As a Dental Consultant and Business Owner for over 16 years, nothing scares me more than a dental practice without a transition plan. So, when a new client informs me they have never even thought about selling their practice and have no emergency plan in place, I have a few questions for them.
1. What would happen if you became immediately disabled or worse?
2. Does your significant other, associate or business manager have the tools to produce dentistry without you?
3. Who is authorized to make business decisions and deliver patient care in the worst-case scenario that you are no longer able?
Or, maybe you reach a time when you’re ready to put down the drill and pick up a nice, cold margarita, but come to find there’s no way your current finances will allow it.
That’s where a transition plan comes in. Set your future-self up for success by planning now for the life you want later.
Every Practice Will Transition At Some Point
A transition plan should be in place when you buy a business. It is inevitable that at some point EVERY business will transition; not only dental businesses. Some transitions happen as planned, while others happen because of injury, illness or death. It is your choice whether you will participate by being proactive or reactive!
Transitions come in many forms, from adding an associate or additional location to hitting retirement and selling your practice. The goal, however, is always the same: be prepared before it happens. A sure-fire way I make a transition easy for my clients is by providing them with a detailed checklist. Why? Because checklists are proven to work.
A step-by-step transition plan allows you to control the change by:
- Ensuring continued care for current patients in the practice
- Keeping cash flow in the business to cover expenses
- Creating a clear timeline of events for all parties involved
- Decreasing the amount of stress for everyone
Selling A Practice Is A Lot Like Selling A House
When buying a house, you might consider the growth of your family, the need to have an in-home office, recreation space, outdoor living space that would be contiguous with your living style. All or some of these factors would set the stage for the houses you might consider. In most cases, you would not buy a house and later decide to add 2 bedrooms because your family has increased. You wouldn’t add a basement to an existing house so you could add recreation space. By reverse-engineering the process and planning for the future you want, you can narrow your search and find the perfect house. Transition plans really aren’t all that different.
When Selling A Practice, Start With The End Goal In Mind
Generally, that end-goal is for your practice, patients and employees to continue thriving, even after you have comfortably retired. So, how do you make this happen? First things first: make sure all business matters are in line for the purchase of the practice. Just like you wouldn’t buy furniture for a home without knowing the layout, a buyer is not going to invest in a practice that does not have all its ducks in a row. Equally important is readying your team and patients for the transition and have to plan for how you and the new owner are going to ease your patients into the transition.
A Transition Checklist Is Your Ticket to Stress-Free Retirement
Having a checklist for transitioning your practice will not only maximize the effectiveness but also minimize the possibility of missing an important part of the process while reducing stress for EVERYONE involved.
I have witnessed countless doctors go from being stressed and unsure of the future of their practice to easing into retirement with the security with the help of a streamlined transition plan, and you can be one of them. Selling your practice does not have to be a daunting task! Wanna make it even easier on yourself? Contact me and I’ll give you some guidance.
Not ready to retire? Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming checklist on adding an associate and/or location!