Introducing The Kana Way

In the first of his brand-new column Kaival Patel of Kana Health Group shares how he plans to dive into business ownership and brand building in dentistry.

In the first of his brand-new column Kaival Patel of Kana Health Group shares how he plans to dive into business ownership and brand building in dentistry.

True or false? I put the drill down on the last day of my vocational training and I instantly knew that six years from that moment I would own my first practice. I carefully designed a one-page business plan and spent a couple of hours mapping out my next 10 years. 

On the first half of the page I noted that I would own five dental practices all in/around Milton Keynes and Bedford and on the other half I outlined my plan to start a teaching academy. Finally, on the back of said document I jotted down the core values of my future dental group which made it clear that the brand will be synonymous with growth, development and positivity…

You guessed it! The answer is a resounding *enter the family fortunes buzzer sound here* FALSE!

Now, don’t get me wrong: would it have been useful to have had that plan? Absolutely. Have some of the greatest entrepreneurs of the world had a crystal clear idea of what they were trying to create and executed that very idea to perfection? You bet. However, truth be told, for the first few years after qualifying my only real aim was to figure out how the hell people see more than one patient before lunch! 

So if you haven’t got it all planned out I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.

Business ownership in dentistry

Hi everyone, my name is Kaival, and together with my wife Shreena we are the founders and directors of The Kana Health Group: a growing group of dental practices in the Bucks/Beds area.

I have come together with to deliver a series of blogs and I intend to give you an insight into the business of dentistry and dental practice ownership – a warts and all perspective. As a twist, I want to tie in the emotional aspect of business, linking the decisions we made with real family life.

Dealing with ownership with a spouse in the same game -–can you really keep dentistry away from the dinner table chat? Is practice ownership really for you? If you have one site, how do you know it’s the time for more? These are all the things that over the last decade I have stumbled my way through and I wish I had someone that could have explained some of the pitfalls, as well as some of the ‘good stuff’. Well, this is my aim.

The series will cover the hurdles we had to jump over to get on the practice ownership ladder, with a look into why we did it. Also, it will cover the crazy amount of learning that happened within the first few years while dealing with team, finances, culture and everything in-between. 

Why would someone expand and what is the driving force behind the decision making? Can you afford to take a step away from the clinical side of dentistry, or can you afford not to? Is the option of sharing practice ownership with a dental group something that would work for you and what’s in it for both parties?

Creating core values

I’m going to discuss creating a brand with a north star. What’s the point of having a set of core values and what on earth is a mission statement? Let’s see whether we can combine all of the ‘fluffy stuff’ like a creating a culture of positivity, with initiatives like the Kana Cup, and whether it helps with the bottom line.

I get asked all the time whether it’s better to buy an existing practice or start one up from scratch.  We have very much been advocates of buying existing on-going practices. However, I am going to bring in someone who has done it the other way and smashed the squat-practice world! Let’s see if they can convince us otherwise.

One of our proudest achievements was setting up a teaching academy, creatively named the Kana Academy.  It’s certainly in its infancy but it links into one of our core values – inspire and empower.  It differentiates us, it connects us to the local dental world and it upskills anyone who joins it.

Was it easy to set up? No! It was a leap of faith for some of the greatest speakers and lecturers in the country to become a part of it and to allow a unknown entity, such as Kana, and affiliate their own brand and reputation with us.   

The future of dentistry

The future. Let’s dust off that crystal ball and get some insight into the landscape of the dental market.

When is it the right time to buy, sell or expand, and what options do you have? Is Kana Health Group currently where I want it to be? Absolutely not. But I would love to take you on that journey with me.

Please don’t worry – I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, but I certainly have learned a lot over the last decade and a half, and I am fortunate to have met and partnered with some of the greatest minds in the industry who have allowed me to pick their brains and share it all with you as we go along.

To that end, I have one favour to ask of you… if you have any burning questions relating to any of the above topics please ping me an email to [email protected] so I can make these blogs as relevant as I possibly can.  Even if it’s the smallest thing, I hope you gain something. I know I will.

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