Qualities of an Entrepreneur
David Schwab, PhD
Do you really have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Self-made millionaire Anita Roddick tackles this question in her new book, Business as Unusual.1 The daughter of Italian immigrants, Roddick hails from Littlehampton, England. Her mother taught her never to be nondescript—a lesson Anita learned well. At once opinionated, political, motivational, and compelling, Roddick’s book is also a great story of entrepreneurial success. Starting with little more than an idea, she opened the Body Shop, an unconventional cosmetics store, in Brighton, England in 1976. She has since grown her business to more than 1500 stores serving 86 million customers in 47 countries. Roddick offers 10 qualities that she believes entrepreneurs must have to be successful. The following is a synopsis of Roddick’s key points and my analysis of how these principles can be applied to the business of running a prosthodontic practice. 1. Vision—and an obsession to make it happen. The notion that one is just going to “see what happens” is antithetical to the entrepreneur. The true entrepreneur makes his or her own future. The vision may be to increase production 10% over the next 12 months, to work 3 days a week instead of 4 but maintain the current level of production, to increase the number of new patients seen each month, or to sell the practice within 3 years.
Whatever the vision, the plan becomes a reality because you are totally committed to making it happen—and you know that because of your determination, it will happen. 2. The ability to act on instinct. Prosthodontists who have good instincts keep their businesses moving forward. One doctor suddenly had a sixth sense that he was being embezzled. At ﬁrst, he had no hard evidence to support his suspicions, and he felt somewhat guilty at ﬁrst of suspecting his loyal employees, all of whom seemed totally honest. He nevertheless asked his accountant to conduct a surprise audit just to satisfy his instincts. It turned out that his receptionist had been systematically stealing from him for many months. Good instincts are also helpful in deciding when to continue explaining beneﬁts to patients reluctant to accept treatment—and when to keep quiet and leave patients alone with their own thoughts. 3. Creativity. One prosthodontist was frustrated because he was continually being interrupted for hygiene checks. He decided to eliminate hygiene from his mix of services. He helped his hygienist ﬁnd a very good position with a general dentist, and he wrote letters to the general dentists in the area advising them that he would be referring hygiene patients to them for care.
Rick Suttle Rick Suttle has been writing professionally since 2009, publishing health and business articles on various websites. He has worked in corporate marketing research and as a copywriter. Suttle has a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Miami University and a Master of Business Administration from California Coast University. Business owners often face challenges with financing their ...
As a result, his reputation in the community, which was already excellent, was further enhanced because he was viewed as a specialist who did not have time for “routine” dental services such as hygiene. 4. A constant stream of ideas. Entrepreneur-prosthodontists are not afraid to try new ideas. They are always innovating. Not every idea works out, but many do, and that makes all the difference. One doctor I know decided not to accept any insurance payments and to require all patients to pay in advance before any procedure was even scheduled. This idea is obviously not for every prosthodontist, but he and his staff developed verbal skills and implemented the policy. The result is 100% payment in advance for all procedures and patients who are
David Schwab, PhD, is a nationally known seminar speaker and practice management consultant who provides seminars and in-ofﬁce consultations on an exclusive basis for Directors and Members of the Seattle Study Club. Dr. Schwab may be reached through e-mail at dschwabphd @cs.com or by FAX at (407) 324-1787. Additional information is available on his website: www.davidschwab.com Copyright © 2001 by The American College of Prosthodontists 1059-941X/01/1001-0012$35.00/0 doi:10.1053/jpro.2001.24595
Nursing is a career that presents those in it with many opportunities. There are a variety of nurses and the field in which they choose to practice is just as varied. There are oncology nurses, school nurses, home health nurses, trauma nurses and nurse practitioners. They work in clinics, hospitals, schools, prisons, mental health hospitals, community health centers and even in law offices. The ...
Journal of Prosthodontics, Vol 10, No 1 (March), 2001: pp 66-67
March 2001, Volume 10, Number 1
understanding and willing to pay. The policy is highly unconventional, but it is successful because the doctor and staff have made it part of the culture of the practice. His idea may not be replicable everywhere, but its uniqueness is part of the reason the policy succeeds. 5. A touch of craziness. I know a prosthodontist who sold his successful practice in one city, moved to a different city, and started over. It was in some ways a crazy idea, because there was no guarantee that his new, scratch practice would be nearly as successful as the one he had nurtured over the years. In the end, though, his leap into the unknown worked. Undeterred by the many problems he faced, the prosthodontist created a new practice that is even more productive than the one in his previous location. 6. Pathological optimism. It is very difﬁcult to remain optimistic day after day in a prosthodontic practice. You have to deal with complex cases, difﬁcult personalities, unreliable referral sources, obtuse insurance companies, general dentists who claim that you do exactly what they do (except that your fees are higher), challenging staff issues, lack of appreciation of who you are and what you do, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. Your optimism cannot, therefore, be rooted in a rational assessment of your situation. It needs to be a pathological obsession, something that you create in your own mind and cling to tenaciously. When you create your own optimism and stubbornly refuse to yield to the temptation of despair, you set the stage for success, which in turn validates your optimism and gives you the courage to move on to your next challenge. 7. Recognizing that you don’t have to know how to do everything; you can always learn. No one likes to give
up the comfortable and embrace the unknown, but entrepreneurs are much more likely to take a chance and learn something new. One doctor spent a considerable sum of money on a new computer system, but he could not persuade his risk-averse staff to use all of its features. Months after purchasing expensive hardware and software that would automate the scheduling process, the staff insisted on using the old appointment book. The doctor set a deadline: by a certain date the book would be gone and all appointments would be made using the computer. When the deadline arrived, staff had made no progress converting to the computer system. Before the practice opened that day, the doctor removed the schedule book from the ofﬁce. When the staff arrived, they were horriﬁed to learn that they had no clue which patients were coming in or for what reason. When patients called to make appointments, staff did not know which dates and times were available. Desperate to bring order out of chaos, the staff started to use the computer. The ﬁrst week was awkward, but the doctor persisted and now all scheduling is computerized. 8. Streetwise skills. There is an entrepreneur named Mason who never leaves to go to the restroom, because he works in the restroom. Mason’s shoeshine stand is located in the men’s room of a major airport. Mason keeps his stand neat and clean, he always has a good word for those who are rushing in and out of his “ofﬁce,” and when he is shining one set of shoes, Mason never fails to make eye contact with the next potential customer who will decide in a split second whether to take the time for a shine. Mason is a street-smart entrepreneur who knows his clientele, and he understands what it takes to stay
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busy. If Mason can be a successful entrepreneur in his little corner of the men’s room, then certainly you can use your street smarts to talk up your professional prosthodontic practice and keep those patients coming. 9. The ability to be a great storyteller. It is always more compelling to tell a story than to recite a bland list of facts. When a patient says, “I’m too old for all this dental treatment,” you can certainly explain long-term health beneﬁts. However, a story from your practice will be much more effective. For example: “Mrs. Jones, I understand your concern. I had another patient who also told me she was too old for this type of treatment. As a matter of fact, she was 80 years old at the time— older than you are now. Well, she ﬁnally decided to have the treatment and she has been very happy ever since. As a matter of fact, that was 15 years ago. She’s 95 now and she has enjoyed an enhanced quality of live these past 15 years.” The story makes the point very effectively. 10. The ability to mix all of the above together. There is no one key to entrepreneurial success. The ability to be nimble, to change direction when necessary, to innovate—all the while staying focused on objectives—these are all part of the mix of being a successful entrepreneur. The next time you are in a shopping mall and see a Body Shop store, think about how you, Anita Roddick, and all entrepreneurs are unique and unconventional—all marching to the beat of a drummer whose rhythm fails to touch the souls of the rest of the world—those who prefer to work for someone else.
In this novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831), Victor Hugo talks about the life of his characters in the city of Paris. This story takes place in the late-fourteenth century. With inequality all around it was hard for a person to gain respect without good looks or social status. In this paper I will mainly discuss the story of Quasimodoe Esmeralda, and their struggle in this story Quasimodoe's ...
1. Roddick A: Business as Unusual. London, England, Thorntons, 2001