Dental practice Accelerator: the hurdles

Dental practice Accelerator: the hurdles

The Dental Practice Accelerator programme is full steam ahead for winner Hannan Saleem and his practice – but what challenges lie ahead?

Having won the Dental Practice Accelerator, Hannan Saleem and his practice London Dental Centre are looking forward to reaping the benefits of the programme. With goals now set, the journey to becoming a million-pound practice is underway. But what hurdles will the dental team need to overcome? We caught up with Hannan and his four mentors – Sameer Patel, Justin Leigh, Sandeep Kumar, and Shaz Memon – to explore the challenges they see ahead.

A family affair

Sandeep Kumar, founder and CEO of the MiSmile Network, believes one of the key stumbling blocks for Hannan is the fact that he doesn’t have a dental background.

‘The biggest challenge I see working with Hannan is because it is his parents’ dental practice and he is managing it. So, his dental knowledge is a little bit limited,’ explained Sandeep.

However, after spending some time at the practice, Sandeep has discovered that this hurdle may actually become a driving force. ‘What I’ve seen so far is that he’s really keen, he’s really interested and he really wants to grow. He wants to prove to himself to his family that he wants to take their business to the next level. And when somebody has that type of attitude, they are the perfect type of person to work with.’

Sameer Patel, clinical director at E11even Dental, sees the fact that the practice is family-run as a positive force. He says: ‘I love the fact that it’s a family run business and therefore everybody’s helping him.’

Where Sameer sees potential issues are around decision making and instilling change.

‘He’s going to have to isolate himself and make key decisions on how he works and runs his practice. All the rest will be noise, but he needs to titrate in exactly the changes he wants to make.’

Room for growth

Justin Leigh, managing director of Focus4growth, sees Hannan’s non-dental background as an encouraging factor.

‘He’s the business manager for the practice, which means he can dedicate his time and energy and efforts to really driving through the changes that need to be made to make the practice world class and achieve his ambitions and goals.’

‘I think the biggest challenges are around growth,’ explains Justin. ‘The practice is really well established, they’ve got a lot of priorities and there’s a lot going on. The biggest challenge is going to be getting their heads out of the weeds, removing themselves from the day to day, and starting to make the key changes that are going to drive growth, because he’s got some great ambitions and some great goals.’

As a mentor, Justin will be helping Hannan to ‘break free of the inertia of current practice’ by identifying what needs to change. He will then hold him accountable to make those changes in order to push for growth.

What’s the story?

While Hannan and the team are delivering dentistry in a Central London location, Shaz Memon, founder of Digimax Dental, notes there is no ‘story to be told’. He sees this as one of the reasons why growth is currently limited.

‘There’s no brand, I don’t see why a patient would speak about their practice right now. It’s a convenience-led dental practice, which is in a great location. Without a brand, without a story without a reason, without something to go back and tell your friends about, you’re limiting your growth.’

Part of the roadmap for London Dental Centre is defining the brand and giving patients a seamless journey from social media to the website and then visiting the practice. This is part of the recipe for bringing Hannan closer to his dream of maximising the practice’s potential and helping his parents to retire. 

Changing habits

As the person leading the business and pushing the change, the biggest hurdle that Hannan anticipates is changing existing habits within the well-established team, who are used to their ways of working.

‘I think the mentorship that the DPA will provide will be a completely new way of working. We’ll gain insights into how the mentors run their practices and their clinical care. That’s something which I think will be exciting to learn about and implement, however, it’s definitely going to be a challenge to get the team aligned on the same goal.’

Zoe, the lead receptionist at London Dental Centre, also feels that ‘getting everyone on board’ could be a challenge for the small team. 

‘I think everyone is excited but getting everyone together in terms of logistics might be something that will take a while because everyone has their set days and times. But I think that will be the most important thing, it will have the best knock-on effect once everyone is together. I think it will be great for the whole practice.’

Sameer agrees: ‘He’s got a number of clinicians and staff, we’re almost resetting everything. That communication to get over to the team is going to be really paramount. I think getting the team on board to make those changes is going to be his challenge, but we’re here to help him.’

While there are challenges to overcome, the mentors all agree that there is a lot of opportunity for growth at London Dental Centre. Justin says: ‘It’s a London based practice, the demographic is really central. The practice has an opportunity to improve the experience of patients and the overall brand… that’s real opportunity for growth and evolution of the business.’

The hurdles

From the outset, Hannan and the mentors can all see various areas that could throw up some challenges along the way to becoming a million-pound practice. The hurdles to overcome to bring in necessary change include:

  • Finding the right leadership approach for a family-run practice 
  • Stepping away from the noise to enable growth
  • Uncovering the story to build an effective brand 
  • Changing existing habits within the well-established team.

If you would like to accelerate your practice and clinical growth, Align Technology can help you get to the next level, leveraging the Invisalign system, Itero intraoral scanners, and the Align Digital Platform. For more information about its education and growth support programmes visit

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