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Success with a Smile

Gaining three to four new clients everyday would be a dream scenario for many Taranaki Business owners but for Chris Taylor, of Taylor Dental, this is a reality. In this article we find out more about how it all began, what is contributing to it success and the future plans for a business that keep growing. With 11 staff members in total and a brand spanking new building, its clear that Chris is doing something right. He works long hours but so do most business owners, so what else has contributed to Taylor Dental's long standing success?

With the passage of time, the trials and tribulations of five years at the University of Otago’s Dental School fade and what remains is an appreciation and gratitude for the life Chris has been enabled to live. In his first year at Otago as a fresh faced 17 year old he was befriended and taken ‘under the wing’ of several more worldly surveying students from New Plymouth, so it was no surprise that after graduation he headed to New Plymouth for employment. This is where the successful relationship with Julian Haszard of Total Orthodontics began. Chris’ first employer was David Haszard, Julian’s father, in 1977 when Julian was a toddler.

In 1979 Chris married Janice, who he had also met in New Plymouth. After time spent in Wairoa, Hawkes Bay, the outback of Australia in a mobile dental bus and London, they returned to New Plymouth in 1986, and Taylor Dental Practice Ltd was established.

Many years later, Chris opened his doors to a grown up Julian, who had decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an Orthodontist. He provided a room for Julian to establish his own practice, Total Orthodontics, and the two businesses grew parallel to each other until they found themselves running out of space.

In 2013 Julian’s concept for a purpose built dental and orthodontic unit began to take shape and the two businesses moved in soon after. The slick, modern building which was designed to accommodate a more open work-flow environment, houses the two businesses which are still very much separate entities. However, their partnership could still be seen as a catalyst for their success and they collaborate as a team in many ways.

Along with a slick working environment, Chris also relies on state-of-the-art equipment and with that comes lots of overheads. “In order to manage our books effectively and continue to pay our dues, we rely on great accounting software and recently a professional bookkeeper supplied by Baker Tilly Staples Rodway. Using Xero has been an invaluable resource to us. Getting real time financial information helps us to know where we stand on an ongoing basis so we can prepare for anything. This is great, especially because we have 11 wages to pay. Not to mention the hours we have saved by hiring a professional. Before getting a Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Bookkeeper the books took five hours each week, now they take one hour – a huge cost saving for us!”

In 2018 Chris and Janice will work with the Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Advisory team for business planning sessions bi-monthly to monitor the burgeoning business. Chris never envisaged that after 40 years of professional life that he would be, in the latter years, the employer of two dentists, two hygienists, two receptionists and three surgery assistants, as well as operating a branch practice in Opunake. In recent years they’ve been succession planning which has led to a branding exercise. Chris said:

“We want this practice to continue when I’m gone so change was crucial; we need it to stand alone as a dental practice highlighting the skills of the whole team. It has also highlighted the need for me to step back from the practice I currently spend much of my time monitoring, so we are looking to recruit a more experienced dentist to provide balance. I’d like to focus some of my time on matters close to my heart – making dentistry more accessible to the wider community.”

As with any successful business, planning is vital. Chris is putting everything in motion to begin a mobile dental unit this year, developing a business plan to convert a caravan to offer dental treatment in areas such as Maraes and Rest Homes, reaching areas that others don’t. According to Chris, only 40% of the population has regular dental treatment at any one time. “It’s not necessarily always a cost issue; accessibility is also an important factor as well as confidence in your dentist. The mere thought of dental treatment is daunting for many people. The mobile dental unit will be focusing on parents and grandparents as role models. In this case, research proves that the problem is not from the ground up; parents need to be the instigators and the ones to show the positive influence of looking after your teeth. We have teamed up with a psychologist to ensure that this has a long term impact on behaviours.”

Chris is clearly the instigator of his own success. He has developed great relationships, a solid business model and isn’t afraid to enlist the help of experts. Last year he celebrated 40 years in the dental industry, this year he is pioneering a new project which aims to have a huge impact on the Taranaki community. A great role model for anyone starting out in business.

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