Drive business growth in 2022

growthNicki Rowland explores why planning the year ahead is crucial to the sustainability and growth of your practice in 2022.

In 2021, Nicki Rowland, director of The Exceptional Leadership Academy (ELA), wrote a short series in Private Dentistry magazine on how her company can support business development and practice growth using a method that was highly successful in her own award-winning dental practice. 

A renewed perspective

The common phrase used every New Year is ‘New Year, New You’. What if we reworded that to say ‘New Year, New View’ from a business perspective?

It is all too easy, and natural, to go into a new year looking in our rear-view mirrors. However, our Covid world is requiring us to look at things very differently and keep our eyes firmly focused on the horizon.

I am not suggesting that we peer through rose-tinted windscreens.

What I am suggesting though, is that we listen to our parking sensors and gain an intelligent awareness of what elements are currently influencing our practices that will either help us reach our destination safely or cause a significant dint in our driver’s side door.

The key to this is to know where you are going and keep the engine of your vehicle finely tuned.

Your FDP (Future Dental Practice)

I regularly use the analogy of your practice being a vehicle on a journey to success. Commonly, practice principals see themselves as the driver.

Our belief at ELA is that you don’t have a successful business if you are always sat at the wheel.

When we consult with practice owners on creating their FDP, we always ask them ‘what does success look like to you?’

What we are really drilling down into is whether success is defined as leaving a legacy behind, generating money or a good work life balance.

Irrespective of the answer, time is of the essence and steering your vehicle every second of the day steels time away from your true aspirations.

Real success comes when you can sit in the back of the car reading a newspaper, while other team members navigate and keep you on the road to success.

Of course, you will always have to be a ‘back seat driver’ in some capacity, but essentially your team are doing the work.

Set your ‘Strat Nav’

When going on a journey, you would not jump into the car without a destination in mind and setting your ‘Sat Nav’. If you did, you would get very lost or simply drive around in circles.

Likewise, in business, we need to strategically plan where we want to go. We must set objectives to ensure that we stay on track and get there.

I call this ‘setting your Strat Nav’. Not only will it give your team their bearings, but it will also keep them pointing in the right direction if something untoward happens and takes them on a scenic route.

If we take this analogy to the extreme, we now have cars that drive and park themselves.

How wonderful would it be, if you could take a break and relax in the knowledge that your vehicle will remain on course without any risk of damage whilst you are absent?

This is wholly possible, but only if the engine of your vehicle is well maintained and serviced regularly.

Invest in your key asset

A vehicle cannot move from A to B without an engine and putting fuel in the tank. Your team are the engine of your practice and every individual is a cog in the engine.

Each cog needs to know which way to turn and how quickly to turn to mesh with their counterparts. If one cog rusts and grinds to a halt so does the whole machine.

It is, therefore, essential to invest time and money in ensuring that your ‘cogs’ are operating to their optimum performance.

Oil and service them regularly with appraisals, training, support and meetings to fortify your common focus as a team.

You will then reach your destination faster than you ever imagined. Of course, this is not possible without fuel and a spark plug. Petrol in a spark-ignition engine is mixed with air before compression.

This provides the energy source for the car, but it needs a spark from the spark plug to ignite it.

Similarly, in practice, team members are full of ideas and innovation. However, they need sparks from the management team to ignite their fire and impassion them to achieve. This comes full circle back to great leadership.


I truly believe that if you invest in your team that they will invest in you. Business growth happens organically.

Your team is your key asset and without them you have an empty ‘bodyshell’. Train and empower them within your business model. Then your practice could very quickly transform from a Mini to a Ferrari.   

If you need support to nurture your team and drive business growth in your practice, contact me at [email protected] or email: [email protected].

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