I have just finished today listening to the audiobook version of "The E-Myth" by Michael Gerber. It has been highly recommended to me by other dentists and it has been fascinating me during my commuting time this past couple of weeks.
The title is referring to the "Entrepreneur" myth in which a business founder may start a business with good intentions but without actually planning how his business should really work which according to the author is a major problem in most small businesses resulting in a shocking 80% of all new ventures failing in the first 10 years!
The audiobook goes into great detail explaining normal business progression, common pitfalls and how to avoid them, and ultimately how to learn from the 20% of successful businesses so that you can do the same.
I will admit that at first I was skeptical of many of the broad ideas mentioned (very in depth marketing analysis, scripting of all interactions etc.) however the more I digested the material, the more I realised the power of what was being discussed. I also realised that much of what is being discussed is just a natural progression of many things I am already doing. So much of what I say to pts is already pretty much scripted anyway. I say almost exactly the same introduction sentences at the beginning of every checkup, I conduct my medical history discussions in a set pattern, I use OHI postcards to ensure everybody gets good standardised advice, I have created consent form templates to make sure no important information is missed. These are all tools which help standardise my patient interactions. The only thing that is missing is in depth thought about whether what I am saying is actually working as well as it could. The book covers how to do this in detail. The other thing this book highly recommends is systems. Systems to ensure everything is ordered properly, cleaned properly, planned properly etc. Each system has some kind of a checklist to track that it is being done. A few years ago I would have thought this idea ridiculous, but over the past few months I have started to adopt this approach even before I started reading E-Myth. My weekly planning session is a perfect example. A 1 page checklist to ensure the mind is focused and each item is done.
The book isn't perfect. It feels a lot like it is recommending that all businesses are set up with a plan to sell the business in a few years time or to franchise it. While I appreciate that having no exit plan is not sensible, it doesn't necessarily apply well to all dentists who will normally set up a business and then plan to work with it for many years, if not decades afterwards. I would however strongly suggest reading this book. As an associate I will be taking a few points away from it and as and when I do progress to buying/starting my own practice I will definitely be revisiting this. Here is a link to the book should you wish to buy it:
Dr Chris Harper