The world at my feet – in bits.
A lot can happen in 28 months. After the rapid success of the first practice. Hubris set in and in October 1989, flush with arrogance, I opened on a second site. This time I spent (borrowed) big time. Growth was slower, I was spread thinner and interest rates went through the roof.
My first wife had fled and started divorce proceedings. What property we owned was in negative equity. The bank, for some reason of their own which I have never understood, forced me to close the first (profitable) practice, leaving me with a long lease to maintain. I spent two consecutive Christmas and New Year holidays and every weekend doing on call sessions to generate income of any sort. Plus there was a new NHS contract to grapple with.
I couldn’t understand how I was working so hard yet seemingly getting nowhere. Dentists were successful weren’t they? I was certainly making money but not keeping any. It all seemed to disappear before I could get it. The bank were constantly snapping at my heels telling me what I already knew – that I was in debt. Bank managers came and went, each one less approachable and sympathetic than the last.
A recession was apparent and interest rates had recently come DOWN to 14% after 12 months at 15%. With no money, no house and a huge pile of debt I had no choice but to succeed.
My pride dented, but determined to succeed, I set about taking my business as seriously as I took my clinical practice.