If everyone is zigging, should you be zagging?
I just finished reading a book, “Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination,” by Hugh Macleod. It reminded me of a thought that occasionally percolates in my brain. What can I do (in my career and life) that is different? Really different. I ponder the question, and then…. “Look! Squirrel!” Life gets in the way.
Routine is comfortable. Homeostasis is comforting. Conformity is easy. Stretching is painful.
Just boo it.
One thing I’ve learned as I cross the threshold of middle age is that if an idea is hated by some people… even many people…. it’s probably a good idea. If many tell you it can’t be done, then you should probably do it. Dentists are particularly anxious to shoot down (boo) any colleague who strays from the straight and narrow.
Just screw it.
How could you micro-niche your dental practice? How could you transform your practice in a way that would stand out? What could you do that is “impossible?” What would you like to do that would piss off a lot of dentists?
On the other hand, what ELSE could you do besides “drillin’, fillin’, and billin’?” Teach? Write a book? Start a blog? Go on the lecture circuit? Be a consultant? Invent something? Create an app? Paint? Sculpt? Build furniture? You don’t have to pick just one.
I wouldn’t do that, if I were you.
Several years ago, my friend Dr. Ryan Swain posted a thread on Dentaltown.com about his Evil Plan to change his general practice into one that did ONLY “six month braces.” A lot of dentists told him that was insane, risky, stupid, would never work, etc. I’m ashamed (at this point) to say that I was one of those dentists cautioning him about the potential folly of his Evil Plan. Well…. he not only did it… He started teaching other dentists how to incorporate Six Month Smiles into their general practices.
I took Ryan’s course in the attic of his practice in Rochester. Shortly thereafter, I spent a year as an instructor traveling around the country for Six Month Smiles, as it expanded nationwide (and now internationally). Ryan then endeavored into “vertical integration,” providing instruments, supplies, and lab services for his Six Month Smiles dentists. The company grew… And, then he sold it. By now, he’s communing with the Universe somewhere around Boulder, Colorado.
Crowd-sourcing Evil Ideas.
I’ve been inspired to think “out loud” (writing) in an attempt to not only stimulate my own Evil Plan generator, but to stimulate yours, too. In fact, I am asking you to post your own Evil Plans in the comments below. Maybe they’re not Evil Plans, yet. Maybe they’re just Evil Ideas you’ve had. Perhaps, it’s an idea that you dismissed as soon as your mind conceived it. We dentists are conditioned to do that. Or maybe it’s an Evil Idea that you articulated to someone else or even a group of colleagues, who predictably shot it down. And, then you gave up and went back to your mundane life, like a good little dentist. 😉
Here are some Evil Ideas to get this party started:
- A practice that is dedicated to only ONE thing…
– Short term orthodontics – if it’s been done before, it’s possible!
– Implants – placement and restoration of implants… nothing else.
– Full mouth rehabs / complex restorative – no simple restorative, no hygiene, no kids.
– Emergencies only – no regular patients… just emergencies. You take care of the immediate problem (extractions, pulpectomies, patch up broken teeth, and then refer them to a “regular dentist” for follow-up and regular care. What about an office that is open “24 / 7?”
- Instead of “fee for service,” charging a fee-per-hour + lab costs. You figure out your hourly overhead + desired profit and make that your hourly charge.
- Members only practice – ala MDVIP (concierge medicine). Charge an annual membership fee and offer exclusive services, such as guaranteed same-day emergencies, guarantee on-time appointments, special after-hours appointments, etc.
- Minimalist practice – What about downsizing? One op. One assistant. And, maybe a front desk. No hygienist. Low overhead. Do it all yourself.
Those are just some quick ideas. What are your Evil Ideas?
Would you? Should you? Could you?
What ONE thing would you LOVE to do? What things are you doing now that you’d like to eliminate? If nothing could stop you, what would you do with your practice that would be “revolutionary?” Maybe it’s not practicing at all. Maybe it’s something outside of clinical dentistry. What would it take for you to be completely “jazzed” to go to work every day? How could you have FUN and get paid to do it?
Let’s not consider why an Evil Plan can’t be done. Of course, there are obstacles for any Evil Plan. But, let’s just mentally eliminate them for now. Consider that nothing is impossible. Anything goes. What would be your Evil Plan for world domination?
GO! Lay it on me. Share your Evil Idea in the comment section below!Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2014 The Dental Warrior®
Great post Michael.
Marty Jablow and I were discussing this last week.
Seems a lot of dentists have “Evil Plans” for doing something outside their Dental Office, like speaking, consulting, but get talked out of those dreams by non-supportive spouses.
Another deterrent for the dentist who believes he has a better way and wants to share that knowledge is the threat of theft of intellectual property.
And that’s a right pain.
There’ll always be opportunists who want to take your ideas and shamelessly purvey them as their own…
Dentistry as such provides scant opportunity for entrepreneurial flair.
Good luck to Ryan Swain. I’ve done his course.
Wow… I’m surprised that a significant source of discouragement comes from spouses! That’s really sad.
I agree that dentists seem to think theft of intellectual property is acceptable. Ask me how I know! That said… I believe the more you give, the more you get. I’ve given freely on Dentaltown for many years, and that has opened doors. Yes… Do what you can to protect intellectual property. But, don’t hold back in fear, either.
I’m not so sure that dentistry lacks entrepreneurial opportunity. I think it is replete with such opportunity. 🙂
Yes, I’m seeing some interesting theft of IP at present…
My evil plan is to absolutely CRUSH everyone on the internet. After I bought your book I have been busting my but creating blogs for content on my multiple websites. I’ve got over 50 websites targeted for all the surrounding cities. The smaller sites are doing OK. But month by month, year by year the little websites are growing.
Great answer and example, Michael!
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.” – Conan the Barbarian 😀
“Conan! What is best in life?”
Some of my friends from dental school make fun of me for all my websites. I’ve also got my dirtbikedentist.com , pcgamingdentist.com and shootingdentist.com websites. My friends said that is was “gay” I have these sites. I said, hardly costs me anything to keep these websites up. I get new patients from those sites. Plus, what you see is what you get. If you have an adverse weird political objection to my hobbies then my office is probably not for you. These websites almost pre-screen my patients. It’s funny I can’t count the number of times I get done with a new patient exam and the patients looks at me and says “I used to have an old Honda dirt-bike.” Patient read my bio on my official dental website and clicked on the link to my dirt-bike site. Same thing with shooting and guns. Tons of patients that picked me because I like to shoot.
Plus, I have a TON of SurroundingCityDentalImplants.com, SurroundingCityImplantDentures.com , SurroundingCityNoDentures.com, ImplantDentistrySurroundingCity.com websites.
I’ve done some big implant cases where people traveled a long way. I asked them why they picked me and they said “Well you are the implant expert, we saw you over and over on the internet”
The world is full of naysayers and, “That won’t work” or “You can’t do that” is their cry for almost everything. I literally would not be here now writing this had I listened to my naysayers years ago. Even friends and family can be some of the biggest naysayers which makes it hard. Like you I’ve come to learn that many ideas are initially hated by many people. I’ve also learned that many people hate success and successful people. They don’t understand that which they have never tried for and so it’s human nature to criticize instead?
Great post Mike!
Thanks, Ken! Dentistry, in particular, seems to breed naysayers.
1/2 dental office, 1/2 production brewery. Watch me.
Awesome! Tom’s Bar & Drill! 😉
I have an idea for a web based business but I have no idea how to get it started. It’s loosely associated with dentists and the dental industry but could be expanded to other groups after it’s established. But, there’s programmers and protecting intellectual propery and signing up members, etc. I know with the scant amount of information I’m divulging (almost none), help may not be possible but are there any books, people, blogs that anyone may know about to help me get the ball rolling?
You can post your ad or your idea to Guru.com and solicit marketing people or web-savvy individuals to agree to take on your idea and help you market it for a nominal fee. I’ve been marketing dentistry for a few years and when I need a little extra cash I go on there and do little jobs for people who need help.
Also, lots of interns need real world experience so people are always trying to get jobs at a fraction of the salary that the big-wigs would make. Give ’em a shot maybe they could help you get the ball rolling.
LOTS of free SEO, SEM, PPC, and Free marketing stuff out there. “Google it!”
My Evil Plan:
1) stay positive and optimistic
3) exude confidence
4) adhere to a faith that will withstand adversity
5) build connections to people
6) live within my means
7) use positive coping skills to build relationships with family, staff & patients
Love it Mike!!
Keep up these great blogs!
Great post, just arrived at your site today. Will definitely stick around, great site for dentists
My evil plan is to help female dentists realize that they are smart enough and capable enough to open their own dental practices. I love that more and more women are becoming dentists-it’s a great profession. I think the best part of dentistry (the most growth and the most freedom) comes when you own and operate your own practice (whether or solo or with a partner). That’s my evil plan.
Love this post Michael-warrior on!
Right on, Marilee! I know several successful female solo practitioners.
Hopefully I do not fall into the category of “non supportive spouses”, but more as a supportive spouse who helps out with a new pediatric start-up practice.
The evil plan for our practice is to avoid the headache of referrals from high maintenance GPs. We are grateful for the trust of providers who refer to us, but those who get their egos bruised easily when their patients don’t return are not worth the headache.
It’s an awkward conversation to have when the parents insist on returning to our office for hygiene, and we have to tell them no.
Most dentists will say that referrals are vital to a new specialist practice, however we are on our way to proving them wrong.
Our Evil Plan:
1) Use multimedia, multiplatform process to advertise our business.
2) Target patients who are looking for extensive dental work, like full mouth reconstructions, smile makeovers, and gummy smile surgeries.
3) Offer the highest quality of care, even going as far as to fix mistakes or deficiencies made by other dentists.
4) Create an environment where our patients will be happy to visit and very comfortable.
5) Of course, profit.
The biggest of Evil Plans: We stopped participating with any and all insurance companies.
Good for you, April! How did you go about doing that? Cold turkey? Phased out? Increased marketing?
Thanks for sharing!
We started by cancelling our agreement with Delta and went from there. It was easy to “phase out” once we had eliminated the Big Guys. We increased marketing via Facebook and DemandForce (that’s a whole other story…!) and plain ‘ole word-of-mouth. It helped that we came to this decision as a well-established office, as opposed to someone that is just starting a practice. I do admit that.
P.S. Love your blog, and have told so many colleagues to check it out (more word-of-mouth for ya). Thanks for the laughs, especially!
That’s great, April! Thanks for visiting my blog, for your comments, and for spreading the word!
We likewise eschew most insurance, especially in-network. It leads to complications and frustrations for us and the patients. We have a doctor who comes in and does insurance cases, but they tend to be smaller and not aimed at ‘cosmetic’ dentistry.
it will be great to a) stop accepting all ins, then b) list all the usual procedure price online so people can check it out before they come in, much like a restaurant menu. So no more arguing about price etc, and put a big sign up saying all sales final, no return!
I’m not so sure about posting fees online. If your USP (unique selling proposition) is the lowest fees in town, then it might be an effective strategy. But, if your fees are on the high side (like me), then the higher fee might scare patients away before they have the opportunity to see the greater VALUE in your services.
true that mike, I was thinking more along the line of emergency services. I’ve been thinking to turn the office into a walk in emergency clinic one day a month, just to help out the community. Was thinking to do it for free but not sure if people will exploit it.
Any idea on community services ? I haven’t finish reading the archive, so if you did mention in previous blog I probably haven’t get there yet 🙂
When I wrote about “Evil Plans,” I was thinking more in an entrepreneurial sense. So, on the surface, doing a free walk-in day per month wouldn’t seem to fit that. On the other hand, besides doing good for the sake of doing good, it could be some positive “PR” for your practice.
If that’s what you want to do, then go for it! Try it. See what happens. 🙂
We are already down to try something new. It doesn’t happen much nowadays but someone has to change it up now and then.