Receptionist lobby with patients
As an economic slowdown and potential recession loom large over entrepreneurs, some experts say that economic downturns can present the best opportunities for growing a business. Indeed, many of the world’s greatest companies were built during recessionary times, and minority and women-owned businesses were massive job creators and stabilizers of the economy following the last U.S. recession.
While every industry, generation, and company has its own unique set of challenges, as a marketing executive I have found one method to be most effective in strategy development: leveraging insights gained from looking at best practices in polar industries. With that said, as entrepreneurs struggle to think strategically during this time of economic uncertainty, they may find related insights by looking at the dental industry.
According to the American Dental Association, The Great Recession forced dentists to either streamline and operate a more efficient, well-run business or close their practice for good. Patients spent less out-of-pocket and dental spending declined in 2009, the first year-to-year decline in 50 years. The negative economic time introduced a host of challenges, from fewer patients and a decrease in elective surgeries to lower reimbursement plans and an overly-saturated market.
Forced to confront these threats, Texas cosmetic dentist Dr. Bruce Baird grew his then local clinical practice into a multi-million-dollar service-based business. Today he has practiced for over 30 years, founded the Productive Dentistry Academy, and has become an author and serial entrepreneur across other industries.
Dr. Baird believes his dentistry practice survived The Great Recession because he shifted his perspective beyond his medical credentials and focused on cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset. He attracted new patients and increased repeat visits and patient referrals, but Dr. Baird credits this accomplishment to three tactics:
With the current economic downturn having the potential to accelerate growth for small businesses in even declining industries, Dr. Baird also believes now more than ever entrepreneurs should improve their leadership skills:
“Leadership is often accelerated when entrepreneurs seek out mentors, and a valuable mentor is someone who’s been a success at what you are trying to achieve. Leadership is an intentional activity, and the best leaders become mentors for others.”
Though Dr. Baird is a serial entrepreneur he too still seeks out mentors in other industries. He also cites leveraging insights gained from polar industries as an effective strategy development tool:
“Just like the old saying, no need to recreate the wheel. I try to find someone who has done something in an area that I have an interest in and build a relationship with them. For example, I have an interest in real estate and became friends with one of the most successful real estate entrepreneurs in the country who also happens to live in Texas.”
By leveraging insights from polar industries and improving their leadership skills to include a shift in perspective, entrepreneurs have the potential to survive the looming economic slowdown and a potential recession.