Ignoring Cash Flow Issues Amidst Rising Costs 

Dentists and The Peril of Financial Avoidance

In the realm of dentistry, where precision, care, and attention to detail reign supreme, a parallel demand for financial diligence is often overlooked or evaded. Dentists, while dedicated to their craft, can sometimes find themselves navigating turbulent financial waters, especially when faced with challenges like escalating interest rates and mounting operational costs. However, the tendency to overlook or disregard cash flow issues could be likened to the age-old idiom of ‘burying one’s head in the sand,’ ultimately exacerbating problems rather than resolving them. 

In recent times, the dental industry, like many others, has encountered the impact of higher interest rates. The ramifications of increased borrowing costs can significantly impede the financial stability of dental practices. Whether financing new equipment, expanding the clinic, or managing existing debts, the dentistry profession, like any small business, is vulnerable to the ebb and flow of interest rates. With each uptick, the strain on cash flow intensifies, making it crucial for dentists to proactively address these challenges. 

Check out our article Have the interest rate peaked at 4?

Furthermore, operational expenses for dental practices continue to surge. From the cost of state-of-the-art equipment to escalating overheads and staffing expenses, dentists are facing an uphill battle to maintain profitability. The convergence of these factors requires a pragmatic and strategic approach to financial management, yet it’s not uncommon for some practitioners to avoid addressing these issues head-on. 

The analogy of ‘burying one’s head in the sand’ encapsulates the perilous consequence of ignoring financial challenges. Instead of confronting the root causes of cash flow constraints, some dentists might adopt a passive stance, hoping the issues will resolve themselves. This approach, however, often leads to a snowball effect, exacerbating financial distress and limiting the ability to invest in the practice’s growth and development. 

Check out our article on how should a dental practice organize its finances.

To mitigate these challenges, dentists must prioritize financial literacy and prudent fiscal planning. Implementing a comprehensive cash flow management strategy becomes imperative. This may involve reevaluating expenditures, renegotiating terms with suppliers, exploring alternative financing options, or seeking professional financial guidance tailored to the unique needs of a dental practice. 

Moreover, embracing technological advancements and leveraging digital solutions can streamline administrative tasks, optimize operations, and potentially reduce costs. Embracing innovation not only enhances efficiency but also positions the practice for long-term sustainability in an evolving landscape. 

Collaboration within the dental community can also be a valuable resource. Engaging in forums, networking events, or professional associations can provide insights, shared experiences, and innovative solutions to navigate financial challenges collectively. 

Ultimately, acknowledging and actively addressing cash flow issues, particularly amidst rising interest rates and mounting costs, is pivotal for the financial health and longevity of dental practices. Evading or neglecting these challenges can lead to a deeper financial quagmire, hindering the ability to provide quality care and stifling the potential for growth and innovation within the profession. 

In conclusion, dentists must resist the temptation to ignore cash flow issues and higher costs resulting from increased interest rates. By confronting these challenges head-on through prudent financial management, proactive strategies, and a willingness to adapt, dental practitioners can fortify their practices, ensuring sustained success amidst a dynamic and challenging economic environment.

Check out our article on 5 quick tips when buying a dental practice

If you have concerns contact us at Samera and let us review your position and examine what can be done to assist. 

Unlocking Success: The Samera Boot Camps for Start-Up Dental Practices

Establishing a successful dental practice involves more than just clinical expertise; it requires a comprehensive understanding of business management, financial strategies, and effective marketing. Recognizing this need, Samera, a leading firm specializing in healthcare business consulting, has been organizing highly successful boot camps tailored specifically for start-up dental practices. These boot camps have garnered a reputation for being transformative, equipping budding dental entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in the competitive healthcare industry. 

A Holistic Approach to Dental Practice Management: 

Samera’s boot camps stand out due to their holistic approach. They cover a wide spectrum of crucial aspects essential for the success of a dental practice. From navigating complex financial landscapes to implementing effective marketing strategies and ensuring compliance with regulations, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of dental practice management.

Expert-Led Sessions: 

One of the key features of the Samera Boot Camps is the involvement of industry experts who bring their wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. These sessions are led by professionals well-versed in dentistry, finance, marketing, legalities, and technology. Participants have the invaluable opportunity to learn from these experts, gaining insights and practical advice that can be directly applied to their practices. 

Practical Insights and Case Studies:

The boot camps not only offer theoretical knowledge but also delve into real-world scenarios through case studies. Practical insights shared during these sessions empower attendees to understand challenges, strategize solutions, and implement best practices effectively.

Networking and Collaboration:

Apart from the structured sessions, the boot camps facilitate networking opportunities among participants. This environment fosters collaboration, allowing attendees to learn from each other’s experiences, share insights, and build a network of like-minded professionals. The collaborative spirit nurtured during these events often extends beyond the boot camp, creating ongoing support systems among attendees.

Success Stories:

Over the years, the Samera Boot Camps have witnessed numerous success stories. Many participants have implemented the strategies learned during the boot camps, resulting in thriving dental practices. These success stories are a testament to the effectiveness and impact of the knowledge imparted during the sessions.

Conclusion:

Samera’s commitment to empowering start-up dental practices through these highly successful boot camps has significantly contributed to the success of numerous dental entrepreneurs. By offering a comprehensive understanding of business management, financial strategies, and effective marketing within the dental industry, these boot camps have become an invaluable resource for those embarking on their entrepreneurial journey in dentistry. 

For aspiring dental professionals seeking to establish their practices on a strong foundation of business acumen and industry expertise, the Samera Boot Camps stand as a beacon of guidance and success, fostering the growth and prosperity of start-up dental practices across the industry. 

Running a Dental Practice in an Inflationary Environment

Is the current model of running a dental practice flawed in an inflationary environment?

Running a dental practice is a costly business. 

High capital costs, high staffing costs, high premises costs, high marketing costs….the list goes on, so how can you build a profitable dental practice or group?

Firstly, if there is scope to reduce some element of cost in a dental practice, it’s so important to try and do this.

However, if this is executed poorly it impacts delivery and service standards, which ultimately has a detrimental impact on the business.

But high costs means high private prices just to make a decent return, hence why we see the huge queues of people lining up for an NHS dentist in certain parts of the country.

Despite this, more and more UK dentists are opening private practices from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

Some will succeed and some will fly, but I am sure others will falter too.

This begs the question, is the current financial model for operating a dental practice fundamentally flawed?

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a rather fine dentist in Europe. Despite the impression that everyone in his country can afford anything, he made a really valid point – that not everyone can afford to pay for private care. In fact, around 1/3 of the population cannot afford to pay for private care (the market is mainly private in this country).

This means they adapted their business model for delivering dentistry using technology, dental hygienists and only utilising the dentist’s time for key dental aspects. 

They have built a dental network that is specialised and capital investment is focused on prevention/maintenance and conservative treatment to cover the most significant part of the demand of their target segment (price sensitive patients, who appreciate regular prophylaxis and checkups).

At all their branches, X-rays and intra-oral scans are carried out by hygienists in local primary prevention and screening centres. This information is then relayed back to a central diagnosis hub, where the information is reviewed by a dental team.

All diagnosis is legally required to be done by a dentist only. All x-rays and intra-oral scans are taken under the recommendation of a dentist.

Now after the diagnosis, the diagnosis hub is able to deliver high-quality, personalised teleconsultations, from hygiene coaching to immediate triage and management of dental emergencies (immediate instructions and medical prescriptions are provided as needed and appointments for the specific issue are scheduled in the first available spot), thus improving accessibility, timeliness and appropriateness of treatment in a very much cost-effective way.

So if a dentist is required in a certain location, they can move the dentists between sites, ensuring that there is minimised idle capacity, which allows them to keep their prices lower as they have optimised their whole workflow.

A very interesting business model, and one that could work as the costs get higher, and patients’ ability to pay higher prices reduces.

One to watch, and adapt to other markets including the UK.

Should you buy a BUPA dental practice?

Bupa revealed today they are either divesting or merging approximately 85 dental practices across the UK. That’s almost 20% of their practices.

It was only around 10 years back they were acquiring (including our Neem Tree Canary Wharf practice was one of their earlier purchases in 2013), and now with the challenges many of the groups are facing they are planning to off load a whole bunch of dental practices across the UK.

Having looked at the list, I know some of the practices they are selling, as I brokered the sale to them from the original seller!!!

Now the world is changing, and BUPA is citing resourcing and the challenges in NHS dentistry as the reason for the significant changes.

Now the question must be asked, should you consider buying a BUPA practice if it comes on the market?

As I understand further details will be released in the next few days.

Three questions to ask yourself before you consider a purchase:

  1. If Bupa could not do it, could you? A corporate is a difficult beast to navigate, with many slow-moving parts, if you have the hunger and entrepreneurial drive, you could pick up a practice for a song.
  2. What about staffing the practice? Well BUPA have cited that they were struggling to find suitable dentists and team members to provide a certain level of care. I believe if an owner gets involved and gets their hands dirty, 8 times out of 10 the practice will develop and grow. But it’s essential that the practice is purchased at the right price.
  3. Can you get the funding for the practice purchase? The easy answer is, it depends. There are numerous factors at play including what is being sold and for what price, and it’s so important not to get dragged into a competition for buying a practice, work out the numbers and then make a suitable offer.

Getting the right practice at the right price will be the most important thing if you are considering a purchase, and as we all know they are keen to offload, so you are already in a stronger position of negotiation.

If you need help with assessing, financing and carrying out the due diligence of one of the planned BUPA sales, get in touch with our experienced independent team as we have the expertise to assist.

Our finance team are extremely experienced and ready to help you make the right purchase at the right price.

Make sure you seek independent professional advice in making any such purchase.

A list of BUPA dental practices under change can be found here.

Building a Healthcare Business: Further Information

To find out more about building a successful healthcare business, check out our Learning Centre, full of articles and webinars covering how to buy, start, grow and sell a medical health company, or book a free, no-obligation consultation with one of the team. 

For all our previous articles, webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Back to Work Budget Update

Well, Jeremy Hunt has announced the UK Budget for 2023 and here are the main takeaways you need to be aware of:

  • The main rate of corporation tax, paid by businesses on taxable profits over £250,000, confirmed to increase from 19% to 25%
  • Companies able to deduct investment in new machinery and technology to lower their taxable profits
  • Tax breaks and other benefits for 12 new Investment Zones across the UK, funded by £80m each over the next five years
  • The cap on the amount workers can accumulate in pensions savings over their lifetime before having to pay extra tax – currently £1.07m – will be abolished
  • The tax-free yearly allowance for pension pots is to rise from £40,000 to £60,000 – having been frozen for nine years
  • Government subsidies limiting typical household energy bills to £2,500 a year will be extended for three months, until the end of June
  • Energy charges for prepayment meters will be brought into line with prices for customers paying by direct debit
  • Office for Budget Responsibility predicts the UK will avoid recession in 2023, but the economy will shrink by 0.2%
  • Growth of 1.8% predicted for next year, with 2.5% in 2025 and 2.1% in 2026
  • UK’s inflation rate predicted to fall to 2.9% by the end of this year, down from 10.7% in the last three months of 2022
  • Underlying debt forecast to be 92.4% of GDP this year, rising to 93.7% in 2024

One of the more noteworthy points is the changes to capital allowances for SMEs. These changes will take over from the current 130% super deduction:

  • From April 2023 until the end of March 2026, companies can claim 100% capital allowances on qualifying plant and machinery investments.
  • Full expensing allows companies to write off the cost of investment in one go.
  • Under full expensing, for every pound a company invests, their taxes are cut by up to 25p.

This budget is being referred to as the Back to Work Budget, and it’s easy to see why. The intention appears to be to encourage the UK to work more, work longer and to invest in their businesses. We’ll see how it plays out! 

Have Interest Rates Peaked at 4%?

The Bank of England has increased interest rates by half a percentage point to a 15-year high of 4 per cent but suggested that rates may have peaked.


They are now anticipating a milder recession this year than previously thought and said further rises would only be needed if there were new signs that inflation was going to stay too high for too long.

This is good news, as they were previously expecting rates to peak at 4.5% to control inflation but now hopefully, they may have reached their peak at 4%.

What does this mean for you?

So, if you are seeking to borrow or refinance for your business, our panel of lenders are very active and willing to lend.

Large or small, our expert healthcare finance experts are available to help you navigate raising finance on the best terms available.

Click here to read our article on How to finance a healthcare business.

Commercial Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

For all our previous webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Rising energy costs: What we can save you.

With energy costs rising at record levels and looming PSTN & ISDN switch-off, it’s more important than ever for dental practices to save as much money as possible on their utility bills. 

There is no price cap on commercial energy supplies, which means businesses like yours will see an even bigger increase than domestic households for gas and electric. In fact, the domestic market is going up 54% from April 1st 2022, and some commercial suppliers are charging nearly £1 per kWh.

Our partners save businesses an average of 34% on their utility bills. Even if you already have energy supply contracts, we can help make sure you’re getting the best deal on the market. 

Another price increase facing businesses is BT’s 9.3% increase from 1st April. Even for non-BT customers, other providers will typical follow suit and increase their prices alongside BT.

These changes will impact many businesses and it’s important to make sure your telecommunications are future proofed. Again, our partners can help make sure you’re getting the best terms on the market. 

You do not have to change supplier or be out of contract to save money.

To find out more about how we can help your dental practice save money on an increasing utility bill, book a free call with us!  

How to finance a healthcare business

Healthcare providers have a specific set of funding needs and often benefit from tailored solutions. There are so many ways to raise funding for your healthcare business beyond dipping into your savings. In order to fully understand the best course of action in financing your healthcare practice, we have compiled a list of the criteria you will need to navigate yourself around the process from start to finish. 

What is healthcare funding?

Healthcare funding is any type of finance arrangement taken out by businesses in the healthcare sector to fund a specific need to their business / industry: 

Borrows include:

  • Pharmacies
  • Private hospitals
  • Dental surgeries GP surgeries
  • Day care services
  • Special needs schools
  • Opticians
  • Veterinary surgeries

What does a healthcare business need to fund? 

The healthcare industry is a huge industry in the UK including private clinics, the ongoing NHS system, paediatric care facilities, edlery care and pharmacies. The healthcare industry has immense investment potential due to the importance of it in everyone’s lives especially in the current climate. 

Healthcare businesses are becoming more and more important as there is now more space within the healthcare sector for your business to grow. Businesses can now avail of this funding to push themselves further into the mainstream healthcare market. 

As healthcare is a very diverse sector covering a wide range of businesses, funding needs are equally varied. You need finances to fund:

  • Any mergers and acquisitions
  • Purchase new surgeries and clinics
  • Assist with cash flow, growth and cost savings
  • Acquire medical drugs and products 
  • Expand or convert an existing property

The following are things your healthcare practice will need to fund: 

  • Property (buy/rent)
  • Equipment/stock (PPE, drugs etc)
  • Large medical assets (surgery chairs, scanners etc)
  • Staff
  • Working capital
  • Marketing
  • Associated costs (legal, accounting, hr etc)

How to apply for finance for a healthcare business

When you apply for finance, lenders will need to see various documents including your business plans and other documents relating to your cash flow and business prospects. You will need to show:

  • Business asset and liabilities statement 
  • Three years business accounts (if applicable)
  • Business management figures
  • Six months of business bank statements
  • Complete details of NHS contract and performance indicators. 
  • director/ partner payslips for the last three months of your latest p60 with six months of personal bank statements if you are a contractor 

Creating a Business Plan

A business plan is more than a documented plan. It is a very important guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. It is also an important management tool that allows you to analyse results, make strategic decisions and showcase potential lenders how your business will operate as well as grow and profit. 

Essentially, writing a business plan will improve your businesses chances of securing necessary funding and becoming successful. 

Your business plan should be at the forefront of everything you do when approaching lenders and considering any type of loan / financing options. This business plan needs to be in depth and attached to any application you submit. 

Your business plan should be the first thing you complete, it is a great start for you before you tackle the rest of your application as should be done to a great standard if you hope to be given any funding. 

What funding is available for healthcare businesses?

Secured vs unsecured loans

There are two main types of loans which are either secured or unsecured. 

Secured loans refer to businesses that borrow money and use an asset as security to pay back that loan. If  the repayments are unable to be made, the lender is able to sell the asset in order to get their money back. 

Unsecured loans are when your business borrows money without using any of its assets as security. 

Essentially, the less you borrow, the quicker you are expected to pay it back. If the amount you borrow is a significantly larger amount, you are able to pay it over a longer period of time. 

It is important to note that not all business loans are the same and you need to ensure that the terms of your particular loan is right for your situation. Whether you are a start-up or a small business, you can get a loan that is suitable and specifically designed for you. 

Asset Finance

Asset finance is a cost effective, low risk way of acquiring new premises or high value equipment. Whether you are a start-up or you are looking to expand. Asset finance helps you optimise cash flow while you prepare for growth and gives you access to all the latest medical technology.  

Your asset finance payments cover the value of any equipment you need including interest and any additional fees charged by the lender. 

Eligible Assets

You can take out asset finance for a wide range of medical equipment, as well as non medical assets used to support your healthcare business for example: 

  • Automation systems 
  • Operating theatres
  • Corrective laser eye therapy machines
  • Dental chairs and surgical equipment 
  • Diagnostic scanners e.g. MRI, CT and X-ray machines

Asset Refinance 

A good way to increase liquidity is by using a medical asset you already own as collateral for a cash loan worth the resale value of the asset. This is a great form of bridging finance when waiting for a commercial mortgage or a longer term loan or as an alternative to invoice finance.  

Hire purchase or leasing 

One of the biggest attractions of using asset finance is that there is no need for capital outlay or any security needed. Instead the new asset is either hired or leased from a leasing company. 

Leasing means the asset needs to be returned to the leasing company after the contracted period has ended or exchanged for a newer version of the asset, in which case the lease continues on similar terms. 

Hire purchase agreements are a bit different as you acquire full ownership of the asset at the end of the payment term. 

Acquisition Finance

Acquisition finance is the capital that is usually obtained for the purpose of buying another business. By acquiring another company, a smaller company can increase the size of its operations and benefit from the economies achieved through the purchase. Throughout the numerous changes over the last couple of pandemic years there are now various new lenders for acquisition finance accompanied by new deal structures and new lending criteria. 

Acquisition financing will allow you to gain capital specifically for the purpose of buying your new premises or equipment for your business. We can guide you through the best cost effective ways to do this and mentor you through how it will affect you and your business. 

Commercial Mortgages

Commercial mortgages are similar to regular mortgages in many ways but there are a few features that make them slightly different. These differences include the interest rate being slightly higher than regular residential mortgages as these types of mortgages are of a higher risk to lenders. Due to this risk, you usually would need to provide an asset such as a property as collateral which will allow your lender to give you a better interest rate. Your interest rate will also be dependent on how much your loan is worth and how long you plan to pay it back, amongst many other factors your lender will later decide on. 

Deposits for commercial loans or mortgages can often be quite hefty so, before you apply for your commercial loan you need to ensure that you will be able to pay both the deposit and your monthly instalments back comfortably and assure your lender of this. 

Tax Loans

A lot of business owners are not aware of the options that are available to them when they do not have enough to pay the necessary tax bills.tax loans are incredibly helpful and convenient to help you pay your tax bill on time. 

VAT funding can be very useful when quarterly VAT payments are due and there is limited cash flow available to secure paying the bill. VAT funding enables businesses to pay your quarterly tax payments over the course of an agreed term (usually 12 months). This will usually be paid back over a series of monthly payments. Unlike many other loans, detailed business plans and security assets are not necessary for this type of loan. Many processes are quick and flexible with great affordability and transparency. 

Commercial Loans for Healthcare Businesses

We’ve been helping to fund the future of British healthcare businesses for over 20 years and our team are made up of former bankers with decades of experience in the UK’s healthcare lending sector.

You can find out more about working with Samera and the financial services we offer by booking a free consultation with one of the Samera team at a time that suits you (including evenings) or by reading more about our financial services at the links below.

For more information on raising finance for your healthcare business, including more articles, videos and webinars check out our Learning Centre here, full of articles and webinars like our How to Guide on Financing a Dental Practice.

For all our previous webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

4 Tools to create a scalable business in 2022

Building a business is difficult and there are a plethora of tools that claim to make your life easier. Some do, others make it more complicated.

But when you want to scale your business, things get even harder, and invariably issues arise. I have highlighted, not in any particular order, 4 business tools that made a significantly positive difference to our businesses in 2021. I feel these tools are just as, or even more, important in 2022. Some are free, and others are paid, but check them out.

Website page speed

Ignore this at your peril! Whilst your website is the shop window to your business, it’s so essential that it provides the user experience that a website visitor will desire.

Therefore, the speed of website loading has to be at the top of your list to attract patients and customers. If it’s slow the bounce rate will rise and your potential new patient may go somewhere else.

So how do you know the speed of a website? Google have a free tool which will basically tell you the speed of a page – and then breaks it down what your web development team will need to do.

Click here to check the speed or your website.

If your score is highlighted red, tell your development team, and if they can’t change it, you need a new team!

Content is king for SEO

We all know content is king already, but none more so than in the written form. For the last 2 years we have had a content writer full time in our team, writing about all aspects of the various services we provide.

Google likes this, and coupled with a fast page speed (see above) your well-written, relevant content will greatly help your SEO and get you the customers you desire.

As for tools to use, https://ahrefs.com/ will help you figure what keywords you should be trying to rank for and then what your position is. 

Again, we have been using this tool a couple of years and is a no brainer tool if you want to dominate your SEO in your markets. 

Automating payroll with Brightpay

Payroll has been one of those services we have provided to clients and to be honest struggled getting it slick and fast for many years. The software has been cumbersome until we started using and rolling out Brightpay.

It’s fast, very easy to use for both employees and employers and has a clear audit trail. If you are thinking about changing how you do your payroll, whether you do it in-house, or outsource it to the Samera payroll bureau team, you won’t be going wrong with Brightpay.

Xero and Hubdoc for book-keeping

Ok, as a firm of accountants, we may be biassed, but the Xero and Hubdoc combination makes life easier for any business, if it is integrated well into a business. It saves time, helps you become paperless and can provide you the management information you require. We have been using this for a lot longer than one year, but it’s still a cracking piece of software.

As with any tool, especially with book-keeping, it’s only as good as the users who are using it. It can go wrong if not organised, but if set up from day one, it can really be a game changer in your business.

Get in touch if you are seeking to implement Xero into your business.

Grow Your Dental Practice with Samera

Join the Samera Alliance buying group today for free to save money on your consumables and assets, increase your profits and grow your dental practice.

You’ll get access to exclusive discounts on the consumables, products and equipment you need to build and grow your dental practice. You’ll also get exclusive discounts from our Alliance Partners, covering everything from HR, IT and legal services to utilities, compliance and dental technology.

Join for free. Save money. Grow your dental practice.

More on Growing a Dental Practice

For more information on growing a dental practice, check out the articles and webinars in our Learning Centre, like our guide on How to Grow a Dental Practice.

For all our previous articles, webinars and video updates, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram