DWB Blog

Focus on Mental Health Awareness Week

Today marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week.

As a person who has suffered from Anxiety Disorder myself for many years and finally learnt to overcome and manage it, I feel that I can contribute in some small way to helping those that may find themselves in an uncomfortable place.

When it comes to the mental health of the nation, it has been recorded that 50% of people in the UK are suffering from anxiety as a direct result of lockdown. This is because all the uncertainty and constant focus on the negative news that causes minds to race away and imagine the worst.

Many have tried to keep calm and carry on as usual, but it has not been easy. Conditions such as anxiety and depression have simply been simmering under the radar and will blow out of proportion if not helped or managed correctly.

Business owners are especially susceptible to these conditions given the huge amount of stress and strain they are undergoing as a result of their businesses being shut down and incomes having ceased altogether.

Team members are also going through this difficult time as many have been furloughed and feel their futures may be uncertain.

Add to the mix the uncertainty of when dentists can re-open, the increased PPE and its associated costs and the new protocols for Health & Safety and you have yourself a nice cocktail for mental health disorders.

But all is not lost.

There are many things that you can do to help yourself. I feel that early intervention is the key. When you start to feel low you need to take some sort of action to combat it.

 

Here are a few tips that I use that can help you to keep a healthy mind:

  • It doesn’t have to be hard just something you enjoy that will release those endorphins!
  • Try to eat a healthy nutritious diet.
  • Have long conversational dinners with your family or partner. Enjoy being with each other. Learn something new about each other. Or play games together and have fun.
  • Practice Mindfulness. A great book to help you understand this and included is guided mindfulness meditations is “Mindfulness” by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. I have used this book and the associated audio to smithereens. It is fantastic!
  • A great tip is the power of 3: when you wake up notice 3 things in detail; hear 3 things and feel 3 things. This helps you to be present.
  • Use mobile apps that include a variety of guided meditations and lesson of various lengths. Some good ones are Insight Timer, Headspace & Calm. The key to meditation is to do them regularly. It takes time to get your mind attuned to relaxing and for you to see the results.
  • Other meditations are ones that use binaural beats which are great at putting you into a meditative state quicker especially for the beginner. They are said to improve sleep, lower stress and enhance your cognitive performance. Other types include: use of delta waves, alpha binaural and isochronic tones within the sub-delta range.
  • Just listening to calming music like piano or oceanic waves or Tibetan singing bowls is also great.
  • Put on your favourite music and dance!
  • Develop a routine whilst you are in lockdown. A morning routine is essential to get you focusing on positive forward moving things in your life. This could include journaling your thoughts, meditation, exercise or simply pampering after yourself.
  • Develop some positive goals you can focus on instead of what is happening in the world. Taking action means that you are moving forward and doing something about your situation. Inaction can take you on a downward slope of mental health. Take action towards things you can control rather than worry about the things you can’t control.
  • Take long casual walks in nature.
  • Connect with friends and family via WhatsApp, Facetime or Zoom.
  • Take up a hobby that you enjoy. There are also some very good “paint by numbers” kits that help you to relax and calm yourself.
  • Create an evening routine to help calm you down before bedtime. This can include a relaxing aromatherapy bath and breathing exercises.
  • Take up Yoga which combines stretching, breathing, use of body weight and relaxation. There are plenty of You Tube Videos that you can choose from. I really like all of “Yoga by Adriene”. She has some great compilations.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. You can sip herbal teas beforehand to calm you down; I like camomile with vanilla.
  • Reduce screen time especially with social media. Limit your hours or if your feel your symptoms worsen then just stop using it. For a while I completely stopped. You have to make a choice for your health. I found myself making personal calls instead to reconnect with my friends and family via the telephone on a one to one which really helped.

I hope you find some of the above helpful. To be honest I personally do as much as I can and have done so for a number of years. I can say without a doubt it all helps so much. It is very important that you develop the right balance in life and not give in to a single aspect too much. Give it a go!

Keep safe and well, Bhavna

DWB Predictions for Dental Businesses

When you finally emerge from the lockdown, there are some excellent strategies that you can use to turn around your business. Inevitably, we are going to be experiencing a downturn in the economy. Hence, in order to survive the upcoming economic decline your most important considerations and focus will either make you succeed, or you will find getting back to normality highly frustrating.

I have made a personal prediction on how things are going to be and have a few suggestions on preventing the worst.

The best way to look at our businesses is in 3 phases:

Phase 1: Managing pent up demand

This will occur in the first 3 months of opening. You will need to expect this to be a crazy time. No one really knows how things are going to be.

So, I have two tips:

  • One way of making it a little bearable will be to booking patients into the appointment diary in a strategic and planned manner. We call this Diary Engineering. Plan where and when you need to book certain types of patient so that you can have enough time for surgery turnaround or donning/doffing procedures of PPE.
  • I would suggest that you have team training with everyone before you plan to open so that you can organise and role-play out exactly how you will all work together. There is nothing more stressful than having to think up what to do on the spot, when you could have given it some thought beforehand.

Phase 2: Gradual decline in Production

This will occur over the course of the next 8 months.

It is characterised by a decrease in demand since you will then have completed most of the treatments associated with the pent up demand.

There may be some patients that are still not convinced that it may be safe to have a dental visit; this together with diminishing affordability due to those financially affected by the pandemic, can cause a gradual decline in the numbers of new patients.

Also, as patients begin to ease into “normality” of living with the coronavirus they may not see dentistry as an urgent need.  As this occurs you may see a drop in revenue if you are not able to market for new patients. This is the critical stage at which a renewed intensity of focus on Leadership, Marketing and Sales is going to be vital in maintaining productivity. This will only occur with ongoing efforts in establishing updated growth systems.

Having said this I would suggest that intense focus be made on marketing before Phase 2.

Phase 3: Recovery

This will occur by end of 2021 going forward into 2022.

This is when most systems in your practice will begin to normalise. By this stage you will have established a new way of doing things.

Those practices that will have worked hard continuously from lockdown, on a commitment to motivational leadership, cost-effective marketing strategies and establishment of new updated post-covid sales protocols will now be reaping the rewards.

Strategic business focus and planning is the only way of battling your way out. It is going to also take creativity, innovation and thinking outside the box. This is what I am currently doing with my coaching clients.

 

 

 

 

 

9 Ways to Make Instagram Work For You: Part 2 of 2

Following on from information picked up in Shaz Memon’s webinar titled “Building Influence with Instagram”, I thought I would highlight the 7 tips he shared on making Instagram work for you.

Shaz Memon is founder of Digimax Dental, a dental marketing agency in London. He has recently published a book called “Instagram for Dentists”, which has had some great reviews. If you get a chance do look into this.

Shaz stated that he felt that Instagram is different to other social networks – mostly because of its simplicity and ease of use. He goes on to mention how 500 million Instagram accounts are active every day. This is an incredible statistic!

Many people perceive Instagram as “broadcast” media as oppose to “Social” media. As a result, they tend to elect to outsource putting content onto this platform. However, this only results in generic marketing. It won’t have any of the personality or feel of posts that are made from real live people that are intimately associated with the business.

Building your Instagram profile using generic content as oppose to giving it a personality can reduce engagement with your target market. Dry content may not necessarily reflect the type of practice that you are.

In the long run, this can do more harm than good (not to mention the increase in overhead incurred by outsourcing to a third party). This is not cost-effective marketing.

One idea I would suggest making it easier for practices to personalise their content, would be to establish a Social Media Coordinator who is responsible for collating possible posts to upload for social media. Then the entire team can be responsible together in collecting content which they pass onto the Social Media Coordinator. It is far easier to take a picture in the moment but then not worry about when you will be uploading it. It also makes it easier for the coordinator to focus on making the Instagram account more engaging.

Shaz’s 9 Ways to Make Instagram Work for You:

  1. Power of 9

The first 9 squares should represent 70% of your story

Review these continuously to make sure the content is varied.

  1. Brand Perception

Who are you? Why do you exist?

You need to first define this beforehand so that you can understand what your marketing messages should consist of.

Think about how you are being perceived.

  1. Tell people what they don’t know?

What makes you so special?

E.g. Charity work, or diversity of team with multi-lingual team or that you train other dentists.

What do you have that other practices don’t have?

  1. Balance

Make sure you have a nice spectrum of different content. Don’t overload with for example too many clinical pictures. Create a variety and balance of content that can appeal to people in different ways. Don’t make it too boring and single faceted.

  1. Be Genuine

Humanise your content. For example, use topics like how you mentor your team, or things you do outside of dentistry or any Charity activities you are involved in. Or it could simply be how you and your team have fun!

  1. What to post?

Patients do not understand dentistry.

These posts allow you to connect with your patients in aspects they are able to understand:

  • Team
  • Birthdays
  • Training days
  • Days out
  • Patients
  • Gifts
  • Practice
  • Check out our new
  • Transformations
  • Laughs and smiles
  • Saying Thank You
  • Wins
  • Calendar events
  • Family
  1. Get Real Followers

Get real followers that are interested in you.

Engage with your patients in a way that increases the number of real followers you get. Don’t use artificial ineffective strategies by just following any non-strategically selected followers. More than likely than not they are not going to be interested in what you have to offer.

  1. Tagging

Make it easy for your patients to spread the word about you. For example, you can take several pictures with your patient and then get them involved by asking them which picture they like best. Explain that you will be tagging them in it and encourage your patient to re-post it. If your patient is involved in the process you are more likely to get them to re-post.

This uses the power of word of mouth marketing in a digital organised manner.

  1. Stories

This is another aspect of Instagram/Facebook that allows you to engage with your followers in a slightly different way. Stories provide real-time engagement.  The types of topics may be anything you feel your patients could benefit from or enjoy watching. It is great at humanising your business and making it very relatable.

 

I wanted to personally thank Shaz for the great content he shared in his webinar which I know will be very useful to many dentists in such difficult times. I would highly recommend getting his book to more comprehensively understand how to make the most of Instagram.

 

Meanwhile stay safe, Bhavna

 

PART 1: SOCIAL MEDIA IN LOCKDOWN

 

 

Social Media in Lockdown: Part 1 of 2

I recently attended a very interesting webinar by a good friend of mine, Shaz Memon titled “Building Influence with Instagram”. Since much of what Shaz mentioned resonated with me, I thought that it might prove useful to many of you, so I extracted some of the pertinent points from his presentation. Much of this form of communication I believe can be used in most social media platforms and not just be restricted to Instagram. I have also peppered many on these ideas with my own personal philosophy around the subject.

Shaz Memon is founder of Digimax Dental, a dental marketing agency in London. He has recently published a book called “Instagram for Dentists”, which has had some great reviews. If you get a chance do look into this.

 

Patients do not understand what is happening in our industry at this moment in time. They do not know what we are doing on a scientific and clinical level to overcome the various challenges presented by the covid-19 pandemic. All they know if that pre-covid dental treatment was available to them and now it is not, and that they are being triaged to urgent dental care centres (which in many cases are quite a distance away). They have lost their connection with their dentist.

This is a perfect time to communicate well with your patients when they are fully absorbed in social media as a great way of connecting with family, friends and colleagues. Social media proves to be an excellent platform to communicate in an easy, quick and affordable manner.

You have spent time over the past years, building relationships with your patients in the form of goodwill of your practice. Now is the time to make sure that you retain and support your patients.

You need to remember that people will still have dental needs and so they are still going to need dentists. The only difference now is their choices may be affected in difference ways depending upon their experience during this lockdown phase.

Since screen time is very high at the moment (probably the highest its ever been) and people are absorbing a lot more information, you can become part of their world by putting across the right type of messages.

Incorrect and insensitive messages will simply disengage our patients who are not in the right frame of mind to assimilate these. Also, marketing messages attempting to “sell” in the same way that most businesses did pre-covid may even damage the brand long term. Hence, we must carefully construct our communication in a thoughtful and caring manner.

Social media communication should be sympathetic to the current times. Here are some useful tips that Shaz shared:

  • Communicate how you are going to manage emergency patients by explaining what the procedure is now and what they should do in a clear way.
  • Explain the reason why you have closed, since some patients may not understand that we are governed and have to follow the regulations.
  • Reassure patients regularly.
  • If you offer e-consultations tell people about this. Actively promote it by saying that you are here to help them in any way you can. Also make access to you easy.
  • Providing oral health tips will be good for your patients. E.g. how sugar is bad for your teeth. Use hashtags such as #sugarawareness, #stayingathome
  • Dental hygiene guidance will prove to be very useful.
  • Avoid posting Special Offers at this time. Most people are not thinking straight and currently have worries such as redundancies and what the future holds for them, so asking them for a financial commitment is probably not a good idea. It will probably paint a negative picture of your business.
  • Relax how you post “before & after” pictures since you may be sending confusing messages as you are not currently able to do that type of dentistry. Instead it may be better to post pictures explaining how you miss doing dentistry or how you love your work. So, use it to reminisce and be positive about the future.
  • Social Media Posts can be on any of the following topics: what books to read; films to watch; how to keep the kids entertained; home schooling ideas; positive self -development posts like learning a new language; inspiring videos or podcasts; mental health and meditation posts; recipes for lockdown; share neutral humour; goal setting and planning for future; motivation on staying well mentally, physically and psychologically; run polls to get people’s opinions; show care for others and solidarity; and how you are there to help.
  • Go live or host a watching party or host oral health webinars for your patients.

I feel going forward, this type of sympathetic marketing should be continued, and I believe will prove to be a very successful endeavour for the growth of a business. Relationships are at the heart of any business. People only buy from people they know and like. Sympathetic marketing via social media is a great way forward.

I wanted to personally thank Shaz for the great content he shared in his webinar which I know will be very useful to many dentists in such difficult times. I would highly recommend getting his book to more comprehensively understand how to make the most of Instagram.

Meanwhile stay safe, Bhavna

 

PART 2: 7 WAYS TO MAKE INSTAGRAM WORK FOR YOU

 

Culture eats Strategy for breakfast!

Dear Friends,

Recently, I attended a webinar by a guy called Dr Allen Zimbler who used to be Chief Integrating Officer at Investec plc and is now retired.

He has helped Dentex identify its Values and Vision. He came up with some interesting points which I would like to share with you. His views resonated with mine.

So, it’s very clear to us all that we are now in the midst of a crisis.  However, this like everything else in time will pass…and change. Life will go on. Albeit, not as you have known before.

But, if we have been given this chance then we should see it as an opportunity and take advantage of it to strengthen ourselves, to make ourselves better.

How often does life give us this chance?  This pause to think – about what we would like to do and change. What is working? And what isn’t?

It would be a terrible waste if we didn’t grow in some way – grow in understanding, knowledge or in our relationships.

Ask yourself: What opportunities can I take right now to ignite my passion once again?

Perhaps, you can believe in a greater purpose? Surely, this is your Vision?!

The more we focus on our vision the less the present becomes crippling or incapacitating.

Some of you have been working on your Vision, Mission & Values.

This is the time to remind your team of those things that you discussed together.

Your mission and values on how you are going to achieve your vision becomes very important right now. It is these things that are going to keep you all together and gelled.

It is your values that create your team culture. What are they? And are you all now practising them in this Covid situation?

Are you reminding your team of them when you are having a conversation with them?

When you lead a team meeting, this is when you need to be bringing into your conversations your practice values. Give your Values momentum they deserve.

On another point, is your Vision strong enough to keep your team motivated during this crisis?

If not then you need to make it stronger – so that you and your team never falter again. This is a great check on whether you have a strong enough Vision or not. It is a STRONG VISION that will keep you all united in a time of crises.

Meetings should cover (or remind everyone) of 1 or 2 Values each time to really home them in. You need to discuss them and what it means to everyone. Remember, its about how you all behave as a team that counts.

It’s your job as a leader to keep your team FOCUSED on the values you all decided in the first place. The values with which you were going to do business.

Culture Is Stronger Than Strategy 

You can have amazing strategies but without the “buy-in” of the team, you won’t be able to develop the culture you need to action your strategies. Hence, you will not be able to grow as fast as you need to.

Most people do the exercise for creating their Vision but then don’t work on the values on a consistent basis. It takes work! And someone has to remind the team of the Vision & Values constantly.

Values are how you build relationships. We have to work hard on relationships. Eventually, the work will pay off. You will know this because everyone will be working together as a team.

Take the current crises: the way you all will work together as a team will govern how successfully you come out of this.

The way you work as a team depends upon your Values as a Team. This, in turn, develops your Team Culture.

Keep well and stay safe, (I feel like Spock in Star Trek when I say this…Live Long and Prosper LOL!)

Bhavna

The Importance of Routine

Dear Friends,

During the lockdown, many may find that one day blends into another and some may find that each day is the same, like in the movie ‘Groundhog Day’.

I know I sometimes find it hard to tell which day of the week it is. This can be quite disheartening and make you feel less than yourself. Indeed, many may feel depressed and very very low.

I really like the movie Groundhog Day, where a cynical weatherman (Bill Murray) finds himself reliving the same day over and over again in a time loop until he finally gets it and turns the day in an opportunity.

He does this by making small changes each day. He adapts to a different “routine” one that is advantageous for him.

Another similar movie with a similar theme but a little more modern is Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise in it.

Do watch these if you get a chance. And use them to think about your own life and how you can change to make your life better.

Those that want to perform better in life will take this period as an amazing opportunity to do better than they have ever done.

However, despite these good intentions, most will falter and not accomplish much.

The inertia of staying at home will get to you at some point and this may debilitate your mind from taking proactive actions. It has happened to the best of us at some point in life.

So, I thought it appropriate to highlight some books that you may find helpful in establishing daily routines or habits that have a positive impact on your life.

A productive daily routine is important if you want to accomplish your goals in life.

These books are ones the ones I have read and have found useful. Try them out.

Just because you do not have the routine of going to work doesn’t mean that you do not establish a productive routine at home.

Things you can include in your routine:

• Exercise
• Meditation
• Reading
• Planning life and work strategy
• Learning
• Building relationships
• Work from a telephone or laptop
• Communication
• Hobbies
• Fun

Not only will a productive routine help you to grow in some way but it will also help you not to go insane at home. There are many reports now of the psychological effects of lockdown.

This can lead to anxiety and distress. Having routine allows your subconscious to sense a need. It helps to fight inertia and deadline living.

TIP: a key to developing sound habits and routines, especially if you have not previously had them is to do a little of what you intend every day. You can even allocate a set time. Consistency is the key.

Hence, you are taking baby steps to achieve your goals rather than going gung-ho into the deep end. Regular habits like these will soon develop into simply “the way you do things”. Then you become that which you set out to become.

“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.” Sean Covey

“I have learnt that champions aren’t just born; champions can be made when they embrace and commit to life-changing positive habits.”Lewis Howes

Lockdown is a wonderful place to start these positive character building and productive habits.

Meanwhile, keep well and stay safe, Bhavna

5 Key Proactive Areas to Focus on during Lockdown

Dear Friends,

At this moment, when you actually are blessed with time, is when you should be constructive in how to use that time. I thought about this very hard and I thought if Rahul and I had this happening to us what would we do?

So I have some key suggestions that may point you in the right direction.

5 Key Proactive Focus Areas include:

1. Plan

You have the ability to plan and strategise your way out of any mess. You also have DWB and we have much experience in this area – so use us!

Figure out what you want from your business. Remember, things are not going to stay like this forever. There will come a time when you will be able to start working again.

But what do you want to come back to?

Options;

  1. Mayhem, troubleshooting, pandemonium, working worse than before, no patients, no money. This is being Reactive. Or
  2. A well thought out strategic plan to execute with precision and confidence. This is being Proactive.

Which position is better to be in?

There is much to work out. You need to be proactive here if you are going to come out of this better than before.

I suggest you make a list of all your problems. Then just simply try to answer each one. In doing this exercise you don’t necessarily have to have answers for everything just yet.

However, the very act of making this list will highlight to yourself what needs attention at some stage. It’s better than having a jumbled mess in your mind alone.

2. Your Business and Life Vision

This is the time to work on this. You need a robust Vision that is inspiring and motivational. Just because things are not the way you would like them to be doesn’t mean you stop altogether in trying to get there.

So use my online resources to help you really focus on creating this Vision.

3. Achieving Goals Grid

Park all the ideas you and your team have on a grid. This is your go-to place of what you will do when the flood gates eventually open. You can even prioritise everything in chronological order of how you intend on actioning each part. This essentially becomes your Growth Business Plan.

4. Read

Stop wasting this time that you have been given. Let everyone else sit around gossiping or on social media or whatever else non-essential activities everybody seems to be engaged in.

Instead, inspire and motivate yourself.

Every business book you read will be taking you one step forward to your success. I have already given you a recommended book list but most books on business, leadership, sales and marketing will prove to be invaluable.

Books help to activate your mind. This, in turn, helps you to take action or think through problems. This is a critical activity before, during and after any crises.

5. Request Support from your Team

Personally, I would ask your team to go on virtual meetings once a week with you, so that together you all can plan how you are going to come back stronger.

I know some of your staff may be furloughed but that still doesn’t mean that they don’t want to learn and still be part of your practice family.

I feel that this request and activity will really separate the keepers from the ones that don’t have their heart in your business. Everyone has 1 hour a week to give!

Appeal to your team. It is in their best interest to work together on this one. Many you will find that your team will be happy to work together – those will be the ones you build the future of your practice around.

If you do manage to appeal to your staff, then simply work through issues for the practice, such as:

  • Things you want to change and how you are going to do that
  • Things that may no longer be needed
  • Create a sales process in your practice
  • What marketing can you do that is cost-effective when you get back
  • How to put into action all the things learnt so far

This is a time to unite, get creative and plan.

Keep safe and well, Bhavna.

Marketing During The Corona Effect

Dear Friends,

Continuing in the same vein as before, I am writing today to you about your marketing efforts.

This is a very important area that you need to focus on so that you can get back on your feet quicker when we are finally able to get back to work.

Again, the way you are going to beat the Corona Effect is by staying ahead of the game by being prepared. This, unfortunately, is not time off for you.

Marketing is like a stool. It will not work if you only have one leg. Two is better but three is better still. The more legs you can have the more rock-solid your foundation for your practice becomes.

It is not about marketing for now only. It is about marketing for the future too.

I am aware that some of you are trying to look at your overheads and trim them. This is all good but when it comes to the survival of your business marketing is key.

It only becomes an unaffordable overhead if you do incorrect things or do them ineffectively.

Stopping your marketing activities like paid PPC is fine but I advise you not to stop your SEO. This is a solid component to your marketing armamentarium.

Your plan is to get an ROI from SEO in the future. But you have to speak with your website/SEO people on activating a sharp potent plan of action. Much effort and focus is needed here. This is the time to do it.

Please do not restrict your growth by operating from a place of fear. Do not be reactive.

Plan and strategise your way out of this by being Proactive.

Before the pre-corona, marketing was about showing the benefits of your services and your USP’s. Although this is still important and has its place, now post-corona, its about reassurance, empathy, information, safety and longevity of health.

You now need to be visible to your patient family and say “Hi, I’m here for you”. The more information for example on corona and protocols you provide the more of the “go-to” dentist you appear.

Some marketing ideas that I think you should try and instigate over this time:

  • Your Metrics. Conduct online audits of what is working and what isn’t.
  • Your website. Create further content for your websites especially for SEO – you can never have enough.
  • Your Marketing Plan. Go through all list of online, offline, internal and external marketing activities. What do you want to do now and what will you do after?
  • Online Consultations. Research how to integrate Online Virtual Consultations for now and subsequently the future as a normal tool in your marketing.
  • Patient Communication. Continue keeping in touch with your patients over this period to show you care and just to stay in touch with useful updates.
  • Social Media Posts. If would be useful for you to maintain constant communication with your patients via social media during this time too.
  • Patient Offers. Improve templates for patient promotional letters.
  • Your Practice Manager Role. Stay in touch with your practice manager to keep ahead in your Marketing Plan.
  • Teamwork. Use any un-furloughed staff to help in growth activities like followup with patients, answering email communications/inquiries.
  • DWB Online Resources. Use the online resources I have for you on Marketing.
  • Referral Practices. For any Referral Practices – contact Referring Dentists to stay in touch and communication with them.
  • Market To Specialist Practices. Occasionally referral practices get patients that do not have a dentist of their own and they often are unsure which restorative or general dentist to refer to, so it is also worth having some communication with Specialist Practices. Just be visible and seen (or heard).

If any of you need to have a conversation on this topic or any other just let me know. I would be happy to arrange a complimentary consultation.
Best, Bhavna.

DWB working in close association with The Perfect Smile Advanced Training Institute