010 | Chris Barrow | Marmite for Dentists

Described as “Marmite for Dentists”, dental business coach and The E-Myth Dentist co-author, Chris Barrow, astonished us all by appearing on “The Island With Bear Grylls” Series 1. Very fit in his 60’s, Chris describes himself as a “road warrior” but he’s scaling it back a bit after all that thinking time!

An active consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession, Chris has spent over 20 years witnessing first hand the trials and tribulations faced by dentists today.

Chris combines a wealth of knowledge with the originality and independence needed to resolve the thorniest of problems. Straight talking and determined, he can reach conclusions quickly, and has the reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries.

A leading authority on the business of dentistry, Chris regularly contributes to the dental press, social media and online. As a speaker Chris is dynamic, energetic and charismatic with boundless enthusiasm for his field of expertise. Audiences are left enlightened and inspired in equal measure.

Chris is a knowledgeable expert who offers practical business logic, relevant, effective, proven ideas and a serious depth of character. An original, independent thinker, he is a non-conformist who continually seeks out new horizons to explore, challenges to resolve, boundaries to push, rules to break and odds to beat.

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Nicola: Hi, I’m Nicola Cairncross, and you’re listening to “The Money Gym” podcast, where I interview successful entrepreneurs and investors, and ask them, if they could go back in time, and give their younger selves one big tip about money, what would it be? I really hope you enjoy the show.

Often described as “Marmite for dentists,” dental business coach and “E-Myth Dentist” coauthor, Chris Barrow, astonished us all by appearing on “The Island with Bear Grylls,” Series One. Very fit in his 60s, Chris describes himself as a “road warrior,” but he’s scaling it back a bit after all that thinking time on the island.

He’s an active consultant, trainer, and coach to the UK dental profession. Chris has spent over 20 years witnessing first-hand the trials and tribulations faced by dentists today. He combines a wealth of knowledge with the originality and independence needed to resolve the thorniest problems.

Straight-talking and determined, he can reach conclusions quickly, has the reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack, and push boundaries. He’s a dynamic, energetic, and charismatic speaker, with boundless enthusiasm for his field of expertize.

His endless jokes and wicked Mancunian wit ensure there’s never a dull moment. He walks his talk better than most, by sharing both his strengths and vulnerabilities. He’s committed to helping people succeed in their lives and businesses, in less time than it took him, and with greater ease.

He was also one of my first business coaches, so I’m really pleased to welcome him to the show. We’ve talked about your business money there, but would you have any advice for new and aspiring entrepreneurs around their business money, and their attitudes to money? What do you find are things, well I know the answer to this, ’cause I read your blog post this morning , but what’s the one or two things you would really like to share with new entrepreneurs about looking after their money and growing their money?

Chris: Well, I’m going to give them the advice that I never took, which, first of all, was to take 30% of every paycheck and put it in a building society account, come what may. I didn’t take that advice, which is why, at the age of 60, I’m working as hard as I was 35 years ago.

The second thing, I think, around money, is to realise that it’s extremely difficult to grow a business organically, in other words, to grow it from cashflow, and I have been successful in growing businesses organically, I’ve done it very well, because it’s very difficult to raise capital for a small business.

All right, I’ve lived through a series of boom-and-bust cycles over the years that I’ve been in business, but there’s been no bigger bust than the bust that took place in 2008, and we’re still living in the middle of it.

Raising capital for business now is harder than it’s been, with perhaps the exception of the IT sector, because there’s a huge movement to turn the United Kingdom generally, and London particularly, into the silicon capital of Europe, and there are huge government incentives in order to facilitate that, and so to anybody that’s starting up in business and wondering what the hell to do.

I think you can’t escape the fact that the connected economy is a place where there is huge growth. I think healthcare is a place where there is huge growth, because I have to report to you that over the years that I’ve been alive, there’s been absolutely no improvement in mortality statistics whatsoever, because it’s still one death per person.

The healthcare sector will be with us for a very long time, and after that, I think that we live in a society in which sport, and leisure, and health, and hobbies, and pastimes, are becoming more, and more, and more important, and so being able to satisfy the demand for that has probably got some future.

Nicola: It’s interesting, because when I ask people about the money thing on the podcast, so many people say that this thing of putting aside a percentage of every bit of money that comes in, no matter how little it is in the early days, is just so crucial, because it does something psychologically to your subconscious, it tells you that you’re ready to attract big money.

I know you’re a big, keen fan of cashflow forecasting, and you religiously sit down, or you do now, anyway, sit down and update your spreadsheets, and keep them really up-to-date so you know exactly where you are financially.

Chris: I do. Well, I’ve been bust in business on more than one occasion, and there have been times when I’ve actually wheeled a trolley round the supermarket with a calculator, counting down the amount of cash that I had in me pocket. So I know what it’s like.

First of all, I came from what you would describe as very humble, working-class beginnings, where my parents lived hand-to-mouth, and their parents before them did the same. Secondly, over my career, I’ve had periods where I’ve been absolutely bloody swimming in money.

I’ve had periods where money has been very scarce, and so I’ve learnt to enjoy the former and manage the latter, and what that’s left me with is a kind of a legacy where I’m pretty OCD about cashflow,

I sleep easy when I’m completely on top of it, and so one of my successful habits is to get up on a Sunday morning, when I’m in the country, and to sit down and just spend half an hour a week updating a personal cashflow book, just so that I know exactly where I’m up to. And that kind of gives me the peace of mind for the other six and a half days of the week.

Nicola: I do exactly the same once a week, I have my little weekly cashflow forecast and I reconcile it to what’s happened in the bank, and I’m like you, it gives me a peace of mind for the rest of the week, and it also shows you what you need to focus on, doesn’t it?

Chris: Well, you know, my office at home is in the basement, and sometimes on a Sunday morning, I come staggering up the stairs and say, “It’s going to be beans on toast for a few weeks,” and sometimes I come staggering up the stairs and say, “Why don’t we book a weekend away?”

That’s what small business is about. It’s about snakes and ladders, and being exactly cognizant of exactly where you are on the board of the snakes and ladders game, is mission critical.

To expect that you’re just going to roll the dice and go all the way to a hundred on the first go is unreal you’ve got to keep rolling the dice, but recognise the fact there can be more than one time in your career where you’ve ended back at square one, that’s where the phrase comes from.

There are two things you can do at square one. The first thing you can do is get off the board, walk away from the game. And the second one is to pick the dice up again and roll.

Nicola: You’ve been listening to Nicola Cairncross on “The Money Gym” podcast. If you’d like to find out more about The Money Gym and how we can help you become more financially intelligent, just come on over to themoneygym.com. We’ll see you over there.

If you want to get control, get out of debt, make more money then grow that money by becoming a confident investor, check out the amazing offer we are making around “The Money Gym” book today! 

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