Business Focus with Founder of Town Hall Dental
Why did you start your business in the first place?
Ever since I qualified as a dentist, I’ve always focused on providing great patient care and customer service, as well as great treatments for my patients. Going that step above what people expect is incredibly rewarding for me, as well as making sure people get that perfect smile.
Around five years ago I saw that there was a gap in the market for a premium private dental practice in Calderdale focused around patient care. I’ve always wanted to have my own practice and make something myself, and that’s how Town Hall Dental was founded.
What is your business motto?
I think the advice I would give is different from your typical business person. In business you can afford to fail when trying new things, but that’s not acceptable in dentistry where your patients demand results. I would always say focus on getting something right the first time, as well as doing quality work. There isn’t much room for error in the work we do, so we’re always looking to improve and find the best possible products and latest techniques for our patients.
What advice would you give to anyone starting their own business?
You’ve got to be prepared to work hard, and that work might not get any easier for several years. If you want to be successful you’ve got to surround yourself with a team of great people who will support you, which I’m incredibly blessed to have here at Town Hall. In business, you’ll be dealing with a lot of people from different walks of life, so you must be able to communicate well with everybody and treat them with respect.
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting your business?
I think our biggest challenge in the early days was actually financing the project. The Town Hall is a beautiful building, but the work we did to make it what it is today certainly wasn’t cheap, combined with purchasing all our dentistry equipment. I didn’t want to borrow money so the first few months getting set up were challenging, but we’ve managed to do it without accumulating any debt.
What do you enjoy most about being self-employed?
Without a doubt the best part of being self-employed is the autonomy of it. It’s great to have nobody telling you what to do! At the practice we’ve managed to put together a group of great people who work as a team towards a common vision, and to have that in my business is great and makes my job a lot easier.
What do you enjoy least about being self-employed?
I think when you compare it to the alternative, it’s hard to focus on things that I don’t enjoy specifically. The kinds of things I enjoy the least at work are the same as somebody who’s working for somebody else. I think if I had to pick one thing, it’s that I’m not able to take holidays that much, although it’s slightly better now than it was in the early years.
I do get to travel a lot for work, which is nice, but it’s mostly going on courses and finding new products for our patients that are manufactured around the world, so it’s definitely not a holiday.
Which business figure do you most admire and why?
The figure who I admire the most currently is without a doubt Elon Musk. Even ignoring the actual innovations within his businesses and their products, just what he’s achieved is astounding.
What a lot of people don’t know is that Musk was part of the founding team of the company that would become Paypal, which alone is an incredible achievement. To go on from that to build a successful private rocket company, SpaceX, as well as one of America’s largest car companies, Tesla, that only sells electric cars is incredible.
What achievement in your career are you most proud of?
The proudest moment in my career was last year, when Town Hall Dental was recognised as providing the best patient care in the country at the National Dentistry Awards. While we’ve won a fair few awards in our time, that one was particularly special. As I mentioned earlier we started Town Hall Dental with a vision focused entirely on providing great patient care, so to go from just an idea to the best practice in the country in five years is certainly an achievement.
Where do you see your business going in the next five years?
Town Hall Dental has been growing very rapidly in the past few years, and I imagine that will continue with all the things we have lined up for the years to come. We’re introducing more treatments regularly and streamlining how we work so that our patients get seen more quickly with the same great level of patient care.
Due to our recognition in the industry we’re now attracting dentists from across the world to come train at our facilities, and we’d like to expand that. We have some of the best dentists in the world travelling to teach at our practice now. We’ve also recently announced that we’re going to be launching the Town Hall Aesthetics centre, providing services like skin treatments and hair regrowth to attract a brand-new audience. On top of that we’re hoping to launch our own charity, The Town Hall Foundation, within the next year to provide education for children and assist the homeless.
If you could invent one new product, what would it be?
I’d like to help invent an innovative new treatment in dentistry, but at the moment it’s progressing at such a rapid pace it’s hard to keep up! I think the biggest change we will see in the next few years is that, rather than repairing a tooth, with something like a filling, we will use treatments like stem cells to regrow and fix the damage entirely. I would like to be involved in that process and help develop treatments that heal rather than fix.
If you could work for one company, who would it be and why?
I know it’s totally different from the work I do now, but when I was a kid I always wanted to work for NASA. To be fair, I think every child wanted to be an astronaut when they were growing up at some point!
It would be interesting to get involved in politics too. I have a lot of family in Kashmir, and many people in the region struggle with poverty, it would be great to be active there politically and try to help them out.