Based out of Canada and having been raised near Vancouver, British Columbia, with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Bhullar of West Airdrie Dental is now transitioning from his home in Canada to Bradenton, Florida. With a family consisting of his wife and children all ages 5 or under, Bhullar told ownR he wants to seek out a better opportunity for his children while still maintaining control of his business. Citing the weather in Canada and a desire for meaningful relationships for his children as catalysts for the transition, Bhullar said he and his wife decided to take the chance on moving to a new country.
“So, when my wife and I spoke, we said, ‘Look, what are we going to regret more? You know, staying here? Or being in a beautiful, sunny, destination where we can form great memories with our children?’” Bhullar said. “The answer just emerged very simply. And now we will make it happen through action here.”
As for his businesses back in Canada, Bhullar is only leaving them behind as far as the location is concerned. Bhullar said he’s been offered “tons of money” which he turned down over the years and plans to continue doing so to retain control of his practices.
“And I will continue to do that,” he said. “Not because I have a problem with it. I think it’s just not for us and it’s just not for our business at this time because we choose to maintain both clinical and operational control. As well, I like to be, and I want our strategic partners to be the captains of our ship, so to speak. And do not want to relinquish control to anyone else.”
To keep his practices thriving, Bhullar created a multi-step plan for ensuring things run smoothly. The first step, he said, is creating strategic partnerships with individuals who are in the area and can help manage things locally – “boots on the ground” people, he said. Inside of each office is an owner or operator who manages the clinical aspect of the business, but the centralized management remains Bhullar’s responsibility.
Second on his list is making sure the team under those operators and owners is strong enough to maintain the facets of the companies required to keep everything running effectively. These are the core members of any dental practice team including those who retain patients and manage cash flow.
The final step in the international business management plan is perhaps the one that many practice owners and business-savvy individuals would have the most trouble with, and that’s simply acknowledging that situations won’t always be perfect. Problems will arise, he said, those issue being ones that never could’ve been imagined, but he plans on dealing with those as they come.
“And then, the third is just being okay with the fact that you’re going to have to put out fires and you’re going to have to put them out from a distance,” he said. “And you’re going to have a whole new set of problems. So, just being okay with the fact that it’s not going to be perfect. And knowing that and believing and trusting in yourself that, look, that you can do it. I know that sounds kind of wishy-washy, the last one, but it’s so true.”
Bhullar plans on personally visiting these practices back in Canada for just around 2 weeks every month for the next 18 months. He said he plans on spending around 10-12 days a month in the area to work similarly to how a regional manager would.
For anyone looking to become a multi-practice owner whether they plan on doing so locally or several thousand miles away, Bhullar advised that the ownership process might be more challenging than some would expect. He warned that people’s outlooks and expectations of the life of a multi-practice owner might change once they start down the path to owning multiple businesses, and enthusiasm might quickly wane. Not every multi-practice owner will spend their time raking in millions and driving around a Lamborghini, he said, and instead advised those looking to pursue the venture that it’s an effort requiring constant attention.
“Because the nature of business, the nature of a growing business is dynamic, changing constantly,” he said. “And it requires work because the number one challenge is people. You’re working with a bunch of people. And when you have multiple practices, you have multiple people. When you have multiple people, you have multiple personalities. And you need to maintain a culture. You need to have leadership that stems to all of these places. And this is not a set it and forget it strategy. It’s an ongoing consistent effort.”
Amid this cross-country transition and efforts to keep his business running smoothly from afar, Bhullar said he’s also working on a book that’s due out within the next month or so. Titled High Performance Practice, it’s a book dealing with management, marketing, and leadership, three topics he said he believes are a trifecta for any successful business.
“It took me quite some time. I wanted it to be impactful and I want it to be useful,” Bhullar said. “And I wanted it to be some of the best ideas. I wrote it in a way that, you know, when I go back and I’ll read it multiple times, I want to be responsible for ensuring I’m executing everything in that book. It’ll serve as a resource to me and our team. And if it does that, then it’s going to be impactful for a number of other people.”