By JONATHAN FINE
I’ve written about the efficacy of the easyJet business model before and how it suits ambitious dentists like Breathe client Dan Rogers at Bamboo Dental who have the drive to deliver high volume, low cost dentistry.
But the easyJet model is not for everyone, which is why I’ve decided to outline the other options for dentists who are thinking of a new business venture and want an idea of what suits their personality, the type of dentistry they prefer and the type of patients they like working with. This week let’s take a look at the hub and spoke model.
The hub and spoke model
This one is all about location, location, location and is used across numerous sectors, from logistics to accountancy. It works on the principal that by centralising core skills, or specialist interventions, you can roster and focus your product delivery or service in a far more cost effective and customer-centric way.
If you applied the concept of delivering dental care to the better off residents of an area like north Leeds then the demographics of the locality mean there are enough of them to make your project viable. If you were trying to provide the same service in central Glasgow, it wouldn’t work quite so well!
The location of the hub is critical. It should be highly visible with easy access just off the ring road and:
- offer advanced restorative treatments with implants, endodontics, periodontics and orthodontics through a combination of associates and partnerships
- have spokes to refer business into the main hub
The spokes could be two or more practices within a six-mile radius of the hub. They could be resourced with a recently qualified dentist who is eager to build a career and exploit opportunities to train and learn new techniques.
The spoke would provide a quality service covering examinations, hygienist treatments, simple restorative work, basic denture provision and straightforward extractions. Anything more complicated would be referred to the hub.
Creating the hub and spoke is pretty straightforward and can be done in a number of ways. The most obvious is to buy two tired old practices with an identifiable catchment and remodel them under a new group brand, which would include bringing the facility up to scratch.
Alternatively there is an oversupply of unwanted retail units next door to convenience stores that would fit the requirement perfectly. The hub itself should ooze sophistication; it should be in an easy to access location with plenty of parking. The look and feel would be more like a Swiss clinic than a typical large modern dental practice:
- the atmosphere would be ‘understated excellence’ with contemporary treatments
- the overall environment would be light and promote the feeling among patients you are looking after their well-being
- the hub would be open seven days a week with limited hours of 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday
- the spokes would open five days a week 8am to 6pm
- the pricing model would equal the average private charge at the spoke level, with specialist treatments at the hub demanding a premium of 10 per cent above average
This concept has the ability to work for an independent or a group of like-minded independents who want to do it but would like to share the risks and the investment costs.
From the patient’s perspective the proposition is compelling; they are a member of a group that has the capability to deliver the most advanced dental treatments in the world, should they ever need them.
If you’d like to discuss the viability of establishing a hub and spoke business in your area I’d be happy to help – contact me on 07860 67272 or email email@example.com.
Are you a young dentist looking for your first big break?
We’ve teamed up with Dental Supplies Magazine to launch a competition aimed at turbocharging a graduate’s career. We’re looking for someone who has ambition and entrepreneurial plans, who we’ll mentor through the year. If you want to set up yourself and have been thinking about a business opportunity or have started a business plan, send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll pick the most promising submission and give you £4k of support free, plus exposure across Update newsletter, social media and, of course, Dental Supplies Magazine. Good luck!