Transition Time: Do it on your own?

March 20, 2014
Transitioning is not any different in that if you get an advisor who's experienced and understands your goals, the process is that much more efficient.

By Lisa White

Do you want to hire someone to sell your practice for you, or is this a task you can tackle alone? How do you know what to do?

Ask yourself these questions to learn if you should go it alone or enlist the help of a professional:

  1. Do I have the time to spend to find the right buyer?
  2. Do I know what my practice is worth or do I just want to "get what I can"?
  3. Do I have a team of trusted advisors to help me through this?
  4. Can I get my practice closed and transition out?
  5. How much do I want to spend?

Time -- Hopefully you are able to make more money practicing dentistry than looking for a potential buyer for your practice. Since you are adept at dentistry and probably not so much at transitions, it can be an overwhelming drain of time for your schedule. Finding the right fit for your practice is often not an easy task. Do you have the time and know-how for this process to remain confidential? If you have a specialty practice, the issue of confidentiality is even more important and can make finding the right buyer and the process that much more difficult.

What's your practice worth? -- Unless you've hired a professional to appraise your practice, you probably don't know what it's worth. Having a reputable and experienced valuation completed by someone who understands the market for your practice is often necessary for the purchaser to get funding from the bank. As a seller you should expect to be paid up front for your practice, and a professional appraisal of your practice will help with this goal. It would be sad for you to ask X amount for your practice when it is really worth Y.

Trusted advisors are key -- Hopefully you have a team that you trust and have used over the years. Transitioning is not any different in that if you get an advisor who's experienced and understands your goals, the process is that much more efficient. The difference here is that you are probably calling around to people you don't know to try to figure out who could help you transition your practice as opposed to building a relationship over the years. Anyone who wants to help you with your transition should have a list of satisfied referrals that you can contact.

Can I close and transition out? -- It's always fun to work with sellers who have tried to sell their practice on their own for a while. These sellers either haven't been able to find a buyer, or they have found a buyer (or even a few!) but they were never able to close the deal. There are many steps to getting a practice closed. If you aren't aware of what the next step is, the deal often falls apart.

If you use a professional who transitions practices regularly, you will head down the path toward closing in a methodical way so that when the unexpected happens the professional can guide you to the next step. Each and every practice transition is unique; however, the more transitions you have been involved with, the easier it is to anticipate what the next step will be and to get the practice to close. Just like that first procedure in dental school that seemed daunting, it is second nature for the professional.

Cost -- Navigating your transition on your own doesn't always mean you will save money. There are too many major issues that can get overlooked and cost you significantly more than hiring a transition consultant. Know what your costs are and the advice you're receiving for those fees.

Before moving forward with selling your practice, you should consider these questions and their related impact. For some, the answer is still to do-it-yourself. After all, it's nice to do things on your own. But there are some things that cost us more to do on our own, and we aren't able to get results that the professionals do, and those things should be left to the professionals.

Lisa White is the president of Radman, White & Associates, Inc., a transition firm solely focused on transitioning endodontic practices. She has lectured at the AAE and many of the endodontic residency programs. She is the national endodontic representative for ADS and serves on the ADS Marketing Committee. She can be reached at [email protected] or 888- 419-5590 ext. 972.

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