I’ve yet to meet a dentist who didn’t regularly experience turmoil and chaos as they are building their practice. It’s a cycle. It occurs over and over again. The weak avoid it (no growth). The strong embrace it and look forward to it. Here’s the cycle:
Growth = Chao$
Chao$ = Order
Order = Increased Profit$
…and why should you embrace it?
First, growth and chaos seem to go hand-in-hand in my experience. Why? Simple. When you are pushing the limits of your team, your physical space and your skills (clinical, leadership and business skills), aka growing, you expose the delicate underbelly of your business. Few businesses are prepared for scaling (growth) and fewer still understand the cycle and work with it to get where they want to go.
That delicate soft skin gets tore up in chaos.
Here are the symptoms of growth and chaos: New patients increase. Problems start creeping up. Systems break (few systems can take you from $0 to $5,000,000 without change). And, people break (they quit or you relieve them of duty).
From the chaos brought about by growth, evenutally order emerges. We are able to get a handle around all the changes and broken things and begin to fix or replace them. We adapt. Our people adapt. Our systems, broken during growth, get upgraded to handle the new reality. We add new and more adaptable talent.
The order brings about increased profits.
This cycle, the better you get at handling and understanding it, will get easier and more money will begin to flow back to you while your business will become more stable and valuable.
As you think about growth, don’t despair. Don’t stress. It’s ok to worry a little and think about the changes a lot (as long as you don’t overthink them and end up doing nothing!). It’s normal. Of course, for me, I find it far better and a relief to have business partners and really intelligent folks around me to prepare for and execute movement that starts the cycle all over again.
Nothing today, looks like it did 1 year ago, or 20 years ago. People don’t. Business does not. (Look at Ringling Bros – they will become extinct in May, after 146 years in business – nothing, sadly, is forever!)
I was remarking to Kevin in my office – someone who’s known me very, very well since we were freshman and roommates in college – 18 years old, clueless, but thought we had the world by the short hairs, that nearly 15 years ago when I opened the dental office, it looked nothing like it does today. It was empty then. No patients, no doctor and not a single employee. Just a shell of an office full of beautiful equipment and $250,000 invested. Today, it’s full of patients. Doctors and employees. It’s even in a different suite (at the same physical location, however.) Not a single employee that started with me is there today, either. In fact, the only constant is my involvement.
Come to think of it, Kevin and I look nothing like we did 27 years ago when we started college.
I’ve been through numerous cycles of growth à chaos à order à profits and I can tell you, sometimes it’s unnerving and scary. That’s not a reason to avoid it. Frankly, it’s a reason to get going and get it started. Embrace it. Don’t run from it. Get into it. Get excited about it. Get your team excited. I find most things are easier to face and take on when you are excited about the challenge and have a team behind you, pushing, that has skin in the game.
And, when you are over your head or want some help, feedback, or, a 3rd party’s thoughts on what you are doing, reach out. That’s why we are here. To help bring order to your growth plans. Don’t run from change, run at it. Because, there is no reason to fear it. It cannot physically harm you. And, you and you alone can control your mind’s efforts to shut down change. Don’t let it. Push. Forward. Hard. Now. f