A bold, useful, uncomplicated guide to mastering the three keys of business success
In this practical book, Dr. Howard Farran shows that running a business isn't all that complicated--if, you're focusing on the right three areas:
-People: maximizing the potential of employees, customers, and yourself.
-Time: mastering the efficiency that helps a business turn the biggest profit possible.
-Money: learning to love the numbers that function as the business's scorecard.
With simplicity, good humor, and plenty of stories Dr. Farran reveals the actions that can lead anyone to bigger profits, happier people, and a more fulfilling life.
|Publisher:||Farran Enterprises LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)|
About the Author
Howard Farran graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry in 1987. He then moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where he opened a dental practice that grew steadily and still thrives today. He started a media company in 1999 that is currently at the top in the dental market and creates products that engage audiences worldwide. Farran is the author of several books, hundreds of articles, and multiple videos on business, including management, operations, finance, e-commerce business, and marketing. Contact Howard by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read an Excerpt
Uncomplicate Business All It Takes is People, Time and Money By Howard Farran
Greenleaf Book Group Press Copyright © 2015 Farran Enterprises, L.L.C.
All rights reserved. ISBN: 978-1-62634-179-1
The most important person in your business is you. Your business is an extension of you — an extension of your personality and character. Until you know who you are and what you bring to your business, you can't begin to understand your employees, your customers, your vendors — anyone.
When it comes to business, the most important question to ask yourself is: Am I really cut out to run a business?
Sure, it may feel good to brag to the gang at the gym that you own and run your own business. It feels even better if you are able to say you own and run a successful business. Yet not everyone has what it takes to run a successful business. As you work with other people, you need to be aware of your personal strengths and weaknesses. Some of who you are depends on your genes, but a lot of your personality depends on where you grew up. If you are going to be a successful businessperson, you have to understand the roots of your personality.
As I said, I have the personality of a successful businessperson. I was hardwired for success from childhood. I witnessed my father's successes firsthand. From his and my mother's examples — for better or for worse — I learned three valuable lessons.
From the strength and depth of their religious beliefs, I learned that there is a purpose and power to life that not only extends well beyond me, but also resides within me.
From the exclusionary nature of their beliefs, I learned about the separation created when love and acceptance are conditional upon sharing those beliefs. So I chose the path of acceptance and unconditional love instead.
From seeing my father exploited by business partners and landlords, I learned the value of self-reliance. To borrow from the old American proverb, I learned to love many, trust few, and paddle my own canoe.
These childhood lessons serve not only as the foundation of my personal life but also my professional life.
I share all of this to make the point that making the effort to examine and understand where you came from — what shaped you — will help provide a firm foundation upon which to build your business.
It also helps to examine the business role models you had growing up.
George Steinbrenner was one of my heroes. If you don't know his story, he was the owner of the New York Yankees, who passed away from a heart attack on July 13, 2010, at the age of eighty. "The Boss" was one of the most polarizing people in professional baseball; he was lauded as much as he was criticized. He operated the most scrutinized professional sports team in America's most scrutinizing market — New York — but he had very thick skin and was true to himself. And it paid off; over the course of the thirty-seven years he owned the Yankees, his team won seven World Series titles and eleven pennants. The value of the team went from $8.8 million to $1.5 billion.
No matter where you came from, what sort of upbringing you had, you can develop the kind of personality you need to run a successful business.
How do you do that? Train yourself to have good business habits.
If you make it a personal habit to brush and floss your teeth every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed, you're not going to be one of the 25 percent of sixty-five-year-old and older Americans who have no teeth in their mouths. If you make it a personal habit to exercise forty minutes a day, then it's more likely that you'll live a longer life and you'll feel better about yourself. These are small things that you apply to your daily life, but they all add up in the big scheme of things.
The same is true of your business personality. If you want to change the biggest things about your business, you must work on the smallest things. You need to understand who you are and be willing to develop the good, positive ways of thinking that will enable you to run a successful business. You're the business owner — you're the spine and central nervous system of this company, so what traits do you bring to the table in order to direct your company to success?
It helps if you have a decent balance of left-brain (analytical) and right-brain (creative) thinking, but we all lean more toward one or the other. I'm very much a left-brain, critical thinker; I thrive on analytical information that can give me specific measurements on which I can base success. Whichever way you lean, it helps to bolster the "weaker" side of your brain among your employee base. As I wrote in my dedication, and will expand on later, Lorie, the president of my media company, is the perfect balance for my strengths and weaknesses.
Know the weaknesses as well as the strengths you bring to your business. I assert it is more important to know your weaknesses than your strengths — to honestly examine what skills you lack that other people can provide to help you succeed.
In any line of work, there are things we know we love to do and do well. Dentists love doing dentistry — that's what we went to school from eight to twelve years for — but for the most part, we aren't all that good at running our own businesses. That's why I, and many others, have office managers to assist in the day-to-day operations of our practices.
Finally, don't let anyone make you doubt yourself or your passion. When faced with critics, remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt: Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.
Know your background.
– List the three most important lessons you learned from your parents.
– Identify business role models you had, either in person or through books, while you were growing up.
Know your personality.
– List the five personality traits that make you successful.
– List the strengths you bring to a business.
– Honestly examine your weaknesses. List the skills you lack that other people will need to provide to help you succeed.
He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.
— Lao TzuCHAPTER 2
Once you examine your background, habits, strengths, and weaknesses, you need to ask yourself, "Do I know what it takes to be a leader?"
Your business is your business. You are the one who is going to benefit the most from running it. Whether you make it successful will depend on much more than the education and training you got in school.
I find it funny how impressed many people are with the skill set of a cardiovascular surgeon or a dentist doing a root canal. In performing a coronary artery bypass graft, a cardiovascular surgeon is repeating a skill she trained for in medical school: replacing a pipe in a heart that's clogged up with nasty fat. She cuts it out, finds a cleaner pipe in the patient's leg, cuts out a chunk of that pipe and puts it in the heart in place of the clogged one. Voila! It sounds impressive, but in reality it's a learned skill that almost any reasonably well-coordinated individual could perform. Just as, after adequate training, a cardiovascular surgeon could manage to replumb a house.
And a root canal? C'mon! You drill a hole in the middle of a tooth. You take the artery, vein, and nerve out; clean it out; and fill it with cement. The people I really respect are psychiatrists and psychologists. In this day and age, these professionals are the equivalent to Galileo at a time when everybody thought the earth was flat. They aren't just performing technical operations; they are discovering how the brain works, something we're not going to be able to completely understand for centuries, if at all. To run a successful business, you need to know how to lead people to work for you, work with you, and patronize your business.
As an avid reader, I've read hundreds of books on business — books that suggest to me that, as a CEO, I must be a magician, motivator, leader, charismatic, tall, dark, handsome, and capable of riding a unicycle while juggling bowling pins, just to get everyone to follow me.
I disagree. Leadership is much simpler. To be a leader, you've simply got to be a winner.
George Steinbrenner once said: "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."
Steinbrenner was always the first to admit he didn't make all the right decisions (after all, he did hire and fire manager Billy Martin five times), but he was the most successful owner of the winningest professional sports club in North America. He is an excellent example of what leadership is all about.
Steinbrenner knew that he needed to lead five categories of people to build a winning team: fans, players, managers, other team owners, and himself. From studying hundreds of CEOs, I discovered the winning characteristics necessary for me to be a good leader in my business.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A LEADER
A leader is humble. A lot of people have trouble with this one and I get that. A dentist comes out of eight years of dental school ready to champion the oral health of an entire town, and such an achievement comes with a little bluster. But the credentials that go with any highly trained professional don't give that person the right to be a highfalutin jerk. You can't look down your nose at anyone — certainly not your employees or your customers. You have to be a leader.
I've had mothers of young patients come in and say, "If I don't give my baby Mountain Dew, she'll cry."
Rather than chew the woman out for not knowing the connection between sugar and tooth decay, I remain calm and respectful. I exist to be of service, not to criticize. So I say, "Okay, but what is your baby doing right now? She's crying. She's crying because she has a toothache, and it could be caused by the Mountain Dew. You only did what you thought was right, but it's my job to tell you what you need to know so that your daughter keeps her teeth for the rest of her life."
A leader embraces and drives innovation. You have to adopt all technology that helps you do your job faster, easier, at higher quality and lower cost. Macroeconomics is made up of three things: people, technology, and capital. Embrace all new technology. If you study Wall Street from 1792 to 2000, technology is what has driven the market, from steam engines to ship building, railroads to canal building, the telegraph, telephone, automobile, assembly line, radio, television, and the biggest technology boom in my lifetime — the Internet. I always tell young people in high school and college that, by the time they're my age, there's a good chance they'll be working in an industry that hasn't even been invented yet. The biggest millionaires and billionaires of all time are the ones who jumped on a brand new technology. Today it's apps on the Internet, natural gas fracking ... There's always something new. Learn everything about the new technology in your industry, because likely that will give you a huge competitive advantage.
A leader follows the golden rule: "Treat others just as you would want to be treated." The Golden Rule is first found in Hinduism and then in every major religion thereafter. I love its simplicity. As a business owner and professional in the dental field, I want the trust of my employees. And if I want them to trust me, I had better be willing to trust them, or my business will suffer. The same holds true for any business. If you can't learn how to delegate duties to the right people, you will never be successful.
When someone calls up your business and your employees don't have your permission and trust to answer the person's questions, there's something wrong. Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's, knew he couldn't make McDonald's a massive franchise if he insisted on doing everything himself. Consequently, today more than 33,000 McDonald's franchises serve up burgers and fries every single day all over the world.
I've never met a millionaire who hasn't mastered delegation. You have to learn to let go. You can't be a control freak.
A leader knows mistakes will be made, is accepting and/or accountable, and moves forward. You're not perfect. Nobody is. There's a reason why, in dentistry, we call it a "dental practice"; nobody has perfected it, and nobody ever will. We are our own worst critics. If someone screws up, help them realize their mistake, redirect if needed, and then move forward. Don't laugh, chastise, or belittle them. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn. In the words of the late author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, "If you learn from defeat, you haven't really lost."
Which brings me to my next point:
A leader never stops learning! No matter how much education or training you have, you don't know everything. The minute you think you do, you're in trouble. If you want to run a successful business, you must keep learning for the rest of your life. You will have to develop a hunger for new knowledge and the mental agility to continuously adapt your business to changing circumstances. Like an athlete who must exercise to stay in shape, you've got to exercise your brain, your "thought muscle." Expose yourself to new ideas as often as you can.
I've worked with a lot of dentists who get out of dental school, become an associate dentist for a dental practice and spend all of their time filling cavities. Learning how to fill a cavity in dental school is pretty intense, but once you're out in the real world, it gets boring. Doing strictly bread-and-butter dentistry, outsourcing procedures like root canals, dental implant placement, and simple orthodontics, has lead many practicing dentists to burn out. There are so many other specialties dentists can learn to apply to their practices in order to do more for their patients.
For years, I have nudged dentists to branch out, expand their thinking, and learn how to do something new. About seven years ago, I had a discussion with a dear friend of mine, Dr. Jay Reznick, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon — considered by most as one of the best in the business. He practices in Tarzana, California — a suburb of Los Angeles — where there are almost more oral surgeons than there are Starbucks. Jay assumed that most general dentists had an oral surgeon down the street to whom they could send their patients whenever they needed treatment. He did not realize that the majority of dentists in this country, and in fact the world, practice in small communities where there is not the same degree of specialist support as there is in his own town. He also did not realize that a majority of community dentists with family-oriented practices were faced almost daily with patients who needed basic oral surgery care, yet felt uncomfortable treating these patients because of the very limited oral surgery training they received in dental school. Many times, referral of the patient to the oral surgeon was impractical, either due to distance or to the amount of time the patient had to wait for an appointment.
I told Jay there was a real need for quality continuing education in oral surgery for the general practitioner, so that these dentists would feel more confident in their knowledge and competency in surgical skills. Knowing how difficult it was for many dentists to take time away from their practices and travel to continuing education courses, I suggested that he think about producing some educational DVDs to help those general dentists who perform oral surgery procedures in their practices become better clinicians.
Jay spent about a year looking at the oral surgery courses that were already available on DVD, outlining a basic curriculum and looking at new technologies to allow him to show the viewer exactly what he wanted. After all this planning, Jay realized a series of DVD courses was insufficient. He took the concept to the next level by developing a website: www.onlineoralsurgery.com. Jay set up a permanent three-camera video studio in one of his surgical suites so that procedures could be recorded as they happened each day in his busy practice. He then worked day and night editing video and putting together the first video courses. Jay took this on as his mission to better educate those general dentists who couldn't refer but were afraid to take the leap into oral surgery.
(Continues...) Excerpted from Uncomplicate Business by Howard Farran. Copyright © 2015 Farran Enterprises, L.L.C.. Excerpted by permission of Greenleaf Book Group Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
SECTION I: PEOPLE,
Chapter 1. Know Yourself,
Chapter 2. Leadership,
Chapter 3. Purpose,
Chapter 4. Goals,
Chapter 5. Know Your Employees,
Chapter 6. Trust and Respect,
Chapter 7. Know Your Customers,
Chapter 8. Burnout,
SECTION II: TIME,
Chapter 9. Time Management,
Chapter 10. Efficient Communication,
Chapter 11. Learning: Time Well Spent,
Chapter 12. Time with Your Clients,
Chapter 13. Technology,
Chapter 14. Hire a Consultant,
SECTION III: MONEY,
Chapter 15. Watch the Numbers at Home,
Chapter 16. Watch Your Business Numbers,
Chapter 17. Know the Important Numbers to Watch,
Chapter 18. Create a Budget,
Chapter 19. Make Your Numbers Work for You,
Chapter 20. Collections,
Chapter 21. Prevent Embezzlement,
Chapter 22. Focus on Your Core Business,
Chapter 23. Beyond the Numbers,
For Further Reading,
What People are Saying About This
Dr. Farran is one of the five smartest businesspeople I know, and this book gives everyone access to his clear understanding of the pathway to success. It's must read if you want to succeed, no matter what business you're in. --Fred Joyal, founder and CEO of 1-800-DENTIST
With Uncomplicate Business, Howard Farran has created a concise, must-read, easy-to-follow cookbook for any small business owner, not just dentists, to operate successfully. I especially loved the sections on hiring, firing, and empowering employees. We all know that dentists are historically bad business people, and Howard Farran has been trying to educate us for years with his One Day Dental MBA. --Edward J. Zuckerberg, DDS, consultant, author and speaker on social media marketing and technology integration for dentists, father of Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerber
Dr. Howard Farran's new book, Uncomplicate Business is a must read for the start-up practitioner, those who are already successful and those who want to stay at the top of their game. He and many followers on Dentaltown use his philosophy of looking after their People/Time/Money. This can take the guesswork out of finding a 'magic formula' for becoming successful and staying that way. --Linda Miles, speaker, management consultant, author
Howard Farran has worked hard to understand how to make business simple. When it's simple, everyone knows where they stand and can do their jobs to the best of their abilities, thus leading to overall success. I encourage you to Uncomplicate Busines with the strategies in this book --Tom Hopkins, America's #1 sales trainer and author of When Buyers Say No