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Dentists Who Invest

Podcast Episode

Full Transcript

Dr James: 

What is up everybody? Welcome back to Denysham Invest Podcast. Another returning face, dr Bobby Bandel, and we’re here to talk about squats, except not squats in the Squat Rack or the Gym Denysham Squats, which kind of comes with the territory because it’s called Denysham Invest Podcast. Bobby, how are you? Yeah, I’m great mate, how are you Flipping? Amazing, my friends. So the title of this podcast is, of course, starting a squat in 2024 and some of the reasons why it can be a good idea, but of course we’ll present a little bit of a balance and fair argument today.

Dr Bobby: 

So on that very topic.

Dr James: 

Bobby, I know that you’ve been on the podcast before that there are some people who are just learning about you for the first time. Maybe if we could do a little bit of an intro or a bio.

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, no problem. So, as you know, my name is Bobby Bandel. I set up a squat practice just over 12 months ago in a little place in the Midlands called Lemonson. Spa. Practice is doing really well. Prior to that, I was an associate for around about 10 years. Hit a point where I really really became disillusioned with dentistry. Didn’t like what I was doing, and then, on the back of that, I decided to go and open a practice, which is not what you’d expect when someone says that, but yeah, and now I help with the dentist as well, who are starting out on their journey, you know, opening their own practices.

Dr James: 

So and your practice went from strength to strength, right? Can you tell us a little bit about what happened after you opened the dental practice, the squat?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, yeah, practice is going great. So we’re just over 12 months in now and we are just absolutely inundated at the moment. So our second surgery is going in in the next month, hopefully. We’ve got an associate starting. We’ve had a therapist with us right from the beginning and, yeah, like I said, just going from strength to strength, we’re doing more complex treatments. We did our first full arch implant case last week, yeah, and we’re just doing a hell of a lot more, but we still got loads of room to grow. Yeah, loads of room to grow.

Dr James: 

Killing it, bro. Signs awesome, okay, cool. So back to the title of this podcast that we were talking about just a second ago 2024. Let’s have a balanced argument. Why do you think it’s a good year to start a squat? And then we’ll come on to some of the things that maybe we want to be considerate offer. Think twice. Maybe every year is a good year to start a squat. Who the heck knows?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, well, I’ve got my own opinions on that and I’ll share them later on. So, yeah, 2024, you know it’s it’s one of these years. There’s a lot going on, you know, in terms of the economy, as you’re well aware. So there’s a lot of fear around money and whatnot cost a living crisis. But you know what we’re seeing in our dental practice. You know things are still, you know, very, very buoyant things going very well. You know 2024, what we saw last year was, you know, almost like the demise of the NHS. Pretty much you know, and you know the way I view it is, is that patients now are much, much, much more informed about private dentistry than they ever have been in the past. That is fantastic. But anybody wants to open practice. You know there is still a whole cohort of patients who can’t get access to an NHS dentistry or want to leave an NHS dentistry because they’re not getting what they used to get. You know, within that and they’re starting to actually understand the benefits of private dentistry, which is incredible. And you know, if you’ve worked in a purely NHS practice and you know, try to upsell private in the past, you’d always, you know, you find it can be a little bit of an uphill, you know challenge. But that’s not so much the case anymore. You know, patients are generally much more well informed.

Dr James: 

Love it, my man. Okay, so those are some of the upsides. What are the things that we need to know about starting a squat in 2024? How has the landscape changed slightly, if at all?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah. So the biggest thing is that everything is more expensive, man, everything. Cost of living has gone up. Cost of building practice has gone up. So even since I said my practice over a year ago, the building work was done prior to that. But quotes for everything, everything is more expensive, everything. And you’ve got to factor that into your business plan. You know it’s going to cost you more to build your practice. It’s going to cost you more to run your practice. It’s going to cost you more to get your patients into your practice, but you know it’s still achievable. But you’ve just got to make sure you factor that in. But that’s one of the biggest challenges you know this year if you’re starting out in practice, definitely.

Dr James: 

Cool. Do you think it’s just as buoyant as ever when the patient demand side of things?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, definitely. So I’ve had conversations with dentists recently over the last few weeks. You know about this whole thing, about you know location. Do I pick somewhere? Oh, there’s a dental practice across the road. Well, there’s quite a few practices in that area and you know, the way I view it is that you know, we’re in a very saturated area. I could have made my life a lot easier by setting up in a different location, but where I’ve picked is convenient for me, not as much so for the business, and I should have maybe thought about that a little bit before. But you know, as I said before, we were the third squat to open in our town within a year. So there are about 12 to 15 practices all within a five mile radius. You can almost walk from every practice. You know, in our town. The town is growing but it is hugely competitive. But, that said, we’re still mega busy and we’re still getting patients in. But you can’t just expect that you’re going to open a practice and patients are just going to walk in through your doors. And that’s the main misconception when dentists are looking at building their business plans is that you know, if they want to open somewhere, they find a good location. Then they get scared because there’s loads of other dental practices there. But that shouldn’t put you off. But what you’ve got to really think about is what is your unique proposition? Why are you different to all those other practices in the area? You know what are you going to do that’s better. What story are you going to tell that is going to bring patients to you?

Dr James: 

I love that. Story thing is huge, man, even with dental practice.

Dr Bobby: 

Massive, massive. It’s such a big thing. You know I tell my story to all my patients. You know we tell it across our socials and you know it spreads weird of mouth. We’re a really local community. Patients love the fact that I grew up in the practice. You know the building that we bought my mom and dad running the business from it when we were kids and I’ve got the opportunity to take that over and I’ve got to do it and you know I’ve started my own business from there and you know patients love it and I tell them why. You know why I’ve done it. I tell them my background. I tell them why I didn’t like you know where I was working previously and what led me to do this and you know how I want to make life better for my patients.

Dr James: 

Okay, cool. So we’ve covered stuff, we’ve covered the pros, so to speak. Maybe a few things to watch, Maybe a few things that well, we talked about how, the landscape of change. What about things we need to watch out for, apart from the whole cash situation? Is it anything else that we need to know on that front? Maybe cons to start in a practice in 2024?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, I think the other bit cons is it depends a lot on you know what type of treatments you’re going to be doing in your practice. I don’t know this personally from my experience in my practice, but generally across the landscape it seems to be that you know smart makeovers and cons sorts and things like that are starting to dip off a little bit with the cost of living crisis. So, really looking at your patient demographic and what you want to try and achieve in that practice, so you know there’s certain parts of you know the population who still have money and they have money to spend and they want to spend it on dentistry and there’s certain demographics that are finding the pinch a little bit tighter. So it’s really finding. You know the difficult thing is trying to find where you want to pitch your practice and the type of patients you want to pitch to. So you’ve got to have realistic expectations. I think that’s the biggest thing and it takes time. It is not an overnight story. It is hard work.

Dr James: 

Hard work on the effort front, but also the knowledge front right massive.

Dr Bobby: 

You know I’ve learned so much in this last year. You know you could talk all week about. You know running a practice and you know the difference from when you go from being an associate to running a practice leading a team, building a business. You just learn so much about everything that you just have no idea about when you’re an associate. You know marketing, HR. You know one of the biggest challenges for me was you know having a team of people and you know looking after them, being responsible for them. That is a whole new skill set in itself and it’s difficult to learn that until you actually in the thick of it and doing it.

Dr James: 

Yeah, I know, I can imagine and do you know what? Just on that, what would you say?

Dr Bobby: 

some of the biggest learning points were yeah, so one of the biggest learning points is learn to have difficult conversations very early on in your career. Yeah, yeah, and that is a skill in itself. You know, for me that came about at the time where I had a team member and I actually needed to get rid of them. Yeah, they weren’t good for the practice, they weren’t the right fit, and I put that off because in my head, I just did not want to have that difficult conversation. And you know, when I had that conversation and I did what I needed to do, I felt like a massive weight had just been lifted and I felt so much better and it led to better things, because then we took on a better team, you know, on the back end of it, and the practices thrived, you know, since then. But I still pushed it and pushed it as far as I could. But I know now I will never do that again.

Dr James: 

You know, I heard something. I might have said this in the podcast before, I can’t remember, but I can’t remember who this quote is from, but it’s the quote is. I know the quote itself. The quote is success in life is directly correlated to the frequency of difficult conversations you’re prepared to have, which I really like. I like that, I like that, it’s cool, right, that’s stuck with me. And you know, here’s the thing. I think there’s kind of two energies to manage there. You can either shy away from them or you can just be like right, I’m going to confront everybody that I flip and see, and I don’t think it’s quite either of those two extremes, but it’s somewhere in between. But I definitely think on that polarity, more people are towards the shying away side of things, myself included for a long time Maybe. I need to work on that as well. You know this is just pointing out what I observed to be the case. What I always found is that, as I say, you feel it feels horrible at the time, but you actually feel really great shortly afterwards and I actually try to remember myself off that conversation. It’s more about how it makes you feel as kind of corny and ethereal as that sounds.

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, well, the thing is it’s like when you know, when you’ve got a decision that you need to make and you put it off. You put it off, it builds it, builds, it, builds it, and it stops you from focusing on anything else because that is always weighing on the back of your mind and it allows you to not excel in whatever else you’re doing. Until you get rid of that. You know you’ve got to get it out of your head and get it off your chest.

Dr James: 

Love it, bro. All right, cool. Thank you for your words of wisdom, bobby. Any more information that we need to know whenever it comes to making a decision to start a squat in 2024? What about this? What about actually tell you what let’s talk about what you’re about to say and then have one more thing to add. Now you go first. I was just going to say this. I was going to say how about squat versus buying practice?

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, that’s a big, big, big discussion at the moment and it’s a lot of conversations that I’ve been having recently with dentists. There is no right or wrong answer and ultimately it depends on your business goals and what you want to achieve. But I’ve got massive pros and cons. With a squat, you start from scratch. It’s hard, you’ve got to get patients in, you’ve got as little income coming in right at the beginning and you’ve got to build it, build it, build it. Buying a practice, no. But that said, with a squat you get to do everything the way you want it. You can make that practice, look how you want. You set the service up from scratch. So you’ve got nothing behind you or going against you. Buying a practice, the main benefit for everybody is that you’ve got cash flow from day one to some extent, and that’s the whole purpose of buying a practice for most people. But then you’ve got an existing team to deal with that can bring with it different challenges and you’ve got to be looking at what do you want to get out of that practice? Is there to grow it? Is there scope to develop it? Can you put more surgeries in? Can you do more hours? Can you introduce new services. So there’s no right or wrong. It depends what’s in your financial landscape, what’s suitable for you. For me, setting up a squat was cheaper than buying a practice by a mile. When I was looking At the moment, I’d imagine it’s probably the same. It’s still going to be cheaper on the whole to buy a practice and to set up a squat unless you buy in something that’s either really undervalued or something that is just really low in value. Yeah, that’s not doing that well that you’ve got to turn around.

Dr James: 

Cool Bobby, listen as I say thanks so much for everything you talked about today. Any parting pieces of wisdom.

Dr Bobby: 

No, the main thing is, I hope everybody has an absolutely amazing 2024. And the one thing I would just say is there’s just huge opportunity out there. Still, it’s one of those things you all know this that there is never, ever a right time to go into business. But if you want to go into business, the sooner you do it, the more you’re going to learn and the better you will become quicker.

Dr James: 

I’m a big believer of that mindset too. I think that, yeah, you’ve got these macro conditions, which ultimately will be headwinds or tailwinds by like 20%, 30%. But of course we’ve got to be conscious, because how old are you, bobby? 34. 34. There might be some old heads listening to this saying, hey, those guys will never live through a proper recession or anything like that. So we’ve got to be conscious of that. But I don’t know. Positive mindset I feel like the amount of money that you make in your business is related to the skill that you have in that business. That’s the biggest determinant, and all these other factors are like a little 20% extra, a little 20% headwind, something like that. You know what I mean, at least from what I can see. But again, that just might be my millennial mindset on that one, or my super-dip-repositive mindset as well, and that might not be true for everybody, that might not be true for every single person, but it always seems to have worked for me that if you just believe and you just do it, then great things can happen and you’ll learn so much and your knowledge compounds. It grows exponentially.

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, definitely. You just got to go that continual path of learning. You know 100%. You just dive, dive in head first, don’t scared.

Dr James: 

You have to be romantic about the learning, bro, like big time, you know, and sometimes when it’s really shit and it’s really not easy, you just have to remind yourself as hard as it is and I’ve been there and it’s hard if you remind yourself, yeah, but I’m learning a lot, right, because that’s how gaining wisdom feels. It’s not easy, the toughest things that we go through the points in our life we often learn the most ways.

Dr Bobby: 

You know, we’re actually really, we’re actually really lucky as dentists, because most dentists in general, if they’re by a practice or the set of Practice, most of them tend to be successful by default, whether it’s, you know, takes longer, you know, but there’s, you know, there’s not that many that you hear of that go under or fail, whereas when you listen to a lot of you know really, really successful business people and a lot of millionaires, billionaires, they actually went through a process where they went through businesses where they just failed, failed, failed, failed and they use all those learnings and then they just hit the one that just went and you know it was just a collection of all those failures and whatever they learn.

Dr James: 

That is so true. The hard part is to keep going until they get to that stage, because there’s no guarantee it’s ever gonna arrive. Arrive, are you with me? So that is the tough part. It helps to have the mindset that we were talking about just a second ago. Anyway, bobby, listen. Thanks so much for your time today. If anybody out there listening found what you were saying interesting and fascinating. Once you learn more where they best off Getting all of you.

Dr Bobby: 

Yeah, they could just find me on Instagram, doctor bandel, or on Facebook, dr Boi Banda lovely Jovely, my friend.

Dr James: 

All right, well, listen I hope you have a smashing Wednesday. What is left of it? I’m sure have you back on the podcast very soon. Thank you,