The Balcony Questions


You’ve probably heard the business adage “make time to work on your business, not just in it” and for dentists, that truth is not easily embraced.  They are well prepared and trained to provide clinical services, but not necessarily how to run a successful business.  Many dentists I’ve met, and continue to meet, remain stuck in the ‘inner loop’ of their practice ~ Why isn’t my marketing working?  Do I need to hire more people?  Where do we find more new patients?  While these are certainly valid questions, they don’t address the bigger picture of growing and running a thriving business.

When you are focused on what’s directly in front of you, it can be difficult to step back and see what’s around you, but that’s exactly what successful owners do.  Ask any CEO how their company moved forward and I guarantee you the response won’t be “it just happened” or “I guess we got lucky.”  It takes strategy, planning and consistently stepping back to view the business from a different vantage point.  I call this “the balcony questions” process.

Imagine yourself on a balcony, looking out over every aspect of your business ~ vision, purpose, facility, operations, team, equipment, brand, leadership, etc. ~ and asking these questions:

  • Who are we serving and why?
  • Does this support our vision or detract from it?
  • Will this save us time or waste it somewhere else?
  • Will this connect us to those we care about, or keep us apart?
  • Is this important or only urgent?
  • Is it the right thing to do or simply more convenient?

These are just a few of the questions that successful business owners ask themselves and their teams while moving the business forward.  They are thought-provoking and take us beyond a simple yes or no answer.  And that’s the point.

If you’re stuck in that inner loop, go up to your balcony and start asking yourself and your team these questions.  What are the responses?  Dentistry can be tough, and it can also be very rewarding.  You owe it to yourself to commit to making time (which means blocking it out in your schedule) to work on your business so everyone has a clear plan and strategy to enjoy working in it.

Contact me for more tips on how you can get started today.  Here’s to your success!




Robyn Reis

Robyn Reis

Robyn began her dental career in 1998 as a marketing and communications director for a large group practice, and instantly fell in love with the world of dentistry. She has spent every waking moment since learning, growing and collaborating with dentists and their teams utilizing her expertise in all aspects of dental practice management, marketing, communications, HR, continuing education, and laboratory sales. Robyn's personal goals are to make a difference in someone's life every single day and to give the best of herself to those around her. Robyn and her family live and play in Northeast Ohio.