Starting Your Network – Part 2 of 2


Make sure you’ve read – “Starting Your Network – Part 1” before continuing with the rest of this important article. You can check it out here.

What is your next step after you have figured out your “Why”?  Understanding your why at the beginning is crucial to the end result but there is one other piece that is also important if you are to be successful.

Initially, we will be honest, this one may not seem to make any sense.

Step Two is to start your project at the end.

What on earth does this mean?

Let me give you an example.  About 20 years ago I was approached by a dentist who had an unusual request. At the time I thought his request was going to be hard to satisfy:  He had leased some very well-situated space and wanted us to help him build a practice.  A normal enough ask from most, but what was different was that he knew exactly what he wanted this practice to look and be like once it was finished and operating.

In his mind’s eye, he saw his practice complete and operating with his unique concept of patient and staff service.  He came to us and asked us to reverse engineer a situation where he could start from scratch and sell the practice within five years for more than $500,000 (this was at least 15 years ago, today the practice would be worth close to $2M).  All we had to do was bring into physical reality what he had already built in his mind.  This included not just physically building the office but staffing it and implementing the procedures and protocols that he had envisioned.  As it turned out we were very successful and sold the practice within the allotted time parameters for about $700,000.

I came to appreciate that one of the main reasons we were so successful was that we knew from day one, thanks to our client, exactly what the practice needed to look like, how it needed to run, what kind of staff it needed – we knew it all.  Knowing from the very start exactly what we were trying to accomplish, how we could accomplish it, and why we were trying to accomplish it made the project pretty much foolproof.

Consider “The Question” developed by Dan Sullivan.  “Imagine that we are sitting here 5 years from now and we are looking back over the last 5 years, what will have had to have happened for you to feel like your network is outstanding and the process of putting it together was outstanding?”

The answer to that question is your playbook for getting you from a concept to a finished product.  Without going into the whole theory of “starting at the end” suffice it to say that virtually all (there may be one that didn’t do this) great achievements first started as a concept in someone’s mind.

Have you ever wondered why people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Elon Musk are called “Visionaries”?  They are visionaries because they see their vision created before they start to create it.  The more detailed and thought out (including the Why) the concept is, the more successful the conclusion.

Take Steve Jobs, the phenomenally successful products that he created all started as concepts from his mind, formulated at a time when none of them existed in the real world.  Do you think Elon Musk made all of his stuff up as he went along – no he knew exactly where he was going before he started.

If you don’t have an answer for “The Question” then it’s not the right time for you to start assembling your network.  As Yogi Berra said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you probably won’t get there.”  If on the other hand, you do know exactly what needs to happen each step of the way, then what you have is a set of step-by-step instructions for achieving your objective.  As you proceed through your project you will invariably make course corrections.  As you progress through your project things will change and you will need to adapt to those changing conditions.  Imagine the challenge of trying to adapt to a changing environment with no clear sense of where you were actually supposed to be going.

As long as you know where you are going, changing on the fly is easy.  Planning on the fly is hard.

Starting at the end and answering “The Question” can be a complex process.

If you would like to talk to Derek about starting your own dental network or any other project, please call Alison at 905-984-5816 to set up a conference call or email me at