When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail


Ralph Crawford


September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

My attention was recently alerted by an editorial in our local community newspaper – When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail. The editorial dealt with recent flooding in Alberta and how communities, individuals and families 

should plan on how to deal with disasters. It raised a number of questions, among which were the following: Do we have family plans in place? Do we have food, water and other stores to last at least 72 hours? What about the safety of our pets? Are we prepared to work together with our neighbours in a state of emergency? The premise of the editorial was that if you don’t plan you’re destined to fail.

Apart from the sage advice on how to prepare for disasters such as flooding, earthquake, fire, etc., it was the insight of the headline that continued to engage me. It seemed that I had heard something like it before butwhere did it come from? Delving into the computer I found that apparently Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century was the original author of the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and two centuries later, during World War II, Winston Churchill paraphrased Franklin and said. “He who fails to plan, plans to fail”.

While gathering together the articles for this particular issue of The Professional Advisory, and with the thoughts of the “fail to plan” editorial still rumbling through my mind, I suddenly realized that this is whatevery issue of The Professional Advisory is all about. To help dentists plan their practices – and their lives – so they don’t fail. And it’s so evident within the pages of this particular issue.

Take David Chong Yen’s “E Is For Exemption”. Failing to incorporate in order to take advantage of the lifetime capital gains exemption at the time of a practice sale could cost many thousands of dollars. Likewise, David Rosenthal’s “Associate Agreements – Part I” outlines that the failure of Principals and Associates to enter into (plan) proper written associateagreements only leads to “their peril”. In “How Well Do You Know Your Practice?” Colin Ross sets out 14 questions dentists should be asking themselves as they analyze, evaluate and make changes (plan) for a more profitable practice. In dealing with “Retail Premises for the Dental Clinic” Ian Toms points out the basis of all planning for location is to “Use common sense. Choose a location within a development that will give you the highest new patient traffic flow”. In his “Dentists With $6,000,000 Portfolios” Mark McNulty interestingly deals with the consistencies that nine of his clients use to achieve that remarkable six million dollar level. Again, their basic goal was planning notto fail. Ron Weintraub introduces his “Key Times To Step Back and Review Practice Success” by warning that dentists “Often overlook the big picture: the evaluation of where we are relative to our long term objectives.” Isn’t this planning not to fail? In Simon Kay’s “Questions About Insurance You Were Too Afraid to Ask” he concludes that the bottom line is that implementing long term disability and business overhead expense without discussing what life would  look like if you were disabled will not serve you well. Surely you would fail.

There’s certainly no doubt that Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill and anyone else in their reference to “fail to plan” are right on the mark. And we are particularly grateful to the contributors of the The Professional Advisory for their continuing efforts in reminding the entire dental community that When You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail. PA