The myth of the dental entrepreneur

dental entrepeneurIt takes more than buying a dental practice to be able to call yourself an entrepreneur, Alun Rees says.

In the past few months I have had several people call me to ask for my help as they wanted to own three dental practices.

When I inquired as to how many practices they already owned they all responded, ‘none’.

Delving deeper they all used the term, ‘dental entrepreneur’ in their aspirations.


The definition of an entrepreneur I like is: ‘An individual who sets up one or more businesses and, by taking risks and being innovative, makes a profit.’

Key points to success are finding and filling a need.

The economist Joseph Schumpter wrote that: ‘It is not necessary to be motivated by profit, it is just a measure of success, and entrepreneurs are self-reliant, strive for distinction through excellence and are optimistic.’

Like ‘leader’ and ‘social media guru’, ‘entrepreneur’ is a title, not a job, but seems to appeal to certain individuals.

Apparently the idea is to get a practice, preferably with a large NHS contract, drive down all the costs, especially those of associates, and turn a profit from others’ labours.

That’s a sweat-shop and not what I believe is entrepreneurship.

This model does little that can be called creative; the owner rarely nurtures, leads or exhibits innovation.

You could argue that earlier generations of dentists who were involved in owning and running businesses were more entrepreneurial.

Dental entrepreneurs

True (dental) entrepreneurs do things that are different; they take risks with their own money and embrace the challenges, difficulties and the sheer hard work that is involved.

Their businesses are defined by their dreams, aspirations and efforts.

They build, inspire and lead teams.

Their rewards include personal fulfilment as well as financial returns.

The path to true success is never easy and proving yourself an entrepreneur takes more than the glib use of a word from a TV entertainment show.

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