My recent visit to the Barossa Valley last month got me thinking.
The Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s Premier wine locations.
As my wife and I drove around the region from Cellar Door to Cellar Door, from winery to winery, from restaurant to restaurant and from town to town, we marveled at the expanse and the diversity of vines in the valley.
There were old vines.
There were new vines.
There were young vines.
There were paddocks of land ready to be planted.
There were other paddocks that looked as though the vines had been there for thousands of years.
And it got me thinking.
Why did it look like some fields of vines would go on forever?
And why did other fields look as though their old vines were being replaced?
My subsequent research of the region’s wine making history showed that over the past seventy years, the region experienced some interesting periods of boom and bust and reinvention, as a result of world markets’ appreciations and not of various wine styles, types and flavours.
Along with supply and demand and oversupply issues.
Certainly the industry was far more intricate than simply growing some grapes and crushing them and bottling the contents…
Government attention, direction and intervention also helped to formulate the journey of the Barossa wine industry.
At our visit to Elderton cellar door we were told how the family of the current owners of the vineyard had purchased the house, and the vines were “thrown in for free”.
Truly the history of various wine makers in the Barossa tells many tales of experimentation, and business restructuring and redirection.
In the business of dentistry we also need to reassess our direction and our business structures.
Occasionally we need to remove those old vines that are no longer producing, and replant with different varietals that show more promise for the future.
Sometimes the old vines, and old ways just aren’t cutting it for us any more.
Sometimes it takes a light bulb moment to see with clarity the need to make those significant decisions.
Rather than to wait and be affected, we sometimes need to be ahead of the wave….
There are aspects of dentistry that cause us to wonder whether we need to plant new vines.
Do we need to start placing our own implants?
Do we need to start doing our own bone grafting?
Where is dentistry trending to?
Are dentists to become the new sleep physicians and authorities on OSA?
Are dentists of the future going to be the primary administrators of dermal fillers and facial enhancements?
And what about the structure of your business?
Some big dental practices look busy from an outside view but aren’t nearly as profitable as those with fewer providers that operate more efficiently.
I always marveled at comments I’d hear that so-and-so was always very busy at his practice…
But was his practice profitable?
Was that practice gliding through its areas of economic concern with confidence?
Or was that practice just thrashing around?
A good accounting programme will let you know whether your practice is operating with high knife-edge expenses and low margins.
Sometimes a practice can be seeing large income coming in one door and straight out another door without hardly even “touching the sides”.
Working hard and having a business purely so you can pay for expensive machines and premises and fit-outs isn’t always a great business decision.
Sometimes there comes a time where we need to take a tractor to our old vines, because they’ve become a burden for our business.
Sometimes we need to step back and re-assess.
Is the old way still the best way?
If the old grapes are causing you anguish, it might be time for a rethink?
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