If you have reached that point in your career where you are contemplating the transition of your practice to a new owner… congratulations! While planning for this significant life event, please consider the following recommendations:
1. Maintain the “Status Quo!”
It’s only natural to “slow down” a bit in practice once one has reached that nirvana of the business cycle called “peak productivity,” but beware that restricting the services you offer to procedures you enjoy (while farming out endo, oral surgery, and pedo, for example) will not only reduce your practice profitability, but will also make your practice less desirable to a potential purchaser. Keep doing that which made you successful!
2. Know your Numbers!!
It has long been a pet peeve of mine that dentists rely on an accountant to provide them with a profit and loss statement when they could know so much more about their practice by utilizing an operating statement. Simply stated, tracking one’s true expenses on a monthly basis (practice-related, owner-compensation, and discretionary) empowers the practice owner to make informed business decisions based upon real information!
3. Stay current!!
While location and profitability hugely impact the attractiveness of your practice to a potential purchaser, don’t overlook the need to maintain the quality of your facility. Not only will a fresh coat of paint brighten your office, but, if you’re not utilizing digital x-ray technology with work stations in each operatory, your potential list of buyers will be greatly reduced!
4. Get professional help!
Dentists are incredibly bright and capable people whose careers have generally been impacted by many major accomplishments, but selling one’s practice is not a “DIY” opportunity! Do your homework, and establish a relationship with one of the many capable, available transition specialists.
5. Engage your Spouse!
Not only is transition to retirement a topic that must be discussed with your spouse, but – if your spouse does not work with you – he or she must have knowledge of, and access to, your user IDs and passwords, as well as all practice accounts!! Additionally, it is critically important to have at least identified a potential practice broker, or to have had a practice appraisal completed several years in advance of your sale. An untimely death prior to the successful transition of your practice places an undue burden upon your loved ones during a time of grief, and can adversely impact both the value of, and the potential for, the sale of your practice.
6. Adjust to “Life After Doctor!”
Having long been the “Captain of the Ship,” some practitioners are reluctant to “let go!” Embrace your retirement with satisfaction and joy! Spend time with your loved ones, simplify your life, and remember to let stuff go! The practice you left is no longer your responsibility!!
The successful transition of your practice to its new owner won’t happen overnight, and requires much time, effort, and planning. Completing your transition, however, continues your practice legacy, ensures that your patient family acquires professional services from a hand-picked successor, gives you the potential opportunity to serve as a mentor, and adds a significant deposit to your retirement account! Good luck!
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“Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snow, lies the seed,
that with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose.”