Autumn Couple's Retreat
The Americans long-ago christened the “ma and pa business” to describe what happens when spouses (or life partners) set up together to run a lifestyle business.
(note: for the rest of this commentary, “man and wife” is meant to include any cohabiting business partners)
Dentistry has always lent itself to this model, given the small-business history of the profession.
My early days as a business coach were predominantly focused on the needs of this market, simply because they represented a significant proportion of the 10,000 or so UK practices (a number which, until recently, remained remarkably constant).
In the last 15 years, there have been some interesting developments in the dental couple’s business sector:
- more female dental principals with non-dental husbands working in the business (full or part-time)
a shift towards both parties being dentally qualified (dental school must be full of romance!)
- a gradual expansion of the couple’s business to embrace building mini-corporates as well as single site practices (often financed by family money)
Whatever the mix, the dental business couple have a unique set of challenges to deal with, including;
- managing personal and professional roles and responsibilities (good old “balance”)
- knowing how to establish boundaries, so that the “work” conversation doesn’t dominate personal time
- joint leadership and the establishment of “chains of command” that will be observed and respected by all team members
dividing their own roles and responsibilities within the business, to
- embrace finance, marketing, customer service, treatment co-ordination, operations, compliance and HR
- recruiting, training and mentoring effective managers
dealing with the unique challenges of expansion through practice acquisition
- jointly understanding both the strategic plan for the business and tactical deployment
What is a Business Retreat?
I personally take time out every August to plan the following calendar year:
Step 1 - strategic plan - deciding the direction for the year in the context of a 3-year plan
Step 2 - time and priority management - establishing the 2018 calendar and allocating free days, income-generating days and preparatory days
Step 3 - organisational structure - recognising the internal and external people and skills that will be required to work the plan
Step 4 - financial control - creating the personal and professional budgets, cash flows and targets for the year
Step 5 - bringing the plan together - 90-day goals
Why Offer a Retreat?
I have always loved working with business couples and have umpired many a boisterous conversation whether it has been to do with time, money or the people working in the business.
The idea of a retreat specifically for business couples has been on my bucket list for years and I’ve decided to do something about it - notably to discover whether I’m daydreaming and whether there is an appetite in the market to create an environment in which those couples can:
- work with an experienced business coach on developing their plans for 2018 and beyond
- share best practice ideas with a like-minded peer group
- become part of a small community of couples willing to openly discuss their biggest challenges, successes, failures and solutions
Now it is my intention to facilitate a retreat in which business couples can work their way through the same process and emerge with a clear plan for 2018.
The retreat will take place here in my home village of Hale, Cheshire, just 10 miles south of central Manchester.
We are 8 minutes drive from Manchester Airport (and station) and 15 minutes drive from the main London train line, as well as a few minutes from the motorway system, so access is simple.
In the heart of Hale village, we will have a lovely purpose-built conference area as well as access to all the local coffee shops, restaurants and shops. You might even bump into some “Real Cheshire Housewives”!
The venue will be CADE, the Centre for Advanced Dental Education, situated within my own dentist’s practice, Hale Dental Clinic, founded by Dr. Bob McLelland.
Your 4-star accommodation will be at the nearby Marriott Four Seasons Hotel, just a few minutes away by cab (transfers will be included - there is plenty of parking at the hotel). This will be on a B&B basis, so that we can enjoy the delights of Hale village on both free evenings, there is also an excellent spa and leisure club in the hotel.
The retreat will commence on Friday lunchtime, 29th September 2017 and conclude on Sunday late afternoon, 1st October 2017.
During this total immersion in planning I will be making sure that you:
- discuss and decide on your 2018 business plan
- populate your calendar for the full year, allocating time for work, rest and play
- build the ideal team structure, identifying weaknesses and gaps
- complete both personal and professional budgets and cash flows in Excel that will be your guide to financial success
- establish clear personal and professional goals and time-activate them.
No doubt we will discuss many other topics connected to the business of dentistry but you will leave with a comprehensive plan of action, denominated in time and money.
Who Will Benefit?
Any couple who operate an existing dental business, whether NHS, mixed, private or specialist from single or multiple locations.
(inclusive of VAT) per couple to include 2 night's 4-star accommodation (B&B), transfers, all conference fees and day-time catering. You can choose to pay the entire investment up front or pay with an £800 deposit and two remaining £800 instalments, to be collected on 1st July and 1st September.