The recession we’re now in, following COVID-19, is the seventh I’ve experienced.
So far, I have survived all seven. Recession doesn’t necessarily equal the failure of your business.
Something that is worth remembering among all the negative media hype.
It also means that I have lots of experience about what happens during a recession, although, admittedly, this is my first global pandemic.
Gap between best and worst widens
Generally, during a recession the best get better, the worst get worse, and the gap between them opens up.
There are two very dangerous places to be on that scale.
The first most dangerous place to be is at the worst end. The second most dangerous place to be is in the middle.
Which means that there has never been a greater need for open-mindedness and innovation.
I remain confident that those who innovate will have a bigger, brighter future.
Recession is fuel for innovation
I’m already seeing this happen within dentistry.
There has been massive acceleration in the development of digital dentistry in terms of digital clinical delivery. But also, in the digital patient journey.
We’ve seen a huge upsurge in video consultations with new patients, the video monitoring of orthodontic treatment, and many other online innovations in patient communication.
We’ve seen innovation in the way that dentists have adapted to the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and the PPE, creating new ways of working, new rota systems and new shift patterns.
This innovation is delivering results. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, dentists are reporting record months for sales.
No going backwards
COVID-19 has had a ratchet effect.
The ratchet turns, but once it’s engaged another cog, it won’t go backwards.
There’s never going to be a February 2020 ever again. We are never going to go back to the old ways of doing things.
Dentistry has moved forward. Consumer habits have moved forward.
People aren’t going to go back to the high street and stop doing their online shopping.
Online shopping was already popular, but now more and more people have realised the benefits and they’ll stick with it.
Their habits have been changed, and changes in consumer habits can have a big impact.
All of the major UK supermarkets have reported a 100% increase in online food sales in 2020 and they are predicting a further 100% increase in online food sales over the next two years, according to recent research by the Manchester Business School.
Just like supermarkets and other retailers, dental communication is moving online, and dental businesses are becoming leaner and fitter.
As a result of this digital innovation, combined with the ratchet effect of the pandemic, dental businesses are going to become more profitable.
A stronger dental community
When the history books are written for dentistry 2020, the focus will be on how the members of the dental profession came together.
Maybe it had to be on Facebook Live, Zoom or Microsoft Teams, but they came together in a way that had never been seen before.
We’ve seen new trade associations and social media groups, and we’ve seen people helping each other out.
In the face of a commonly shared adversity, the profession really did come together in a very positive way.
The ratchet effect applies here too. We’re not going backwards in that respect.
That alone should give us reason to be positive about 2021.
Chris has been a trainer, consultant, coach and mentor to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. Straight talking and determined, he can reach conclusions quickly and has the reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries.
A leading authority on the business of dentistry, Chris regularly contributes to the dental press, social media and online and has co-authored books and published a series of e-books on the business of dentistry. Chris spends most of his professional time mentoring independent dental entrepreneurs under the “Coach Barrow” brand.