It’s never my fault…

“It is a remarkable fact, but few businesses ever seem to fail because of excessive leverage, misconceived strategies, or inability to meet the needs of their customers. They struggle because banks unreasonably refuse further credit, or because of unseasonable weather, or some unexpected adverse effect such as a terrorist attack. Most often, however, their difficulties are the result of some insufficiently supportive government policy. The corporate executive who says “we got it wrong” is as rare as the politician who makes a similar admission.”

John Kay writing in the FT 7th/8th July 2018

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Spreadsheets….

“This confirmed my long held suspicion that many people use spreadsheets as an alternative to thinking.”
 

Could amazon.co.uk be your new sundries suplier?

Serving more than 1 million customers in the U.S., Amazon Business is changing the way dentists think about purchasing dental supplies.

Amazon Business has been offering healthcare products, including dental supplies, since its launch. More than 40,000 results currently populate for professional dental supplies on Amazon Business from companies like 3M, Hu-Friedy, Premier Dental, Dentsply, DenMatand Sunstar GUM. Everything from fluoride gel to xylitol mints to scalers and curettes can be purchased with just a few clicks of a button.

Many dentists are creatures of habit, so why should they switch how they procure dental supplies? According to Holt, Amazon Business provides a similar convenient experience to purchasing products on Amazon.com, with features and unique benefits tailored to the needs of businesses……

Safety is of utmost concern when it comes to purchasing any sort of medical supplies, including dental products. Dental professionals interested in purchasing dental supplies from Amazon Business must add their license to their Amazon Business account and be verified in order to be eligible to purchase items. Amazon Business is currently licensed to sell Class I and Class II medical and dental products in 47 states.

Full story in Dental Products Report

 

Rees’s Reads #1 – Setting The Table by Danny Meyer

Setting The Table – The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

This book should be compulsory reading for everyone who works in any business that serves customers face to face. I believe it is essential for any dentist looking to differentiate themselves – especially from corporate practices.

Danny Meyer is a restauranteur. The CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group this books describes how his passion for food and service led to his founding, over a 21 year period, five “white-table” restaurants, an urban barbecue joint, a feel-good jazz club, a neo-roadside hotdog & burger stand, three modern museum cafes and on off-premises, restaurant quality catering company. At the time of writing he had not had to close any of them.

The basis of his an any successful restaurants is the quality of the food allied with a dedication to the best possible service. Danny describes the non-food elements as “hospitality”. His aim when opening a new venue is to, “draw the best elements of the classic, make it authentic for its present context, and then try to execute it with excellence.” 

Throughout the book he presents case studies, words of wisdom, stories of what has worked and what hasn’t, the lessons he has learned and above all how to be successful by serving the public but on your own terms.

Here are a few quotes:

Self: I have always viewed excellence as a journey rather than a destination. Taking that journey demands a form of athleticism. It is the athlete’s nature to call on all resources to compete and win. I believe it’s possible to apply to business the same skills I would apply on a tennis court or baseball diamond. I see this as a combination of innate ability, focused training, and a persistent zeal to win.

Marketing: Know Thyself: Before you go to market, know what you are selling and to whom. It’s a very rare business that can (or should) be all things to all people. Be the best you can be within a reasonably tight product focus. That will help you improve yourself and help your customers to know how and when to buy your product.

Service: Best described through what he has written of how he discovered “enlightened hospitality” after his wife miscarried twins and his life took a different perspective. He describes outlining what he considered non-negotiable about how he does business. “Nothing would ever matter more to me than how we expressed hospitality to each one another. And then in descending order, our next core values would be to extend gracious hospitality to our guests, our community, our suppliers, and finally our investors.”

People: He talks about the 51% that he looks for in employees whether they be chefs or the front of house team. He says he wants people who have 51% emotional hospitality and 49% technical ability. He seeks the “excellence reflex” in people which is a natural reaction to fix something that isn’t right, or to improve something that could be better. “This “excellence reflex” is rooted in instinct and upbringing, and then constantly honed through awareness, caring and practice.”

In the chapter, “Whoever wrote the rule…?” he questions acceptance of the status quo and the conventional ways of doing things saying, “The commitment to add something fresh to an existing dialogue informs every decision my colleagues and I make.”

I could go on but I have exceeded the 500 words I allow myself here. Just get the book, read it and be inspired.

Buy it from The Book Depository HERE.

 

The snowflake economy

If your business depends upon discretionary spending take note:
Buy now, pay later. The retail sector has had a tough start to the year with some big names heading into administration. Last week’s snow will have made things even worse as shoppers stayed away from the high street. So it is unfortunate timing that January’s lending data showed even more spending is occurring on credit. Credit card balances rose at almost 10%, suggesting consumers are still keen to buy now and pay later. Whether this is from renewed confidence in their future finances or because the cash ran out over Christmas remains to be seen but will have big consequences for future growth.
Turning tide. Consumer credit might be threatening double digit growth, but companies are being much more cautious with their finances. Borrowing in January by UK businesses was only 1% higher than a year ago. That’s quite a slowdown given that growth of 2-3% was typical through most of last year. Even more striking is the behaviour of different sized firms. Broadly speaking, large companies are still borrowing, but SMEs now owe no more than they did in January 2017. Is this Brexit uncertainty finally beginning to bite, or a gradual response to the Bank of England’s message that we should expect rates to rise? Either way, the contrast to the behaviour of households is stark.
and if you’re in your 40s and feeling chipper you’re bucking the trend.
Happiness. Like Churchill on democracy, GDP is the worst way to measure an economy, apart from all the others. One criticism is GDP fails to measure the things that matter, like happiness or anxiety. So the ONS produces a ‘personal wellbeing index’. The good news is that we were slightly chirpier in 2017 than in 2016 – and we’ve getting steadily more perky since the index began in 2012. Women tend to feel happier, more worthwhile and yet also more anxious than men. Oh, and we’re most happy in our 60s and 70s, least happy in our 40s. Sounds about right.

The Incisal Edge Podcast – The Seven Mistakes Dentists Make After Retirement with Ray Prince.

 

My guest in this episode of The Incisal Edge Podcast is Ray Prince.

Ray is a Certified Financial Planner with Rutherford Wilkinson in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He has specialised in advising dentists since 1996, his passion is working with and helping clients throughout the UK who want an unbiased view as to how they can achieve their desired lifestyle, financial goals and objectives, including, for many, early retirement.

His website his www.rwpfg.co.uk

Telephone: 0191 217 3340

You can follow Ray on Twitter @rayprincecfp

 

 

Ten years after the financial crisis..

Good series of articles in the Weekend FT magazine marking 10 years since the start of the financial crisis.

The commencement is recorded as the day the chairman of Northern Rock, Lord Ridley, went to the Bank of England to beg for money from the Governor, Mervyn King. Ridley (5th Viscount Ridley & Baron Wensleydale) resigned later that year but was rewarded with a life peerage in 2013. He is a keen Brexit supporter and climate change sceptic…

Adam Applegarth was chief executive of Northern Rock also quit in 2007. He received a £785,000 “golden handshake” and a pension of £2.6m…

Northern Rock had distributed £235.8 million to charitable causes in the North East through its foundation – mostly funded from its profits. The new owners Virgin Money stopped making donations so the foundation closed…

Sub-prime mortgages which contributed to the crash worldwide are alive and well and are now called “nonprime”.  There is pressure from investors who want yield, skewed incentives on Wall Street and the Trump government who want to relax the restraints introduced by President Obama.

No one has been held accountable for the crash.

My favourite story is from Alistair Darling who was Chancellor of the Exchequer. A CEO of a UK bank tied to reassure him and said, “From now on we’ll only take risks we understand.” So what was he doing before that?

A reminder – the most dangerous words anybody in finance can say are, “this time it’s different”.

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