Business Basics: Handling uncertainty in small business

Good afternoon everyone, my name is John Mathew
from Impact Innovation Group and we’re working with the Queensland government to deliver
a series of webinars on behalf of the Office of Small Business. Today’s webinar topic is Handling Uncertainty
In Small Business with our guest presenter Trehan Stenton from DentalCareXtra. Just as we’re waiting for other people to
connect into the webinar, I’ll go through some of the tools we’ll be using for those
people who haven’t used a webinar or the Citrix go to webinar systems before. Your screen should look like this. A slide in the centre and a control panel
or dashboard on your right. This control panel will collapse automatically
when you’re not using it. So if you keep it open, just click the view
menu at the top and un-check auto hide control panel. Asking Questions. During the webinar we might ask you a question
or two so we can better understand your experience with a topic. We will ask you to raise your hand, and to
do that, just click on the little hand icon on the side of the control panel. Remember to lower your hand afterwards by
just pressing the icon again. There is also an opportunity for you to ask
questions at the end of the webinar. So we can ensure that the webinar flows smoothly
and we stick to an allocated time, we’ll be fielding that your questions, questions
and answers I should say, at the end of the webinar for about ten to fifteen minutes. So as well as that, we can also use this function
to let us know if you’re having any connection problems or broadcast issues. Just as a test, can everyone click on the
blue icon to raise their hand? Wonderful… Wonderful. Thank you very much. We also have some hand-outs for you which
you can access and download by clicking on this section here. Trehan has kindly agreed to share his slide
deck with us where you can access it. Now please don’t forget to download these
documents as they have been specifically prepared for you to help you understand today’s webinar. They will not be available to download after
the completion of the webinar so I’ll remind you again just before the webinar ends. This webinar will also be recorded and will
be uploaded onto YouTube to watch at a later date. So now it’s time to bring on our presenter
for today. Trehan is passionate about delivering a range
of quality outcomes that meet a range of internal and external customer requirements. His strategic focus that allows him to bring
together processes, people and technology to deliver results that make a difference. He is an experienced marketer and has extensive
experience of sales and services, and has a clear focus on optimising total travel links. Trehan is the director and owner of an independently
owned and locally owned operated quality dental service in the Isaac and Mackay region of
central Queensland. He is jointly responsible for the establishment
from the ground up of four dental practices in Moranbah in 2013. Welcome to the webinar, Trehan. Good afternoon everybody my name’s Trehan
Stenton and I’m very pleased to have you join me here this afternoon on this great
day in Mackay, to talk about innovation and hopefully give you some tips and pointers
around how to harness innovation and use it to the best of your business ability with
a few reality checks that hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, or learnings that
I’ve taken during this process of building a practice over the last five years. So as I say, my name’s Trehan, we have two
brands that we have developed here in the Mackay and Isaac region, the first of which
is DentalCareXtra, an independently owned dental practice that we have built three locations
in, where quality and care really matter to our patients. And most lately in December last year we opened
up a new brand called Kids, which is more of a paediatric, child centred environment
for children from the age of zero to approximately ten years. We can take a total health focus for the child
and the family themselves. So it’s quite a marked departure from our
existing dental offering services as we offer GP and speech therapists, chiropractors, patient
consultants, all to help and get the best outcomes for long term for their children. So the question I’m going to pose to you,
and I’ll come to discuss some ideas I have, is how do you turn an idea into income? And really, what would stop you from turning
that idea into income? I guess for me as a business owner and a marketer,
we all have lots of great ideas all the time, and to be honest, there are no new ideas,
there are only reskinned, stolen from somebody else, or delivered from somebody else, or,
just created. So, whatever you can kind of think up, I’m
pretty sure that you’ll actually find that idea has been trialled, tested or made and
been implemented at this stage. So, what stops you from delivering those ideas? Is the ability time, effort, focus, the reality
that the timing for the market place might not be right? It may be capital resources that you have,
and also a major problem we’re kind of facing here, already here in the Mackay Isaac region
is skills. All these things kind of have to be taken
into consideration when you want to turn an idea into income. So what are the elements that you need to
deliver to turn that idea? And I’m going to talk on the subject today
around a number of items relating to marketing and sales, customer needs, leadership, people
and staff, time management and managing growth. All these are critical elements that you kind
of need to factor into with an idea and make sure that you have the ability to deliver
against the expectation of what that idea is. Having the ability to manage these is very
challenging at the best of times, particularly the HR component can be very challenging if
you are developing your idea and trying to get people on board to actually understand
the value of what you’re delivering, and get them to buy into the business itself. Marketing and sales is a really interesting
part of it, and a lot of it is actually in the proposition correct, so you know what
you’re actually delivering, or what your idea is, delivers against the customer’s
needs. There’s no point in creating a product or
service unless it’s going to meet a specific need and you understand what that need is
and what the triggers are to do that. Customer needs, so you should all kind of
know what your customer’s needs are and how you can actually harness those. There may be customer needs that are latent,
that are there already, or actually there may be needs that haven’t been thought of
about by your customers that actually need to be developed and grown. To do that, leadership is also important so,
if you have an idea or concept, it’s very important to actually be able to articulate
that to your stake holders, to your team members, to your fellow colleagues, to the wider communities
so they understand the value of what you’re delivering it. Now I’ve always found that the simpler things
are, the harder they are to get to that point. And this is the really hard part about narrowing
down your idea to be able to articulate it as clearly as you possibly can. For us, the example is what we focus on our
dental component, we provide an oasis of care where quality really matters. Now I’m not a dentist or a clinician when
I set up this business to be honest it doesn’t really matter too much. What I was aware of is what the client need
was, where we need to take the business and what service we were delivering to that, and
from there, the proposition was quite clear what we’re going to deliver. Then we wrap around care around everything
that we do. For time management, any of the stuff that
you want to try and do in an innovative kind of space, time management’s critical. You can spend a lot of time going down a lot
of rabbit warrens trying to discover what’s an opportunity or not. I find that you probably need to stress test
a lot of your ideas with friends, with your customers, and see whether it resonates. Does that kind of make sense? Do they kind of get the idea straight away,
or does it need further refinement, or maybe you need to come up with a new idea? The last challenge I kind of want to mention
is managing growth and managing growth is a really critical part of innovation. We moved from one practice to two practices
and at that stage, the most important thing that I recognised from moving from one to
two outlets was the standardisation of our systems and processes. Can’t stress enough in terms of being able
to know exactly what your standard processes are in terms of front office and room process
and have those documented and making sure that staff will understand that and then how
they roll out. If you don’t kind of do that and have the
measurements in place, you’re really flying blind a lot of the time and are not quite
sure whether you’re hitting the mark or not. So managing growth for yourself and the business
is very critical. Where do you get your ideas from? That’s a really good question and I’m
in the dental industry or the health industry but I really don’t get my ideas from the
health or dental industry. I benchmark my service experience, or the
care that we deliver, based on all the experiences that I have throughout an entire year or an
entire journey of experiences and so when I talk to my staff about what our competition
is don’t really consider other dentists, I say well what’s the experience that you
have when you fly? How do they greet you when they welcome you
on board? I remember when ringing American Express call
centre, I’m considering what’s the experience I get from them? What’s the local experience I get from a
retailer here in Mackay that’s really good service? Because when we think about our customers,
they’re not judging us on our industry type and well “I go and visit a dentist, I should
only experience this type of care or attention.” They are judging your service based on the
whole entire experience that they’re actually delivering, so I invite you, and want you
to stress test your own business about what kind of service are you actually delivering
and where do you get your ideas to deliver that? And, maybe globally, you might be searching
globally through offshore companies, you might have had a great online experience, you might
have a great telephonic experience, that’s where I kind of get my ideas from in terms
of implementation and then think about how I can convert it back my business. What do you do with that idea? And, as I said before there’s kind of a
lot of ideas out there and I would probably start with Google first, actually exploring
who has created that idea that you have already. As I said a lot of ideas have been created
already and so I’d recommend that you go online, search out who might be doing something
similar, have a conversation with them, do some market intelligence, find out from their
customers how their experience is, does there seem to be a real gap in the market place
that needs to be fulfilled, or is there another opportunity to kind of optimise that experience
itself? Sometimes ideas can take a long time to evolve. So you might be sitting on an idea or had
an idea or light bulb moment maybe two years ago, that takes time for you to process what
that actually means. Other times, if you know your business well,
intuitively you’ll get that idea and you’ll be able to implement it straight away. So I don’t think there’s any rules or
expectations around where an idea should come from and how you implement it, I guess the
thing is that you need to just test it, get in there and try it and see how it’s going
to work to a minimum cost to you but maximum gain in information. So what are you responsible for as the business
owner in terms of this idea, so a lot of the time it’s actually, once you’ve formulated
this idea, or got the idea, you’ve stress tested it, you’ve kind of seen where it’s
going, how does this fit with your wider business? It’s really important when you’re looking
at an idea, is it a complimentary service that you’re offering, is it an alternative
service that you’re offering, is it a product extension, is it something that’s really
different to what other people are doing? And I think that’s really import and again
you assess that back against your own business. And does this idea or concept meet your strategy? Because if you’re going to try and do something
really different, you’re going to have to make a conscious decision about whether this
is going to be the right thing for you for the short term and the long term of the business? In our circumstance we got our case we have
first practice in Moranbah we’ve had a mining down turn, so we had to look at kind of extending
our services out across the region. Now, and the dental industry is very competitive,
there’s a lot of health funds that are coming into the industry, and a lot of dentists,
so they’re all kind of fighting in the same kind of area. We decided that we didn’t want to do that
and we were going to, we weren’t focusing on the price element of what we’re delivering,
never mind that we’re actually kind of being able to deliver the quality that we need to
do, but also that we’re actually able to deliver the quality that we want back for
a wider scope of services. Fortunately what our service is offering,
we’ve looked at what nobody else does in the region and being able to offer that here,
and a unique proposition, and that’s probably where Kids came around, is that we determined
and looked in the market place, and said well there’s an opportunity here to provide a
service for children and this is kind of where we see this sitting in the market place, here’s
our target market. Here’s a proposition for those particular
services and what are the challenges we had to do. So, a lot of that was up to me, in terms of
having the vision in my head, being able to articulate it to people, draw it, picture,
paint it, and then be able to start delivering it and that was delivered with the new practice
in December in 2016. How do I manage to roll out? So, when I’m developing a new product or
service, I really have to consider the three elements; people, process and technology. All these have to work in line with a strategy
and all these have to be enabled in a manner that can be delivered, and in a timely fashion. Now, in terms of people, have we got the right
people on the ground that can kind of do this? Have the capability, have the training, have
the willingness, energy and expertise to do this type of work? If we don’t, where can we kind of get these
people from to help us, and how do we source them and keep them? Very, very, important, particularly for us,
we’re in the health industry, so it’s important that we have a degree of care and
commitment and professionalism on everything that we do. For processes I can’t stress heavily enough
around process. When we opened up our new practice Kids here
in Mackay, we have three service offerings but I wasn’t prepared to open them all up
at once. We had to go through phases of opening one
process up at a time and letting the team bed down in that process. How does it work? What times do we need to have? Who needs to do what in what sequence and
refining their process? Not until the team were comfortable and were
in a comfortable position, were they able to move forward and take more capacity on,
then did I actually start to do some marketing, to actually attract more patients to that
service. The sequencing and the timing is I cannot
stress, so important, if you bring out a range of services. Whether it’s a restaurant, and we’re adding
new food lines, or you’ve got some new technology that’s coming on site, make sure that your
staff understand the sequencing and the timing of those and you’re fully aware of where
the pit holes and problems are going to be. And technology. If anything is going to ever let you down,
it’s going to be technology and it’s going to happen at the worst possible time, so make
sure that you’ve got a robust technology platform. I kind of think now, anybody that goes into
business really needs to have some sort of IT background because of the way that technology
is integrating now and with online services, you really have to have a handle on where
the opportunities are. Technology for me enables two kind of things,
one is driving out a great patient experience through visualisation, through the way in
which we handle enquiries, and to that end, we are now developing a customer relationship
management tool. We’re probably one of the first dentists
in Australia to use this technology to enable us to communicate and manage our patients. And the second bit of technology is around
process improvement. Technology can either be an enabler or a disabler,
it depends on the type of technology that you have and the way in which you’re using
it. Select your technology very carefully, look
at its integration points, does it have an API? Can I feed data in and out of it? How flexible is it? Is it based on shore or off shore and if it’s
on shore, have you got the local support that you need for technology? Very, very critical part of any business moving
forward and it’s a big investment that needs to be taken into consideration, not only the
technology itself but also the insurances that you need to have in place in terms of
covering things when they go wrong. How do you know that you’re successful? Goals, measures and reporting. So I guess that you probably don’t want
to do anything until you know that you can actually get an outcome from it, so why bother
investing time, money, staff in something without having some measures around it? If you get to know your business a bit better,
you’ll intuitively probably know around the numbers and what you might hit. And sometimes you need to stretch this. So, previously I’ve used a mentor and the
mentoring for growth program which was an excellent way of me being able to validate
my ideas and concepts with somebody that is not part of the business but has a business
acumen that can assist you. I can’t stress how important that is as
well, because at times when you are working in your own business, you tend to come rather
insular and it’s hard to see the tree through the woods. So, I would recommend that you kind of help
somebody validate your ideas and also help you work out some measures. So goals measures and reporting. I think if you’re going to implement new
things, you need to have a quick method of getting feedback and you need to be able to
get it quickly from staff, from customers. We implemented here, every day that we have
a patient here, we are doing a survey of every patient, so if there is a problem occurring,
that we can jump on it relatively quickly and address their problem. Now, problems are always going to occur, it’s
about how you deal with that problem, and jump on it as quickly as you can to get a
resolution for the patient. So, focus on what you can do. And reporting is a really critical bit, I
mean I’ve been working in reporting for five years now and it’s still not the area
that I really want it to be. I’m just completing a new project now to
try and do cost up reporting, which will allow me to look at point of sales on a daily basis
and then determine my profitability. That will then help me determine my marketing
spend, because then I’ll know what the profitability of the product is and what I need to push. So, make sure you’ve got enough open data
that allows you to get these core information that you need to do, without being successful
in your business, which reporting will allow you to do it. What happens if it’s not working? That’s a really good question and at times,
you need to be able to either kill it really quickly, or stick with it or modify it. And that’s a really hard call, there’s
no set answers there what you should do. What the reporting and measures should do
is give you some indication of whether it is successful or not, whether there is market
penetration. For our new operation of Kids in Mackay, I
was very uncertain about the way in which I should market this product. And, we started advertising in November last
year and with some television commercials and they really weren’t hitting the mark. We then refined radio commercials, and that
still wasn’t hitting the mark. I then talked to the team and kind of get
some ideas around what sort of things the patients were saying to us, in terms of what
type of treatment they wanted and where, what we, what messaging they were telling us about
why they came to see us. From that I then, I got to develop a proposition
around two elements of the fact that people don’t need to wait to have braces, they
can get a second opinion from others and they can get a second opinion from us. So we modified our radio and changed all our
ETM and ECO activity and I’ve been changing the hard copy material that goes out to patients
to enforce that messaging itself, and it’s kind of working now as well. So, look at what you’re doing. If it’s not working, look at ways in which
you can maybe adapt it, is there a product extension you can put on there, can you couple
it with another product? Can you get rid of that product and replace
it with something else. Refining the product is really important as
well, so once you’ve got a successful product, how do you make it more efficient? How do you make it more efficient in terms
of the patient experience that you deliver? How do you make it more efficient than two
of the processes that support it? And how do you make it more cost efficient,
in terms of getting the maximum profitability you can out of it? Some cases you might actually think the market’s
not mature enough to deal with this product, so in that, which case you may retreat. You might say, well the feedback I’m getting
is it seems very challenging if people don’t kind of know what I’m talking about and
I seem to be spending a lot of money and time educating people, maybe I need to leave it
or tackle it in a different way? For us, it’s different referral channels
that we can push information to. So, it might be GP’s or other health providers
or we can try and inform them that they can then inform consumers around the opportunities
as well. So, think about the different ways in which
you can maybe backfill information. One thing I, one really key thing I have learnt
over time, I use it when I think about my marketing, is there is a rule around where
people’s ability to take on information and use it and so, I’ve got this procedure. Three percent, seventeen percent and eighty
percent. Three percent of all my customers are in the
market or patients are in the market at a time looking for a product or service. So, three percent of them maybe have an emergency,
know that they need to get a filling, so, they’re actively searching and where they’re
searching is SEO or on your website or maybe on Facebook for some information or talking
to friends. 17% of my customer base or potential customer
base know that they need a service or need something but they haven’t turned that into
actions. So they may know that they need to have their
regular cleans or they know they need to have a filling, but they haven’t quite got round
to doing it. And those are the people that you need to
then switch to the conversions and what are the messages for that? The eighty percent that are left are the people
that aren’t aware that they have a need and that they need to then address it. So, what your marketing activity needs to
do is raise it from the subconscious to the conscious. An example of that is we offer My Brace service
here, we’re a credited, and a certified practice here is central Queensland with our
office here. And a key characteristic of our service is
children that are mouth breathers. A child and a mouth breather has long term
health implications, not only just on their oral formation, but also in terms of their
heart, sleeping patterns and levels of energy. What we’ve had to do is a whole stream of
work, we’re still working round asking and checking with parents that they are actually
checking that their kids are not mouth breathers, and looking for the symptoms that indicate
that they are a mouth breather. And then making them aware of the issues that
require, and implications of mouth breathing and then what actions they need to do to correct
that. So, we’re kind of working on the eighty
percent of the market who may not be aware of the fact that mouth breathing is an issue
for their children, and then stepping them through to the seventeen percent, where they’re
now consciously aware of it. And now we need to prompt them to doing something
to move them into the three percent. So, I always kind of think of that scale in
terms of whenever I’m delivering a product, or services, in which part of the market,
how mature are they? How informed are they? And they’re for what messaging and where
do I put that message? If it’s not working, take the learnings
from it and keep it. That’s why reporting’s really important
so you kind of know what your business is doing, and from that point you can then work
out what you need to do or don’t need to do in terms of delivering the best outcomes
for that. So if you’ve got an issue, not working,
kill that product. Move on. You don’t want to waste money on it or time,
look at what the next innovation will be or maybe you’re going to hold off for a while. Don’t be afraid to do that. It’s not a matter of you not being successful,
it’s a matter of recognising that it won’t work as early as you can and being successful
by admitting it and moving on with it. People and staffing is always a challenge
for us running businesses and the challenge is about how you empower your staff, so almost
take ownership in making decisions for themselves I guess is what we’re trying to do at the
end of the day. As much as we can, I try to encourage the
staff understand what the vision for the business is, see the important role that they are playing
in delivering that vision and then letting them get on and do it. For us in the health care industry, we deliver
some fantastic outcomes for our patients. That’s where we have to kind of keep our
focusing as those outcomes are what we deliver to our customers or our patients. For our team, they acknowledge that and it’s
kind of what drives them along. The challenge is, when you’ve got staff
turnover and you bring new staff on board, is to get them up to speed, making sure that
they are consistent in the way they do that, and, it is really through training and recruitment
, I kind of guess we get a lot of, our staff come in through as patients who kind of see
the work that we do, and kind of want to be part of it, so we are kind of lucky in that
respect. But for trying to recruit people, it’s very
challenging and I only recommend that you have a very structured way in which you do
the recruitment and on-boarding, which includes guidelines, policies and procedures, that
it’s very clear upfront, the risks of not doing this in terms of your reputation and
also legally significant. So I basically outsourced some of my HR component
to an organisation that would indemnify to help me manage it, which is really great and
they have taken a lot of pressure off me and I know that I have expert advice whenever
I need to get it. And pragmatic. I guess as you grow into the business, you
take on the stress of running a business which it is stressful, you have to be more pragmatic
about things and try and work out what you actually need to do and how you manage staff. Don’t take stuff to heart. From my perspective from running a business
and that’s around, I think about it and I don’t like to take it personally and if
somebody tells me no my idea’s rubbish or has a better concept of how somethings should
be done, you’re not going to take that personally as well, it’s an opportunity and somebody’s
had the guts to give you some feedback and I’ll reflect on that and see it as a great
opportunity. So, open heart and pragmatic, being open-hearted
to these problems that come your way, there’s always opportunities, there’s always, certainly
I believe so. Things happen for a particular reason, kind
of go with that for a little bit and just be open to opportunities and what potential
solutions there are. Time management. Keeping sane. Probably relates back to the last one, if
you’re a business owner you’re trying to juggle things and your family and all sorts
of things. How do you balance all that kind of line? So for me, it’s really important that we
kind of focus on keeping the balance, having some of your own time, get away from work,
get, you know what it will still in ten years, if you’re not there for a couple of days,
life will continue and go on, but you need to give yourself some time and space. Which then allows you to be more innovative
and creative in the long run. Get kinda bound up too much in the job, its
dragging you down too much, you find you need innovative constructive leave. Couple of weeks ago I was having kind of a
hard time and I forced myself to have one hour of creativity and I basically just went
on to shutter stock and created a couple of ads that were just in my view were excellent,
don’t know what everybody else thought but I quite liked them. But what that gave me was an hour of creativity
that I found that I could get back out to that area after being so process driven all
the time, and I can come back to that later on after I deliver the stuff that I need to
and create innovation. Ok. Just wrapping up as I am conscious of time. I always talk to people about this one and
particularly staff, my team about things. You only become a good sailor if you travel
in rough waters. And things are tough, innovation and creativity
is not an easy road to go down. You have a lot of people doubting you all
the time, people pouring cold water on you, but really the reality is that, you know,
if you don’t try and go through hard times, take those learnings from it, you become a
lot better or resilient as you move forward in the business, I mean what kind of alternative
do you have? If you’re running your own business and
looking to be innovative creatively, you can kind of crawl up into a ball and ignore it,
or you can take it as a challenge, regroup, move on and look for some other creative,
innovative solutions to keep you moving forward. As soon as you lose that passion I think you
need to look for different ways of managing and getting rid of those problems that you’re
having. So that’s my suggestion, you know, you will
find it hard at times, dig deep, be resilient, have a break and don’t be so hard on yourself. And wrapping up, don’t be afraid to innovate
for growth. Always look for options for changing stuff
or question things, question staff, question yourself, look for those where shining examples
of great innovation happen, they might not be relevant to your business or what you’re
doing, but just get out there and innovate for growth for the future. I am now going to open up for any questions
that anybody has, you’re welcome to ask me anything at all, anything’s all good
and I hope that I can answer those for you. Thank you so much for that Trehan, for sharing
everything today, it was great to hear such relatable and kind of interesting examples
and opportunities that we can all take advantage of moving forward. Now we do have a few questions from a number
of people so, if any other questions that come to you please feel free to type them
in but, we’ll start with this one: What do you think is the biggest challenge
you find to reaching your target market? This is a really great question, I think in
terms of reaching your target market, as I kind of mentioned before is it’s kind of
understanding the customer needs, being very familiar with what that need is and how you’re
going to kind of articulate it. Is it a need around convenience, speed, price? Don’t always jump the price, a lot of people
jump the price and they, it’s an easy route to take, particularly from a sales perspective
of who can be the fastest to the bottom. Focus on other elements, what the customer
need is, test it with them, get lots of feedback and then grow from that point onwards. So, focus on your customer need, what are
they wanting, how does your product and service match against that need, make sure that your
team are familiar with how that works, and then sell it and then monitor it and adjust
it. Excellent, yeah, I guess it’s making sure
you’re getting that balance right between marketing and kind of execution. Another question here, how do you go about
getting customer feedback or insight to ensure you’re on track with your ideas? Yeah. So that’s an excellent question as well,
thank you for that one. Getting feedback is really critical and there
are a number of ways that you can do it. I am surveying every patient that comes to
visit us, we do a survey that goes out and that captures instant problems that we may
be having or we have encountered as well to make sure we are identifying things. And then we are also welcoming it, we do community
based events as well so add that, I am always looking for feedback from people about our
service. Ask them how it’s going? Is there a problem? And see if you can quantify that as well,
so any measures, now, I’ve been doing surveying for four years so I’ve got pre-indicators
that I use , actually there’s eleven that I measure on. One is patients being on time, in the chair,
another one is overall satisfaction out of five and then likelihood to recommend us. So, when I’m talking to my team about this,
we are always talking about those three elements on a monthly basis because if I leave any
of those three elements out it’s going to be impacting on our patients’ satisfaction. Awesome. Another one here: How can you get your team
on the journey and understand what the big picture is? So I think the connection is cutting out a
bit. So, how do you get your team on the journey
or the big picture? That’s, that’s a really good question
as well. I think you have to kind of be able to simplify
the proposition about what that journey means. For us, it was around quality and care for
our patients, and a local service that’s a wide scope that means our patients don’t
need to travel, that we can look after them all in the one spot with the quality and care
and the professionalism that we deliver. And then we show and give examples to the
team of what that means. So, we act professionally, we have a contemporary
practice that looks modern and we have a complete service offering. So, we kind of have to articulate all three
of those elements to show them what it kind of means and how it is and how we articulate
that in terms of the service that we can provide. I always kind of talk about the brand itself,
and DentalCareXtra brand I say you know, Dental is what we do, is the functional part of the
business, Care is what we wrap around everything, and the Extra, as in dental care extra, is
the things that we do that patients don’t expect us that we do. So we’re about twenty four seven, we have
a therapy dog Dexter, or make the kids nice and relaxed, we’ll give them TLC calls,
we’ll get them hot towels. So, it’s all those kind of things then I
articulate and show the team how their role fits in supporting that business direction
and goals. And when you bring on new services and you
position it as part of that strategy about where you’re taking them and they can see
how it fits together so it adds to the proposition for the patients. Sure! Just another question here. In terms of actually executing an innovation
strategy, at what point do you determine that the innovations are not working and you need
to try something else, how far do you have to try until you go you cut your losses and
move on? That’s a really good question and I currently
don’t have a golden bullet answer to that one unfortunately. I kind of think you have to look at a couple
of metrics and financials and whether you are prepared to throw a lot more money on
it a lot longer, how long you’re prepared to throw money at it and what does that mean
to the rest of the business? If you do that will it draw the rest of it
down? Which you might not want to risk that. How confident are you that it’s just a matter
of time before this product or service takes off or is it around education and market maturity? If it’s market maturity, it’s very challenging
to be able to, determine what you’re prepared to put in to that to try and make it work. You may want to review focus, that segment
that you’re working on. So, part of it, if it’s not working you’re
too broad, or the segment of the target market you’re after is not the right one. Try a couple of different segments and try
and make the messaging different. If you still have faith in the product, I
kind of would persevere a bit longer, but look at how you can maybe offset the costs,
if there is a cost associated with that one or maybe you may want to partner with somebody
else to innovate or join forces with somebody to deliver that product in a different way. Yeah. Another question here. How do you determine your minimum start up
budget in terms of infrastructure? Sorry? The minimum what budget was that sorry? How do you determine your minimum start up
budget? How do I determine my minimum start up budget? Ok good question. You guys have got some great questions out
there. You are all way smarter than I am. I kind of, when I do a start-up budget, I
need to look at a twelve month projection out of what I’m looking for. So I use a tool called life plan dot com. This is a wonderful online tool that helps
me do my business plan and in that, it will forecast out my capital costs, my staffing
costs, my resourcing costs and then I need to work out what my financing will be to support
that. How much money am I going to chuck into it
myself, how much finance can I get? I kind of guess if you know the product well
or you’re kind of familiar with the market place, you can probably have an educated guess. In that case if you do I’d get a mentor
or somebody else that’s kind of been in the business, who knows where you’re at
and in a sense can validate those numbers for you, because at best it’s a best guess. At that time look for industry colleagues
that you trust that can maybe help you and validate that that’s the right kind of costs
that you’re putting in place, and then maybe add some margin on to that because things
always blow out and shape always kind of goes a bit weird on you as you build up the business,
so you kind of have to have some contingency in place. And then maybe also work out what you want
revenue to start. So, I kind of knew when I built out Kids,
what I needed to get revenue in year one, and what that meant over time. Now I’m tracking behind that at the moment
but I know that I’m going to get there, it’s just going to take a little bit longer
than what I expected but I expect to get it where I want to get it within two years and
after being in the business and this business for Kids for six months, I’m kind of recognising
that it is a two year project to get it to the shape that I need it to, that I’m going
to be hitting what my estimates were. So, keep all your numbers out on the table,
validate them with somebody else, see what the industry is doing, road test it and then
kind of get into it, is kind of my thing. Have it in stages, do it in stages so that
it’s not going to work, you haven’t committed all of your money and energy into it and you
can pull back if you need to. Sorry Trehan, I’ve just got a follow up
question on that online platform that you mentioned. Life plan dot com. It’s a subscription based… Yeah. Life plan dot com subscription based. It helps you to determine a strategy. It just asks you a series of really cool questions. It will pull a one page marketing page here
before you that you can use for investors or the bank and then it will help you do out
all the forecasting for your budgets, your expenses and your revenue as well, all into
one spot. And you can push print! And it prints a beautiful little document
for you that’s kind of a little bible that you can walk around with and talk to people
about what your business is. Awesome. One final question just cause we are running
out of time. How much of your budget should you allocate
for innovation and does that change depending on your size or industry? You guys are very smart! Well I kind of work to an overall marketing
budget that I work on percentage of gross and that is my innovation. I don’t have a specific innovation budget
itself, I kind of would wrap that up in terms of a marketing kind of activity in my mind,
so if I’m going to develop a product or service I might wrap a budget against it and
say this is kind of what I want to put into it. If there is R&D involved it’s kind of a
different kettle of fish where you need to go and build that out as part of your marketing
plan but it’s hard for me to say but I work it out on my overall, which is about five
percent of gross, is what I’m working on my marketing budget, is what it’s going
to come out of. Unless I can steal it from somebody else or
somebody else will give me some money, you know I’ll take whatever I can. Fair enough. Well one last question, where has the best
innovative idea come from Dental Extra, DentalCareXtra? So as in like an external or internal kind
of source of innovation. Where does the innovation come from, was that
the question sorry? Where was the best idea, innovative idea come
from for your dental care, extra care business? Uhm, ok, yeah. Ah! It’s kind of a mixture of all sorts of places. I think, actually it came from my customers. Last year we, actually the year before last,
we had a picture on Facebook which had a dog lying, a golden retriever lying in a chair
on a patient, and I put it on Facebook and I thought this is a really nice kind of idea
and it went off on Facebook in our community site and it really resonated with everybody
and they were like wow I’d love to go to the dentist if there’s a dog there. I thought oh! Maybe there’s an opportunity here, so I
kind of for the next six months worked at an idea of having Dexter the therapy dog come
and join us. So six months later we had gone through a
whole process of engaging with the community, what sort of dog do they want? What colour do they want? What breed do they want? We had all that down, then what name do you
want to call the dog? And so six months later, we got the dog and
that’s probably the most innovative thing we’ve kind of done, we’re the only dental
practice in Australia to officially bring a therapy dog onto the site and kids love
him, they love him, the innovation is that the kids come to see Dexter, they don’t
really come to see the dentist And so they have to go and sit on the chair,
they just come, and Dexter will come and give them a lick and brush his teeth so innovative
stuff comes from all over there that was kind of the really innovative one. The other most innovative thing I’ve came
up with, I’ll take the credit on this one, was giving slipper to our patients, so they’re
my best marketing investment, five thousand dollars, I brought five thousand slippers
and we go to social events and hand out slippers for women who get drunk at parties, at social
parties to make them comfortable you know that was a really innovative idea and I still
use it all the time now and people remember us for our slippers. Excellent, well I think we’ll end it there,
so thank you every one for attending the webinar, remember to download the handouts before you
exit, this webinar is being recorded and will be uploaded to the Impact Innovation Group
YouTube page should you wish to view it again. You will receive a follow up email just informing
you of different services and opportunities available as part of the Office of Small Business
and if you have any questions or concerns, please give me an email back on the email
that you received you initial webinar link to. Thank you every one for tuning in today and
have a great day. And thank you again Trehan for all of your
insights on how to be innovative in a small business. Thank you very much everybody. Have a great day. Thank you. Have a great one guys.

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