When You Should Think About Selling Your Practice
There are many reasons why dental practices are put up for sale. Some of the more common reasons actually have little to do with the practice’s general performance. For example, many practice owners discover that they need to sell for health reasons or personal concerns, such as divorce or partnership issues. While a business downturn might prompt many dentists to sell, economic drivers are not the only issue. Owners may want and need to sell, but often it isn’t always that simple.
Many dentists are looking to retire but are unpleasantly surprised to learn that they simply can’t afford to do so. Still yet, many dentists don’t truly want to retire or sell, but instead, they just want more freedom in their lives. The day-to-day responsibilities of owning and operating a practice can take their toll. Many dentists are looking to make a change and would love to be free of this burden. This class of owner has already “checked out” mentally, and this can have profound negative consequences for their businesses.
When a dentist wants out but discovers that he or she simply can’t afford to sell or retire, it will come as no surprise that there is usually an accompanying drop off in enthusiasm. Ultimately, the vast majority of practice owners will start to lose focus. Often, we find that they stop investing the capital necessary to continue the growth of the business, which can trigger other events, such as the loss of key staff members and/or customers. The failure of the practice to maintain its footing and competitive advantage can lead to a more aggressive posture by existing competitors or even encourage a new competitor to move into the market.
In time, the practice owner may come face-to-face with the harsh realization that they have no choice but to sell if they are to salvage any of the practice’s value. The best way for a practice owner to safeguard against this situation is to sell when his or her practice is doing well, as this helps to ensure an optimal price.
Working with a practice broker, even years before one is interested in selling, is one of the single smartest moves any business owner can make. The time to think about selling your practice is now, as no dentist knows what life or the market will bring.