Do You Suffer From SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome?

Episode 017

In today’s era of gadgets, gizmos and technology it’s very easy to fall into the trap of Shiny Object Syndrome or SOS for short. And as dentists we can be guilty of this too! How often have you thought you’d use a new gadget to bring in new clients, or justified buying something shiny and new because you could write it off on your taxes?

Personally I have been there and done that! So on episode 17 of the Business Dentistry podcast, I’ll be talking about my own experiences with SOS in my practice, and how I keep it in check today.

Shiny Object Syndrome

More About This Show

Growing up my grandfather was a farmer in West Tennessee. He had crops to tend to during spring, summer and fall but needed a way to generate income in the winter, so he set up trap lines. He would take me along while tending to these lines and would teach me about the outdoors, about animals and so much else.

Why am I sharing this? Because I learned a valuable lesson about shiny objects from those trap line days with my grandfather. With the traps he used to put a shiny object in the middle of it, and he taught me animals were very smart enough to avoid other triggers on the trap, but not many could avoid that shiny object.

For example a racoon would come upon the trap, see the shiny thing inside of it and simply could not resist reaching in with their paw to find out what the object was. The trap would then be triggered and would catch the racoon.

People, even dentists, are like that racoon when it comes to technology, gadgets and gizmos today. In our practice we can spend too much on gizmo because the sales person tells us it will bring in more clients, or because they tell us it’s a tax write-off.

In my experience the only ways we bring in new clients is the old-fashioned way: word of mouth referrals, testimonials and patient care. How much you care matters far more than having the latest piece of dental equipment or the shiniest technology, quality care drives referrals and grows your business.

But I have fallen into the shiny object syndrome in the past and I’ve bought gadgets because they were cool and I wanted them; I justified the purchase by saying it would generate more income when in fact I didn’t know if that was true or not.

So today I ask myself a few questions before I buy anything new for my practice like how will it add to the bottom line and grow our revenue? How will it increase productivity and improve protocols? How often will I actually use it for procedures we currently do (NOT new procedures)? And will it make those procedures easier and more efficient, and effective?

If I can answer yes to at least some of those questions the purchase is worth considering. I don’t let sales people persuade me like I used to, and I don’t buy something solely because I can use it as a tax write-off at the end of the year. That’s like spending a dollar to save 30 cents!

On today’s episode I’ll give you specific examples of when I bought equipment because of shiny object syndrome, and when I bought it based on thorough planning. You’ll hear the process I went through in the second scenario and why it’s still okay to buy things on a lark every now and again just because you want them! Listen in for all of that and more on this edition of Business Dentistry!


Tweetable: “Don’t expect new patients to show up because of new equipment.”

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