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Dentology Podcast with Derek Uittenbroek


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Transcript – Dentology Podcast recording with Derek Uittenbroek

Episode release date: Monday 15 May 2023

Andy & Chris:
We’re joined by the founder of Ignite Growth, which is a health care marketing agency. specialises in attracting patients for high value treatments and that person is Derek Uffenbrook. Welcome Derek, how you doing? No, thank you very much indeed. My pleasure. And we appreciate your patience. We’ve had technical problems this morning, haven’t we? We have, it’s been a bit of a, it’s nothing to do with us, we hate to say it. No, no, no, so we appreciate your patience. So thank you very much indeed. And I must admit, we were just admiring your workspace behind you. It is very funky and cool. Your man cave. So that means there’s probably a snooker table then, is there, somewhere. And a bar. And a massive great TV to watch sport. Excellent. Oh, okay. Yeah, I think it’s good to have delineation, I think, between an office space and the work. For me personally, I’m the same. It’s quite good to not just sit there at the kitchen table or whatever it is, because otherwise it all gets a bit in my head. If I’m sitting in the office at home, I’m focused on what I’m doing at home. And when I’m in the office here, I’m focused on that. Yeah, so I like delineation. Yeah, I must say, I think that working above the shop must always be quite difficult. where literally there’s no separation at all. And for lots of people, homeworking was just that. Yeah. You’ve got to feel sorry for that. I mean, when you go back to the days of COVID, you used to see those pictures of couples who lived in a one-bed flat with no balcony. And one person was working in the bedroom and one person was sitting at the counter or whatever, at the kitchen counter. And you just flip. That must have been a nightmare, really. We were so lucky. Right. Mm. Yeah. Yeah, I think one study I saw it can take up to 22 minutes to get back into focus To get back into the thing that you were really deep in it can take 22 minutes So if somebody keeps interrupting you on going through the day You’d never get to that deep focus on on the thing that you really trying to get done I think especially in numbers sometimes, you know, when we’re working on numbers, it’s like Look, please don’t interrupt me again because I’ve now got to go back and try and remember where I was in this process Yeah So you, it’s especially subject to you today, Derek. And to start with, you’re like a world of nations in one body, aren’t you? Because you’re fully Dutch. You say you’ve moved around a lot. Fully Dutch. Fully Dutch. That’s Derek’s own type. Oh, really? It’s not half Dutch or quarter Dutch, it’s fully Dutch. And you’ve lived in the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Malaysia. Your wife is Indian, but born and raised in Japan. There’s a lot going on there. God, for heaven’s sake. Any African countries in there? Oh, we sort of managed to avoid Africa. Ah, okay. Africa and South America, be sorted. I love the positivity of not yet. It’s always a journey, isn’t it? I won. I was going to say, what languages can you speak then? Can you speak a bit of everything? We are lucky aren’t we speaking English really because we are always so lazy We’re spoiled. Did you think the thing with the French government or something is trying to remove It’s gonna fine people if they put English words in Communications and business communications. Well, if you use an English word It’s gonna be a euro fine because they said they’re they’re fed up with the Anglican Anglicization of of the world. I thought So typically French really? Years ago and years ago in a previous life I worked for a Danish bank and one of the guys there told me that in Denmark any TV programs broadcast can only be by law broadcast in the language it was made in. Which is why Danes tend to be so good at English because obviously there are a lot of programs in the English language, lots of them come from America. And I said that’s almost part of their curriculum to help people learn English in that it has to be broadcast in the language that it was made in, which actually is quite smart. because it’s just kind of this nationwide education program for people to learn English, which was quite clever. It’s quite interesting, I was going to say with you Derek, that you learn English in the US, because I’ve known some people in the US in Germany, but they learnt it on the US Army basis, and they speak with an American accent, which really is quite freaky, because they’re German people who speak with an American accent. So I was sort of surprised in a way, if you’ve learnt your language, it obviously wasn’t long enough for you to end up with an American… Twang on your voice. Huh? Hmm. Mm. Yeah. Yeah, given how much there was going on in your in your childhood, is there a moment that you can look back on in your childhood and kind of say that was a defining moment in your life that’s kind of put you on the path to where you are now. Yeah, whether good or bad, I was going to say there was so many experiences you must have had as a young person. Right. Okay. So, so are you trying to be Danny Zuko? Oh, well. It’s a massive culture shock. Mm. Yeah. Hmm. And you got that skill early, which has also set you up well. Because like you say, if you, if you can get comfortable with change, then you’re prepared to try things and accept that there’s no kind of static situation. You’re always going to be in a state of flow. Big tough guy. Mm-hmm. It’s not rated, you can’t do it. Well. And then you decided to do your business studies in the UK back in 2008. You actually went to King’s College London, which is obviously very well known for dentistry as well. So did that start to put you in touch with aspiring dentists and did that give you an insight to that world or was that just a coincidence? Mm. Yeah, there you go. Mm. Mm-hmm. Jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, jæ, j Brilliant. But then you chose you, you also didn’t move straight into the business that you own now or even dentistry. You went into into banking. Was that was that was that was that was that in the city, the city of London banking? Right. Yeah, good time. Yeah. Oh, wow. So Lehman Brothers went down. It was October, November, 2009, wasn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. We’re just laughing because time means everything. Yeah, I mean to join banking. I’ve got my new job as a mortgage broker. Just before the biggest global banking crisis since the depression. Yeah. Hmm. Yeah, we’re running for the hills. Mm-hmm. ,我想想 button. Mm. Mm. Whether it felt like this for you at the time, but you seemed to have a really positive outlook and positive memories of what would have been a difficult period, which I think says quite a lot about you, because it would have been hard. Yeah, we laugh about it, but joining the banking sector in late 2008 wasn’t much fun at all. But the way you recount it, you’ve taken a lot of positives from that experience. And out of adversity, I think that’s a great thing of sometimes. Those are real learning moments, aren’t they, when things aren’t very easy. Hmm. Mm. Mm. Mm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm and then control your bit. Yeah, yeah Exactly, and then jump forward to 2017 you then started ignite can you remember the moment when when you decided that that’s what you’re gonna do was was there a kind of a Specific moment in time when it really did hit you that this was your gonna be your future That’s a really unpleasant place to be though isn’t it? Very comfortable is a hard place to be. Mm-hmm. Mm. Mm. Hmm. That’s what my stumped for you, wasn’t it? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Brilliant. So just for those that don’t know, can you kind of just talk us through what is it that Unite can do for dental practices? Yeah. Out of interest, Derek, out of your 100 clients, and I’m assuming then by the sense that you’re promoting similar types of treatments, do you have to adapt a message for a geography? Mm-hmm. Mm. Mm-hmm. Yeah Hmm. Mm. Mm. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Right. Hmm. what to look at. Okay. Since 2017, has there been much change in patient buying requirements and have those messages that they respond well to evolved as well? Are we becoming more sophisticated as prospective patients? Mm. Mm. Yeah. Interesujące. Hmm. Mm. Mm. Mm-hmm. Mm. Mm. Yeah, you mentioned Invisalign a couple of times and, yeah, Invisalign more broadly, clear alignments. That we’ve seen massive growth in that, you know, obviously part of our business is, is valuing dental practices. So we’ve seen those, those numbers coming through. Is that, is that likely to burst that, that, that bubble? Would it deflate? Would it continue to be a great practice builder? What’s your view on that? That sort of slice of the market. Mm. What? Mm. Yeah. Hmm. Hmm. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, they own the word, don’t they? I mean, that’s why lots of dental practices are keen to have that word. They want the Invisalign on their banner. And their branding and their promotion. Yeah, because patients, they actually ask for Invisalign. What they actually mean is, you know, they’re looking for a clear aligner solution. And Invisalign might be the best one for them, but they don’t necessarily know that. But credit to Invisalign, the amount of money they’ve spent to get the dollars into that position. They own that word. Hmm. a single product company. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? Yeah, makes sense. Like Dyson, wasn’t it? Dyson did Hoovers, or, ah, there you go. Dyson did vacuum cleaners, and now they do hair straightners, hair dryers, which cost a fortune, but that’s where they sort of moved. I’m sure clan or whoever it is appears next to that shark, you know shark, which is an American brand. They’ve also now introduced like grooming products, curly hairs. And it’s quite interesting how they followed the diversification of Dyson. I thought that’s interesting. Interesting. So as a team, Derek, you as Ignite, your your core skill is attracting patients so you can attract patients to go to dental practices. What are dental practices like at nurturing those opportunities? Because you can be as good as you like. You can get the phone to ring, the website to click, people to walk through that door. But are practices good at harnessing those opportunities or as good as they could be? No. He’s probably the answer. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Peace out. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. Right, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. But that’s really cool because you know, you said the friction point is you generate the leads, you know, they don’t deliver. They say it’s a crap lead. You say, well, you didn’t pick up the phone quick enough. What you’re talking about is identifying that or recognizing that as your key friction point and looking for a way to fix that, to leave the dentist, the clinician to do the bit they’re trained for, which is actually to deliver the dentistry. Takes the pain point. Yeah. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm. Mm. That’s a lot of moving parts. That’s a lot of moving parts. Mm. Mm. Mm. Wow. It’s big. Hmm. Yeah. Mm. Hmm. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Well, what would you say you’ve obviously had quite an entrepreneurial journey with different businesses and narrowed it down. What’s the one thing that you’ve taken from your entrepreneurial experience each year? as long as you can monetize it. Yeah. That’s good. That’s good. Yeah. It’s nice to hear because it matters to you and your team. I think if you get people who genuinely deeply care about the thing they’re doing, it flows through in so many ways, doesn’t it? Mm-hmm. Yeah. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I think if you get the right people who think in the right way, in terms of they bind your culture, the skill bit follows because at a root level, they actually care about what they’re doing. Hmm. Yeah. No, 100%. 100%. We always wrap up in the same way. We always ask our guests the same two questions. So the first question we have for you is if you could be the fly on the wall, what situation would you be in and where and when would that be? the the Ha ha! Hmm. That’s lovely. Yeah, suddenly panicking, oh my goodness, a panicking gibbering wreck on the floor ratched with emotion. Looking at Winston Churchill as he’s born. 1500, 2000 people. I assume just two or three hundred then. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that’s good. Yeah, good reason I think it says a lot about your values that the two things that you saw at the birth of your kids and your wedding I mean that says that and that thing you’re saying about you know, making sure that the business is kind of close to where you Where you leave so you can walk to the office and when you got the space? Yeah, when you got a banking it was to spend time out on paternity leave There’s also a real strong core that takes you back to family and I wonder whether a lot of that the moving around Those life lessons that the parents taught you so young really kind of stuck with you in a really strong way and it’s feeding through to your own family. Yeah. and you’re in charge. Yeah. Yeah. Your course, your sale. It’s really funny Derek. When, so Chris and I bought Frank Town Associates together back in 2000. So 23 years. And when we, when we bought the business, we agreed on the same thing, which is if we could earn the same money as we earn in the city, but have more time with our families, that’d be an absolute result. And that was the reason for it. And I think for both of us, the thought of going back into a corporate environment just holds no appeal whatsoever. It’s not a money control thing. Remember, I have to wear a jacket. Can you imagine I have to wear a jacket? Exactly. Exactly. I have to wear a tie. That would be like the end of it. Ultimate freedom is having your own environment. And justifying going on holiday. Yeah. Imagine I’m just doing that. Flipping it. Thank you. Thank you. I think it’s funny, I think you see from sort of different sides, I look at guys like you and other people who are kind of solopreneurs and just think you’re incredible because I couldn’t do it without Chris and the other business partners we’ve got and other businesses. I’m not smart enough, I don’t have the bandwidth, I don’t have so many things to be able to do it on my own. So when I see guys like you, who literally have everything that comes back to your door as a solopreneur, I think that’s equally incredible. I think it’s just a… a different approach to business. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. So our follow up, our last question is, if you could meet anyone, who would you like to meet? Living or dead? Yeah. Fact or fiction? Yeah, whoever you fancy. Yeah, whoever you fancy, and don’t be dull. Oh no. Oh, that’s okay. That’s not totally fine. Oh, wow. Yeah. Yeah. Wow Cool, what a life. It was like a sense of loss. Mm. Yeah. Oh wow. Mmm. Wow, powerful. Yeah? I don’t know. Oh, I think I think there’s a whole it wasn’t done all. I think there’s a bottle of wine or a beer just on your grandfather. To be honest. Brilliant. Derek, it’s been, it’s been wonderful. Yeah. Thank you for your time. Honestly, I never kind of bore or lose interest with people and their stories and their history. And the business you’ve got is great, but the story of kind of the who you are and how you got there is remarkable. And I love the fact that your, your family is kind of threaded through this whole, this whole, you know, career. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Wonderful. Now we really appreciate your time, Derek. It’s been absolutely fabulous. Brilliant. We’ll send it. We’ll send you invoicing the poster. That’s right. Yeah. You can now get off your couch. You’re, you’re really very much. Excellent. Cheers. Cheers, Derek. Cheers.

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