Grassroots Entrepreneurship is the Only Way Forward POST-COVID
Many are concerned with what’s next? When do we get back to normal? What is the new normal? While all of these things are important, I truly believe that the new normal is the renaissance of entrepreneurship in the dental space. Every person who is in the operatory or the front desk has an IDEA! Most importantly EVERY idea is worth putting in action. Every idea is worth exploring and giving it a try. So my question is how do we encourage and propel entrepreneurship forward at the time of uncertainty?
Just a simple observation, tough times are the best time to start a business!
When I meet with doctors, hygienists, and my favorite dental assistants I encourage them to bring small, seemingly simple/ uninspiring ideas, to some sort of fruition. You gotta get it out and let the world see it. Yes, most ideas will be labeled as “stupid” but if you have what it takes you will go back and think through and come up with a new version. There has been a strong push to start service type business or consulting, to help dental practices with different aspects of collections, operations, OSHA, Compliance, HR, etc. We also see a new wave of dental assisting schools opening across the country, and I want to give a shout out to my friend John Hatfield and his business partner Amanda for opening a new type of dental assisting school, with an added emphasis on budgeting, how to order supplies and compliance.
The type of entrepreneurship I would like to encourage and support is around Product Innovation. It would be so great to encourage product type entrepreneurship. Imagine we create a world where dental professionals are encouraged to bring new, innovative ideas to life. I’ve been asking people to develop a new type of wipes that are eco-friendly, use natural ingredients, and use recycled materials. Anyone, please?
So what do we need to do as an industry to help bolster entrepreneurship within a dental field? In my personal opinion few things need to be done or developed:
- Ecosystem for inventors to be able to quickly list a product (or products), provide a Shopify like experience, and access to the audience of shoppers who can see new products and give it a try.
- The ecosystem needs to truly support inventors from the bottom up. So if there is no sales at all or just a small volume, there shouldn’t be any fees associated with listing and selling products. We need to give it a push just enough for inventors to see that there is a demand.
- The ecosystem that provides access to end users/ buyers. If there is a demand we need to provide inventors access to people who try the product and can provide feedback, either through review, or even online conversion – could be chat or Google Meet.
- Support Inventors with product distribution without any legal jargon or hard rules, or exclusive contracts. Or better yet provide a software solution for efficient drop ship (something similar to ShipStation).
- Providing support. It’s easy for some of us to create and invent and push forward, however after meeting so many people I realize there are a lot of people with great ideas and potentially with life-changing inventions that simply don’t believe in themselves. I also don’t believe in fake encouragement, however, the market is the market. If the product is good, people will buy it! There is really no downside in giving it a try.
- Podcast Support. It’s clear that the attention is shifting from forums to Facebook Groups and Podcasts. I believe each podcast should have a spot to allow Inventors to present products at no cost. It shouldn’t be a 2-3 minute commercial. More of a story, details, and why this product is important.
This Friday I’ll be interviewing one of my good friends Dr. Matt Kathan, owner of Timber Dental, Portland-based small DSO with 5 locations. During COVID, Dr. Matt invented a product and he will share with us what he learned. I’m really excited to discuss how we can help and support dental inventors across the US.
After the live event, we will have a podcast and YouTube links available in this article.