. So make sure you show them and enjoy them. And even in yourself, make sure that day is a winner and you take a lot from it because we all take things for granted and there’s no such thing as perpetuity. So we need to make it make it work.

[01:17:06] Well, that’s lovely, man. Ken, thank you so, so much for doing this. You one of the biggest inspirations in my career. You continue to be as well. I really, really enjoyed that conversation very much. And thank you. Thank you for being so open about everything.

[01:17:24] It’s a pleasure payment and about that art deal that we’re talking about.

[01:17:28] Yeah, yeah. Find me on that. Yeah.

[01:17:34] Make sure that I got you say yes. You said a clear yes there.

[01:17:40] Yeah.

[01:17:41] Well, thanks for having me on payment. It’s been great. And you know, I’ve got everything to thank the dental world for and I have a great life and lots of, you know, I enjoy myself as much as I can. And in my work time and my evenings with with the with the profession and is everything to me. So it’s great to be featured.

[01:18:02] Absolutely, man. Real inspiration. But thank you. Thank you so much for doing this.

[01:18:08] 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.

[01:18:24] 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.

[01:18:38] 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. And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Adam Naughton is one of the thousands of dental students whose academic life was rudely interrupted by the COVID pandemic.

In his fourth year of study, he’s yet to get hands-on with impressions, crowns, root canal and other treatments.

But that hasn’t stopped Andrew from putting his name out there and finding his niche on social media early on. His Positive Smile Club Instagram channel pitches five questions on dentistry, mindset and self-development to both new and established names in the profession.

Adam chats about dental school, his Instagram channel and hopes for the future, and reveals his own answers to Positive Smile Club’s five questions.

Enjoy!        

 

In This Episode

02.38 – Being a dental student

07.14 – COVID

10.19 – Backstory

14.29 – Instagram

16.03 – Why dentistry

19.22 – Content creation

25.25 – Mindset and self-development

27.27 – Five questions

38.11 – Soft skills

42.28 – Black box thinking

46.44 – Dental school

55.01 – Positive Smile Club

01.00.57 – Inspiration and specialisation

01.08.46 – Last days and legacy

01.11.45 – Fantasy dinner party

01.14.17 – TikTok

 

About Andrew Naughton

Andrew Naughton is a fourth-year dental student at the University of Leeds’ School of Dentistry.  He runs the Positive Smile Club Instagram channel.

[00:00:00] And I think for me as a student now and obviously for even for the next ten years, I’m a young dentist and longer than that. But the amount that it’s opened my eyes to the world outside the dental school and bonded on days and by or by dentistry and just like it’s it’s absolutely ridiculous. And even just the little hints and tips you get, like inverting the rubber dam how to do a floss, floss tie. Like, you know, I just love it and all these things, you know, because it’s not that dental school doesn’t teach you dentistry. Well, I think for a little while I was kind of in that mindset that like the dental school doesn’t know what they’re doing and obviously they obviously do. But there’s just stuff that happens in the real world that dental school you can’t do or it doesn’t happen. And it’s nice to just have an appreciation and an understanding of that to prepare yourself for when you do get that.

[00:00:57] 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.

[00:01:15] It gives me great pleasure to welcome Adam Lawson onto the podcast. Adam has the questionable honour of being the first ever Dental student on this podcast. Hopefully we’ll get some more going later on. Adam’s come on to my radar because of his positive small club content that he puts on Instagram where he’s actually been interviewing some of the top people around himself. But what I really love about his content and your content, Adam, is, you know, it’s very sort of bite size. It kind of hits the questions, kind of the opposite of this show of where where were you born or whatever it goes and gets right to the point, you know. And it’s actually it’s one of my favourite pages. I actually go to it whenever whenever I see it, I definitely pay attention to it. So I just want to talk to you about that, but also about what it’s like to be a dental student today, particularly with COVID as well. Another another another angle on it. Welcome to the show. But, you.

[00:02:20] Know, thank you so much for having and I really appreciate that that feedback and the idea I have masses of I guess imposter syndrome right now being the first student but also really excited. And you know, as I said, I listen to this podcast religiously, so to be to be on it is amazing. So thank you for the invite.

[00:02:38] My pleasure. Really. My pleasure. So tell me about. I know we normally start with where were you born and all that, but what’s it like right now to be a dental student? What’s what’s what what are some of what’s what’s on your radar? I know you’re not a typical dental student because you seem connected to a lot of dentists already. But what was going through your head?

[00:02:59] It’s difficult. I mean, I’m in my fourth year now and I speak to the rest of the people on my. Yeah. And we’re all kind of of the opinion that we’re behind where previous fourth years would be. I mean if I give myself as an example, I’ve taken no impressions on patients, I’ve never done a crown, I’ve never done a root canal, I’ve done no dentures, I’ve done three fillings. So, you know, I think we’re all feeling fairly behind and we’re all expecting a very difficult and intense final year because, you know, the usual three or four years of clinical experience that you get are all being squeezed into that final year. And the uni kind of like shoving you out the door and then you’re the the PhD practises problem and I can’t say that for every dental student in every university, but I have, I do speak to some of the students at other universities and they are also experiencing similar things.

[00:03:50] Is the university got a plan in place for giving you more experience in the final year or not? You an idea?

[00:03:58] I mean, because we start outreach soon. Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to be too difficult on them because they are in a difficult situation. But, you know, we haven’t you know, we haven’t got afternoon or evening clinics or weekend clinics and we haven’t been told. But yeah, I think for the for the yeah. Below me they’ve actually started on clinic and some of them in the, some of the people in the block kind of getting ahead of people in our Yeah. That people are getting a little bit miffed about but I think, I guess they have to get it back to normal at some point. And I think I guess our year and the year above really the years that have been the worst affected.

[00:04:32] Yeah. So exactly how much did you miss. I mean talk me through it. Tell me through when, when, when lockdown happened, you guys went home. Was the university equipped? Obviously was wasn’t equipped to give you online lectures yet, was it or did it do that straight away?

[00:04:49] No. Yeah, of course. The outside, they were fairly quick to act, I think. So. Obviously, lockdown hit in March and that may be March to the end of that year to July. We didn’t do a hell of a lot, but Pulse starts in third year and we were back in Leeds, I was back based in uni and we were going in for labs. We had maybe one or two half days of labs a week and then we were given online lectures, online exercises. But I guess the main thing is the examinations have been different, so we haven’t had an in-person exam since first year and now in fourth year. And I think, you know, you can imagine the differences between an in-person exam where it’s being invigorated and one at home where no one’s watching. You can use your notes and the uni knows that we’re using our notes. So I think the level of understanding as well and the kind of exams and the stress of that for sure to learn.

[00:05:39] So what happens? They send you the paper and you can in your own time do I think we’ve just answer it without any of.

[00:05:46] The usually time the usually time time limit it assessment so it’s it’s an hour or two but up to now, all of them, it’s kind of been fair play to to use all the resources. So, you know, I think you kind of know for your own sanity going forward that if you’ve coasted all the way up till now, you’re going to have a really difficult fifth final, which you’re going to be on your arse a little bit, but it’s definitely possible to have done that.

[00:06:11] Uh, is anyone feeling as if you are passing?

[00:06:15] I think that. Well, well, it’s been very difficult to fail so far, but I think in the next year for finals, obviously finals have to be invigorated. You have to be up to a certain standard. Yeah, that’s what we’re all not kind of worried about. But it’s yeah, it’s definitely there’s definitely concern that people are not reaching the totals. People, if they are reaching the totals or maybe not feeling confident in themselves to go out and be a good PhD. And you know, but I guess the more I speak to PhDs and graduate dentist is kind of the thing that people say about passing your driving test is that you learn to drive once you’ve passed your driving test.

[00:06:51] So it’s true, but it’s true it over worry yourself. You worry yourself because you know, in the first month of PhD, you end up one ends up doing more clinical dentistry than the five years before. So it’s the same it was that, that that feeling was there for all of us. I get why you’ve got a bigger problem than the rest of us who didn’t have COVID. Tell me while we’re on the subject of COVID. Socially. What’s it meant? I mean, I’ve been thinking this question quite a lot. Yeah. Like who’s been worst affected socially and clearly your group. I mean, I remember thinking, God damn, if I was in Union Year one or two or three, it would just break my heart.

[00:07:36] Yeah. No, I mean my year. Luckily we so we kicked off towards the end of second year. So we had a full freshers year. We had quite a lot of second year. But I think the main thing it’s kind of done is really kind of when I was at the dental school, when I first started, it felt like the whole dental school was together the first years, the fifth year, second year everyone knew each other. And now because basically the first year and the second year is, you know, some of them. I mean, I think they have some of them haven’t even stepped foot in the dental school because if you’re not in if you’re not in labs and you’re not in clinic, there’s no lectures anymore. No one kind of knows each other. And I think that’s been the main impact is that and also it leads what used to happen is the second year is used to assist the fourth years, the third year used to assist the fifth year. So everyone knew each other through that as well. So I think that is kind of sad and obviously then it affects the social element in terms of like when you go out over the years kind of stick to each other because people know less people in the other years.

[00:08:29] Yeah.

[00:08:29] And obviously you learn from each other as well.

[00:08:31] You haven’t been able to go out as much. Right. And uni, that’s a big factor in your life where you want to. You know, it’s funny because it’s not. Yeah, it’s not, it’s not only about going out and getting drunk and all of that, you know, you find yourself in those, in those moments, right? I mean if you if you put your mind back to when you were 15 year old and then when you were a 17 year old, and then when you’re a 19 year old, there’s re-invention happening in each of those moves. And the one at uni is almost the most important one, isn’t it? Because you can literally reinvent to whoever else, whoever you want it to be, but if you haven’t had the opportunity, that’s tough, man. It’s tough. That said, difficult. That said, I was talking to different people. I was thinking about my parents. You know, the end of their life they’ve got every day is super precious. And yet two years have been taken away. And I was wondering about this question and you know, who’s worse off? And we’re all valley of whatever. And I spoke to one of my customers and she said she’s got a two year old baby. And she said, oh, he’s ever known his covered from the day he’s been born. He’s seen masks, you know, and you think, what’s that going to do to to to that baby?

[00:09:48] Of course. Yeah, 100%. And almost, you know, we almost kind of felt a little bit privileged as as dental students. And the fact that during COVID, we were still able to go into the building they still put on, you know, the older years were in clinics. We were still in labs. We were still able to see maybe 15 to 20 people. Some of our friends, as everyone else at the uni was told to go home, don’t come in. And all of that work was online. So, you know, we were hit, but, you know, we were a little bit lucky in some ways as well.

[00:10:19] Tell me about Buddy. Take me back to childhood. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? What kind of kid?

[00:10:24] We so I grew up in Bury North Manchester. I had, you know, and obviously I had to fill in this this question was coming from less than. But, you know, I did I had a really loving, supportive childhood. I think I was quite a gifted child. And I think in my own head was growing up a little bit more because I didn’t go to the best schools. So, you know, there wasn’t many kids who academically or, you know, picking things up were at the same level as me, who had the same aspirations of me. So, you know, I think it gave me actually gave me a lot of confidence in terms of like if I put my mind to something, I can do it and, you know, have big aspirations and, you know, you’re kind of more able than the other kid. So, you know, you can do stuff and do do something with your life. So, you know, I didn’t see it as a particularly bad thing.

[00:11:11] Wow. How young were you when you first thought that? Thought probably like.

[00:11:16] I can imagine. I can remember. Sorry, in like year one, like knowing like my whatever two or three times tables quicker than the other kids. And we used to like play games against each other. Who can get the answer fastest? And I think really I did clock like, you know. Yeah.

[00:11:30] And which kid are you? Are you the oldest faster. The youngest. Youngest. So did you get like.

[00:11:36] Yes, I’ve got I’ve got one sister.

[00:11:38] Did you get like positive feedback from your parents? Like, you know, with with parents, you sort of you start pigeonholing your kids, you say, oh, he’s the clever one. And then the kid sees that and then, you know, decides it’s going to be more clever and try harder. As you say, she’s the funny one or he’s the sporty one. Did your parents support that? Was it did it go on the agenda? He’s an achiever.

[00:12:01] I think possibly. I think that that could be the case. I mean, my sister, she just she qualified as a dentist. Oh, really? But she was more the hard worker. So we both ended up really getting the same grades in the end. But I was always the smart one and she was the one who had to absolutely graft and. Like You cannot teach us. But the teachers loved her. She did her homework. She spent hours up in a room doing work while I was kind of stuck playing on my X-Box. But yeah, I think it could definitely you could have bought into that.

[00:12:28] So how is it you both ended up in dentistry? Do you have family? Connexions?

[00:12:33] Yeah, I mean, that’s the question. When I tell everyone, that’s the question I get all the time. And now we don’t we don’t really have anyone medically related in the family. I think my grandfather was an optician, but and the thing was that even like although we both ended up doing well in education, my, my mom is like it was education was like, you must do this. You must do a certain profession. It was kind of like, do what you want. And you know, even if I kind of didn’t do my homework, my mom wasn’t like, you need to do this. You need to do this. I think, you know, and we were quite lucky that both of us kind of applied ourselves and wanted to work hard and do well.

[00:13:09] And you like what you’re saying. Your parents didn’t push you hard, like this normal story we hear on this podcast.

[00:13:17] No, no, I love that. Not at all. Obviously, like.

[00:13:20] Yeah, it was good. Tell me then explain it to you. Just what happened, did you decided yourself you were going to try and be really good? I love that.

[00:13:30] Yeah, I think for me, I think I think part of it was probably validation from the other kids. Like, I wanted to impress the kids, I wanted to impress my teachers. And I also I wanted to, you know, do do something impressive myself. And I think, you know, that’s where it came from. And I’m not saying my parents I wouldn’t say my parents were pushy, but they also were very supportive. Like, for example, my sister used to play football for Man United as a kid. I was a squash academy in Manchester and they they and my parents and the rest of the family kind of drove us all up and down the country, watching us, taking us to training three or four times a week. So, you know, we had a lot of support, but we were never pushed to do sports, never pushed to do well academically.

[00:14:13] What would your parents do?

[00:14:15] My mom does not control. I think they make a company, they make firemen’s uniforms. And my dad is an office manager at a law firm.

[00:14:29] Oh. So, listen, man, when looking at your content that you put out on on on Instagram, you’ve got an obvious fascination with self improvement. And, you know, that whole genre and there are books and there’s, you know, I guess you’re brought up on YouTube or whatever it was. Yeah. When when did that start? Was that in childhood? Was that before university? Was that was that during is that very recent thing?

[00:14:56] No, it’s difficult to say. It definitely was early on. I think I always wanted to improve myself. And as you say, I think not that I never fit in, but I think I always had this feeling that like and it maybe it may be due to a wanting kind of validation from other people, but just wanting to improve myself, wanting to be able to do better. And it kind of ties into the reason I wanted to. I ended up choosing to do dentistry and obviously my sister did it and she said, Oh, I’m enjoying the course and it’s a good profession. But like I wasn’t anyway the most naturally extroverted person. I’m actually not very naturally good with my hands and I was very aware of that before going into dentistry. But you know, I wanted to have that growth and I wanted to challenge myself.

[00:15:39] I bet you didn’t say that in your dentistry interviewed you?

[00:15:43] No, I didn’t know. But, you know, it’s like, yeah, I just waffle wheel full of heart. I mean, we had there was an origami station at my dental school interview and and it was at Leeds and I have no idea how I got in because it just ended up as a massive spoonful ball of paper and it was meant to be a penguin. So I thought that was clearly obvious as well.

[00:16:03] So was it that your sister had gone into? She was happy. Was that the reason why you picked dentistry? What were you thinking of? Something else.

[00:16:10] I mean. So, yeah, I don’t think I would have considered dentistry if my sister hadn’t gone and done it. And, you know, she looked like she was enjoying it. But, you know, it was it literally was. And I remember thinking at the time, like, I was fairly confident that I’d be able to get the grades that I wanted. And with that, I could do anything I wanted. And I wasn’t being pushed by my parents to go in a certain career direction. I could choose one. I remember really deeply thinking about what I want to do with my life, because this next decision was really going to determine where my life went. And as I grew up, I was always told, No, you’re really good at maths, you should do something to do with maths. And you know, as I thought about, I realised that if I did the maths thing I don’t feel like I’d have fulfilled my potential as a person. You know, the people you kind of get on a maths degree is very different to the type of people you go on and then instead of going into it like that, I’d have become and stayed that kind of more reserved nerdy guy if I’d gone down that degree. And I think also I and I also kind of realised in my job I wanted to directly contribute to something. I mean I looked at like maybe doing a stock, being a stockbroker or an actuary, but like I didn’t in 20, 30, 40 years time, you know, what have I actually contributed to? And, you know, who were who I hoped. And that that for me, I think also was a big factor in kind of going like, you know, doing that it should be would be really cool.

[00:17:32] Were you the kind of guy who then then went and did the due diligence and talk to dental students? Because for me, what I thought it was going to be compared to what it actually was completely different. I’m sure, you know, it’s a shock for everyone. It’s a surprise for everyone to to some extent. But it was nothing like what I thought. I had a brother in medical school, so he mentioned dissection and anatomy and these sort of things. But how different was it for you? I mean, as an expectation? I mean, it’s such a first thought. I thought university was going to be a whole different story, like something out of the movies, cool kids with cool orange cars and guitars and, you know, just a childish view of what that was going to be like. And then when I got to uni to dental school itself, it was like 50 times harder than I thought. Yeah. How was that for you? What was your expectation and what did it end up?

[00:18:28] So yeah, I mean, you know, as I was saying, it’s easy for me to have the idea that, you know, I’m going to be a dentist and I’m going to get all this personal growth. And, you know, I’m going to be a great communicator and I’m going to then become fantastic at working with my hands and all of this. And yeah, no, I stepped into labs in second year and I was the worst person. Yeah. In the laboratory every single week. And, but also, you know, that did actually start to really affect me. It affected my confidence. I’d be like really stressing if I’m going to pass these tests, if I’m actually in the end, if dentistry is for me and if I’ve made the right decision and you know, really it lockdown came for me as obviously all the terrible things that’s happened, but it kind of came as a blessing and kind of pulling me away from from that pressure and that environment and giving me time to learn more about dentistry and figure out my space and dentistry. And that was really important for me.

[00:19:22] So when was it that you first thought you’re going to start putting content out? I think like in.

[00:19:29] Me, I’ve always like like at school, like at school, even though I was quite quiet, I had like the lead roles in the school play. So I’ve always kind of liked like doing stuff and like making things and people kind of watching what I’m doing. But it was kind of, it was in that time of being in them labs and struggling and stressing and thinking, you know, there’s dentists out there who might have been in the same position as me and I’m not currently managing my stress very well. But, you know, there are dentists doing the job now who have similar, if not more stress levels than me. How are they managing their stress? Who do they listen to? Who do they look up to? You know, what books that they read? What is their advice, mindset advice. So that was really the the beginning of it and you know what as ended up becoming five questions with them positives Marg club was really just something that I wanted to know the answer to and then me realising that, you know, there might be other people in a similar situation and this stuff is actually valuable, valuable stuff to be shared.

[00:20:26] Yeah, but did you not worry about what people would think about you?

[00:20:30] Yeah, massively. And that’s why it took me from March 20 to like well before March 2020 to to be having these ideas and then all the way till I didn’t start the page till November and I didn’t tell. I think I spoke to one person about doing the page. I didn’t tell any of my friends. I just popped up saying, Look, this is my page and this is the first video and that’s it. And I didn’t tell anybody because even I think to some of my closest friends, they didn’t know I was that into like the mindset stuff and the psychology. And, you know, I’d say I’m pretty not a closed book, but I know I’m not that open with that many people.

[00:21:08] Yeah, by the way. Would you agree with me that it’s a lot harder answering the questions than asking them?

[00:21:14] Oh, 100%, yeah. No, I mean, especially with me. I’ve got I’ve got I’ve got five, five questions to remember and then, you know, a few others that I think of. Yeah, this is a different experience, but I’m enjoying it.

[00:21:25] Whatever, whatever I’ve been on, I’ve been a guest on the podcast at the end of it, I’ve been so tired and I properly like what the hell. That was really hard. But it’s honest I think, because you can say whatever can eat your head. So that’s interesting. You’re saying you’re you’re an introvert in one way, but an extrovert in another way. That combination is interesting. I mean, I find we do this composite course, by the way, you should come, come and watch or whatever. Actually let students come and watch. We’ll be in Manchester next weekend. Do we do this composite course and we ask them there’s this bit, there’s this marketing bit, and you say, Oh, who’s got a Dental Instagram page? And I know some people are shy to put their hands up here, but most of the time it’s like out of the 30 people in the class, it’s like maybe five at the most we’ve got one. And then I scratch my head and think, Well, most of the guys on our on our course of younger dentists, you know, they’re maybe 5 to 10 years out of out of dental school. And I think, wait a minute, these guys have grown up with it and yet they’re not doing it. And then when later on we’re having a few drinks or whatever, and I asked them, you know, what’s going on, man? I mean, it must be something you should do. Everyone worries about what people will think of their work, what people will think of the way they come across. And by the way, I totally get it. I mean, I hate cameras myself. The reason why I’m doing a podcast is because somehow I can be myself with audio, but as soon as there’s a camera, it I’m rabbit in headlights. So the fear of actually doing it is the thing that stops people from doing it. What’s your advice, dude? You think you must you must have you’ve grappled with this yourself. But my advice generally is that no one’s paying attention. Just. Just do it.

[00:23:26] Yeah, I think that’s I think that is a really important part. I think at that time I was kind of reading a lot of like kind of like positive. And I think that’s why I ended up going positive smartly. But I didn’t a lot of like positive psychology books and like, you know, you got to believe all that like, really, like believe in yourself and like, you know, like think victory and succeed and all this type stuff. And it, you know, it’s kind of like I kind of also got to the point where I saw this as, you know, as an opportunity not just to answer these questions, but also to, you know, for my career’s future career prospects and, you know, the good it could do in terms of that as well. And also for myself to grow. And you know, that was I think one of the main drivers for me is that, you know, I’m in dental school. I can’t go into dental school. I can either, you know, the exams. I don’t really have to do that much work to pass them. To be honest. I can either sit on my arse and and do nothing or I can chase that growth. I actually wanted to go into dental school for the in the first place to do so. You know, I think you got to step outside your comfort zone and and do it, I guess. And, you know, the longer way the you know, it’s one of the best things. But yeah.

[00:24:35] But you could have could have you could have gone and become the best badminton player in the world or something, you know what I mean? You could have you could have done a lot with your time, but you decide to go down, down, down this tree. It was. Did it surprise any of your friends?

[00:24:50] I’ve not really had that conversation directly with them, but I’m sure it did in some ways, because I also don’t think they were aware of like I think I’ve got quite an obsessive personality, but how much over before lockdown, I wasn’t enjoying my dentistry and over lockdown I came across, you know, tubules this podcast, the Jazz Jazz Colitis podcast, all these incredible people. And I started developing this passion for dentistry that I don’t think I’d really shared with many people. So I don’t I don’t also think they were aware of how much I don’t want it on my model for dentistry.

[00:25:25] The thing is, look, there’s a moment when that happens for a lot of people. Yeah. Like for me it was in, I think that that moment happened for me that I suddenly went from the guy who was just going to scrape through to the guy who wanted to be really good at stuff and wanted to find out what’s going on. And, and for me actually, it coincided with reading my first personal improvement sort of book, which is, you know, Seven Habits, Stephen Covey. That really resonated. If you asked me that question, that’s that’s the answer I would have given that my favourite book because it was the first one I think, I think I had some. Yeah. So so was what was the first was the first self-development sort of book or video or thing that inspired you in self development?

[00:26:14] And I mean, I think.

[00:26:16] To be honest, I.

[00:26:17] Do remember like watching a lot of YouTube videos. It was like there was a page called like Charisma on Command and stuff like that. And he had really kind of useful videos about just kind of communication and you know, like how to talk and how to, I guess, be be more charismatic. But I guess the first one is pretty standard. One is Dale Carnegie, and the name of the book Just Lost My Mind. But it’s the one.

[00:26:40] How to win.

[00:26:41] Friends. How to win friends. Yeah. Of course, that was I think I can’t remember how old how old I was when I read that. But I think also my mom is similarly I think she’s quite into the the mindset type of stuff. I remember just picking up a book off the bookshelf once and it was all about having a growth mindset. And I kind of read it and was like, Oh, I already had like, this. Is this not obvious? Like if you try, you can get the other things like, but I think How to Win Friends was, was the first one. I remember thinking, oh, like, I can use this in, in life. And it’s, you know, it’s a really practical, useful book.

[00:27:14] And you’ve got a six part, six part post on, on, on how to win friends and influence people on your pages. So it sums it up, right? So turn that into bite size as well. Actually, for those who don’t know, we should go through what is it? What are the five questions that you ask people go on and I want I want you to do is I want you to answer them as well.

[00:27:36] Oh, gosh. Okay. So the first question is life changing book for me. And again, the name the name of the book is Just Lost Me. But it came at that time of of lockdown. And there’s also the Tony Robbins Tony Robbins book. It’s like The Power Within or something. Awaken the Giant Within. Awakened the Giant Within. That’s it. Yeah.

[00:28:02] That was one of my I read the book once.

[00:28:04] I read that, that book and this book and I start when I was mentioning like a proper American style, like, you know, you need to believe in yourself. There’s no difference between you and that other man down the road, except he believes in himself more. And, you know, but all of that. But that was after like coming out of a time where I was failing and failing a hell of a lot, that that was kind of what I needed and that kind of like positivity and, you know, to kind of rebuild my self belief in myself. And so that then two books, if I can find the name, I’ll let you know. But they were really the life changing books.

[00:28:38] Then what’s the second? First, the first question is life changing, but what’s the second question? Yeah.

[00:28:42] A favourite quote or motto. Gosh, that is a difficult one. Things I used to have.

[00:28:48] Have you never been asked these questions before?

[00:28:51] I have not. You know, I used to have a lot of quotes that I that I had. And I’d like some some of them I’d like read like read every morning. And it’s not even very probably positive can do attitude. I think.

[00:29:06] It’s.

[00:29:07] It kind of puts you in that state way you know if if you know for example even being invited on this podcast, you know, I could have gone, no, I’m not ready. I’m a student, you know, I’m not sure I’d be able to do it. And what again, what would people think of me? But, you know, I think just being I can do it and just being positive and, you know, taking that, it kind of helps you take that step outside of your comfort zone where you might go, no. And show up and you know, you can kind of move forward with that. So I think that will be my answer for that.

[00:29:35] So that sentiment.

[00:29:36] Yeah, that sentiment. The next one is the next one’s. What is inspirational figure?

[00:29:41] Yeah.

[00:29:42] That’s a difficult one. So who inspires me? I mean, the standard answer I get is, is family. And, you know, my family are great and they love, you know, I love them a lot and they give me a lot of support. But I don’t know. I get inspired by a lot of people, even a lot like I know you had Zayn Rizvi on this on your head recently and even just seeing other young dentists who are absolutely pushing the boundaries, the doctor one day people who are going out there and you know I think if the people like Dr. you one day didn’t go and they were kind of the first people to do it then you know there’s me and there’s plenty of other now dental students with platforms and who make content. But you know, I do find them on a just in terms of what I did. They they do inspire me to kind of do things that I haven’t done before by dental students.

[00:30:35] Nice. What’s next?

[00:30:36] The next one is mindset advice. And I guess the the positive. Yeah, the positive stuff works. I think, you know, recently and this is very recently, I’ve kind of got a lot more into meditation and being present and you know, not getting too because I think I am someone who definitely overthink things and analyses things. And you know, I’ve done that ever since being a young child and really, you know, my brain’s going like a million miles an hour. And I think I’ve found a lot of benefit from being present and just, you know, being rather than always being being on the go. So I think that would be that would be if no one’s kind of discovered meditation yet or gotten into it or giving it a go, you know, I’m trying I’m doing it like two or three times a day now and I think I’m really enjoying it and finding benefit.

[00:31:25] How did you how did you get started on it?

[00:31:27] I listened to a podcast with Jay Shetty. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him. He’s like the guy who used to be a monk and he was on a Stephen Bartlett podcast and he was talking about recently Benefits of meditation. Yeah, recently. That’s how recent. And I just downloaded Calm the app and just like tried it out and you know, before I have tried meditation before, but it just never clicked in this time I felt I just felt something change and I’ve just felt a lot calmer recently. So yeah, it’s been good.

[00:31:58] It’s crazy how it just I mean, I’ve tried meditation here and there and you try and put your finger on what is it? And I know. And in the end. It’s breathing. It is. It’s amazing how important breathing is. Yeah.

[00:32:17] I I’ve just bought a book about breathing.

[00:32:19] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s it’s it’s so important, because if you sit there and breathe for 30 seconds, breathe properly, it changes a lot. And I remember people telling me this before I even tried it, and I’m thinking, Well, what are they talking about? Yeah, but. But it’s real. But you know what? I found that the thing that got me deeper than anything else was a float tank. Have you ever tried that?

[00:32:46] I have. No.

[00:32:47] It’s I don’t know if that’s still allowed post-COVID, but it’s like this. It’s this, like massive bath full of, like, a very salty water that you float on. And then it’s at it’s a body temperature and there’s a cover over the top of it. So it’s totally pitch black. And in this one hour session here, I was floating in space upside down, like by just lying there because, you know, you just you just and and so sometimes in meditation, I’ve gotten maybe one quarter of the way to what happened in that floating where I didn’t even realise that’s what was supposed to be for, you know, someone bought it for me or something.

[00:33:29] I’m going to have to I’m going to have to source.

[00:33:31] One last question was question.

[00:33:33] The last question is, most of all on social media page or person.

[00:33:38] Go.

[00:33:38] I’d say also if there’s any I mean, obviously they’re listening to this podcast, but only then shooting out though is listen to this. And I’m not just saying that cause I’m on it because I’ve found the insight and people’s stories incredibly useful. And more people should be listening to this show. Yeah, this show.

[00:33:53] Yeah, this show.

[00:33:56] I think I like a lot of what Stephen Bartlett puts out. I always I always listen to his podcast.

[00:34:01] Me too.

[00:34:03] Huberman lab I’ve gotten to recently. He’s like a neuroscience guy, I think at Stanford. Huberman Lab is the name of his podcast, and he’s like a neuroscience guy at Stanford. It’s he covers a lot of things, but I think brain health is probably underrated and I’ve learnt quite a lot of interesting things from him about that. So I think he had no science was something I considered rather than at the time because because of this kind of thing about mindset and development and all of that. But yeah, he chose dentistry instead.

[00:34:35] What about dental pages that you follow.

[00:34:38] Oh, so many. I mean, I think the, the, the biomimetic guys in terms of education, the like, they’re opening eyes. I do like to follow like some deft people just, just to like just to see their standard. And then also there’s some people at DFT who like producing and like, like Zane Rosevear. I think he’s a few years past that now. But, you know, the standard of work through, you know, the education on Instagram and even podcasts like this and the amount of resources available now. And, and I remember you said design like 20, 30 years ago, it would not be possible, but, you know, it’s it’s super inspired and, you know, really good to see the quality of these people’s work, you know, even two years ahead of me.

[00:35:20] Yeah. You know, you’re right. We were talking with Sane about how much you can learn from Instagram, which did I don’t know before. I mean, you won’t remember this, but five years ago, if you told people that people, dentists or dental students or dentists are learning from something like Instagram, people would have shot you down. People would have shot you down for even suggesting that that’s a possibility. But I remember seeing the first time I saw beautiful dentistry or whatever it were, I might have been at a conference in America, you know, like I had to get on a plane and go somewhere to see it for the first time, think, Wow, that looks amazing to get inspired that we were talking about. What inspires you? Yeah, to get inspired to say, hey, it’s possible to do a composite that’s that’s invisible. You know, you can’t tell it’s a composite. Yeah. Something as simple as that. That said that said there is a downside to you kind of feel like you’re not good enough all the time, you know, in the same way some some pretty girl might think she’s not thin enough or whatever, you know, because that whole that whole thing. Do you reckon that’s the thing? Because I’m not practising anymore. But if I was practising, I’d worry, man. So I see all the all the rubber time and beautiful work and, you know, output the output of the work. I was I was with Adam Burgin, the CORNISH dentist. Do you know him? Yeah. Yeah. At the weekend we were first I never met him. And I was I was saying to him, you know, the amount of output of having to post and all of that can bring on stress in itself. No.

[00:37:00] Hundred percent. And I think that’s.

[00:37:01] The crazy.

[00:37:02] Thing. I’m lucky in the sense that as a dental student now, there isn’t a pressure on me to create a portfolio and to post any work that I’m doing. You know, you don’t you don’t have to post work, but it’s it’s it’s a it’s a nice thing to do. But I think for me as a student now and for even for the next ten years, I’m a young dentist and longer than that. But the amount the it’s opened my eyes to the world outside the dental school and, you know, bonded on those and bio bio in dentistry and just like it’s it’s absolutely ridiculous. And even just the little hints and tips you get like invert and the rubber how to do a floss, floss tie. Like, you know, I just love it and you know, all these things, you know, because it’s not the dental school doesn’t teach you dentistry. Well, I think for a little while I was kind of in that mindset that like the dental school doesn’t know what they’re doing and obviously they obviously do. But like there’s just like stuff that happens in the real world that dental school you can’t do or it doesn’t happen. And it’s nice to just have an appreciation and an understanding of that, to prepare yourself for when you do get the.

[00:38:11] Definitely, dude. I mean, dental school does what dental school does. Right. There’s no we should talk about what it should do better, though. I mean, that’s that’s a worthwhile conversation, you know, because. Definitely could do better, I think. But one thing you shouldn’t forget as well as you as you’re going forward and you know, first you’ll learn the basics of rubber dam, then you might do that one to dentistry. Then as it goes on and on and on. Don’t forget the soft skills. Yeah, the communication skills. I mean, probably just as important as the hand and eye skills and brain skills are the communication skills because it’s you’re too young to have had loads of medical problems or had to go to doctors when you’re under that stress of a medical problem. But as you get older, you start meeting a few more doctors for friends and family and all of that. And in in that moment that you have a problem, a medical problem. Yeah. Crazily, the guy’s reputation, the guy’s, you know, or what he’s achieved in his career. And obviously we’re in the field. If I if I need an eye surgeon, I can talk to my brother to find an eye surgeon or whatever. All of that stuff becomes secondary to, Did I get on with him or not? And in dentistry where it’s not, you know, it’s not exactly life and death. Yeah. The do I get on with him becomes the most important thing. And a lot of that comes down to kindness, empathy, these words that are never going to come up in your in your dental exams, you know, but you know, learning those. Yeah, I think there’s some of that which is innate for sure. But, you know, if I were you, I, I guess how to win friends and influence people. Is that is that. Yeah.

[00:40:06] And I for a while I became really obsessed with like someone like Barry Elton. Do you know.

[00:40:11] Barry? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:40:13] Yeah, yeah. So like, I interviewed him for the page and I’ve watched a lot of his lectures. I got the opportunity to go onto his course as well. And you know, that really kind of cool. My kind of interesting, kind of even just like flipping it onto the, you know, the patient wants, needs, hopes, dreams for the next 20, 25 years. And yeah, dental school doesn’t never mention that. It’s kind of like prescriptive treatment. Like you have to have this because you need this and it’s kind of like, oh, so you know the patients, you know how they think and what they want and that, you know, that really matters.

[00:40:48] Definitely, man. Definitely. And, you know, different people translate that in different ways. And I don’t know if it goes down to what you Dental experience you had as as when you were a patient. You know, what your dentist was like with you. But I’ve had friends, you know who I thought, I know them really, really well. And then we’ve had some sort of interaction where we don’t know. We worked in the same practise because he was visiting and the doctors or whatever it was and watching him talk to patients. Completely different person to the one that I know. And I don’t know why he thought, oh, maybe it’s the right thing to do for all I know, dude. But he thought the right thing to be as the end. Adonis is the expert and to sort of have that sort of a barrier between him and what we’re telling the patient. And when I was a dentist, my position was completely different and I didn’t realise my position was different to someone like him, you know. So, you know, we need to have this conversation in the profession because I’ll tell you one thing, but when I talk to my big users, the big, big private dentists, the ones who’ve got multiple clinics and everyone at your stage, not your stage above your stage is saying, how do I get a private job? How do I get a private job? All of them all of them prioritise communication above everything else. You know, almost like that can’t be taught, so everything else can be taught with that card, you know, I think it can be taught. But my point is, while you’re busying yourself with rubber dam ties. Yeah, don’t forget that side. You know that that’s even more important in many ways. You know, let’s move on to darker days. Yeah. You must have heard this part of the podcast before. Of course. Of course. What would you say is your biggest weakness? For.

[00:42:45] What would I say is my biggest weakness? I. I think I think I’m definitely an overthinker and I think that that can hamper me. I think sometimes I think I like to have my own way. I think definitely I don’t tend to get on with authority very well. I did as a child up to a point. And then I guess I don’t always like getting told what to do and how to do it and can think I know better, which I guess isn’t isn’t always, always ideal. So yeah, I’d say that probably the.

[00:43:21] Overthinker and problem with authority. Tell me about the overthink of it. What does that mean? Like. You don’t take things on face value. You try and find other explanations for why. Some things?

[00:43:33] No, I wouldn’t say that. I think.

[00:43:35] I guess.

[00:43:37] I think I do have, as I said, a little bit of an obsessive personality. And just like that, even every interaction I have in the day and like everything, you know, I’m just always thinking. And I think that’s why the meditation has been so helpful, because I’ve actually sat and just realised like, you know, you don’t have to be thinking about everything all the time, you know? So it’s that type of thing.

[00:43:58] What about feeling? Do you do you feel stuff as well?

[00:44:01] No. Yeah, no, I think so. Yeah. I think, you know, I do sometimes get probably more anxious maybe than other people. But, you know, I think as I’ve got older, I think when I was younger I didn’t manage it as well as I as I do now.

[00:44:15] So when you when you think about the world, you think about the world as it’s really quite funny or do you feel about the world? Like It’s really quite tragic.

[00:44:23] I’d say quite funny. Generally, yeah. I like to laugh most things.

[00:44:29] Because they say there’s a phrase it says For those who think the world is funny or for those who feel the world is tragic.

[00:44:36] Oh.

[00:44:37] What are those? Well, I mean, it’s a joke point. No joke. I don’t know how real it is.

[00:44:43] So that makes sense.

[00:44:45] So what would you say is your darkest day in dental school?

[00:44:49] It will have been like just before COVID was hitting and it was when I was considering, you know, I was considering whether I was going to quit dentistry and like, oh, I’d have to go and ask for more support because, you know, at the time I was I was just fading labs week after week and I think they were letting me through. But there was a kind of shared understanding the you know, this wasn’t good enough. My composite look terrible. I was hitting all the teeth, like and you know, mentally as well, you know, I couldn’t keep phantom hair. Yeah, yeah, phantom head. But, you know, I couldn’t I couldn’t keep keep up like that because I, I wasn’t a high achiever in everything, you know, in squash. I was good. But at the level I was at, I was probably one of the worst players. So I was used to losing and failing and dealing with that. But I was also then obsessed kind of thing with how am I going to deal with this? And at the time I was quite into stoicism and I was racking my brain and how, you know what, you know how to manage the stress and you know, what can I do? And I was kind of coming to a loss and that’s when I was like, right, like, what do I do now? So I think, you know, without the lockdown, I probably would have asked for more support and who knows what would have happened then. But luckily I am not not luckily, but you know, lockdown came and I was I was pulled out of that situation.

[00:46:09] And then why did lockdown help? Just because you had time?

[00:46:11] Yeah, I had time. I wasn’t going into labs every week. And, you know, I mean, what can dental school do better? I think we were getting examined like from the first week on our composites and our on our. And I covet your prayers. And it was always it was straight in the mouth from like the first day. And I was just like completely thrown off. So I feel like they could have taken it a bit slower with those. But at the same time, there was maybe a few of the people who have in similar problems to me and you know, not not everyone was. So. Yeah.

[00:46:44] So. Right, let’s let’s talk about the Dental course. Okay. That’s one thing you’re saying, right? You’re saying it was too intense, too quick. Yeah.

[00:46:53] Possibly. I know what you’re saying. Yeah, possibly. I think, you know, we should be we should get more practical experience through funding, through funding heads, through patients and clinic. And obviously, COVID has affected that. But, you know, for example, and I’m not the only student who’s ever said this and I’m sure most of my friends, but like having access to the phantom headroom when you’re not meant to be in there, like go in and at lunch or going in in an afternoon when you’re not allowed, you’re not meant to be in. That would just that would just be so, so helpful. But the uni just so against the.

[00:47:24] Neck is going to make a mess.

[00:47:25] And all that. Yeah. I mean I went in one week to do so. We have a grounds test. I went in to do a grounds to to pass my grounds test and then I went in said, oh, can I just do an extra, an extra crown to practise doing a crown prep? And the guy was like, oh no, you’re wasting uni resources and I’ve got other students to deal with, go home. And you know, I’d gone in, I’d got changed and he got ready and he’s like, Oh no, you know, you’re going to coat one plastic tooth and that’s too much resources. And I was just like, you know, I stayed and I did the crown.

[00:47:55] But did you? Yeah. So then you’ve gone through some of the course. Now you’ve got you’re in your fourth year. Mm hmm. Is there something that you wish they were teaching you that they’re not? I mean, let me give you an example for me. I mean, the basics of running a business. Someone should there should have been a week on that in dental school. Right. It’s the very basics of recruitment, finance, marketing operations. Yes. Because the vast majority of that class are going to be eventually either working in or running it, running a business, a small business, and it’s not acknowledged at all.

[00:48:39] So, yeah, 100%. 100%. I mean, there’s just there’s obviously the stuff on on money. And obviously as young people, we do graduate and we do end up earning a, you know, a fair sum of money and managing that taxes or all of that. Yeah. Yeah. Could be covered in a lot more detail.

[00:48:58] Even school, man. I mean, imagine all those hours you spent in school doing differential equations, and no one ever once said, Yeah, this is how you get a mortgage or, I don’t know, save more than you spend or more on careers in school. Like more. Right. But in dental school, I think hopefully by your time it’s changed a bit. But we had one day where the guys talked about what can you do afterwards as a dentist? What are the different, different avenues you could go down? Did you have any more of that or is that next year or you don’t know?

[00:49:38] I think that I think the fifth is maybe get one lecture, someone from the BDA comes in. But I think nowadays and probably in your day as well, it’s kind of a find out for yourself and or attend certain conferences. Like if you go to the BCD conference, if you go we have the PDSA, so if you go to them, you get all these different talks from all these different people. But if you if you’re not attending these conferences, then, you know, I don’t think you are getting as much insight.

[00:50:08] Has anyone mentioned teeth whitening in university.

[00:50:11] Please? Very briefly, not a lot, obviously. It’s obviously it’s not not on the NHS, but yeah, no, I don’t think we’re giving lectures about it. We’re definitely about.

[00:50:22] Digital. Scanners.

[00:50:26] Yeah. It’s mentioned in passing. Typical answer is you’re aware of it, but you don’t. It leads anyway. You don’t get any experience of it or how it can be used or why it might be better or worse than taking a lab impression and stuff like that.

[00:50:46] And is there a scanner on the on the clinic at all? Or no.

[00:50:50] No, not as far as I’m aware.

[00:50:52] So that’s interesting that there must be one, right? They must use it for postcards only.

[00:50:59] Yeah, I guess, you know. Yeah, we’re not told anything about.

[00:51:04] What about what about ortho? What’s your awareness of ortho?

[00:51:09] It’s it’s ortho digital with P. So it’s kind of like the IL ten. And when the different teeth come through and obviously stuff about occlusion that kind of ties in but there’s nothing on aligners or even even brackets and orthodontics. I think it’s a fairly poorly understood subject as taught an undergraduate level.

[00:51:39] And what about things like composite anterior composite veneers, these sort of things that aesthetic composites does that? Yeah. To be fair to.

[00:51:51] Leads like we have in this show, actually over just in January, we’re in the labs and it’s called Complex Adult Dentistry. And we did a composite build up with all the different layers, like the dentine shades and the translucent, oh, nice incisal edge. So, you know, to be fair, you know, we did actually do a nice composite build up and, you know, they were kind of teaching us about that type of thing. So I can’t I can’t complain in that regard.

[00:52:17] What about amalgam to use amalgam at all?

[00:52:20] Yeah, we do. We were taught it in labs. I’ve yet to find a tutor to tell anyone to do it. I actually have placed it amalgam, but I don’t. We don’t use it often to be honest. I think it’s yeah. If you can place a composite and you can get moisture controlled and then do that and if not JIC.

[00:52:39] And what about Ramadan?

[00:52:41] Yeah, it’s it’s encouraged. And I’d say.

[00:52:47] So if you’re doing it, if you’re doing an MOT on the clinic, you’ve got to use a rubber dam or it’s encouraged to use the rubber down.

[00:52:54] It’s encouraged in terms of I think I’d encourage it. But yeah, I think to be fair, if you tell if you’d spoke to the tutor and said, I don’t want to use your arm, I’m going to use cotton wool. I don’t think they’d have a problem with it, to be fair, even if you didn’t even try to clamp on the tooth. Yeah. Not. Not. Not for photography. I think, to be fair, I’m not in outreach yet, so I think when you’re in the so we have we do not hold on Bradford and other places when you’re in them clinics, you take the photos yourself and you do learn. But within the hospital you take to photography, you warm the mirror up and then the. But yeah, we’re not taught like how and that is the different. Every dentist I speak to is like as soon as you can, as soon as you graduate, buy a camera, learn how to take photos, reflect on your work, build a portfolio. So, you know, it’s something that should be should be mentioned more for sure.

[00:53:53] Yeah. I mean, the thing with photography, I had someone asked me this weekend, you know, she was saying, I want to move to London, I want to get a good job. What do you think? What should I do? And for that purpose, definitely photography. But yeah, just to teach yourself, just to show your patience. And there’s so many reasons why you need to learn photography. What about occlusion?

[00:54:16] I think occlusion is fairly well taught. I think it’s such a difficult subject that I think it may be well taught, but still, you know, understanding my understanding and isn’t isn’t great. I’ve even done lectures outside of uni on occlusion. I’ll hopefully spend my weekends watching, including lectures, and I still don’t really understand exactly what it’s meant to be or how it’s meant to be. But yeah, I don’t think that, you know. Yeah.

[00:54:49] It’s not like no, it’s not that no one does. But there’s plenty of people ten years out of school, 20 years out of dental school who don’t know. So I wouldn’t worry yourself. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. It’s interesting. But so let’s let’s get onto what’s been the reaction of the audience to your to your content, to your positive smile club? Have you had people tell you tell you that it’s inspired them to do something or to follow someone or get a job or anything? Because it always surprises me when when you said when you said you listen to this podcast, it just surprised me. It’s always surprised me when someone says they listen. How does that make you feel?

[00:55:30] Well, when someone tells me that they listen to mine.

[00:55:32] Yeah, yeah, it’s.

[00:55:35] Yeah, it’s, it’s class and you know, to be far I’ve I’ve been now to a few student events like, like PDSA and all the things and you know.

[00:55:44] Getting recognised, not.

[00:55:45] Being right but being recognised and like obviously you know, speaking to other people who are doing similar things and there are, you know, there are a fair few other people now who read their own pages and kind of just. Networking and just meeting them. And, you know, it’s a really nice atmosphere. God, I like what you’re doing and I’ll say what I’m doing. And, you know, but yeah, you know, it is when people have also engaged with the content and listened and gone, Oh, like that episode with Richard Porter. Like that was Richard Porter also.

[00:56:14] That was good.

[00:56:15] Yeah. Yeah, he’s he’s he’s a crazy guy. I also feel like, you know, to a lot of my friends, like I’ll and I’ll say to them, oh, you know, I’m interviewing, I don’t know Chris McConnell tonight. And they’ll be like, who’s who? Like, you know, you know, like Chris said. So I also feel like, you know, it’s kind of introducing people who might not be as into it as I am to these people and to potential career pathways or know, you know, and that’s this that’s what your your podcast does for me as well. It’s like this person’s had a career like this and they, you know, they’ve done this and this and this is, you know, this is a possibility of what I could do. And this is also like the work life balance. And this is, you know, how they see the kids and raise the kids and, you know, all that stuff I find really insightful. So I think, you know, I kind of feel for some of my friends and the people around me. I’m kind of introducing them to people I think are really cool. And, you know, they should also have a doctor as well.

[00:57:16] And what’s your process? How do you how do you approach these people? Just DM Simple as that.

[00:57:22] Yeah, yeah. The emblematic of the start. I have to give a massive shout out to, you know, these people, especially at the time I had, you know, I’d never done anything on camera, I’d not done video edit in the page at the time. I had like 150 followers or something. And I think I’m just guilty. I’m Drew Short and, you know, just out of the blue and, you know, the nicest people in the world, aren’t they? But, you know, they came back, I think Charles replied to me, replied to me like 3 minutes. And and I obviously explained the concept and how much I love their content as well and tubules and I genuinely do. And you know, just like love the concept that I think he was isolated at the time let’s do it tomorrow and then you know, I kind of put my pants a bit and it was like, oh, like tomorrow I’m speaking to jazz and I’ve got, you know, for what I’m doing. But yeah, and I think from once I had some more established names on it, obviously it gets easier and people kind of don’t go, Who’s this random kid messaging me? They can kind of see know this person’s been on, this person’s been on. You know, it’s the more likely to to want to get involved.

[00:58:27] I think Chaz Gulati is is. If you’re interested in teeth. Teeth themselves. My next guest calling if you’re if you’re interested in teeth themselves like you want to know about teeth. I think jazz glasses, content. Some of the best stuff ever, man. Some of the best stuff ever. And yeah, what I love about it, what I love about it is the enthusiasm of the guy. And he knows a lot about. A lot? Yeah. Or maybe he’s one of that. I don’t know if you saw him on this podcast. He was top of his class or whatever. And so maybe he does massive research before he gets someone on, but he adores teeth himself and it just comes through. And, you know, dude, I no longer need to pay attention to, you know, I don’t know what kind of splint to use in a TMJ surgery. It doesn’t it doesn’t affect my life anymore. I don’t have patients anymore that need to listen to that anymore. But his enthusiasm just it just is so infectious. And then in that one hour, the amount you learn. Compare that to to, you know, that’s what dental school needs a bit more of, doesn’t it? It needs that sort of punchy, enthusiastic, sort of, you know, and it’s so interesting because he’s only seven years out of dental school himself. And I know to you that must feel like a long time. It’s not a long time. It’s not a long time at all. Seven years out of dental school. And yet I’d say as far as influence goes, like influence on on education, he might be having more influence than some professor of whatever. You know, I really admire him, Andrew. I think of Jews like the Jesus Christ of 10 million. Yeah. The guy who sacrificed himself for the profession, you know?

[01:00:24] You know? And I can’t speak with.

[01:00:25] A halo or something.

[01:00:27] Yeah. Yeah. And I was lucky enough to go to the The Tubules Controls conference in Brighton this year and you know, just the amount of love that he has for people but also get shown back to him. And I was just so happy to see that because you know, I think tubules that that was one of the first things that he kind of turned it around for me like it’s such an amazing platform and he’s been really generous to me for through a lot of things. So yeah, I can’t speak highly enough of them.

[01:00:57] Yeah. Great guy. So when you’ve now now that you’ve had this, you know, you’ve you’ve you’ve been reading and watching content. Yeah. But now you’ve had the opportunity to directly speak to some of these people, like the likes of Richard Porter or, or Drew. You know, I saw who else you had, Simon Chard. I saw you had you talk you talk to these people. And you’ve listened to so many of the stories on on this show. What’s your view now that what’s going around your head about the kind of dentist you want to be? I mean, are you are you more inspired by I don’t know. Martin One day who’s a who’s amazing implant ologist? Or are you more inspired by Dev Patel, who wants to open 100 practises this time next year? Which which one? Which one, which one sort of making you interested?

[01:01:49] It’s difficult one, I think.

[01:01:50] I think the.

[01:01:52] I think I want to do high quality work. And that’s why the kind of the the biomimetic people kind of I think I really interested me in kind of the science behind that. But I think I like kind of like Dev Patel was saying, I’m quite interested in patient journey and I know it will be important as his whole thing is improving the patient journey and that’s always been something like like and he was saying it seems so obvious and I’m like it is so obvious like in from like being practise. Like there’s so much simple things I feel like could be improved. And so if I did have my practise that that would be something that I’d, I’d really want to focus on and just create a place where people want to come and that, you know, the patient journey is kind of is top notch. So I guess in that way, the kind of own in a practise is is appealing. But I also like it kind of like invisibly said, I kind of just want to be the best general dentist that I can be as well.

[01:02:48] For now. Sure. For now you should. For now. That is the main. The priority for now is to learn, right? Learn, learn. And for the next five years as well. You just learn and be good. Don’t forget the soft skills, like I said for sure. But I think you’re in a privileged position now. I guess you put yourself in that privilege. It’s the wrong word. You’ve put yourself in a in a strong position whereby you probably know more about what’s going on out there than most PhDs, let’s say. Yeah. And or your or you’re part of that conversation there. And I don’t know, people people always say the general advice they give younger dentists is, you know, just become a generalist first and then get good at everything first and then decide what you want to do after that. But if there was some aspect of dentistry that that got you excited for the sake of the argument you implant, if you were that cat. Yeah, then for me the sooner the better know. Because if you know, if you set your sights on implant ology and you now being you, you could give me a call and say, Hey, can I go and sit with Martin one day for two days? And him being him, you’ll say Yes you can, and suddenly you propel you in implants. And I get that thing about try a bit of everything. Yeah, but actually I think the sooner you decide, it doesn’t even matter what the thing is, it really doesn’t matter. You could say implants, you could say endo, you could say business opening 100 practises. You could say any of those things. Yeah, but the sooner you make your mind up about those things, the sooner you start to set goals and and get to those places. And I find a lot of time people worry about, what if I’m making the wrong decision? Don’t worry, man. It’ll it’ll it’ll show itself later on. It’ll be fine. It will be fine. Yeah. So I’m a bit concerned for you now. Go on, go on. Going on?

[01:04:55] No, that’s something I’ve always been interested in, is having dentist opinion on that. Like, should you specialise? When should you specialise? Like, if you should specialise at all, like when? When do you choose what you want to do? How many years before you can go to private practise? How what’s the transition to private practitioner that you do mixed and then this know it’s.

[01:05:15] There’s no right or wrong way there’s no right or wrong.

[01:05:17] Way. Yeah you get a million different you get a million different opinions. Pretty much start where you ended up. I end up where you started.

[01:05:24] I mean, I was I was interested in patient journey because not because I was said I was interested in medicine, but I turned up to my job and I just couldn’t believe it. I could not believe that’s what it was. You know, dentistry is this. And by the way, I had a great boss. He was a very forward thinking boss. But I don’t know. It just wasn’t the way. It wasn’t anything like the dentist I used to go to when I was a kid. And then. Then you’ve got two choices, right? Your choice is fit in and do do whatever you do or this thing about actually make a change and make things better. I don’t know. If you listen to the Robbie Hughes episode, that’s a good.

[01:06:03] Idea for a guy who wants to.

[01:06:05] Change change the patient journey. But it is a little bit concerning with you do dear, because of what you said about what Covid’s done to your experience. What’s the consensus like? Are you guys all saying the same thing that it’ll just work itself out in the wash? Are you going to try and get extra? You know, some somehow get some extra experience. What do you do?

[01:06:33] I mean. Yeah, for me, this is kind of my way of my way of dealing with it. You know, as I said, like lockdown and content, just. Yeah. Like speaking to people like you, speaking to the dentist, kind of getting my name out there, doing everything I can if I can’t be in clinic.

[01:06:49] Good.

[01:06:50] You know, watch. Watch. Tubules lectures. I’ve watched. I have the thing in Australia, right? Global like content. Look on Instagram, learn, learn as much as I can. And you know, the, you know, obviously the, the biggest part of dentistry is seeing patients and doing that obviously with the soft skills as well, but doing the treatment, doing them to a high standard to get a good enough, you know, the best jobs, you know, you do have to to have a certain ability in doing these treatments. And if we’re not getting the experience as dental schools, you know, it is difficult. But I guess I’m trying to do as much as I can to to to kind of negate the fact that, you know, we’ve you know, the clinical experience I’ve had so far has been has been extremely little.

[01:07:42] You know, I don’t know if you listen to Kunal Patel, he studied in Czech Republic and he qualified dental school having done six fillings and he was saying qualifying Czech Republic made him not so worried about everything. Like people who qualified here, not worried about the GDC, not not worried about anything because they didn’t tell him to worry. And, and he said he’d sort of came and just started working and all that. And, you know, he’s now he’s about I don’t know if you follow him love teeth. He’s he has one super. Practise, one super duper practise. Yeah, but what he’s doing is he’s going from 1 to 7 in, in one year. He’s like, well and so and my, my point is he qualified with seven fillings. Yeah it’s a don’t worry. Don’t worry. But you do worry to the point of trying to, trying to do your best now. Right. That’s that’s all there is to it. All right, man, it’s been a real, real pleasure having you on. You know how we always end this year? Yeah, perhaps. Final question and my final question lately. Should we start with perhaps? Uh huh. Have you prepared?

[01:08:59] Yeah, whichever. Whichever. I’ve got some notes. Yeah. I doubt in.

[01:09:03] My deathbed it’s really difficult talking to a 12 year old about deathbed. Which year were you born?

[01:09:13] 2000.

[01:09:14] Oh, my God. I was five years old. Terrible deathbed. Nearest to see the three, three, three pieces of advice.

[01:09:30] So yeah, the first one I came up with was be kind and have good intentions and I think it’s fairly vague advice. But I remember I had a chat with my squash coach and I couldn’t have been I wasn’t, I was maybe like 13, 14 and it was kind of getting really deep with me about like what, you know, what I want from life and what I want it to be. And I kind of, I think the word that I came up with was good and not just like good as like, don’t be excellent, be good, but like just a good person who didn’t cause harm to anybody. And, you know, it wasn’t just like I did something good and positive to the world. So I think that would be the advice that I’d give as the first piece of advice. The next one would be to live your own life and kind of don’t let other people’s opinions. Or, you know, I guess if they were my family, like whatever my opinion was to stop them doing what they want to do because, you know, I feel like I didn’t have any choices forced on me, you know, growing up. Like, I wasn’t, you know, you have to do this. You have to work, work hard or do whatever. And, you know, I feel like everyone kind of should be free to kind of do do do what they want and it’s their life at the end of the day. And the last one, I guess also I felt as if I was kind of dying and I didn’t have long left. It would be to tell them to be grateful and be present for every day, every minute, you know, everything that they’ve everything that they’ve got. Because, you know, you know, and I’ve been thinking, you know, especially with some of the meditation recently, it’s like, you know, you live in so much anticipate in the future that, you know, you’re not present and you’re not enjoying the now and you’re not grateful for for what’s going on right now. So they’d be my my three things.

[01:11:06] Yeah it’s nice man I mean that that live for the now thing is a bit of a cliche everyone talks about but but living is actually quite hard is it.

[01:11:15] Yeah.

[01:11:16] I get annoyed when people worry about the past quite a lot. Like an annoyed too strong man. But. But you know what I mean? Like, forget the past. But. But I. I do find myself constantly into the future and. And not in the now. Constantly imagining what if, what if, what if, what if, what if and and and you forget now as the only real thing is.

[01:11:41] Yeah, yeah, that’s it. Yeah. The future doesn’t exist. Like.

[01:11:45] Yeah, what about pace. Final question. Fantasy dinner party. Three guests, dead or alive.

[01:11:55] Yeah. So I’m really bad at this question. Anyway, I’ve, I’ve not that I get asked it all the time, but, you know, I just don’t know who to choose. The first person I chose is. Is Li Li Mark is you know Li. Yeah. Yeah, I don’t comedian. Yeah. I just love, I just love the guy. And, you know, I listen to Russell Howard’s podcast, not his podcast. He was on Stephen Butler’s podcast and I remember he called like LAUGHTER The Lubricant for Life. And, you know, it kind of just made me appreciate, like, you know, comedy and laughing and how how great he is. So Li makes me laugh more than than any other person. So, yeah, I love him. So. Yeah. Li Li Mark would be the first person.

[01:12:40] Cool after that.

[01:12:42] I was. I know he kind of got a bit more difficult for me, but I was going to say Kanye West. But I think recently he’s is kind of gone a little bit not not himself. But I was watching the genius documentary recently and like Kanye West 20 years ago, maybe I think, you know, he is is is a genius. So I’m not going to choose Kanye West then, but I’m going to choose Jay-Z because I think I’m not I’m not I am a big fan of rap music and grime music, but I’m not a massive Jay-Z fan. But I think the label that he’s built and I think he’s got like a marketing marketing company and just kind of the life he’s lived. I think he’d be a really interesting person to ask a lot of questions. And I think he’s, you know, he’s not just a rapper, he’s bigger than that. And he’s one of the most influential people of of of current times. So that’s why I chose Jay-Z. So one more and the other last person. Yeah, one more. The last person is kind of like a homage to my not not homage I present to my younger self. And that was John Cena, the WWE wrestler.

[01:13:50] John Oh.

[01:13:56] I used to love him going off on again, like he’s risen to the top of the profession as in his work ethic is maybe ridiculous and he seems also just seems like a very charismatic guy. And yeah, I think younger Adam would be very excited to meet John Cena globally.

[01:14:17] And one final thing I notice you’re not on Tik Tok. Yes, positive smile club. Why is that one?

[01:14:26] Mannix. I can’t.

[01:14:27] Dance. But you make an error. You make an error. You make an error in the same way as in the same way as my generation was making an error when we didn’t move to Instagram. Yeah, you’re making an error there because it’s it’s powerful. You must be on it. You run it yourself, right? Oh, no, I.

[01:14:50] Well, I try and avoid it just because I spend a lot. I actually have delete just delete it off my phone as well. But I used to my my phone time, which used to be like 8aa hours a day, like around like every day. So I’m trying to stay off it, obviously get work done, be more not necessarily productive, but do better things with my time. So I take it like on top of it it would have just been a catastrophe. But yeah, I think I guess, I guess dentistry. Dentistry tick tock is definitely a thing, but I still like still, I still feel like Instagram’s where a lot of the dental stuff happens, but, you know, I feel like, I guess I could use TikTok just to put content out there. And rather than actually taking in any content, I guess you’ve got to use the platform to understand what makes a good.

[01:15:33] Tik tok Yeah, I mean no one’s really worked it out so I can’t think of a tik tok page Dental tik tok page. That’s really amazing. But that in that is the opportunity itself. Yeah. And that is where the opportunity lies. Exciting. All right, man. Lovely. Really lovely.

[01:15:51] To think.

[01:15:51] About it. I’m sure we’re going to be seeing a lot more of you and let me know if you need something for sure right here. It’s been a real pleasure to have you. Check out Adam Naughton and Positive Smile Club. Right. If someone wants to to connect to send you a DM on their right, post a small club on Instagram.

[01:16:11] Yeah, 100% positive. Small club and. Yeah, no. Yeah. I’ve really, really enjoyed this and I think I’m going to listen back to it and kind of not. It’s going to feel very surreal to be on this podcast and just hearing my voice for once on the set of Every time I listen, I kind of think of what I’d say to these these questions. And yeah, it’s I’ve really enjoyed it. So thank you so much.

[01:16:33] You’ve been very buddy. You’ve been brilliant. Thank you so much.

[01:16:38] 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.

[01:16:53] 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.

[01:17:08] 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.

[01:17:18] And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

We have the unpleasant smell of the farmyard to thank that Martin Wanendeya didn’t follow his early dream of becoming a vet.

But the animals’ loss is dentistry’s gain: Since graduating from Bristol in 1995, Martin’s gone on to found one of the most recognised brands in dentistry and build a name as one of the most skilled implantologists in practice today.

This week, Martin chats to Payman and Prav about his early days in Uganda, the shift in mindset it takes to become a leader in the field and how he came to set up the legendary Ten Dental with business partner Nikhil Sisodia.

Enjoy! 

 

“Of course, there was fear…But sometimes if you have good fear, it’s going to make you work harder, plan better, prepare more, do all that stuff so that at the time you open, you’ve done everything you can. And hopefully, it will then be a success.” – Martin Wanendeya

In This Episode

01.38 – Backstory

16.16 – The dentistry decision

19.15 – Dental school

24.34 – Boarding school

28.01 – Early work, mentors and first implants

31.37 – Into private practice

34.14 – Meeting Nikhil Sisodia

37.00 – Shopfronts and squats

39.14 – Marketing

42.10 – Ownership and mindset shifts

52.22 – Partnerships

01.00.56 – Practice expansion

01.05.12 – Super associates

01.09.16 – Mastering implants

01.11.45 – On race

01.16.00 – Black box thinking

01.25.09 – Reputation and exclusivity

01.31.41 – What it takes to reach the top

01.37.01 – Referrals and relationships

01.41.06 – Last days and legacy

01.43.54 – Fantasy dinner party

 

About Martin Wanendeya

Martin graduated from Bristol University in 1995. He completed the Royal College of Surgeons’ diploma in implant dentistry at advanced level and was later invited to become a tutor at the college.

He is a member of the Association of Dental Implantology, the International Team in Implantology, the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the British Dental Association.

He is the co-founder of London’s award-winning Ten Dental + Facial clinic and is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading implantologists.

[00:00:00] For me, it’s the ability to plan to work out what you’re going to do when you see the patient. Because to me, you’re not going to however good your hands are, have a good just all the other things that are. Unless the person says yes to going ahead, it’s not going to happen. So for me, I think it’s the planning and then the trying to explain it in layman’s terms to the to the patient so that they go ahead, then all the other stuff will come later. You know, all the other stuff will come later. But I think to me it’s the planning part of it is the working out, being able to work out the simple to the moderate, the complex, just the fact that part of it, I think to me is key.

[00:00:47] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

[00:01:05] It’s my great pleasure to welcome Martin Whalen down to the podcast. Martin I’ve known for years and years and years working with them for years. I know Prav works with them to super cool cat implant ologist teacher principle of a multiple award winning practises and examine them. Is that right?

[00:01:25] In some respects, yes. Yeah.

[00:01:27] Lovely to have you, buddy.

[00:01:29] Pleasure to be here. Finally. Yeah.

[00:01:31] Welcome, Martin. Welcome.

[00:01:33] Thanks, Brian. Thanks. Bye.

[00:01:35] Martin, you grew up in Uganda.

[00:01:36] Yeah.

[00:01:38] Tell me about your childhood. Was it was it was it like a privileged upbringing by Ugandan standards or not?

[00:01:44] I think when I look back at it, it relative to many other people around me, definitely 100% because of where my parents managed to, you know, my parents basically managed to work their way up to be able to educate us. So we had a nice house. We have still my mom still lives there. Most gardened, you know, got to do lots of things. So in general, I’d say yes compared to many other people, but we lived alongside many people who didn’t have as much. So it was made really, really clear. I don’t know if you’ve grown up anywhere in the Third World or in the developing world, but when you grow up, it’s really, really clear the kind of the the haves and have nots. So I was always very aware of it and very pleased that my parents were able to provide that for me and for my brothers and sisters.

[00:02:30] What did your parents do?

[00:02:32] Dad not with us, but he was an MP politician and Mum ran her own businesses for a while or ran businesses with my dad and also worked with things like the World Bank, etc.. So she has a really some really quite, really, quite interesting career actually did lots of very, very interesting things. And I was a woman in the sixties, seventies and eighties and you know, in Uganda at a time when society was, I think, a lot more male dominated, you know, she managed to break through. I think one of the interesting things she did is microfinance. So helping kind of young helping female farmers, kind of rural women get access to money and loans so that they could develop themselves.

[00:03:13] And you must have, as your dad is an MP, with all the political turmoil that Uganda’s been through, you must have seen some things.

[00:03:22] Yes, I.

[00:03:23] Think he must’ve seen something.

[00:03:25] I think everyone that grew up in Uganda at that time, so saw some things because I mean, interesting. We’re part of a generation. If I look at my kind of counterparts, a lot of us have left Uganda and live abroad. If I look at the generation ten years younger, my nieces, nephews, cousins, they’ve all stayed and they’ve all stayed because they enjoyed much more stability than we do. Because at the time, you know, I grew up in Uganda, say I won’t remember it, but, you know, Idi Amin came in and we had to leave. We lived in Kenya as refugees. Parents had to kind of abandon the house, pack everything to a car, drive us across the border, you know, move to a different country. Had to suddenly make a life in Kenya with the help of friends and family. Then a certain age, we packed everything back up and drove back to kind of Uganda, which, you know, it was where we’re from. And suddenly it was kind of we had just been through a civil war. So there was potholes in the road. You couldn’t get basic goods. I remember you couldn’t get margarine, you couldn’t get sugar. Then one week you could get margarine, but you couldn’t get something else. So I just remember growing up with that in and around that time and just, you know, also security was an issue at that time, you know. And so we lived through that bit. And then from that bit, then, you know, there was another, you know, there were some elections where my dad was involved or mum was involved, interestingly, on different parties, which was, you know, you know, at the time my dad carried on with the politics, my mum didn’t and went more into kind of the sort of stuff with the World Bank and, you know, more of a kind of corporate style life in Uganda. And so witnessing.

[00:04:59] What your dad left leaning and your mum right leaning.

[00:05:02] Didn’t really work like that. You know, parties here are left and right parties. There are probably allegiances between different tribal groups or, you know, so, you know, for instance, there was Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party. They I couldn’t tell you what the differences were between their policies, but you could say that this guy is from this tribe and supports this this other guy’s from this tribe and supports that. So it doesn’t really work like that. And so yeah, and I watch my dad kind of deal with politics, which is, I don’t know, it’s not a life for me. It’s not something I would have chosen to do. But, you know, trying to get things done, trying to improve the life of the people around him, coming across issues, political issues, corruption, you know, people with their own agendas, you know. So yeah, and I watch that and I decided I didn’t want to do politics.

[00:05:57] Politics as we. Think of it here, like media attention or is it different?

[00:06:03] Interestingly, he got quite a lot of media attention because he would always he always would write he would always write columns and express his views in that. So he was actually reasonably well known for these columns. Whatever, you know, in there. But there wasn’t the same sort of you. No, not not in the same way as here. So it wasn’t like you were papped or followed around in any way, shape or form. And also because many lots of other people were involved in of our friends and family, were involved in life at that sort of level with politics or with kind of government jobs or base or, you know. So it wasn’t unusual in terms of where we were.

[00:06:42] Reminds me of the stories my dad used to tell me of when he was in Africa as well, and similar sort of thing that they they had to flee and they left with nothing, right? They have nothing, but they left with nothing and came here in the in the late seventies. But back to your margarine and that sort of story, I remember my dad used to say to me that, you know, when my granddad had had a good day at work, he’d bring home some margarine and jam and that would be it, you know, that would be a treat for the whole family. And it’s really interesting to, you know, the I guess the picture he used to paint because my grandfather was a shoemaker, so he used to make shoes, shoes by hand in a place called Tarboro. I don’t know if you if you know where that is, but south of Uganda and Mwanza.

[00:07:32] Yeah.

[00:07:32] And remember, he used to say they used to sit on this step. And, you know, when my granddad came home and he’d sold sold enough shoes that he could he could get a loaf of bread, some margarine and some jam, and they had jam sandwiches and that would be the equivalent of a luxury meal for that. And then and then came over here in the late seventies. So when did you you come over here, Martin?

[00:07:57] I came over in 1985, so I kind of came to to go to school, you know, because I was at school, I was at sort of a boarding school in Kenya, in the highlands of Kenya. And that was a very nice place to be. I really enjoyed my time there. And when I left there, I you know, my parents decided, you know, at the time, where were we, 1985. So there just been a civil war we’re just gone through. And I remember at the time being sat outside our house, which is in Uganda, which is overlooking a valley when you overlook the valley. I remember I sat there with my dad and his neighbour and you know, they were having a beer. And this was the time when Museveni’s troops were taking over, you know, the Civil War was coming to a kind of a conclusion and watching kind of smoke and bombs in a column of troops walking through the middle of the valley and, you know, and then trying to leave the country at the time to go to school, you know, multiple checkpoints at the time where there’s a lot of child soldiers, they are called Dogo. So they’re kind of young kids, you know, ten, 12, 13, holding, you know, AK 47 kind of questioning you and, you know, getting away from that environment and, you know, kind of happy to get to the airport and then onto the plane. And then arriving in somewhere had never been never left East Africa. You know, I’ve been to Uganda and Kenya, never been to the UK and then suddenly, boom, you’re plonked into north London. There you go.

[00:09:22] What was your first impression?

[00:09:25] First impression was just, I think. Slightly confused, and I think they would just seem to be so much stuff. You know, the shops seem to be full of all this stuff and, you know, you couldn’t figure out how society works. You know, you’re just trying to get around your go on the tube. You’d come up here, you know, it hadn’t seen an underground or overground, you know, public bus in those ways. So just getting your head around all of that stuff, you know, for about a week. And then then going to a school which was a boarding school and then, you know, at that point in time that that was the real shock. Suddenly you’re faced with kind of kids your age who come from a completely, you know, completely different background, North London, you know, other people from Greek or Asian backgrounds. And, you know, suddenly you’re trying to get your head around all of this change. So I think it probably took me a good six months to start to understand how things work and to understand how people work. Because I think I grew up probably slightly naive and friendly with everyone that came around and then, you know, people with different agendas and, you know, and ways in which they worked and operated and what was an acceptable joke and not what was funny, what was not, you know, all of that stuff. You’re trying to get to grips with the 30 year old. So. Confused, confused, not understanding. Grateful, I think for the opportunity. Grateful to be away because of what I just left and what I left behind. And I thought, you know, I’ve got to make the most of this, whatever, you know, whatever happens.

[00:10:57] And where did you slot in in your class, so to speak. So. 13 year old new kid. Welcome, Martin, into this class. He’s just come over. Where did you slot in both, let’s say socially and then also curiously academically as well. You’ve come from a different system straight into this system. Like, were you sort of did you did you have to sort of learn that or were you way ahead of the class where you’re just thinking, right, this is.

[00:11:26] This is these high in Kenyan boarding schools? From what I’ve.

[00:11:29] Seen, people I mean, to be honest, I mean, one of the things is I would say that, okay, I’ll start off with the socially I was I was lucky that there was two other boys who were from from Africa. So we immediately kind of one one from Sierra Leone. Okay, fine. Okay. You can understand what I’m talking you understand the jokes and everything else. So that that really helped. And I think. B And so first you kind of like a little group. You’re probably a curiosity to everyone. And I won’t forget you. And I had a very strong African accident. Everyone was always kind of mimicking me, copying me just to kind of say a word, you know, that sort of thing. You know, you had to go through the change of, you know, you learnt to speak differently just because you were, you know, every word you said, everyone in the class would suddenly kind of burst out laughing or whatever. So there was all of that. So you were kind of curious outsider, you know, for a lot of these things. But what really, really hugely help was sport, actually, because I loved playing sports, I was reasonably good at it.

[00:12:32] And, you know, a lot of those barriers were broken down for me once, you know, you started playing an a rugby hockey athletics suddenly like, okay, okay, we’ve got a common thing here now and okay, we can get to grips with you now that, you know, if you’re on our team, you’re okay at the sport, you know, what about academically, academically? I’d say average maybe above slightly above average in that, but always prepared to do the work. You know, that’s one of the things so slightly above average in terms of that. But you know, it’s one of the things where I’d gone from a small school, whereas at the top of that school to come into a bigger school where suddenly, you know, the standards are were higher because there was more kids and more bright kids. And I think what I couldn’t ever really understand was the people who didn’t put the effort and the work in. So from my perspective, I think average to above average, slightly higher than average is where I put myself.

[00:13:32] I feel like with immigration, it kind of takes ten years from when you arrive to feel at home, because in the first five years you definitely don’t feel I mean, like you said, you don’t know the system, you don’t know people, you don’t know anything. Right? Okay. You start to learn that. But also in the first five years, you no longer fit back at home anymore. It’s this sort of weird moment, you know, where you’re half there and half your one foot in each camp sort of thing. I see it with our staff as well. They come from all the different places they come from. But then after ten years, which in your terms would have been the end of dental school? I feel like people people have this feeling of, okay, now this is home, you know, that probably you feel like you belong. Did you were you accelerated in that sense or did you feel like it took that long or.

[00:14:26] I think I think I think you’re really right, because I would agree that I’d agree with you entirely, because one of the things I think I. I realise it’s when you actually got through the first winter without moaning like hell about it. I hated winter. I hated, you know, every time we’d be like, why? Why does this happen? You know, freezing cold, you know, your fingers are cold or thumb. You don’t know how to dress the first winter as well. You’re not being gloves, you’re not putting layers. So all that stuff is going on. So and that was one of the things. But I think there’s always an element I think of you end up being neither, but both is is what I would say. You end up being I’m neither Ugandan nor British, but I’m both Ugandan and British. And you’re kind of a curiosity in you know, you’re slightly different in both places rather than a native of both. But I’d say in terms of it did it did take ten years. And it also, I think, making the real lifelong friends and the people who you’ve attached to and finding the people who kind of understood that you came from a really different background and sometimes you wouldn’t get the joke, that reference a 1960s cartoon that was on TV, you know, that when there were kids, you know, you just sat there going, What? I don’t understand. So it took a little while to get to that point. And I think the other thing was also, when you’re part of a cultural shift, that happens. So when you’re part of, you know, for instance, you know, the eighties or the nineties, when that change happens, you’re part of that. You’re there at the beginning, you’re there in the middle, you’re there. Then you then have a common kind of thing with everyone that you can then link with. And I think that’s probably the time. I think.

[00:16:09] Something like Live Aid or something like the shift in the way people.

[00:16:14] Think. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:16:16] When did you think I want to be a dentist? Was that early or was that, you know, were you one of those didn’t know what you wanted to do?

[00:16:25] Well, it was quite a good story because I always kind of knew because my dad and mum worked in offices and what they would call the office is not, say, an office that you get here in the UK. I remember my dad had the room he was in, he had a secretary, it was in front of him and the same with my mum. She had another office in a different part of town. So whenever you go in you would arrive and they’d say, okay, you speak to the secretary, the secretary put it down, would knock, walk in next door, speak to him, he’d be on the phone, he’d be dictating a letter. And that’s what I thought office work involved. So I thought actually that that seems quite boring. I don’t want to be sat here just, you know, sending the secretary in and out and dictating letters and doing whatever. So I thought, I don’t want an office job. So then it’s also part of that kind of at the time there was, you know, let’s call it five choices. You’re a doctor, a dentist, an engineer, a medick, you know, you know the story. You know, you come from that sort of background. You have to come out. You have to do something. So out of those choices, I thought, right, I’m more interested in the medical staff things. So in the medical setting, I thought, okay, let me have a look at all of these things. So at one point I kind of run around and said to my mum, Oh, look, I’m interested in in anything medical.

[00:17:38] What do you think I might be interested in veterinary science? So they said, okay, alright, if you’re interested in veterinary science, I’ll take you along. So at the time she had a farm, a pig farm, this was maybe an hour outside of Kampala. So I said, okay, I’m interested, I’m going to come along. So I went along to the pig farm and I’ll never forget the day they opened the silo and you kind of walk in and there’s the smell of all of those pigs. It took about five, 9 seconds for me to realise that I didn’t want to work in that environment and I was I was not going to be a vet because the reality of what a vet evolved suddenly dawned on me. So then I thought, okay, maybe I want to be a doctor and do medicine. I went along and I kind of spoke to my sister, my older sister. She, she, she’s a medick and she at the time she was considering it and she kind of said, well, if you’re going to do this, you need to be really dedicated. You need to really want to be a doctor. It needs to be a drive and a passion. Unless you feel that maybe, you know, don’t do it. I thought, no, I don’t really have that passion. I don’t really kind of have this urge when you see people to kind of fix them and make them better, not not in the medical way.

[00:18:46] So I thought, no, no, that’s not what I wanted. And then I thought, okay, let’s have a look at dentistry. And my uncle, Uncle Martin, Alec, who was he’s a dentist and kind of went along to see him at work one day. And when I went along to see him, I thought, I see this. I like this environment environment’s quite nice, you know, he’s doing something that’s not an office that’s kind of medical based and it seemed quite nice. He had quite a nice car as well, quite nice house as well. I thought, okay, out of the three of these, this seems, you know, the one that I’m most interested in. And I talked to him a little bit. I also went and did another bit of work experience in Kampala. At the end of that I thought, okay, now this is it. And this was probably, I think when it wasn’t early, it was probably maybe 15, 16 when you’ve got to make those choices. I was always going to go down the science route, but. When you have to make the choices that are going to then lead to the next thing. So at that point, I’m as I can. I’m quite happy with this. I’m quite happy with dentistry. This looks like a good part. I think I can get into this. And that’s where it began.

[00:19:47] And where’d you study?

[00:19:49] Bristol.

[00:19:50] Oh, yeah, of course. Which year was.

[00:19:53] That? 85. 85 to 90.

[00:19:58] And what’s what sort of a dental student were you, Martin? We were really geeky. Had in the box kind of guy. Or were you a bit of a party animal?

[00:20:06] No, I think I think what I would say is that I realised fairly early in dental school, having talked to people, that whether you got 51% or 99%, you got the same degree. Right. So suddenly, you know, A-levels, it’s ABCD, everything else is graded but here and they explained that one person might get the distinction and there might be a merit somewhere, but the rest of you will get a straight pass. So at this point I thought, well, actually, you know, I’ve worked my way up to here. I’ve worked my way through the A-levels and, you know, secondary school, etc.. And I thought, okay, that’s as long as I get to the point where I pass. That’s the important part and as long as I take the most important thing. So I wouldn’t describe myself as particularly geeky or academic. Bristol at the time was a really good city to be in. There was loads of really interesting kind of music happening. There was loads of really interesting kind of. There was a very interesting art scene going on. I also was working one evening. I had holiday jobs. I was also working one evening at a bar. And at this bar, you know, I ran this bar where people would come down and deejay on a Thursday night, etc. and we met. Tricky massive attack, you know, just Portishead. Okay. So all of that time that was all going on around the time. So amazing. Yeah. So, you know, I think the Friday morning period was probably the one which I think we attended because I used to work every Thursday evening at this bar and it was you’d work, I’d get free food, I’d get some free beer as well. So Friday morning period sessions were probably my worst attended of anything, you know.

[00:21:46] Did you find you were hanging out more with dentists or not? Like, were you more with the townies or were you more with non dentist lawyer types or whatever?

[00:21:55] I think I think it was probably not really with dentists because I had interests. So, you know, interest in all of the other things going on and it was just the people who happened to be there and they happened to be on a variety of different degrees, etc. Lots of people who lived in Bristol who I met through working, you know, because I had a job where people come, Oh yeah, you’re the guy from Cosey. So yeah. So you just met people who lived in Bristol and lived in and around Bristol. So I ended up, I think probably sadly, a lot of my social life wasn’t around a lot of dentists, it was around lots of other people. But everyone who shared a kind of common interest in the things I was into, really.

[00:22:34] Did you not consider staying there? Because once, once you were in that position that you’ve just described, that’s almost like a level of acceptance here that you hadn’t had when you went to boarding school. And, you know, early on and what I was said about the sort of the ten year thing was probably starting to happen. Once you become once you become the guy having a night and people recognise you and all that, I’d imagine you’d start thinking, Well, maybe I should make my life here. Did that cross your mind or not?

[00:23:03] I don’t think it did, because.

[00:23:04] Were you always going to come back?

[00:23:06] My family was all in London, you know. Family was all in London and friends were all in London. You know, when you did a five year degree, everyone sort of three years in, picked up and moved to London. So when they moved to London, you know, there was a whole thing waiting in London. Once in my head, once I got there, it was it was all there. And also so so that probably drove a lot of my decision to kind of leave and move, you know, sister, brother, you know, aunt, uncle, cousin, all in London. So I would have felt slightly at a limb there.

[00:23:40] And have you always been in the same part of London?

[00:23:42] No, no, no. School, North London and Goldsmith School, as it did. Mill Hill. Oh, Mill Hill. Yeah.

[00:23:50] I broke my arm there once to one of those Camp Beaumont things.

[00:23:54] Yeah, that was the Belmont down the road.

[00:23:57] No, no, it was Mill Hill. It was New.

[00:23:58] York. Okay. All right. That patch, after you there.

[00:24:05] It was a nice school. Lots of fields, grounds and all that.

[00:24:08] Yeah. Yeah. Honestly, really? Really. Apart from when it was cold. Very nice school. No.

[00:24:14] You didn’t. You didn’t see it. Did you see him often? He went there?

[00:24:17] No, no, I didn’t.

[00:24:19] Same sort of time as well.

[00:24:21] No, it depends. There was a real distinction in there, boys and boarders. So if there was a day, boy, I probably would have known if it was a boarder because you all hung around in the evenings, the weekends and all the other stuff. Then we would have known one another.

[00:24:34] What’s what’s your view on boarding school in general? Because you’ve spent most of your life in boarding school, your childhood life. What do you think about it? Do you have kids?

[00:24:42] Do you to.

[00:24:44] Persuade them to.

[00:24:45] Go? Younger one goes. Older one doesn’t. Interestingly.

[00:24:50] So what’s your view on it?

[00:24:52] I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I remember the first time I went stage seven. Bear in mind, I’m done before of five. So my older sister had gone to this place. Rather had gone to this place. Sister above me had gone to this place. And so suddenly when it says, are you going to go to that place? You know, basically half your family, more than half your family there, most of your families there. So and when you’re there, you know, having the time to spend with your friends the whole time, you know, what you do lose is probably is the time with your parents. But at the time, you know, as I said, Uganda was difficult. So actually being away from that in some way, nice and idyllic, especially the first boarding school, it was the highlands of Kenya. So no mosquitos. The temperature is such that it’s like a warm summer’s day every day. And it just it just it stays in those boundaries. And so, you know, with loads of facilities, you know, lots and lots of space. So I really enjoyed that, you know, playing sport, eating well, having fun. I enjoyed that. Boarding school here was a slightly different thing because I think you then ended up in a different a different headspace. There was a lot more boys growing up. It was a boys and boys in there up until, say, 15, and then girls in sixth form. So very, very different experience. But nonetheless, I still enjoyed the time I spent with the people that I knew from that and also having the time to really spend on on I think on sport as well, which I really enjoyed.

[00:26:25] And so what? Martin What about your kids? You’ve got one in and one not just talk to me about the thought process, decision making process. I mean, it’s it’s 180 degrees from what I would do. And I’m not sort of saying, you know, one way or the other, whatever is it’s just my personal thing. But curious just to learn sort of your your view on that and then also why one in and one not?

[00:26:52] I think why one in one or not? I think it’s because of how they are as people if I’m on it. So the older one wouldn’t like know when we spoke about it, you said, no, you wouldn’t like to go the younger one, particularly because of, you know, the school when we’re looking for schools for and we were looking for a particular type of school that would suit him and suit his needs. And actually, the school that happened to suit his needs was not round the corner from us. It was not in south east London. It was an hour and a half away. And it did have you know, it was a boarding school. So we went along, had a look. He kind of spent a couple of nights there, came back. He said I said, how is it? He said, I had a great time, really enjoyed it. Would you be happy to do that? Yeah. And since then, he really enjoys it. You know, he comes back. How was your week? He goes weekly. So it’s not like you send him off and then see, mine was at the end of term. So every Monday you get dropped, every Friday you get picked up. So every weekend we see one another. So it’s not you know.

[00:27:54] It’s not months on end. So, you know, catching up on the weekends and stuff. Yeah. Having that family time, right.

[00:28:00] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:28:01] Well tell me about your tell me about your early jobs. You’re, you know, your early mentors. When was the first time you saw an implant?

[00:28:10] Oh, my God. An implant would have been. That would have been probably a very. Probably been 1990. So 95. Probably about three or four years in. And it was actually it was first first corporate job. The first time I saw an implant being placed. Yeah, actually I remember once my first job I had was I had this weird pathway where I finished, I finished dental school. I couldn’t go into vet directly because I didn’t have a British passport, so I had to apply for British passport and residency and all these things. So this meant that I missed the kind of vet cycle and I had to spend six months out. I worked as a waiter for those six months, which was with a dental degree, which was always very interesting because when people would say that to you, your fellow waiters, Oh, what do you do? You don’t want to know. You won’t be doing what do you? So that was always quite an interesting conversation. So when I started, I then the only the job I could get was being an assistant and that while I was an assistant I was at a practise in Hays and getting Lane sort of travelling out. And there there was a patient that came in and this patient had had an implant and everyone was like, Oh, they’ve got an implant, they’ve got an implant. Everyone was kind of gathering around it, you know, looking at it with, with great. Oh, and I happen to, they happen to be coming in to see me, you know, just by instant.

[00:29:36] That’s the first time I came across one. But in terms of early mentors, I’d probably say, you know, the first guy who took me on for BT because it was taught here early and that was he was based in Croydon, sort of in Crawley. And when I worked for him it was quite interesting. He took me on when I did the kind of VTE rounds and in doing the vet rounds I thought that after six months of working as an assistant, knowing the game working, you know, I knew what to do. I’d had to kind of self taught. I didn’t have, you know, a vet mentor at that time and I thought I’d be the most valuable vet on earth to anyone because I could hit the ground running and obviously make my train a lot of money. But the the guy who took a punt and I got one offer was was Tiger Ali. But I was very lucky because he was trained in dental practise. So that made him really, really kind of interesting to work alongside. We also worked in a really high needs area, so what I didn’t realise at the time was, you know, with his guidance we’re actually ending up as ending up doing what you call rehabs now, you know, full mouth of crowns and root canals and bridges, you know, with the odd, you know, partial denture attached to it. So that was. Yes, yeah. Yeah. That’s when the prior approval days, you know. Yeah. You could you could.

[00:30:55] Over £200 in my day. It was something ridiculous.

[00:31:00] At the time it was something like £800 and they dropped it. During my time it was, it was a reasonable amount you could do on the NHS and so, you know, working in his practise he obviously helped me with treatment, planning, putting these things together. It wasn’t just, you know, and in some ways I saw what it was like not to be a single tooth dentist, you know, through working alongside him. So that was probably the earliest mental beat and I ended up staying there for probably another sort of 18 months afterwards. So that’s driving from Battersea down to Crawley every day and back, you know, and. But he was one of the earliest.

[00:31:37] When did private dentistry come on the scene for you, Martin? Obviously, the transition from where you were there to to the level at which you operate now. When was it that you first got into sort of what you considered to be a sort of a higher end of private industry?

[00:31:52] It was a little bit of a battle to get into private, private dentistry. So from that job, I kind of worked somewhere else. That was the Waterfall Dental practise, and when I worked there, as I was working there, that was quite an interesting job because at the time it was private if you’re an adult or an NHS, if you’re exempt. And that worked really well. Did that for a bit, but then the whole practise change, it became massively NHS and then I ended up hunting around for different jobs and there always mixed jobs. But the mixed jobs I think in some ways were. I always felt I wanted to do more. And at every point I think you’re hampered by like a list of NHS patients. And I ended up, ended up, you know, at a certain point moving to James Hull. So I was kind of working one day in my practise and this and I got a call saying, Oh, you’ve been headhunted. And this was the promise, the big promise of kind of private dentistry that I’d wanted, because at the time I’d say it was mixed. And I think mixed is very different to what I do now and the sort of work we do now. So when I went along there, you know, that was promised as fully private, etc. and it wasn’t. And it’s, it’s a, it’s a problem. I had I’ve been chasing this private job all the way and I hadn’t been able to, to actually find it.

[00:33:06] So in some ways the private job came when I realised I was going to have to create it for myself really. And that’s when I started, you know, looking for premises, looking to start squat. This was maybe sort of, let’s call it mid 2000 to 2003 to around that sort of time. And then Nick and I hooked up and, you know, started ten dental at the time. I remember us considering taking on an NHS contract, but they were changing the contract at the time to, you know, from fee per item to this other thing which we didn’t know. So we just thought, you know, let’s open and see how we get on privately. And then that’s when that part of it began. And then once I started that, I realised that I was really going to have to level up and scale up a lot. And that’s when I started doing a lot more courses, and that’s probably when BCD came along, when I kind of met you guys at courses and things like that, that was the first time. So I’d say the other time I was doing the work, but not necessarily with the same foundation. And that came by, I think of course with Paul Tipton actually was I did his kind of year long restorative course that worked really well for me.

[00:34:14] Same as Kailash and Martin. How did you and Nick meet? It’s always interesting to learn how business partners got together, you know, were you buddies beforehand? What was the story? And then and then you decided to obviously, you know, settle your business together.

[00:34:30] Nice and easy. First day of dental school.

[00:34:35] Me and Sanjay met. First day of dental school, too.

[00:34:38] First day of dental school, same year, you know, birthday, two weeks apart. He’s two, two weeks older, you know, same year. And I think when we really probably became, I’d say, you know, really kind of bonded was when we did our elective together. When we went to the States, we went to Harvard and spent some time together there. That’s when we really kind of bonded and got it together. So from there we’d known each other and have drifted in and out. But when it came to starting a business, you know, I’ve said, you know, that’s when we hooked back up again and said, actually, we’re probably at a similar stage in life, about to have child wanting to work privately. You know, our current practise is not giving us what we want. So we’re going to have to create the job, the environment, the equipment, all of that. We’re going to have to do this ourselves because it’s what we want is not out there being offered to us or wasn’t being offered to me at least.

[00:35:33] But was it was was like while you were at dental school, was this some kind of dream that you both concocted up together and sort of said one day, or was it that you’d both gone in your separate directions and then you’d you’d stayed in touch, reconnected and said, let’s do this?

[00:35:49] Yeah, we’d completely gone the other way. And the time that I kind of, you know, it wasn’t a plan or a thing that we plan in any way, shape or form. And it’s actually when I was working for James, you know, the job, I told you where we got headhunted and they used to have this big kind of meetings and bashes and whatever. And at one point I bump into Nick and I’m in the practise, which is, you know, which I’m struggling to get a single bit of of whitening out of the patients. And here was in the Soho flagship, you know, so he was in this side of it actually. So that’s when we met up again and had a chat and, you know, rekindled kind of the friendship at that point in time.

[00:36:30] And so was that first practise that you said 2004, 2005, was that what we now know is ten dental?

[00:36:36] Clapham Yes, yeah, it’s, it’s the old premises, so it’s around the corner, it’s on the pavement then the pavement, dental health.

[00:36:43] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, so shopfront. That was the shopfront too.

[00:36:46] Yeah it was.

[00:36:47] So that was back then. That was quite quiet. I suppose you’d been in JD and seen shopfronts. Was that was that something to you? Because that was that wasn’t very common to have shot. But was it squat as well?

[00:36:59] Yeah, it was.

[00:37:00] It was a shopfront with a squat. Did you not worry about the risks and the costs?

[00:37:06] Of course. Of course. You know. Yes, we were.

[00:37:11] Sometimes. Sometimes you don’t like. What you don’t know is important, isn’t it? That you can. Just like if you told me what I had to go through with Enlightened, I would definitely wouldn’t have done that. I mean, and that’s a cliche, but definitely not.

[00:37:28] Well, was there an element of that? Sometimes, you know, you’re already swimming. You know, you can’t get out of the water. That’s it. You just have only one way to go. But but I think where that came from, you know, you talk about the shopfront there was I’ve always been really interested in design and graphics and I’ve always I think at around the time there were a few people doing kind of spa type, dental type things, and I had a look at them and I thought, they haven’t done that in the way. And I had friends who were graphic designers and people who did branding and marketing. And I thought, you know, with Nick and I thought, let’s put something together that’s very different so that if you’re walking along the road and, you know, we had leaves and we had kind of a whole kind of the photographs of kind of trees and plants and a whole kind of natural look going on. But with that premise, we just thought if we have something that’s so interesting to look at and doesn’t look like a dentist and feels very different, then we thought it would work and there wasn’t a dentist along that high street. I knew the area really well. I’d worked in around the area. I’d walked up and down there and I just it yes, of course there was the fair and that there always would be the fair. But I think some way, some of the times if you have a good fair, because what that’s going to do, it’s going to make you work harder, plan better, prepare more, you know, do all that stuff so that, you know, at the time you open, you’ve done everything you can. And hopefully it will then be a success. But there weren’t that many shop fronts in that day. You’re right. There weren’t and there weren’t that many designed like that in that at that time. So that’s something that we really, really enjoyed doing and putting together and still do.

[00:39:14] First marketing campaign back in the day. Was it the shop window? Was it was it the fact that it was it was something that sort of piqued people’s curiosity where they just started walking in because of the way it was designed and set up. Or did you have some campaigns set up back in the day to.

[00:39:32] Well, what I remember was the time I looked at the amount of rent, and I had a friend of mine, Neil, who was fortunate. He worked in kind of small business stuff. And when I was looking through stuff, he would talk to me and explain different things when I said, Oh, this is so expensive. He said, Think of this as your marketing budget. Think of your shopfront as your marketing budget. Make sure it looks really nice. And that way people walk in. So that was the that was the first thing was again, having a nice shopfront, having a good receptionist on the front and name was Hayley. She was she was brilliant. Having her on the front then I think around that sort of time is when Google was kicking off. And around that time you could load up with your credit card because Google Pay pay per click was quite simple at the time, wasn’t it? It was Google AdWords. So I remember entering the thing, looking at the area, putting in some keywords. It had some suggestions as to what you could do, put my budget on there and basically put the Google keywords budget and then sat there with the email address and went, Oh, someone’s booked. And I think at the time it was, it was you think about what was then and what is now. What was then was so empty. You just put something up saying, we’re a cosmetic dentist on Google. People are, Oh my God, there is a cosmetic dentist. I’m going to go there. Whereas now it’s a very, very different thing. It’s much more complicated. So was that was.

[00:40:53] That the positioning from the get go cosmetic dentist as opposed to sort of family or general or specialist or.

[00:41:01] I think it started off as Nick and I doing all of the dentistry and, you know, and then gradually after a while, you know, one of our team members are hygienist. Just Oh, look, I know you guys don’t really you know, you don’t love Bender, a friend of mine, and then the dentist would would you be interested in talking to him? So we talked to him then he had a friend who was a periodontist, so we talked to him and then we were getting into doing implants at the time. So we thought, okay, now there’s a periodontist, there’s an end of dentist, there’s a couple of guys doing implants. Oh, we might be called a referral centre. So, you know, we’re a referral centre now and then. So there wasn’t a plan to do that and it didn’t. But it just I think it was more every time you tried to see what the public wanted. At the time it was the age of veneers when everyone wanted us, you know, same day, smile, smile. So there was a lot of people looking for that sort of treatment. You know, after a while that sort of faded and people started looking for another thing. So a lot of it sometimes is driven by trends in the marketplace, especially if what you’re trying to do is keep your kind of young business going, you’re going to do whatever. So that’s how that part evolved.

[00:42:10] How do you take to being a business owner? Compared to a worker and someone who works in a business. And you to take to that naturally. I mean, what kind of what kind of a boss are you? For a start.

[00:42:25] I think it would depend on who you ask. Different people would have different things. I think what I would say is I probably I would like to the type of boss I’d like to be the sort of boss who actually when you come in, you’re going to have a good time at work. We’re going to have a laugh. And if you do your work, you do your bit, actually, you’ll find that in a certain respects I will be happy, happy go lucky joke around with you, you know, talk to be interested in you. But it’s when people cross that boundary and they start trying to they perceive your your friendliness as weakness and try and take advantage of that. That’s it. Then then a different person kind of comes out at that time. But I, you know, I like to prefer to be the first type because that’s much easier in terms of taking to business. I that’s when I learn how to use Excel. I just had to spend the time sat there going through crunching the numbers. It just took a lot of time and you know, you learn different skills at different times. And I remember just going through having to learn that, sit through, learning all this new stuff. I didn’t mind it. And I think at the time I met you guys, I was probably doing a lot more of the the kind of, let’s call it the back office stuff within the practise than I am now. I was doing a lot more of that and of paying the wages, doing this, uploading that, figuring out how to use the software, big change. But I think a lot of it’s funny because it happened so long ago. I’m so used to it. It’s almost like a frog in water. I’ve been in the water so long, whatever the temperature forgotten what it was like before I jumped in. You know, it’s been that long.

[00:44:01] It’s interesting during that transition, Martin, I think I think we all go through it right where you where you’re the bookkeeper or the guy who pays the bills and all the rest of it. And for you, you know, I’ve seen ten Dental go from certainly from the early days of what it what it was to what it is now. Right. And fortunately, you know, we’ve we’ve had the opportunity to sit down and look at your business together. And, you know, I’m privy to information where I can see that it’s a roaring success, you know, from the patients who were coming in and having the type of treatment that you share on social media. That obviously looks incredibly beautiful to all of those referring dentists, trusting you with their work, something had to happen mindset wise or mentally for you to shift from becoming, you know, that, shall we say, that small business mentality to I pay all the bills and I see all the receipts and that. So you just sort of say, right, I’m now running, you know, from where you were then to where you are today, what would you attribute sort of the biggest mindset shift, not like tasks or whatever, but just mentally for you to be able to say, right, okay, I’m going from first to fifth gear or whatever that is. And this is the reason why.

[00:45:22] I think a lot from my point of view, it’s probably been driven a lot by, I think, family and responsibility. So first practise, first child needed to step up, pay the bills, look after the family, do all of that stuff. Second practise, interestingly, you know, second child realising that there’s going to be a lot more needed. And I think at the time it’s one of those things where when you once you make the decision to do it and you make the decision that you’re going to go for it, I’m I’m fairly determined once I start something to kind of complete it and to keep going with it. And it also comes from, I don’t know, seeing parents, seeing family members. So sister, mother, fathers seeing, you know, in general what everyone else has had to do and realising that actually in some ways, you’re just going to have to get on with the work, you’re going to have to put the time in. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices to get there. And it’s, you know, in order to to make those steps and to do it. So I think part of that also comes from, you know, playing sports as well. You know, when you see the benefit of kind of hard work and you see it work for that work, work for it, and you achieve it. So it makes the hard stage of that a little bit easier if you kind of know that there’s an end site. And it also helps when you get the rewards, you know, you get the recognition, you get your first referral, your first kind of happy patient, your first Google review, your first rehab. And, you know, all of those things reinforce it and just give you the energy and the strength to carry on and to keep going.

[00:46:55] But just in terms of the shift in so so for me, for example, the hardest part, the thing I struggle with is the letting go a bit, right? Is I can be a bit of a control freak, but every time I’ve let go in my own businesses, it’s, it’s resulted in, in really positive things happening. Right. In terms of. Performance or team performing better and whatnot, but I struggled to let go and my mindset shift. I think it was a moment where I was, you know, I was being coached by, I think, Dan Sullivan at the time. And it was he said these words which which I’ll never forget is not the how, but it’s the who. Right? And the moment that sort of became clear in my mind, I didn’t really need to know how these things all happen. I just needed to find somebody who could do that thing right, who’s my guy, who can sort the the finances out from from that that side of things. Right. And it’s a bit like I heard a story about Zuckerberg one day who say walked into Facebook’s offices and said, today, guys, we’re going to focus on messaging. It’s all about messaging today. Right. And so for you, there must have been some kind of mindset shift to where you’ve just described that hard graft from your parents, from sports and everything. And I’m not saying the amount of graft has changed, but something must have happened for you to let go of those things.

[00:48:23] I think a part of it comes for I’d say there’s a couple of things. The first is when I, for instance, we talk about paying the bills and understanding how that side of it works. Once I understand how something works and then happy to let it go once I’m sure I’ve gone into it, I’ve looked at it, I’ve gone through the nitty gritty. I spent hours with the Google sheet looking at how this thing works and understood it once. Once I’ve understood it, I’m then happy to kind of happy to step back and let it go. And it also is easier because there’s two partners, because within the two partners what we do is we try and split that. So some parts are Nick does it and in some ways he will let me know he’s done it and that’s fine. Other parts, he will give me the same free rein. So having two partners also helps. And I think the other bit that helps is also having two people check every decision because we’ve done some things that you would look back and go, that wasn’t a great decision. But actually if two of you have made a bad decision, if there’s two of you looking at everything, that makes it a little bit easier in terms of, you know, you hope that someone if you come in with come in with something really dark, Nick is going to go, look, actually, that’s not going to work.

[00:49:34] We’re not going to do that. I’m saying now, you know, I’m pulling my veto on that one. So but it did take a while to let go. And I think a part of it has also been finding the right people. You know, once you find the right people that you can let go to, that makes it easier. And there are certain things which I still struggle to let go because I’m not sure, you know, if I’ve managed to train people in the right way to get them to do it. But once you find the right people and I think that’s very liberating. You know, some people that work in the team that you say, you know, you give them a five line email and it’s done and there’s other people with who need a little bit more guidance. So the right people has been key. And if I could find more, you know, it’s one of those things that you could find more of the right people to take different things then that that would help but. In essence, I think that there’s some things I don’t still let go of, which maybe I should.

[00:50:32] One of those things, Martin.

[00:50:36] Some of the. I think there’s some of the things like, for instance, some of there’s some tasks I do which. For instance, that there’s things I do with to do with my own admin that someone else could quite easily do. You know, there’s the expense out here where I’m really sure if I’ve trained the right person, they could do half of this stuff, you know? So it’s things like that. It’s things like that. And I think that would be one of my aims is to actually kind of slowly, you know, find the who to relieve me of those and give me more time to do the things that I enjoy.

[00:51:12] And what in terms of you and Nick, what’s the balance? Do you both have your own zones of genius where you’re better at one thing than him? Or do you split your responsibilities up in certain directions where you say, All right, I’m going to one marketing, Nick, you’re going to own HR or whatever. How do you work together as a as partners? It’s a little.

[00:51:33] Bit like that where, you know, there’s there’s five or six duties that are in terms of management that we have to do. He’s got two. I’ve got one and a half. And then there’s other things that we have to talk about and work out. So that’s how we try and we try and stay away, not always successfully from each other’s different zones, but, you know, there’s always going to be a bit of overspill that’s that’s worked for us so far. And we’ve had times where what’s interesting, we’ve had times where we’ve done the other jobs, you know. So he’s done one bit and I’ve done the other side of it. And then we’ve come back to a point where, you know, it’s over. Yeah. So you kind of understand what they’re going through. You know, if you’ve done that job and you’ve done that role, you know, you have a lot more sympathy because, you know, you realise what it involves. So that that’s that’s how we do that part.

[00:52:22] You have clashed. Have you ever sort of come to a sort of headway thing? I totally disagree with with what you’re saying and vice versa. And have you dealt with that?

[00:52:32] Yeah, we have. We have. And I think it’s you know, he always said it. And I think that having a partnership is almost like having a marriage. You know, it is. It is. It’s a long term relationship that you’re in and you’re going to be in and you’re committed to. And there’s bits of paper and everything else around it. So the times where it’s been difficult, you know, I think we’ve you know, my partner’s been an apology is needed. I’ve had to give it at times. Maybe he’s he’s had to say that part or it’s part. But we have clashed. And I think there’s times when because we know each other so well, I think when I see that he’s getting to a red line, I’ll back off because I realise, okay, we don’t need to cross that and fight our way and bash and he probably does the same to me and maybe you approach the same subject in a different way or in a common area. You know, if it’s a decision like that you’ll have to provide some kind of, you know, if it’s like, I want to do this, you’ll have to persuade me, not just by your words. You’ll have to go and do a little bit more work around that to demonstrate that actually it is a good idea or it’s not. But generally we’ve been lucky because I think a lot of times we’ve been aligned in terms of our approach and what we’ve wanted and how we’ve wanted to approach things, you know, from when we started. And there are times when, you know, you have you have to lose. Sometimes in a partnership you have to lose, you have to lose some arguments. You have to kind of give in. You know, you have to that’s it. And he feels strongly about something. I disagree. He feels that strongly. You know, I’ll have to say okay on this one. Let’s see how it turns out.

[00:54:11] Prav you’re in loads of partnerships. Yeah. And I’m in I’m in a partnership. And it’s interesting one because you have to have complementary skills, you have to be opposites in many ways. And yet on some base principle things, you have to be fully aligned.

[00:54:29] Yeah. Yeah, I agree with that. Yeah.

[00:54:31] And, and one the one that I find the most important to be aligned on, I think a couple, one is like how, how do you treat people that I think that’s really important because it can really great in a partnership if if the company is treating people differently to the way you as one of the owners would treat people. That’s cool. I think another one’s risk profile. And it’s there’s no right or wrong in risk profile, you know? I mean, one person can want to take big risks for big returns. Another another one could be more measured and some but those that does need to be aligned. Whereas, I mean, it’s really important with partnerships that you’ve got opposing skills. As well. You know, it’s like I was talking to Prav earlier that there are there are things that Sarge takes care of that I would never have a hope in hell of.

[00:55:27] Taking care of.

[00:55:29] Different types of people.

[00:55:31] Yeah. Would you? Vice versa and vice versa. Pay for you, right? You know, there’s stuff that’s. Yeah.

[00:55:36] Yeah. Essentially, like people.

[00:55:38] Yeah.

[00:55:43] What do you think? What do you think about that? I mean.

[00:55:46] To me. I think that’s true. I think, you know, I think you’ve got to have your basic goals aligned. You know, what are we doing? Why are we doing this? What’s our direction? You might have different ways of approaching how you get there, different pathways of doing it. And that’s probably where the difference happens, you know? And in terms of the letting go bit that’s hard is I wouldn’t do it that way, but you are doing it that way and he probably has a ton of stuff in that way. So I would never do it that way. But just just, you know, I’ll ask you how it went at the end. So that’s the part of letting go. But I do think there’s different bits that, that, that and I think in order to keep ourselves in different silos, we try and stay away from the other person things. But interesting I think over the years you end up a little bit more aligned because you learn from each other. You know, some aspects I’ve watched and I’ve said, okay, that’s, that’s interesting that work, that’s interesting that and actually some things are no he’s better at. So I’ll say, look, I know you’re really good at this. This is what I’m trying to do. How would you go about it? Right. So that’s that’s the easy way to do it. And then he’ll say this. If you follow that, generally, it will work out better than if I went into it my way. So that’s where I think you try when you have something that you know, the other person has very good skills at and is very good at, ask them first. So this is what I need to do. How would you go about it and listen and then see how that works out?

[00:57:10] Prav. Kim, you’ve got you’ve got your main businesses, not a partnership. Yeah, but you other ones are partnerships. Correct. What’s your thought?

[00:57:20] So I think I’ll reiterate what Martin said earlier, which is the general direction in the vision in which you’re all going in. Right. And if that isn’t aligned, I think you need to pull everyone in that direction or be pulled in that direction, especially when there’s multiple partners. You know, there’s a business I’m involved in where there’s I think there’s more than five people involved. Right. We are all pulling in in the same direction. We all want the same goal. We’ve got we’ve got the same, shall we say, exit strategy in mind. However, however you put that right, we have definitely got differences of opinion of how we’re going to get there. Without question. Right. But like you said, Payman, I think we’re all very, very much aligned as human beings and not not just how we treat our team members, but what’s really important is how we are with our families. And I think if I was to look at all our partners and how they are all with their their children, their partners and whatnot, we’re very, very much aligned in the way we list and conduct ourselves. And I’m not saying that that’s that’s important for business, but it can help. And then, yeah, in terms of how you treat your staff and whatnot, but I think in terms of having the skill sets, complementary skill sets 100%, otherwise you may be just fighting for the same job, right? Or you may you’re both sort of aces down one thing and perhaps you can just split that duty.

[00:58:55] But every partnership that I’ve been involved with, I’ve definitely had a skill set that’s complementary to the rest of my team. And the rest of the team have definitely had skill sets where I couldn’t touch it, not not in a million years. And and that’s worked really, really well. But the one piece of advice someone comes to me and goes, Hey, I’m thinking of going into business with my best buddy. There’s a book called the Partnership Charter. It is a wonderful book. It’s a really old book and you don’t even need to read the book, flick to the back pages, and there is a contract in the back of that partnership charter. And whether you choose to use that contract or not, it’s up to you. But there are some probing questions in that partnership charter where it explains all the uncomfortable conversations to have with that person before you jump into bed with them. Right. Some examples. It’s really all right. What happens if you and Carla got divorced tomorrow? What’s going to happen to your shares? Okay. What happens if you die tomorrow? Payman, I don’t want to deal with your wife.

[01:00:07] I agree. All of that from the beginning, huh?

[01:00:09] Agree. All of that from the beginning. Right. Because the whole the whole purpose of this contract is it makes us think about the uncomfortable stuff. Hopefully it never happens and we get that stuff out of the way so we can focus on what did we have at the beginning, the vision. Yeah. And so that book, I don’t know how old it is, but the language is old and it is an old book. But, but forget about reading the book, but that contracts at the end. It’s beautiful and it makes for a it makes for a very engaging and probing conversation between partners. And you learn a lot about each other during those conversations as well, like what their responses would be to those those type of questions. So that’s that’s my piece on partnerships.

[01:00:56] Martin Tell me about moving from one practise to multiple practises when you start, for instance. That that’s a good question, isn’t it? When you started out with Nick, was your stated goal to have multiple practises?

[01:01:09] No, no. Our stated goal was my. We did. I suppose we didn’t really. We just wanted somewhere that we could practise dentistry the way that we wanted with the equipment we wanted, with the, you know, with the environment that we wanted. That’s where, you know, that, that’s really where that started. Then I think the second practise came along because we were sat, they were very busy in the one practise as well as being very busy in the one practise. We kept noticing that a lot of our patients would move from Klapa to Ballan, so you’d be, say, a renter in Clapham and you kind of you’d be in your shared household and then at a certain point you would meet boy meets girl, then you’d buy a house in Balham, and then you’d have a family home. So that kept coming from Balam to Clapham and we figured, I think there’s an opportunity there and we kind of went along and found a building and when we found this building we had to kind of do all this stuff very quickly to suddenly decide we’re going to do it. So it happened really quite quickly from us thinking about it to it actually being okay, you have to do it now and huge amount of time to think about that.

[01:02:22] Another squat.

[01:02:23] Another squat. Yep, another squat. And that that was I think in some ways it was a really, really hard build with digging down with basements, with mud, with, you know, all sorts of things like that that made it complex. But on the other hand, it it we kind of peaked out where we were. And I think the other thing that happened is I think it also we were both in the same place, both there at the same time, and actually we could both do more. We’re also doing a lot of you know, you talk about partnerships, you talk about, you know, having different skills. But one of the things that’s probably unusual is we’re both doing the same sort of work. We’re both in Scientologists, both partners are in ontologies, where he was a orthodontist and as an implant ologist, there’d be a lot less clash right here as a cosmetic dentist. So I think we thought, well, we just we need more space. And rather than have more space here, let’s have space down the road in Balham. And so that was the thinking behind behind starting that. And we also had a group of we’re very lucky because we had a group of great young dentists that were working alongside me. Ojo Your hand is badly on, you know, I think Shiraz was Shiraz was a little bit later, but he was about to come along. So we had this group of really talented young dancers. We didn’t have enough space to do all the work, so it helped that we’re able to kind of move somewhere else, open up, have a little bit more space. And also, I think all the mistakes you make building your first practise, you know, you don’t make those mistakes building the second you make different mistakes instead.

[01:03:52] So was it simpler, though, to transplant the systems over that? Much more confident the second time?

[01:03:59] Right. And we had a great practise manager at the time that was really, really, you know, that was really useful in that. So yeah, you know, you talk about letting go, having someone that was able to really, really help with that was really, really handy. So again, once you had everything in place and also it was down the road so it didn’t feel like it was too far, you could get there in 15 minutes and back. So it wasn’t like, you know, I know people who’ve got one practise in Scotland and the other one in Cornwall. It wasn’t anything like that, you know.

[01:04:27] What year was that? Was that four or five years after you started the first one?

[01:04:30] That was that would have been 2008, 2009. So for four or five years. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:04:39] And then the third one was then.

[01:04:41] One was a purchase. Someone who was a basically was a referring dentist. They wanted to sell. We had just bought then it just started the second and they said, actually, you guys are looking like you are going to expand. And at the time we’re thinking about expanding and multiples and doing more practises and it just it’s probably an opportunity that arrived rather than we went looking for. So that was quite a that that was how the third practise came along.

[01:05:12] I mean, tell me. So you mentioned a few of the names of the people who’d worked there. And, you know, there’s quite a lot of associate super associates, people who’ve gone on to do greater things who’ve come out of that little camp of yours. And I’m sure you know, in the future there will be. Actually, I know one of your Jessica who who who started became an Army bomb maker, but she was a dental student and already putting out wonderful work. You know, do you guys have like a formal way that you’re training the associates or is it just that you love teaching? We love how sharing knowledge. Why is it your associates all go on to do such wonderful things?

[01:05:57] I. I would say ask them. One of the nicest things, I think when Shiraz left, he kind of gave a very nice speech on social media about what had happened. But I think what it comes down to in some ways is, you know, I’m Maya’s my own worst critic when it comes to what something looks like. Is it right? Is it good enough? Nick’s also his own worst critic. So when, you know, once you get past that, I think what we try and do is try and instil a sense of, you know, what it looks like to do work like that. And, you know, one of the things is in going to conferences, going things like BCD for years, going to barge, you know, travelling abroad and seeing some of the work that people do. You see things and once you see something at a certain standard, when someone comes up to you said, Oh, look, this is the work I’ve done today, what do you think? And that’s really the moment where I think the change starts and the people who are able to kind of gain from it, the most of the people who are able to listen to what you say, take on board the hopefully constructive kind of criticism and feedback you give them. What helps sometimes is you’ll have maybe a case that you’ve treated in the past that’s like that. So you can show them saying that This is what I did, this is what you do, this is how this works. And then the next time you have that, before you start on the day, come in and see me. Let’s talk through it before you start. When you’ve got the professionals on really important, come and talk to me with the provisionals on and I’ll say No, you need a bit more there or a bit less there or a bit more there. And that’s it’s just a gradual process, a gradual, iterative process of continually, I think, learning to show your work to other people and accepting the feedback when it comes and then changing it and then doing it again and then doing it again.

[01:07:39] Instilling that culture. I mean, I speak to associates. They say, my, my boss doesn’t ever say one word to me. Susie, it’s very I’ve been I’ve worked in a practise myself where, you know, literally we just like we happen to be in the same building.

[01:07:55] But, but.

[01:07:56] But there was no discussion on cases, nothing. I mean, just like, you know, that culture of of of teaching. Within a practise, you know, unless you’re telling me, you know, it just comes. So it just just came naturally and it just it just evolved by itself.

[01:08:12] Yeah, because we we both, you know, we both did study clubs. We both have taught and trained. And and I think you probably pick certain things up. And I think one of the things that’s probably been the thing that’s helped is understanding different people’s learning styles. You know, some people, they just, you know, you have to be really gentle and talk around it and kind of get to the point, gradually show loads of evidence around that go online. Other people don’t get it that way and you have to be really quite forceful to get the point across. And then they’ll go, Oh, okay, fine. But as long as you get to that point where something clicks in their head, then it helps. And I think it’s also a lot of people, you need to see it to understand what you’re trying to do. Unless you’ve seen it and you can see it, then it’s really hard to get up to that level. So that’s where I think there’s been a huge advantage of travelling, seeing, you know, courses and also, you know, it’s, it’s, you know, we’ve been doing this a little while so, you know, picking up hints and tips from different people at different times.

[01:09:16] I seen some of your presentations, Martin. You know, you’ve got a definite style, you know, very beautiful sort of looking slides and things that you make. And this question of teaching and I guess it kind of goes hand in hand with the question of sort of super excelling at something in order to be considered a teacher at it. I mean, some people will not touch implants, others will restore them, others will start placing them. Others will do loads of them. Others will do grafts, others will do sinuses. You’ve taken implant ology, you know all the way. You do continue to take it pushing further and further and further. What is it in you that makes you that cat?

[01:10:02] It’s very kind of you to say, first of all, pay. Well, now, that’s much appreciated because you’ve seen this, you know, for many, many years. I think a part of it comes from I would say. You know, before I left. So age 13, leaving Uganda. Last talk with my mum, you know, she was sending me off to a foreign land and she kind of said, look, you’re just going to have to be much, much better in order to get the same place. You know, you just have to accept it. You’re going to have to be much better. You’re going to have to work harder. You’re going to be much better that that’s just the truth because you’re going to look different. You’re going to talk different. You know, that’s not you know, it’s not your country. You’re going to so you have to if you accept that as the baseline, that you’re going to have to be better, that sets the tone for what you have to do. And I think that that’s probably the driver. It’s that understanding that actually you’re just going to have to work a little bit harder. And what you get out of that at the end is actually the stuff that you talk about, you know, that that comes through the iteration, the process. I’ve talked about iterating better and better and better. You know, keep going, keep going, keep going. And within that, you see someone else who’s very good and you think, I want to get to that. That was an awesome case. And and so it as much as you see that there’s still things I look at and I think, how did he do that? How do I get to that point where I’m doing that regularly, you know, and achieving those results regularly? So there’s still the drive in there to do more and to get better. But it does come from from that. I think that acceptance that you’re just going to have to do more. You know, you’re going to have to do more. You’re going to look different to many other people you meet.

[01:11:45] Well around that subject of race, I guess. Do you think we’re now past that? I mean, we just had the Black Lives Matter thing recently. It wasn’t long ago. And for me, it was that whole moment in in social history, if you like. It was almost like I feel like, you know, these days things are a lot better and so forth. But in that moment, the polarisation of different people’s thoughts kind of came out that things that I thought that were gone then came out in that moment. Well, tell me your views on the evolution of what it’s what it is to be a black man in Britain. I mean, when you first walked in, when he first came compared to now, you know, highly respected surgeon. And do you do you still feel it now? And and, you know, your thoughts around this was okay.

[01:12:40] I mean, I’d say the what I remember first coming and, you know, people would shout kind of insults at you, things out of cars, vans, you know, just randomly, randomly. And also, you know, when you’re playing sports, people would call you names and do things like that. That part of it I don’t experience anymore. But what in some ways what sometimes feels like I don’t know my experience of it. It’s probably been very different to most. It’s been very different to most black men because I’ve come from a privileged background, I’ve got an education, I have a degree. You know, I talk in a way that will be very different to many people that they may have met. So within all of that, my experience is probably slightly different. But I think, you know, when Black Lives Matter and everything with George Floyd kicked off, what you realise is, you know, you may have succeeded or have got to a certain point or have got beyond a certain point, but there’s still many other people underneath you. And as part of it we did this quite interesting kind of webinar and talk with the at the time it was the HDCP What’s now the CG. They started the whole project and as part of that, different people submitted what had happened to them and talked about that. And you talk about things like for instance, if as an example, if I’m walking along the road, people will still sometimes be wary that there’s a large black man walking beside. They won’t think of this as the implant. That’s what they’ll see.

[01:14:15] They won’t think that way. I don’t think. Or aren’t you the implant ologist who did this? That and they. Aren’t you the guy who was on that website and I’m paying Prav. You know, you just said so. You know, people’s perceptions until they know you are always probably going to be in some ways slightly negative. Having said that, you always have an opportunity when you meet people and you talk to them and you engage with them and you break down their barriers and you show them nice work. And you, you know, they might have perceptions that you you’ve always got a chance to get in there and break those up and really challenge their thought process by not behaving or being what they thought you might be. And that means that if they can broaden their view of what a black man is like by you being very different to other people you’ve met or being in places I haven’t met, then that will make them think twice. The next time a large black man is walking beside him, we might just. Just be going home, you know, to his family, you know, to do whatever. So breaking those things down, I think, is a constant battle. And in some ways, it’s it’s something that I noticed probably a lot of a lot more people have become aware of it. And there’s still things that happen to do with it. But I think I’m fortunate in terms of my position is fairly privileged, but it will obviously still affect me in certain ways.

[01:15:36] You get dental students, younger dentists. Of colour kind of contacting you and saying, you know, you’ve you’ve been an inspiration to me. Does that happen? That must happen.

[01:15:48] That and that’s that’s very kind when people do that. And I always you know, if anyone’s listening, I always you know, I always reply. I always reply.

[01:15:57] And thus.

[01:16:00] Martin Just sort of during this whole journey of, say, building your business, getting to where you are today from where you started. We talked about earlier on what have been your. Darkest moments where things really hit rock bottom. Whether it was a combination of sort of family work and everything all coming tumbling down at once. You know, nothing ever happens at the right time, does it? When when stuff goes wrong but never is a right. Can you think of a of a time where where you were you had hit rock bottom in all of this. And and what was that?

[01:16:38] Yeah. Yeah. No, I mean. Oh, the one I’ll pick is, there was, there was a time where financially it was difficult not not necessarily because of what was going on at work, but because of decisions I’d taken outside of work. And when you are really kind of properly watching the pennies at home and then you’ve got people at work who may not be, you know, it’s not their business, it’s not. And during those times I was going through, I think, quite a hard kind of personal financial time because of decisions not related to work. Work was going fine. It wasn’t to do with that, but that that was and it’s not something that I wanted to share at the time because then, you know, it’s not anyone’s business. But that that was that was quite hard. And I think during that time losing it was around that time that I lost my dad. So, you know, there’s certain times when, you know, there’s no joy in the world and there’s, you know, there’s nothing to look forward to. So the darkest times have come when work is in. And interestingly, around that time, it’s the work that probably kept me sane, you know, just the going in doing that something to occupy because you kind of knew it would pass, but you just had to go through this. You had to go through this six month period where it was just going to be hard. It was just going to be tight, it’s just going to be tough. But actually having you know, that was one of the things that was probably just kind of kept things level for a while.

[01:18:11] We’re in the we’re in the dark zone of the podcast now, so I’ll continue. What would you say of your biggest mistakes? Well, you know, some of some mistakes that you’ve made. I want I want to hear both from a business perspective and definitely from a clinical perspective in a mistake someone else can learn from.

[01:18:32] From a business perspective, I think there are times when we’ve probably tried too much at the same time without the right team in place. And there was a time we were trying to start a facial aesthetics practise and keep the dental practise going with just built this this fantastic new practise that we had in Clapham and there was just too much going on that was just too much. And I just at that time it was, it was just, just difficult. It was just difficult at work, difficult on all sorts of things you built in your practise, all the stuff to do with that. You’re trying to start a business in an area that we didn’t know at the time, I didn’t know very much about. And that was I would say when we look back at that and how, you know, I think Nick Nick was instrumental in extricating us from that, how we got out of that. That was important, you know, at the time. Clinically. I would say the one the one that I think still kind of haunts me today is I went on I went on a kind of course where there was an observation element to someone working. And when they did that, they used a type of a type of kind of synthetic block graft, which was, you know, I’d done BLOCK Cross before I’d done them, where you take part of someone’s jaw, you know, and you kind of trim it up and you put it themselves very comfortable with that part of it. But sometimes it’s this great synthetic. You know, there’s this great synthetic block. And I thought, okay, I had a guy who came in, he was petrified of the procedure. And I said, okay, tell you what, instead of doing it the way I’m used to, I’ll use this this other way of doing it.

[01:20:13] And it was like, okay, fine. And I did the procedure. It all went really well. And I was thinking, Oh, this is great. That’s a really nice, easy way to do it. But the issue happened because, you know, what I didn’t fully appreciate was when you use the material, the material behaved very, very differently to what I was used to. So instead of going back to try and put the implant in, in normally three or four months, you’re supposed to go back in in about six or nine months. And I was very just routine implant placement. Put the implant in. I thought, Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s all worked out nice and easy. You know, I’m the donor and everything else. And then it just started to fall apart, you know, because the material wasn’t ready. I lifted a flap, it wasn’t fully integrated. And over the course of a few months, gradually bits of this just came apart and came out. And he was the guy was incredibly patient with me. I’ll be forever grateful to him, but literally just picked it apart and in the end had to take the implant out and just do it again and start again and do it properly. And not. Not properly, but but do it with that conventionally. Yeah, but it was an understanding that, you know, if you’ve got a thing that you know, works, you know, you have to think very carefully before changing it and you have to understand what you’re changing. And at the time, I don’t think I gave enough consideration to what I was changing and.

[01:21:41] So was was there any form of complaint or.

[01:21:44] Incredibly, fortunately, no. I think that with all of these things, the first thing was, you know, and again, I’ve got to thank someone called Nigel Jones. You know what? If I you know well, as you talk about influences, I’ve got to thank him for this. Just take money off the table. We’re going to fix it. Don’t worry about the cost. Everything’s going to be fixed. Everything’s taken care of. Just, you know, that’s it. So that was the first thing to happen. I think once you take that off and you fix it, that that deals with a lot of it, you know, because someone’s going to have to fix it. And these and in some ways, if it said at the time, I don’t want you to do it, I want someone else to do it. I would have happily paid someone else to do it and said, Right, there you go, go see them. So it’s ready to take the money off the table so that the person gets the treatment they deserve.

[01:22:29] The level of work you’re doing. There must be complications. I mean, there must be there must be a case where, you know, you feel like. Not not, not, not. I’m not saying that you let the patient down, but where the patient felt that, you know, something wasn’t done right. And how you handle that situation.

[01:22:51] I would say that.

[01:22:52] Because the last example you gave, obviously, from a management perspective, that was a massive success.

[01:22:59] Well, no, but it’s double the amount of time, loads of procedures.

[01:23:03] You managed the guy and you managed the situation well. But can you think of one where you didn’t manage the situation quite as optimally as. This one.

[01:23:15] I think interestingly, it’s probably it’s been the ones where it’s most of those things have come where generally at a certain level you reach the point where you can can you when you get a complication, you can manage it. You know, I’ll get complications. Everyone will get complications, but you know what they are and you can manage it and you can get around that and you can do it again or do something else. And you’ve got a way around it when you know you to extricate yourself. But I’ve found that the times when people haven’t wanted to be managed and potentially when there’s money involved and they feel that, you know, it costs too much, why I’ve had to come so many times. So generally those times have been when it’s been about, you know, no money, really what it’s come down to people wanting money and that’s that I think that’s a sad thing. But in terms of. I think. I think you’re making me worried now. I’m knocking on wood over here at the moment, but I think a part of it comes down to, I think, the conversations you have with the patients and we’re a lot more of the issues come is not necessarily in the patient complaining. It’s the patient having an unrealistic expectation of what you can do and you not realising at the beginning that you’re dealing with someone who you’re never going to 100% get it right. Whatever you do in their mouth and you realise this once you’ve done, you know, removed tears, removed implants, rebuilt bone, rebuilt soft tissue, you go, Da, it looks fantastic. I go, I don’t like that little bit. So the majority of what I’m trying to do now is trying to find those people. And when I do just really, you know, in some ways saying no, saying no.

[01:25:09] When when you get referred to patient, in a way, the referring dentist has presold your expertise and your level of knowledge and skills. But when you see a patient who hasn’t been referred to as the patient, a person. How’d you get over to him? You know, you’re you and you’re not. You know what I mean? I bet you charge more than the average. Do you charge more than the average implant? I hope so.

[01:25:39] I should put the fees up after that.

[01:25:41] Well, you’ve got you’ve got I mean, I was having the same chat with Basil Mizrahi and he was saying he takes it takes him three examinations. Before he works the patient out in the patient, works him out and so forth. But, you know, if I sent someone to Basil or I’ll tell them a massive story about how he’s one of the best in the world and all of this. Whereas if a patient walks off the street or a word of mouth referral comes in. These ought to know your Martin weren’t there is just you’re the dentist. Do you have a way of confidence about you or do you tell a story or do you showcases or what you do?

[01:26:16] I think it’s a combination of all of those things. The first thing I think is sometimes your body language and the language you use with someone, and if someone walks in and you go, Oh my God, this is really complicated, everything’s going to go wrong. I’m going to tell you about 15 different complications before I talk. Whereas if you say, of course I can sort you out, this is no problem. I’ve done this before and you begin the conversation with that because that comes from having done it many times, having spotted the issues. If you begin like that, that’s the first thing that people are reading your language the whole time. You know, they’re reading your body language. They’re reading how you’re talking to your nurse. How, how how does your nurse know what you’re doing when you say, I want an X, x, x and Y? Does she spring up and immediately get it or look at you confused? All of that stuff that’s going on is, I think, hugely important. And I think the other thing is, you know, if they really I’ll generally showcases and I’ve generally got a case like you very similar to you. Sometimes I’ll have a case like you with a video from the person stating, you know how happy they are and everything else. So that actually you’ve not only got the teeth, you’ve got the person who’s happy to give a little video to say how happy they are and what happened and how it how it went through. And I think the other thing is, you know, the other part of that is I think the team around you and I say that because if when they answer the phone so I’d like to get an implant, please, I go, oh, you know, you’re going to see Nick or Martin are. They’re really good at what they do once they start the team, build you up, you know, when they’re then the treatment coordinator on the way out, you know, they, they, they help with all of those things. So making sure you’ve got that team around that believe in you and are prepared to kind of help.

[01:27:56] And training them to say those things. Right.

[01:27:59] Well, I hope they come naturally in some way, shape or form, but part of it is you do talk to them and a part of it, you know, probably the most important thing is in some ways when you when I started this is making sure the team had confidence that I could deliver. And once the team have confidence that you can deliver it, they can then do that other part that maybe the referring this dentist was going to do for you by saying authenticity. They’re right. Yeah. You really want this guy to your implant?

[01:28:24] Honestly, I have teachers teaches this to receptionists all the time, but I do. Regarding whitening, you know, it’s almost like that vanilla ice cream in Marks and Spencers and vanilla ice cream as it’s madagascan vanilla.

[01:28:42] You know.

[01:28:44] Do you do white.

[01:28:45] With the little with the little black vanilla flakes like little.

[01:28:51] Little pods make. Yeah.

[01:28:53] Do you do whitening. We’re a regional centre of excellence for whitening. You know that, that, that, that thing. So yes we do or no we do.

[01:29:03] Followed by a price.

[01:29:05] Yeah. Yeah.

[01:29:07] It’s it’s interesting that that whole topic. Right, because you know Martin, you’ve been doing this for years, so it comes naturally to you and you talk about how you present yourself your body language, you know, a lot of. Telling everyone I am. Martin And this is who I am and this is my experience comes from the confidence that you project and the way you speak and that that comes with time. But when when you’ve got other people doing your job for you, I TCO or you receptionist you always believe that whatever they say to a patient needs to be memorable. And that is the most important part of any training that I give or anything that I say to a CEO or someone on the phone. Right. Make that conversation memorable. And what do I mean by that? That patient was probably going to ring another three or four practises. And my goal is if they ring my practise, I want my conversation to be memorable and memorable for the right things. Do you do dental implants? Yes, of course we do. They’re £3,000 and we use a stromal implant called. Do you do dental implants? Yes, of course we do. And you’ll be glad to know you’ve arrived in the safest possible hands, because Martin not only teaches other dentists how to do and place dental implants, he’s got decades of experience doing this. And it’d be like, and I’d be delighted to invite you into the practise to come in and meet Martin to see what he can do for you, give you an idea of the cost, and we’ll be able to spread you, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[01:30:46] Right. About how much you charge for reception. Well.

[01:30:53] I say to Prav, where did you learn this stuff? Like in the corner shop, mate.

[01:31:00] But honestly, the only thing is. The only thing is I just digress, right? It just has to be memorable, right? And it has to be one element better than the guy they’re ringing next door. Right. And the beauty about your practise, Martin, is you’ve got lots of memorable stuff to share, right? You’ve got the USP, you’ve got you’ve served the time, you’ve got the credentials, you produce the beautiful work. You can invite them to read your Google reviews and see your Instagram before and afters and all the rest of it use it. And I think I think that’s where a lot of practises let themselves down.

[01:31:41] Martin If you had to distil and it’s a ridiculous question, but just humour me. If you had to distil the skill of what it takes to be a top implant ologist. What would you say? So I asked this question of Andrew Dawood and he said, spatial awareness. I asked him for a hand. He said, Access. Access. Make sure you’ve got plenty of access. Niklas said something about suturing.

[01:32:15] I would say with me, it’s. To me, it’s the ability to plan, you know, to to kind of to work out what you’re going to do when you see the patient and then try to. Because to me, you’re not going to however good your hands are, have a good just all the other things that are. Unless the person says yes to going ahead, it’s not going to happen. So for me, I think it’s the planning and then the trying to explain it in layman’s terms to the to the patient so that they go ahead, then all the other stuff will come later, you know, all the other stuff will come later. But I think to me it’s the planning part of it is the working out, being able to work out the simple to the moderate, the complex. Just that part of it, I think to me is key. Or it’s maybe it’s the part I focus on in the part I enjoy more, you know?

[01:33:09] Yeah. I mean, talking to so many implants, just, you know, I’ve never put an implant in myself, but the planning seems like it’s the key. Key part of the thing. What’s what’s the most complex one you’ve done? I mean, do you do the schematics and things as well?

[01:33:25] I wouldn’t. That happens. I call Guy McClellan and he comes in and he puts them in the cheek. The most the most complex ones then end up probably there was a lady who I’ve treated and she ends up, you know, featuring on on some of my presentations where she hadn’t had teeth for so long. The top and bottom teeth had completely collapsed in and out. And she had just very poor access, no bone anywhere. But I think with her it was it was because, again, through just breaking down her case step by step. And also she was very fortunate because I saw her pre lockdown. So all the way through lockdown when I had nothing to do, I got to sit here, you know, and you know, one of the things that was work out.

[01:34:12] Exactly.

[01:34:14] How I was going to get how I was going to do this. And that’s the way I realised actually if you do this, that and the other, you can do this. And then suddenly there’s a way. There was certainly a way to do this case. There was a way and I thought, right, bang, okay, we can do this. And then once you’ve figured that out and you’ve kind of gone through the steps and stages, but what was nice was being able to take it from that to something that is I don’t know if, you know, it’s called an PFP one restorations where the teeth are coming out of the gums everywhere. And you know, when she bites from having nothing to bite on, everything collapsed to everything kind of interdigital ing nicely. That was probably, I think, the most complex, complicated one that that was a really tough day in the office, you know, because it was top and bottom, both complex in different ways, lots of things up in the air. And I had one shot because she’s so nervous. It was like I had one shot to get it right.

[01:35:02] So did you do course on that as well? Right.

[01:35:05] Yeah, we do. We do. Which has been that’s that that came about because I called online actually and called Paolo Cavallo and we realised that we’re doing very similar treatment, which is this thing whereby you get people when you do full arches rather than doing them with the pink and white, which I do do and is appropriate in some cases. It’s not anything against that. But you could do an all white solution. So we figured out, you know, after figured out how a way in which I could do this consistently and started doing it consistently and came across him and he was doing that. And so when we met he came across to the UK when I was doing a course and at the end of the course I said, I think we should start to teach this and train this. So we’re him. And with Nick we then do this course over two days and it’s quite it’s quite good because we’re now getting to the point where we get people coming in from from the States, from Vietnam, from Romania, as well as from the UK. You know, to come and learn this and you know, it’s.

[01:36:01] Something who’s a candidate for that course, someone who’s already very experienced?

[01:36:04] No, no, not necessarily very expensive. If you’re doing some sort of immediate loading of implants of one or two implants, that’s probably the entry level that will take you. If you come in and you just start an implant ology, then I would say to you, there’s many other places you should go first rather than than coming on this because you need to learn some other stuff. Because if we start with you, after the first 2 hours of the first day, you’re going to really be struggling to take on everything that’s there. So if you’re an implant ologist that’s doing immediate implants and you want to find a different way of doing full arches, that’s one type of person. If on the other hand, you’re doing full arches and you want to find a different way of doing it, that doesn’t involve removing bone, because sometimes you feel that actually there’s a niggling doubt that you could have done this another way rather than pick up a big bear and chop all the bone away, then, then we’ve got a way of showing you how to do it consistently. That’s what the course involves.

[01:37:01] And what about referral practise? What would you say the sort of the cornerstones of a successful referral practise? Because I remember when I was a dentist, there were some people referring to them as an absolute pleasure, and they would sort of do the work, of course, but build you up back and stay in touch and you could call them any time and all of this. And I imagine as as your referral business grows and you’ve got large number of referrals, it’s much harder to keep that number of people happy. I mean, you’re known for being one of the sort of major sort of referral centre. Did you win a prise for it.

[01:37:42] I can’t remember the prise for that practise. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[01:37:46] So give us some. If someone wants to go shift their practise a bit more in that direction, where do they start getting the first referral and then how do they sort of we call it in marketing, we call it farm. How do they how do they keep those people happy?

[01:38:02] I’d say, you know, you know, there’s that I’ve forgotten what the book is, where they talk about your first follower being the most important person they come across. So there’s always, you know, I’ve still still got mine. I still remember him daily and I’m still in touch with him. And but the first person he said, right, I’m going to trust you, I’m going to refer to you. But it once you’ve got that in that person, you learn. I think it’s about relationships with the different people. You’ve got to be prepared to give as much as you take. And I think sometimes it involves people want different things, so some people want you just to do everything. You know, there’s the patient, you do everything. Other people want to restore the implant. So fine, that’s brilliant. We can help you with that. We’ve got a course. We’ve got a way in which we’re going to take you through that other people want to do some simple surgery, but for you to do the complex surgery, so you’ll do the sinus graft or the block graft for them and they’ll put in the implant and restore it. And other people want you to help them as they begin their journey and, you know, doing implants or slightly more complicated implants. So I think it’s about making sure with each of the people you work with, certainly from the implant side, that they’re getting something from the relationship and you’re prepared to give it if they want it.

[01:39:12] So it’s having that it’s a two way thing because as I say to people when we meet them, it’s a referral is a referral relationship. You’re going to have my number, you’re going to call me on WhatsApp, you’re going to sometimes say, Can you help me? This has happened. And you’ll find that. I’ll say, Right, fine, send your patient along, we’ll put them in. But it’s, it’s, it’s, it is the relationship is the individual relationships you have with people. And, you know, I know it’s, you know, there’s many people that are referring to ten Dental some of them really enjoy referring to, for instance, our and the dentist or our periodontist or some people work with just neck. Some people work because just maybe some people don’t mind who the patient goes to. But what we try and do is very regularly and pandemic has stopped that have referred evenings very regularly have I think you you you’re supposed to come ten does TED pay you’re supposed to you’ve done what you’ve done you’ve done you’ve done one of our ten does Ted haven’t you.

[01:40:04] You have a Ted one. I’ve been before but I.

[01:40:06] Haven’t Ted one. I think those sort of things really are useful because actually, you know, you’re, you’re a name on a sheet, you’re a voice on a on a podcast, but actually you’re a person as well. And, you know, you have good days, bad days, good things, bad things. And then really understanding that it, you know, you’re really there to help and support them in whatever way they choose to use your referral services.

[01:40:32] By the way, I hope you I hope you’re paying your money to the TED Foundation. We’ll cut that one.

[01:40:45] Out slightly differently. Ted? You know, this is the Irish spelling.

[01:40:57] We’ve got to take it to an end now so we could end it with our usual questions. Shall I start privately with you?

[01:41:06] I’ll start yours are happier questions pay. Usually, usually happy questions. Let’s end on a positive. Well, it’s all positive. But hey, Martin, imagine it was your your your last day on the planet and you’re surrounded by your loved ones and children, and you had to give them three pieces of wisdom for life. What would they be?

[01:41:32] I think the first would be to be kind and to treat other people the way that you would want to be treated. Because I think if you just if you follow that thought process and that doctrine and you use that with some of your interactions with people, that that really helps you in lots of ways. I’d say just be kind and treat people the way you would want to be treated yourself in all sorts of circumstances. The other part is, I’d say to be a combination because I heard this iteration, this really, really struck a note to be humble but be confident, to be understand where you’ve come from, understand your luck in life. Understand your privilege. Understand your benefit. And be humble enough to appreciate that. And when you meet people and they help you to recognise that actually there’s a few people I should name checked on this podcast, but I will do it when I put a little political thing on it. And you know, I do appreciate those people, but also be confident in your own ability so that you know that that will give you enough drive to get through some of the tougher and harder time. So that combination of things I think is quite important. And I think the other part is enjoy the ride, enjoy your time at work, enjoy your time with friends, you know, enjoy it, enjoy it. You know, just someone who tends to, I think, worry less and kind of I’m an eternal I’m an optimist. I’m not sure an optimist. So I think just just try and enjoy wherever you are. Enjoy is not always going to be amazing. It’s not always going to be good. But just try and enjoy your life and enjoy the ride. Beautiful.

[01:43:15] Martin How would you like to be remembered? Martin was and then complete the sentence.

[01:43:19] No. That’s a hard one. I thought about this because I knew this was coming, but.

[01:43:33] The lovely ontology.

[01:43:36] That. I think someone who gave to others and made the most of his opportunities at the same time.

[01:43:47] Lovely. Beautiful.

[01:43:50] And my final question.

[01:43:52] Mm hmm.

[01:43:53] You might not have you might not have heard this one if you haven’t heard the latest episode. That fantasy dinner party.

[01:44:00] Oh, okay.

[01:44:02] Three guests. Three dead or alive?

[01:44:05] Only three. Yeah. I’m gonna fuck you. I’d have to go with Martin Luther King. Namesake. Lots. You know, just too much to talk about. But he would be in there. The other person probably put it in place so he would, you know, lots of political discourse. Interesting conversation. Fela Kuti, you know who Fela Kuti was? Fela Kuti was an African musician who put African music on the map, Afrobeat. He invented a type of music. He was absolutely fearless in terms of his approach to life in front of just massive intimidation with the Nigerian government. Just, you know, just once once you read I mean, his funeral was a state occasion that was not a state occasion. So just just he was unconventional. He married 29 wives at the same it just just when you read about it is just I.

[01:45:05] Just Fela Kuti with.

[01:45:05] Ak Kuti. Fela Kuti. He would he would be in there. So I’d put him in. Then the other person I put in, because I’m always very interested in that would be a guy called Chris Ofili is he’s an he’s an artist. I came across him when he did the paintings, which were kind of a combination of blaxploitation with elephant dung and everything else. So I’d put him in because I think that would be a very, very interesting evening with those interesting party.

[01:45:37] Amazing man. Thank you so much for doing this. But it’s been a wonderful conversation, so much to learn from that. And, you know, I’m really glad we got this down. They’d be chasing you for such a long time for this.

[01:45:49] Really, really.

[01:45:50] Happy. We had this conversation.

[01:45:52] Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. I know it’s been a while to kind of get this nailed down. It’s been a pleasure talking to you guys. And yeah, you know, you’re doing great work with this podcast. I really enjoy listening and hopefully people will pick something up and, you know, enjoy this one in some way, shape for sure.

[01:46:09] Thanks a lot. Thanks, Martin.

[01:46:11] Thank you.

[01:46:13] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.

[01:46:29] 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.

[01:46:43] 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.

[01:46:54] And don’t forget our six star rating.

 

Last time we spoke with Dev Patel in February 2021, he let us in on big ambitions to change UK dentistry through M&As and modernising old practices with the growing Beauty Partners group. 

So how’s it going?

In this week’s episode, Dev reveals what he’s been up to since his last chat with Payman. He talks about Beauty Partners’ first big M&A venture north of the capital, talks about the challenges of scaling for practices and corporates and tells payman what keeps him up at night.

Enjoy!    

 

“I want to change the whole model of corporate in the UK to make it dentist-led, patient-led and focus on getting stuff done like an entrepreneur.” – Dev Patel

In This Episode

02.00 – Catching up

05.55 – The Kiss plan

07.54 – The funding model

10.07 – Unexpected challenges

17.44 – Culture, pay and scale

28.24 – Expanding the team

32.48 – Timescales, focus and frustrations

39.20 – Money Vs missions

43.03 – Growing grey hairs and recruiting from outside dental

49.03 – Internal, external marketing and targets

53.23 – What makes a successful partner practice?

58.18 – Buying blind and rebranding

01.05.06 – Mistakes, weaknesses and things that go bump in the night 

01.13.15 – Thoughts on the future

01.16.51 – Fantasy dinner party

 

About Dev Patel

Dev Patel is the CEO and founder of Beauty Partners, now one of the UK’s fastest-growing dental groups.

He also founded the Brushlink smart toothbrush tech company and Dental Circle networking platform.

He was named 38th on a list of the UK’s most influential dentists. Dev lectures and mentors with the NHS’ Clinical Entrepreneur scheme and is also a member of the editorial board for Young Dentist magazine.

 

[00:00:00] And then I think the third thing as well was probably thinking about putting yourself in their shoes because I think a lot of times dentists have got this lifestyle in their head of how, you know, why they’re so upset that they get paid on time. Nurses live off £5 extra in the month to live off. They get paid on time. They just can’t even survive. So you need to put yourself in their shoes and bring yourself down a level. I think some associates even get too big for their boots and start like, you know, treat the nurses as if they’re just some sort of like just person in the corner, but they don’t realise how important that person is for them to actually get their job done.

[00:00:37] 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.

[00:00:54] It is my great pleasure to welcome a previous guest back for a second time, Dev Patel, who our regular listeners will remember from episode 68 where he went through his upbringing and his various businesses. I mean, a definite serial entrepreneur Dental circle, his adventures and misadventures with Brush Link and in the US. And then finally his Dental Beauty Partners Group, the DSO group that he set up. And I think last time we spoke, Dev, you had just gone up to, I know, 14 practises or was it more was it 20 something about a year ago? And the reason I would say the reason why, why Dave is back on is because so much has moved on for him in this one year. And I like that idea of someone moving so quickly that in a year he’s got a lot of news for us. So it’s lovely to have you, buddy. How are you?

[00:01:54] Yeah, thanks for having me again. And all. Good, man. Exciting to be back again.

[00:02:00] So recently Dental Beauty Partners invested in Leicester Solanki Extraordinary Kiss Dental. And obviously we know Kailash Kennish is perhaps brother. You can hear Kailash his whole story on episode 55. So tell us, Matt, what’s what’s been going on since since since we last spoke.

[00:02:19] Yeah. I mean, as I said, a lot’s gone on. We’ve taken dental beauty partners from 14 sites originally with the first probably 600 partners to over 15 partners now and 30 plus practises so doubled in size and practises. And as a result of that just growing really fast from our head office point of view and also just support networks and some of the things we’re bringing to the group. So yeah, really exciting times. As you mentioned, you’ve recently invested into KISS Dental work as a partner. I’m looking to take their brand across the Northwest. So I think his dream has always been how do I take this amazing, you know, many group of practises of 2 to 3 practises to other cities where he’s got patients travelling hours and hours to come see him. And I just expand that and scale it up because I think a lot of questions I have to do one, two, three slides. You can still go between all of them clinically, between all three of them have a physical hold and management over all three of them. But when you start getting to four or five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten plus sites, then you start really thinking about delegation management structures, back office structures, so that you don’t fall flat on your face. And yeah, he’s just obviously one of a couple of actually other many platforms that we’ve recently invested in who are just looking to take next step now and to start growing more.

[00:03:40] So this is a new model for you basically. I mean, the last time we spoke, we were talking about sort of practises that weren’t doing the best or weren’t weren’t weren’t managed optimally. And then you coming in with your very energetic associates are into new treatments and cosmetic treatments, implants, whitening, whatever, bonding and doubling the turnover of these practises that had potential. But Kailash is practise I mean it’s a whole different story isn’t its full potential is it. So so this thing about growing and I guess a funding story, right?

[00:04:18] Yeah. Look, I think the fundamentals of our model. Yes, obviously one of the parts of the model which is bread and butter, is buying those undervalued practises that have got potential to double triple with a small contract nse around the suburbs of M 25. That’s been our core model, but I think the fundamentals have actually been investing in partners and people. And that’s no different to Kailash, right? I mean, all we’re doing here is rather than buying a new pattern of buying into existing ones and then buying more with him afterwards. So it’s about investing in people, investing in the right partners, the right ambitious partners who want to do bigger and better things and have the right entrepreneurial spirit, really. And there’s no one else, I think, who can say Kailash is not character enough and got the spirit to take it to the next level really. So I think it’s really important where the right partners and typically you’re right we never would look at pacts like this one where it’s probably nowhere near anywhere we can ever get to it in our lifetime because it’s just so well, well run. And, you know, it’s the best the best in the country in terms of how much it does per chair. So it’s typically one that you can’t really grow much more on the existing chairs, existing sites. But actually when we’re talking about getting from 3 to 10 sites in a year, then actually becomes a lot more interesting for us. And, you know, it’s a different market. We’re not looking at a mixed practise model, which is like family based around suburbs, talking about that high end brand, bringing the really high end restorative dentistry, multidisciplinary care in one place and just bringing that to other parts of the country which haven’t got that yet and having that huge follow. On social media and just that brand, really. So yeah, we invested in him and the brand and we believe in him and we think that will take us to.

[00:05:55] So what? Walk me through it, but walk me through it. You guys want to open one in every town in the northwest, let’s say.

[00:06:03] Yeah.

[00:06:04] So who’s going to be responsible for, you know, that Kiss Dental brand? I guess you have both of you. Right. But what are you going to do and what’s he going to do going forward when you open one in Liverpool?

[00:06:17] Yeah.

[00:06:17] What’s going to be the story? You’re going to have other partners in there?

[00:06:20] Yes. So basically if you think of Kiss as a subbrand of its partners, it’s basically its own brand, its own CEO, which is technically going to be closed and obviously he’ll have his own partners and he will essentially manage the his own organisation, his own really company within our company. But from his point of view, you know, trying to develop a back office, head office where you have to start doing those functions like HR, recruitment, contracts, wages, payroll, finance, even funding, all these things. You need a lot of time and effort to do it. And I literally went through that whole process myself, like a good two years when we first went from 2 to 10 sites. And you can spend probably half your time just doing that, maybe even free all the time, just doing that side of the business. I’m actually focussing on getting the patient journey right, getting those conditions right, do the training of clinicians. So I think it’s a bigger version of our current model now, which is just doing one or two or three sites with each partner. But it’s just thinking about does he have the right partners, does it have the right conditions, the academy and it has all that already. So it’s not like it’s going to be a difficult scalability point of view from the, you know, the locations and the dentists and more about how do we get the back office right for him, which you already have in place anyway, so you can do it very quickly. But I’m doing that over the next 2 to 3 years and get it himself. So it is about speed because we can get to ten sites in a year rather than him do over the next ten years, you’ll investments be much better for everyone. So that’s basically the kind of underlying.

[00:07:54] Who’s your funding model changed since we last spoke?

[00:07:57] No, not really. No, it’s it’s still pretty much the same same as last time. I think the key thing is it’s pretty much 51% for 9% or sometimes a bit more or less depending on obviously the partner and how much they want to invest with us. But it’s the same thing. You know, we we want to make sure that we are adequately able to fund our partners to get their dreams of buying the first practise, the second practise or third practise, doing what clinicians do and kind of keep growing. And I think our private equity partners have been really positive on that. They’ve seen our journey. We still do when we said first time round and still doubling turnover all batches since we first did the deal with in January last year. So the numbers are good and the model is working well right now. It’s now just taking that next level from going. You know, I personally was literally speaking to all the partners, 1 to 1 every single week and having weekly meetings them. And now it’s taken to bring in another management team below me who have now gone out to speak to those partners and manage them to make sure they can still support them as much as I was doing for the first seven or eight sites. So that’s the next challenge really with the growth part of it.

[00:09:02] But explain to me the relationship with the private equity. Is it is it that it’s the same people doing the investment all the time or are you taking it out to different groups?

[00:09:12] Yes. So the private equity firm called Nordic Capital is based in the way they fund the group. We’re part of the European Dental Group, which is second biggest group in Europe. And we just literally it’s like you call them up and they money comes next day. It’s when the size of their group it doesn’t make a difference of what we do in the UK is like a very small.

[00:09:33] Small part of a big organisation.

[00:09:35] Yeah, exactly. They’ve got I think revenues of like 70 million right now, so they’re probably bigger than 98 in terms of size. So yeah, they’re really good from that point of view because they all said everyone’s a dentist CEO and the group is dentists as well. And we all understand the same language about patient care and really growing patient journey to make sure that that’s the focus rather than worrying about life saving costs here and there and how we can cut costs in other areas, which is not actually best for patients. So it’s all about investing in our dentists and clinical journey, really.

[00:10:07] So tell me about you must have run through some problems as you grow in this beast. Yeah, you know, there must be. Talk to me about the thing that you sort of least expect it. Something that hit you out of the blue that you didn’t understand would happen. It happened.

[00:10:25] I don’t think we’ve had like a scientific aspect. I mean, I think if I was looking back on where we are now two years ago and said did I think would be here at this pace of where we are now and obviously that it all worked. Exactly the plan. Obviously not. Nothing happens a plan if it’s gotten better than plan for the growth. But you know, I think the thing that I learnt the most and the thing that I would say that shocked me the most is just how different people feel, the different types of companies, right? So as an example, you could have three practises and have a great person running the three practises like, you know, like a manager or manager and you can have 12 practises to have someone who needs to be a bit more obviously, you know, on the ball and bit more kind of like commercial and obviously start to think a bit more about bigger and bigger picture. And then we get to 20, 30 sites. You need someone completely different. You need someone who’s got an MBA like not an MBA, but that can an experience of understanding culture, understanding operations on a much bigger level where you can’t do it for yourself. I think that’s something that I’ve had to personally learn myself, but also have to shape my team around me as well on that basis.

[00:11:41] Because, you know, as much as I would love to have the first five people that we have hired for my first practise with me for the rest of my life, but actually they would fit within the right organisation of our size we want to get to. And I think it’s also one of those things where if you don’t do that soon. You end up having to have this negative growth from the team point of view with the practise growth. So practises might be growing really quickly and you might be getting all the acquisitions going in over a team are thinking ahead of the next two, three, six, ten months, you’re not going to be able to grow as fast and actually think ahead the curve. And I think that’s really important and I still am not perfect, but it’s really hard to get that right because you’re growing so fast. Hockey stick, right? So in advance of that, with the people that like mindset before you even get there and it only lasts for six months for it to get someone else is even bigger and better as well. So it is hard.

[00:12:34] I think it’s one of the maybe the hardest thing in business is having that conversation with someone who really has worked their butt off for you and is no longer in the right position. Like you said, you got an ops manager for ten practises. It’s totally different to an office manager for 50 practises. It’s a different skill. If you had to have those sort of uncomfortable conversations with with your core, you know, your existing, your first team. And say to someone that, you know, you don’t fit anymore even though you laid your life down for me.

[00:13:06] Not not yet. But I think it’s moving people in that position of where they originally were, in one position that made sense at time and then moving to another position where actually it’s a lot less responsibility, but a different department where actually they’re probably better suited. That’s what we have done because I don’t like to get with anyone unless they literally don’t want to be with us anymore, which is another story I think we naturally I know my first business partner, but father in law step back as it was doing a bit and then we’ve had a few members of staff leave. It’s normal, so you know you’re going to get that. But I don’t think that there’s ever a scenario where as long as they understand that I fit that role and I don’t fit the needs of the business, it’s okay. The issue is when they think they can still do what they’re doing two years ago or five years ago or ten years ago in that same role and think that that’s still okay when it’s not. That’s the issue. I think people, as long as they understand that actually you’re not fit, you’re not fit for purpose for the role anymore. Basically saying else, that’s fine. So I think that’s the kind of way that I see it, like rejigging the team, but constantly every quarter thinking, Oh, I need to redo the team now because these guys are actually better at this, just that and actually want to move around. It’s like having a football team, you know, having different players and moving around all the time and just working out who’s the best position. I mean, you get Ronaldo sometimes playing in midfield or fighting or whatever, but they can be placed in the right positions and they might like it, but actually it’s best for the company. So it’s just about moving jigsaw puzzle round really.

[00:14:40] But not always possible, right?

[00:14:42] Not always possible.

[00:14:44] If it’s obvious with I know where you’re coming from, with with operations, with practises, with practise managers and all that, they can be moved around right when you’ve got, I don’t know, a head of marketing, where’s that person going to go? There’s still for that person to go.

[00:14:59] Yeah. And I think it’s the thing, I think it’s sometimes it’s not like a complete change of Oh, it’s more like we’re bringing someone above you or we’re that kind of thing. So I think so far touchwood, it’s been good. I do think that our current size, we are we’re in a good place, but I do think that might change again, you know, and it probably won’t just be me, but, you know, the company will actually demand to have like, you know, other people with C-level positions or other really experienced and build guys have done other industries and bring them in. So, you know, it’s a constant change. But then obviously it’s hard because you’re constantly thinking about what do I need to bring in for the next two quarters of growth and you grow that quickly. We’re going to be at 50 sites by the end of the year. You went from 1240 boxes to 15 factors in a year. Like, you know, you’ve got to think, what do you need in advance? And then that takes a few months to hire them and then trained up and they’re like, you know, I think it’s unlimited ongoing problem for any company. I don’t think anyone’s ever solved it because it’s a hockey stick. You get the growth, which is great, but then you get a higher above the curve of spending too much money too quickly and make sure that gets right in the right timing. So it’s it’s tough.

[00:16:13] And, you know, the big challenge I always find the big challenge is do you hire someone super experienced and pay them loads knowing that.

[00:16:20] They’ve got.

[00:16:22] Or do you develop. Yeah. And that’s even a combination isn’t it. You’ve got to you’ve got to do both things, you know.

[00:16:29] Yeah. And I think it’s also like getting the right person because I mean, you know, the recruitment market right now, there’s no like magic wand up there. I mean, I don’t know if it was easier 20 years ago or I was just now, but it was like literally you hire people, they say on paper, they’re great, great interviews. And then they come in and you think you should lie about all your stuff, like you got no idea we’re talking about and you’re not, as you said on an interview, I think that’s another challenge right now, just getting good talent because our industry is very niche. Right. We don’t have I always say this to our team right now, I’m like, why have we not got this Goldman Sachs effect where we have nurses lined up once to work for us? You know, why is that for interview stages? For someone who works for Goldman Sachs and for us we have to like cut the big nurses come work. I mean, you know, it doesn’t mean I mean, I know there’s a shortage, but I don’t understand why our industry is so, so niche. I think we need to disrupt that and actually change the way that nurses, receptionists, admin staff feel about working for our companies in dentistry. Because there’s actually I think you can have a really good career in it, but they don’t see it as a career. They just think of it as like two or three years and and change profession, do something else afterwards. So sometimes I think maybe long time ago it’s different, you know, 20 years from what I remember. So yeah, I think we just need to really flip it. On terms of the recruitment piece.

[00:17:44] I think you’re right, I think you’re right. I think culture has a lot to do with it, but it’s difficult to maintain culture as the thing grows because you know, Kunal Patel, good friend of mine, he made a superb culture in his first practise. Now he’s going from 1 to 7. And and I told the first thing I told him was, look, be careful. You have to keep the culture because it’s not easy to go from 1 to 7 and keep the culture. A big part of the culture is the boss on site, spreading his enthusiasm or whatever. And for your group, I mean, you’re growing at such a rate that it’s going to be hard for you. Have you thought about how to do that? How do you make working at Dental Beauty Partners a branded experience? You know, is it is it fun to work at Dental Beauty Partners? Is there more money? Is there progression? What do you want it to be and how do you make it happen?

[00:18:42] I think that the answer to that question, which is a very good question, by the way, it’s not just put out by like every group in the country, same problem. Like they grow too quickly, they just grow too big. They don’t have that local level of support. Right. That’s the whole point of our model. We have a partner with equity on the ground in the business every day or most of the week at least. So they actually get to physically speak to someone. So that enthusiasm, leadership, which should in theory happen on each practise. Now practically that won’t happen every single time to send as my first practise because different people have different levels of leadership skills. But we’re now trying to create a programme where we have some of our good partners who have already shown their skills of leadership and management and obviously growth to help the newer partners get trained up on something that they’ve done to learn from them. And hopefully they can then copy that same level of leadership in practise. So you still have that culture being kept high, but it is really, really important for me to keep that because you’re right, if you don’t have the right culture, you lose talent, you lose talent. You’re back to where you were before. We’ve never known there. So it’s really, really important to keep that. And so far so good. We had our Christmas party in December. We had like four new people come. It was a great big fire, you know, I know a good way. Got a bit messy in the end as always. But yeah, look, I think it’s one of those things where that kind of level of engagement and on that evening must have like 100 would say like love working for you guys.

[00:20:08] It’s the best thing ever. I don’t think if you read a book review you probably get like 50 people in a whole organisation even, you know. So it is I think we’ve got a great culture because the partners are there, their teams get on with them really well mentored, they get hands on training and you don’t get that these days in terms of like principles and they actually get given cases from a principle given to associate to do some of the work and actually go, Oh, right, this is your first visit. I’ll walk you through it with you. And I think that’s the key thing. As long as we’ve got good partners with good clinical skills to help expand that training and mentorship in practise, I think we’ll be okay. But it is hard for like, how do we make our our practise? The nurse the nurse place to go like the best for nurses or the best receptionists. What do you say? I mean, there’s only so much you can pay them bonuses, so much of health care insurance. It’s like, what more can you give perks wise for them? And it is hard. You know, there’s only so much you can do. And hopefully they feel valued enough and supported enough that they enjoy working the practises. And I can see some cool treatments not just for NHS, so I think there’s enough there for them, but I think the problem is, is that they come in, I don’t think as a career it’s like a do a few years and I just like I was afterwards. Yeah. And mindset which is the problem of the Gen Z.

[00:21:20] But if it is possible. Yeah. I mean famously Virgin pays less than the going rate. Yeah. People don’t leave. People want to, people want that job and you know, he’s got 45,000 employees and he’s I mean, it’s nice talking about the winners, right? Talking about Goldman Sachs and and Virgin, the absolute.

[00:21:43] Winning.

[00:21:45] And you’re right about the industry and I’ve said this for a long time about career progression for for non dentists in dentistry it’s always and it’s strange dude because it’s not like we’re low margin business particularly. Yeah. It’s, it’s not like we have to pay minimum wage, you know, it’s possible to get people but it’s just, it’s just the way it’s worked out. Dentistry is so dentist centric. Yeah. You know, it’s a funny one.

[00:22:14] Yeah. No, I agree. I think we are I think we are above market in terms of what we pay our staff. I think the issue we have is just the whole investment piece. Right. You buy a practise where the guy’s been paying his staff like less than minimum wage or whatever for like last 20 years, really tight margins. And he wants eight times he would die for it. Are you just buying that and then put the wages up by 20% the month after it? That’s it. That’s the issue. I think it’s getting worse and worse with more and more of these like older principals who are now retiring, running a really tight ship for many years and then trying to flog if the highest amount possible in the market, because then it becomes even more unfeasible financially to buy business. Or that, you know, I wouldn’t mind it if we had a no kind of huge cost. They won. But you do unless they’re doing a squat. So it’s a tough one.

[00:23:07] Do you have an element of performance related pay for down to that level, or is it only managers that get that or not even that?

[00:23:15] Yeah, I mean, this is actually a good question. I don’t really believe in bonuses.

[00:23:19] Because I.

[00:23:20] Just think about it logically. Right. If you if I paid you £1,000 more than the year for doing my job, why don’t do the job first in the first place? And I think the thing is right is everyone who’s focussed on bonuses is basically saying to the employer, I will do what you want me to. If you pay me a bonus, otherwise I won’t do it. But my way of saying it is actually doing really well. I’ll give you a pay rise, which is a fixed thing. Not going to just be a one off thing. I’ll give you a pay rise for doing a great job. And actually, that would be a lot more valuable to you for many reasons if you just do your job. But I don’t I don’t think a bonus is a solution to performance. I think if you do well, you’ll get paid just because you’re doing well. And that will actually be more net net over the year and for your future. And actually in our company, because we’re obviously quite a fast growing company, you can move up as much as you want to in the chain because it’s like opportunities in head office and managers and operation managers and other areas in operations like stuff. So it’s not like you’re limited to only one practise if you’re doing really well and you show the potential. So I think, you know, any nurse even can eventually become someone at work in head office if he wants to work hard and they show they’re really good. But yeah, I’m not a big fan of bonuses, to be fair, because I sort of feel like you should be doing that anyway if that’s your job.

[00:24:37] I take your point. But what about. What about? I know when you were an associate.

[00:24:40] Yeah.

[00:24:42] If you were paid an hourly rate compared to a percentage of you, you can see the you know, the motivation.

[00:24:51] Yeah. But if you’re an associate, you work for yourself, you’re self employed. So the more you work, the more you get paid.

[00:24:57] But one of the things you understand the motivation for an associate. But but when it comes to others, you don’t understand the motivation.

[00:25:04] I do and I don’t. Because I think if you’re getting a fixed salary where you’re in one day, if you’re getting paid a salary to do a job, you should get a job done. And that has certain performance targets linked to the job. Then it is what it is. If you do better than that and you outperform, there’s no reason why I wouldn’t give a bonus. I’m just saying that it shouldn’t be the reason why you do well, if you want to do.

[00:25:26] Well, I get that. Yeah.

[00:25:28] If you want to do better and do well, then we’ll give you a pay rise. And therefore it’ll be reflected in the fact that you done well. And we’ll pass on some of the fruits of our success with our key people in the company. I think associates, you know, is a different level of mindset because when you’re self-employed, you only get paid for what you do. And, you know, it reflects and obviously level of training, the amount of money and time it’s putting to themselves. It’s not I wouldn’t compare like you wouldn’t say to a nurse, you do really well, give you double your salary like they do in the banks. Right. Because just physically can’t justify that. So I do I do think it comes into how much time and effort you put into your own training yourself and the costs of your you know, it’s been thousands and thousands of pounds of courses and all that other stuff. Right.

[00:26:14] Yeah, I get that. But what about hygienist, for instance?

[00:26:17] Yeah. I mean, look, I did the same thing. I think if you think about hygienist who gets paid an hourly rate, if they do really well and they’re performing really well and they’ve shown that they can be efficient, they can go quite patient with pull. You know, they’re doing great clinical work. There’s no reason why would increase hourly rate by 28%. 40% if we need to.

[00:26:37] Yeah, but look, the reason I’m asking you is this. Yeah, that dentists come to me and say, come and train my hygienist to sell more whitening. Yeah. And we can yeah. We’ve got, we’ve got ways of for hygienist to do that and what’s the best way for hygiene is to bring up shade with every patient and all that. Yeah. But to expect your hygienist to bring up shade with every patient when most dentists don’t bring up shade with enough patients. Yeah. And the hygienist is generally busy cleaning up. And, you know, some of them have nurses, but I haven’t met hygienist who’s got time to expect that to happen without an incentive.

[00:27:17] Is fantasy, not fantasy.

[00:27:19] As far as I’m concerned.

[00:27:20] 100%. But I think the difference between that is that that’s not part of their job. In terms of their job. Yeah, the core job. I think that in that scenario, you definitely get the percentage of any sales they make because it’s like outside their job. If I told like for example, we incentivise our receptionist, if they can get more people on hygiene plans, like the ones where you get you pay monthly for them, they get literally like I think 10% of that yearly plan given to them. So that’s how.

[00:27:51] They do that sort of thing.

[00:27:52] Yeah, that’s kind of different. I think we’re talking about outside of your core job of what you’re doing. I’m not saying that if you’re a manager managing the practise, you’re hitting your target as a manager. You get paid for that. And if you do really well, you get paid more next year. I’m talking about like if you talk about hygienists directly, you give them a percentage of that 100%. I would actually give them like 30, 40% of any of the sales they make because then they. You’ve created work that wasn’t there before.

[00:28:17] Yeah. So I could.

[00:28:20] Tell you what we’re trying to talk about in terms of.

[00:28:24] How is your head office changed since we last spoke? Because I remember from the last podcast you started out with four people looking after something like eight or ten, ten practises. And then last time we spoke, you just taken an office? Yes. Yeah. And you expanded the team in London Bridge, was it?

[00:28:43] Yeah, it was London Bridge originally for like about four, six months. And then we moved it because we got too big again the station because we have a really big office now. We’ve got around 30 people in that office total. Some are scattered around on the road. Some are based in Bristol, some based on other parts of the world. But I think generally we’ve got a pretty big team, which is good. We’re not the biggest team, I would say, compared to other groups of our size. Some people have. I mean, some groups I know we’ve got like 50 people for our size, but I think we’re at the right size. What we need because of the model of partnership, where the partners can actually have the.

[00:29:22] Influence.

[00:29:22] Level but need to have like ten managers running one practise, one more practise, kind of giving support. So yeah, I think we’re, we’re at a good size right now. We’ll probably keep growing.

[00:29:33] What’s the structure? What’s like the org chart?

[00:29:36] Yes. So we’ve got a marketing team which is comprised of two different sections. One of them is the sales team who are on the phone all the time talking to new leads that we get coming in for head office. So we get loads of new clients, patient needs. Yes, exactly. So that all goes through Salesforce or gets tracked. And we have all these we’re about for about four girls now working non-stop on the phone, just literally taking calls all day long, booking tons of patients followed by clinics. So those are all the new leads. And we’ve got another four girls to do social media, SEO, Google ads, advertising, marketing in terms of actual marketing. And then we got a head of marketing above that. So that’s the marketing team and growth. Then we’ve got our UPS, HR recruitment team that sits on the head of ops and that’s basically comprised of the HR team who do all the kind of contract variations, know payroll with finance and all the documents and the compliance and bits and bobs that you need for each staff members, which obviously is something that most clinics like what we’re doing, because I just think it’s not normal. But then actually you do need to have that secrecy and just it can be a headache. We also have a recruitment team who’s doing recruitment and make sure that we have bums on seats for interviews, ready for any vacancy we’ve got in the group pretty much within a few days. And then we have ops team which have central ops team that there’s a lot of kind of day to day, you know, really important core stuff in practise like tracking leads and making sure that all the systems are working. Okay, make sure that we’ve got finance companies being set up for new practises. Make sure that we’ve got pretty much any system you can think of that tracking how many phone calls per day, how like how well we’re tracking in terms of performance for clinics that just kind of central ops team to kind of keep the kind of the heart of the operations team kind of running. But more how many.

[00:31:25] People is up how many people.

[00:31:27] How many to I think tend to ops. Then we have two operation managers who go on the road looking at managing 15 clinics each and go go to church every Sunday on site to help them. And that’s more operation against up on the ground and above that head of UPS and we have also just put on so that’s pretty much it. Yeah. For the ops team. And then we’ve got our finance team which has got most of its back office in India. We’ve got ten guys there, work full time for us and then we’ve got in the UK too more people full time and our CFO, we have a M&A team who is based out like three people from doing kind of execution acquisitions and conversions for the point of us going to practise viewing and actually getting it over line. And then we also have a head of M&A because of that. And then we also have. Team. So whenever we find new practise in choice manager, go in there for like 6 to 8 weeks, hold the hand for the, for the new principal, the partner we have. And literally like we’ve got plan of adding in four chairs with averaging the whole thing that the whole thing through plan the whole thing out, get whole thing done and it’s like hassle free for the manager, for the partner basically because it should be done by that team and that’s a team of four people as well. So that’s kind of the structure, but it’s kind of like you think from when you looked at practise, actually the whole the whole journey, it should be covered by that different teams.

[00:32:48] And how long does it take from from the moment of practise comes on on your radar to the moment it becomes a dental beauty partners branded operation.

[00:32:59] It depends.

[00:33:00] So it depends on the sale, right?

[00:33:02] Yeah, it depends on the style, depends on the practise type. So if it’s fully private, we can probably do a deal with three months. If it’s mixed, could be 4 to 5 months. So it’s typically pretty efficient. But the good thing is that we see all parties before pretty much anyone else in market because as you can imagine, all the brokers do love a group that’s got lot money. So before anyone else could actually see it, like the bonds or the gold, people like whatever they get different memberships is, we’ll see them first typically. So it does make it easier to get the deals done for us to start doing auctions and other stuff. And yeah, I mean we’ve got a great relationship with the brokers. They all really appreciate the fact that we are pretty much assistant in, if we want to say, offering, offering. We like it when we agree on it. It’s a done deal. It’s not like we’re going to mess around and tip prices at the end like other groups do and try and mess some of the vendors around. We kind of do what we say. I think that’s really important because in the M&A world and with brokers, only five brokers out there, you’ve got reputations, okay, that that they can kind of tell the vendors and the practise of the last 20 years is there a lot baby that is why the buying in these guys mostly around you know there’s other groups out there who’ve got reputation for like plus shipping last minute just so they can get deal done and you kind get your hands tied about it. We spent five months doing a deal when he just pulls through last minute. So we are kind of, I would say like pretty much straight guys when it comes to getting deals done. And we’re pretty efficient because we have a good team. You can get stuff done really good. That takes time.

[00:34:24] What are you most focussed on when a practise comes in front of you? I mean, okay, so you’re saying you’re not going to have penny and dime the thing.

[00:34:29] Because.

[00:34:30] You focus on speed more than focussed on those pennies, right.

[00:34:35] It’s about potential. So like, you know if we say the difference is if you’ve got practise payment and your one’s in great practise and have such an example, you’ve got practise and both for other people look at it three groups and and us right that were groups you’ve got one model I buy a practise keep it as it is and make it tick along for next five, ten years hoping that you’ll be tied for five years at least and you’re going to go anywhere. So it’s just quite straightforward model we buy. If we look obviously like that one on the potential, we’re going to add three or four chairs and grow it and bring a partner in so we can say, buy my payment. See late on day one, if you want to go tied in like a like a prisoner, you can say you want to say, great, we love your state, but we’re not.

[00:35:19] Would you rather I stayed and become on it?

[00:35:22] Depends on how how important you are. Now, once again, if we’re looking at practise thinking this is not that great, we can do a lot better, then surely you probably haven’t done what you should be doing in the first place as a principal or partner, because I wouldn’t look in the first place and potential’s there. So it’s probably more likely than not. You’ve done a great job clinically. You’ve got great patient base there, no marketing, no branding. You don’t really know how to really maximise capacity, etc., etc. from the growth. Therefore, happy days you can retire, take the money, go home or good and we’ll bring in a partner who’s got the right mentality and entrepreneurial spirit to actually practise and deliver the it should be. And that’s what it is. So, you know, if we like a part like hey, for example, we bought one recently in Colchester, great partners both in the forties or 40. Yeah. And they’ve still got a lot of energy left to keep kind of growing and developing, but most time it is displacing the old principle and bringing the new one in. So that’s why we don’t worry about the pennies, because actually if I can see it being doubling in a year, who really cares about eight times? We’re looking at four times net net. So it’s fine.

[00:36:31] Yeah. And so what have you got a shortage of? What? Like what’s your biggest frustration? I mean, if you were God for the day, what would you change? What would you tweak? Have you got more, more partners waiting than practises or.

[00:36:45] Yeah, yes. I think you know what it is, it’s we’ve got a really long part in the pipeline which is great. Obviously it starts to spread more and more as we’ve got more partners of great experience of us. They tend to friends join us as well, which is really nice to see because that means that something is going right. At least the bad thing is, is just is very, very linked to location of where they are and when particular market at that exact time. That’s the right practise you see. So I don’t want to buy a patch because Payman lives in in north. And therefore perhaps on the market and it’s rubbish. I would buy it. I’m not doing that. I’m not going to buy the right ones where I know that they’re going to get the most value out of that for growth and that we’re going get more growth. That could take time. It could take one month, it could take six months, could take a year. So that’s the frustration from having these really excited people who like, yeah, going to do this. But to go for all the details of you, we love it.

[00:37:37] We want to buy back together and not having them exact perhaps I wish I could go from here have a fact is potential price but the market is a factor as well like you might have a really prompt release, you might have an issue the landlord like all these things can can block a deal from happening in the first place. So, you know, trying to get all those things aligned is difficult. And then the shortage, I guess, is just some nurses. And, you know, I mean, it wasn’t that bad before, but since then it’s been a nightmare. And I just wish that we could have I mean, it’s not stopping our growth in any way. It’s not stopping us doing what we’re doing. We’re still getting by and making sure we can make it work. But that is annoying because it means that you just don’t have that peace of mind, that you can just buy a practise and add four chairs tomorrow and get four nurses. That isn’t a problem. That’s a problem. Which is annoying, right?

[00:38:20] Yeah. The squat model that I suspect some of these you’re going to do with cartilage are going to be squats.

[00:38:26] Yes, yes. Yeah, definitely.

[00:38:27] So are you interested in that model more now so you can tell this guy you’re in Hampstead? I’ll sit up in Hampstead with you.

[00:38:33] Yes. So I think you know what it is. It’s there’s two different ways of looking at it. A squat is more risky. Yeah, of obvious reasons. But with the right brand and the right model, it can work. Our model has always been about acquiring under-utilised sites and making them better and then doubling it and making it a kind of we know what we’re doing in that model, but that’s what it’s doing with a squat model. It’s done a few times already. He knows his model work well, so I think he knows model. That’s what we invested in really. And I think that’s an area that we wanted to get into rather than finishing ourself, trying to do it ourselves and trying to build our own brand of getting leads from day one and spend a lot of money on that, it made more sense. Someone who knows what it’s doing and just make fun of it, really. So yeah, we’re going to do some squats on that and see how it goes to, but exciting time for that because I think that’s gonna be a big opportunity for us.

[00:39:20] You last time we spoke, I remember you saying something that really sort of impressed me. I wasn’t I wasn’t expecting you to say it because sometimes when when you talk to someone like you, such a sort of business guy, that the sort of the the patient side of it kind of gets lost. But you said something like, you know, I’m not as interested in the money as you might think. I’m more interested in having impact impact on dentist lives and and on all those thousands of patients lives.

[00:39:53] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:39:54] That’s that sort of mission centred approach and I don’t know exactly, you know, we all have little stories we tell ourselves, right? Yeah. You know, the ego side that says, you know, Dev Patel, you were always going to be like an entrepreneur from the moment, you know, I’ve met you the first time. But the motivation remember the last the last podcast was actually called What’s Driving Dev?

[00:40:20] Yeah.

[00:40:21] And not just the motivation, but also how your role must change so much since a year ago. And then since three years ago. And it’s going to change again going forward. And that sort of that that chameleon that the CEO has to be. Talk to me about all of this.

[00:40:41] Yes. So I think that the mission of us being able to transform the UK patient journey hasn’t changed. I’m still bamboozled. Why no one? If I look at other practises and some ones that actually go viewing, we go to viewings like regularly and we see what they’re doing. I just don’t understand why they haven’t thought about what make this practise the best, practise possible patient journey. And that’s really, really key because we live in a consumer environment and I maybe I don’t know what my passions I’ve had dentistry since I first graduated, but after going all the courses and thinking it’s a huge opportunity in the UK where 90% the country are still thinking about, I’ve got a contract of unlimited patience. Why do any marketing, why do anything? I practise differently. I can make it run and just keep living off the days because I can do it. That’s changed and COVID has accelerated that more now, which is great, but I want to see hopefully us having 100 practises by the end of next year. That could be a target for us to be able to treat, you know, potentially 200,000 patients and have that amazing journey for them, not whether they’re private NHS, except I don’t really care. I want to feel like, you know what, this is a clean, good practise. They treat it properly. I don’t get told that amalgams are better for me than doing the right thing for that for their mouth.

[00:42:02] They’re actually helping them out and give them all the options they could possibly get within a practise rather than just saying, sit down, 10 minutes in and out. That’s it, three days done. So I want to I want that’s our aim and our group as a European and a group treats 1.1 million people a year. So it’s great. I’m really glad that we’re part of that, a good organisation and I want to just keep that going really because I think there’s millions of people out there who’s being literally abused by the NHS system where people just doing things to make targets done but I think is a criminal really. And yeah, my job is always constantly changing and you know, is hard because I didn’t do an MBA, I didn’t get taught how to run a group, let alone a group of our size now with like 1000 employees or something that way. So you need to constantly evolve. But I’m learning a lot always will doing and keep hopefully humble enough to know when I’m wrong and when to, you know, bring the right people in to do a bit. That I’m not good at. So yeah, it’s hard. I’m not saying I had to get paid, but I’ll let you know if I worked out.

[00:43:04] I mean, you have, you haven’t got any great grey hairs to see, but tell me about some of the grey hairs, man. A thousand employees is 1000 issues, isn’t it. I mean, per week.

[00:43:17] Yeah, but I think that the good thing is that it’s not just like my problem. I think our partners are fully aligned, our teams are fairly lines that everyone takes on as if it was their own practise. So I think we’ve got a good model. It’s not like we’re a 100 owned by one person. That’s it. So I think our model works well from that point of view. And locally, the partners do manage their teams really well and lead our teams really well. But it’s just about the strategic thoughts of how do we, as you mentioned, become the place to go to for work. How do we make that difference for a nurse or for receptionist or for managers say, I love them, a beauty, and we’re constantly reinventing ourselves to think, what more can we do? What more can we offer? Do do more courses, do more training, do we do more socials? What is it that that kind of gives them that culture and keeps them happy? And that’s something I don’t think any companies are, but some of the virgins of the world and as you mentioned, you know, some of the Goldman Sachs have done really well. But I think the good thing is that we’ve got I would say 70% of that already worked out now, which is like extra to take us to the next level to make that curve as we get bigger and bigger, keep that going. Because I think any group can be great up until practise. I think the next step is the really important step from 50 to 100. You can keep the quality going and keep everyone happy even though what they should really.

[00:44:39] And what are your responsibilities compared to your brother in laws?

[00:44:43] My brother in law is sold out. Sorry.

[00:44:46] He’s not involved.

[00:44:48] Obviously more so. He’s in last round. He’s kind of doing family stuff, but yeah. No. So it’s just myself.

[00:44:57] It’s just. Yeah.

[00:44:58] Yeah, yeah. I mean, obviously we’ve got some really key managers in the group. We’ve got a head of M&A and CFO, head of operations.

[00:45:06] And you have you got these people from other corporates?

[00:45:09] No. Well, one. One of them, yes. I’m not big fan of of hiring people on corporates, not saying anything bad about it. But if I just said to you, go back a step, I said to you, I want to change the whole model of corporate in the UK to make it a dentist led, patient led and focus on getting stuff done like a. Entrepreneur and none of the other groups do that yet. So therefore if you hire for them, you’re bringing the wrong people anyway because I was be in the first place. So you need to actually find people, get them trained up or get them other industries to bring them in to hopefully deliver that kind of mission. It’s very hard to try and change someone. It’s been at my dentist’s for 20 years doing needs to start saying how I patient how do I help day care centre like are you saying this is the wrong person, the wrong fit so you need to make it. I think everyone’s pretty much come up from come from other industries apart from maybe like a couple of people within our head office who have come from other kind of groups, but generally we try not to take up.

[00:46:08] What do you find that challenge though, with people from other industries to sort of train them up into dental think or you don’t want them to be into dental think? Is that what you’re saying?

[00:46:16] No, because you know what? There’s not really much dental related things from a senior management point of view for head office, there are certain nuances for sure. But like finance, for example, finance is finance. You know, you get someone for any industry, they do numbers, they do panels, they balance sheets, they do any of your accounts. Right. It’s the same thing. Yes. See what that is? Pay. Yes. You got to work out differences between, you know, paying some of implants or not. But you learn that within a few days. It’s not rocket science. Hey, chart very similar. Not much difference in it. Yes, you might learn a few things about nuances of different roles. Otherwise, same thing marketing, same principles. Really. What’s different between doing what we’re doing and doing veterinary or doing other health care? It’s the same thing. You just try and track patients to come in in your practise. So a lot of the different I like people think dentistry is very specifically ask me, but actually I would rather have an expert from like a great brand that everyone loves and knows that great marketer to bring them in and let them do what are doing in that company into our company and try to break the mould. I might try to have disrupters and people doing different things, so I’ve been doing the same thing over and over that it’s not working because I look to other groups in marketing, they don’t bring patients in.

[00:47:25] The market is basically putting a brand in the door. That’s it. So I actually bring in leads and basically tracking them to the point of every single part of that journey and they’ve been booked in yet. What was opposed, what was accepted, what was the conversions, what was paid hasn’t been booked in half of that for the final treatment. That’s how level of detail are marketing. It’s not like, Oh yeah, we did some branding this month and I know personally because I work not the companies in industry that I’ll circle and they sponsor us and I’m thinking, you guys find money, no idea what you’re doing and you never know what returns you get afterwards. But they do it because they think, Oh, like, you know, we can do it. So I think it’s really important to be fully engaged to the level of like actually what is the result of the marketing and how is it work? And that comes from really good other industries out there that can be able to do the same things.

[00:48:10] That’s Dental circle sponsorship messed up. Well.

[00:48:15] Maybe. I’ll tell you what. The ones who really do engage and understand what they actually are doing. It’s fine.

[00:48:24] I’m joking, buddy. A lot of times.

[00:48:26] A lot of times who don’t actually know about doing.

[00:48:28] A lot of times, though, these sort of things happen because relationships, you know. Like, if you could ask me to sponsor something, whatever it is. Yeah. And I do it because we know each other. Not necessarily because of the cold, hard facts of the return on investment I’m going to get from that particular sponsorship. There’s plenty of times I’ve done that, you know, because because somewhere along the line I felt like, oh, this. I really like this guy. Or somewhere along the line, you’ve done me a favour or something like that, you know? So. So I. I hear what you’re saying, though. It’s an interesting question, because last time I spoke to you, you said that external marketing wasn’t really at all your focus. You were really focussed on internal marketing, but now you’re telling me you’ve got a four man team on the phones taking calls from leads. So is that something you’ve changed since we last spoke?

[00:49:20] No. You know what? I wouldn’t say we’ve changed. I think it’s the next phase of growth, because once you maximise your internal marketing from when you buy a practise, you have maybe your backpacks are three chairs. It’s got 2000 patients in the books, right? Three or whatever you go first. Those patients, you bring them in again. You get the new journey, a new patient experience that’s been done. How would you then take that to the next level of adding more and more every year? You have to do marketing eventually, but I think for the first year or two it’s not a really big focus because you’ve got so many patients to see anyway. They’ve already paid for that goodwill. Then it’s the next level of the marketing. And as we’re growing at a certain pace, the first 15 chapters need more marketing than the next 15 years, kind of integrating and still kind of find their feet, find the teams and maximise their own practise with their own patient base already. So it’s a different phase of when you need the marketing for you. And I think from our point of view as well, we are looking at how do we get that growth journey for maybe two years doubling to like 12 months or six months. So the more you can do, the more you can grow faster. But it will be so good to try and make things more efficient, more secure every single year, and just trying to make that whole machine even more, more better.

[00:50:33] And have you got targets from above, from the Nordic group that you have to meet?

[00:50:38] Which is really good, I think. Yeah, yeah. No, no. The answer because the good thing is because we’re a small part of a really big group. And I mean, obviously, the more we do, the better. But they don’t have like a fixed target. And I think what they originally said that it would be good to have we doubled that anyway in the first year. They’re like, Really? Well, don’t worry about it. It’s all good. So we have fixed targets of growth and I think that’s really important because we’re not pressured. I think a lot of other priority groups who are small platforms, I’ve got one priority backer on that, only on that one group only in the UK means I have to hit targets. They’ve got a three year timeline and then the flip, right? So they have to pressure themselves constantly to grow and then get a big pipe exit. And then it’s like, as you probably know, they’re selling right now and they go to the market in the next few weeks. They’ve been smashing the M&A and buying into perhaps in the market recently. Just I can get stuff in the pipeline.

[00:51:28] So when I sell they look like they’ve got really big deals. They can get a good price and everyone just goes off in the mood right afterwards. So, you know, it’s different type of backing for private equity, which is really good for us because I personally love that because it means that I’m not having to worry about targets and deliver exactly what’s right for the company. If it’s good opportunity or do it. If it’s not, we’ll pass it. I think a lot of groups get caught up with that whole pressure, having to buy stuff to hit targets and then just by ship, which the problem you have and then you realise half the portfolio is rubbish, half of them are good and the bad ones and then the whole thing down after 5 to 10 years because they start losing staff, the locations aren’t great and you have that same issue that you have with people. So it’s really important to have a very relaxed kind of approach to M&A, not being pressured to buy stuff because they are being hired. It’s just put on paper.

[00:52:18] Yeah. I mean, it’s one of the biggest issues, isn’t it, because the, you know, this question of sort of multiple of orbit, it actually applies to massive groups as well, isn’t it? I mean, the and that pressure that you’ve you’ve just been talking about has meant that massive groups have kind of inflated prices. And and like you say, I’ve been I’ve been going to some corporates recently and actually quite, quite pleasantly surprised with some of the morale that I saw, because I saw some terrible morale at corporates as well. I mean, maybe they’re sending me into their sort of key branches and, and all of that. And, and I was talking to the management and asking them, you know, what do they think is the reason that some of them have got such high morale and then. Some of them don’t. And they they were putting it down to the practise manager and the treatment coordinator, but then they don’t have partners in place like you do, you know, like dentists who are proper clinical directors, if you will, in place. Have you identified what makes a successful partner partnership or practise and what doesn’t? What are the what are the warning signs? What are the red flags?

[00:53:33] I think if I was a manager of myself in the reception issues or a nurse, I think the four things I would really want to have to be in a happy practise and be, you know, have good memories, someone to go to, open door policy, like physically, like, you know, the principles out there don’t talk to their staff. Ever go to work, go home. And I’m like, Don’t even talk to your team. They’ve got problems by leaving. You don’t care. And that’s just their mentality. I have an open door policy which is communicate properly is number one. Listening to our problems, finding out about them, like knowing your team is important. Number two is just being a good person. I think there’s lots of old school dentists, even some young ones who just got this very weird mentality that they can basically be a dick and get away with it in the practise and accept people. Just be like, I’m the boss and therefore it’s my way or the highway. I think you have to be pretty complex. Yeah. Yeah. And I think you can’t work and hit your targets in good practise or even get good in it without a good team. So you’re in the same boat, whether you’re principal, dentist or associate or nurse. You can’t work about each other. It’s like it’s a it’s a mutual relationship. So I think you need to be a nice person generally and actually be approachable because a lot of staff are going to like the guy, don’t want to talk to him like why do you go them for your principal? Like you pay the bills like you should be able to talk to the guy and have a chat with them and a woman just they’re not going to buy.

[00:54:56] And then I think the third thing as well is probably thinking about putting yourself in their shoes because I think a lot of times dentists have got this lifestyle in their head of how, you know, why they’re so upset that they get paid on time. Nurses live off £5 extra in the month to live off. They get paid on time. They just can’t even survive. So you need to put yourself in their shoes and bring yourself down a level. I think some associates even get too big for their boots and start like, you know, treat the nurses like if they’re just some sort of like just person in the corner, but they don’t realise how important that person is for them to actually get their job done. And yes, they’re making those money, they’re doing really well. But actually that nurse, they couldn’t do that. So I think you’ve got to put yourself in their shoes and think how they would think too. And sometimes they don’t get enough. First time round must repeat yourself ten times the nurse to get the one job done. But remember then these guys aren’t working. You know, they come out of school, probably they got A-levels and they’ve just come to nurse review. They’re not, you know, triple A A-level. People have gone to university for five years and learnt stuff. They’re not going that same mindset. So you’ve got to take a step, step back a bit and just work out how do you communicate that person properly and put yourself in their shoes? And I think lastly, just, you know, pay your staff, right? Be a market leading kind of practise owner where all group where you are actually thinking about the values of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it for as in clinically, but also paying your staff.

[00:56:19] Right. I think I’ve seen a lot of practises over the years where they get the whole team to leave every six months. It’s a great practise on the front of it on Instagram. Looks amazing. Everyone thinks is the best practise in the country. When you go there, you look at their things going to term. It’s so high. What’s going on here. They think that’s too good for the rest of the team and therefore they can just pay what they want to pay and it is what it is. I think that’s a really bad way of thinking. I think you should be thinking more about how do you retain the staff? If it costs more, do it and make more afterwards. Don’t keep losing staff just to keep bottom line small as very old school way of thinking and many opinions. But just generally it’s very old way of thinking about like, you know, how do I keep my costs really tight and don’t worry about anything else. Like think about culture and team. It’s not easy to recruit talent these days, right? And I think if you get those things right, you can be a good partner. And then if you’re good partner, you can make lots of money to so or principle. Not just to principle.

[00:57:11] Yeah, I agree with you. There’s got to be some sort of focus on earning more by making people happy than trying to always cut costs. You know, you know you’re in business, but in business both are important, aren’t they? But it’s just that sort of people don’t realise how quickly they can ruin a relationship with a human does taken years and years and years to build up. And it reminds me something Zeba Sheikh said that just simple body language, you know, acknowledging people waive all of that, all of that means something, you know, when you when you’re the boss and we forget that sometimes, then we I’ve seen that as enlightened, grown, and we’ve got more and more people that getting to getting to know people has become a harder thing. And now you’ve got 1000 to think about.

[00:58:09] Well, not mine. Father’s death certificate. I mean, I’m not I don’t get to know all the members, the staff members themselves, but I try.

[00:58:18] Tell me about the practise in your group that you’ve got least knowledge of. Is there one is there one that you bought without? You didn’t see it. Someone else handled everything.

[00:58:29] Yeah.

[00:58:29] Because that’s going to happen du jour. If you go to 100 by next year, that’s going to happen a lot.

[00:58:34] There’s been a few. There was one that we bought. I don’t know the names of it, but it.

[00:58:40] Was absolutely.

[00:58:41] It was in Hertfordshire. I didn’t get to view it. I just bought it. I went there the first time after it was completed, after a few weeks when I did the refurb a team. But I think it gets to a certain point where I’m actually going back to it anymore, because if you’re going to if you’re going to buy a practise, take out the principal, the numbers of numbers, premises, the premises. The rest of it comes down to the right partner coming in and keep them out of work. And if it’s not all the normal kind of bits that we might like in terms of a small contract, blah blah is what it is, man. It could be any practise anyway. I don’t make a difference to me. As long as it’s not million miles from London, I can make it work. So yeah, we are know because it takes sometimes 2 hours, two viewings and then 2 hours to come back and just waste half a day to do a viewing, whereas our team does anyway. So it’s nice though to meet dentists and