Dental Practice Accelerator – ‘a diamond in the rough’

Dental Practice Accelerator winner Hannan Saleem has a practice ready for polishing. Now, it’s up to him and his team at London Dental Centre to gain some clarity as they meet the mentors for the first time.

Early last month (November), the Dental Practice Accelerator (DPA) mentors met up with Hannan Saleem and the team behind the winning practice of this year’s competition – London Dental Centre.

Throughout the next 12 months, Sameer Patel, Justin Leigh, Sandeep Kumar and Shaz Memon will be coaching and guiding Hannan. They will help him to grow his family dental practice to a turnover target of one million pounds.

The first meet-up was intense, with plenty of advice, reality checks, and plans discussed for the future. Luckily for Hannan, he will have four leaders in the industry by his side throughout the journey. As well as the biggest support system of all – his family. 

A family affair

Hannan’s father set up London Dental Centre in 2010 as a squat practice. Coming from humble beginnings, it is now a fully private practice in the centre of London, offering everything from Invisalign to implants. 

The practice has two surgeries, but currently, only one is being used. They have an OPG machine and have just placed an order for an Itero scanner. Hannan’s dream is to help bring his parents to retirement and maximise the potential of the practice.

‘I took over the leadership role at our practice about a year and a half ago. Throughout that time, I was struggling with staff recruitment and some operational issues. I was constantly searching for online resources, or I would message people on Linkedin and ask for a chat over coffee to help and mentor me. 

‘But, of course, that level of commitment wouldn’t be there. When I saw the DPA competition, I realised it was the exact opportunity that I needed. It would provide the guidance that I was searching for to help accelerate the practice,’ said Hannan.

After spending a full day with the mentors, he said: ‘It’s been quite an exciting day, and of course, a bit nerve wracking as well. But I’m excited for the future and for the growth of London Dental Centre.’

‘Standout winner’

Hannan wasn’t the only one excited about the practice’s future. The mentors were confident in their decision on judging day, but after spending only a few hours together, Hannan’s optimistic and driven energy only reaffirmed what they gathered from his application.

‘The one thing I noticed about Hannan was his enthusiasm, and his keenness to grow and get to the next level really came out compared with all the other applicants’, said Sandeep Kumar.

‘We’ve got a lot to leverage,’ said Shaz Memon. ‘Hannan already ranks really well on Google, he’s got glowing reviews, and his motivation to make the practice succeed is quite high with it being a family business.

‘It’s a diamond in the rough.’

Sameer Patel added: ‘Hannan wrote such a humble piece to articulate how he felt, and how he wanted to grow the practice. For me, it was a standout winner, and he’s somebody that I felt I could work with.

‘He is hungry, he is committed. And I love that.’

Hannan comes from an engineering background, and he mentioned to the mentors that his lack of clinical knowledge felt like a challenge. However, they viewed his unique non-dental position as a strength rather than a weakness. 

‘Hannan is not a dental professional, which is one of the reasons why we chose him as a winner. He is the business manager for the practice, which means he can dedicate his time, energy and efforts to really driving through the changes that need to be made to make the practice world class and achieve his goals,’ said Justin.

Team collaboration

In the afternoon, the mentors and Hannan met up with the rest of the practice team to share the plan for the next 12 months and get everyone excited for the journey ahead. Some had questions, others raised concerns, but one thing was abundantly clear – everyone’s support for Hannan and his goals. 

In this practice, the sense of family reaches through the entire team.

‘I’m excited. There are a lot of changes, and it might be quite an intense year, but I think it’s going to be amazing for the practice, the team and Hannan. I’m very excited for him,’ said Zoe, lead receptionist at the practice.

When asked what he is most excited about improving throughout the next 12 months, Hannan said: ‘Team collaboration. 

‘Once we’re able to work more effectively as a team, we can better serve our patients, and it will create a healthier work environment. That’s one thing in particular that I’m excited for. I want team members to come to work excited and happy to start the day.’ 

This is only the beginning for Hannan and London Dental Centre’s growth journey. Keep up to date with Dental Practice Accelerator on and Dentistry magazine, picking up tips for your own practice along the way.

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