Transition planning starts sooner than you think

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The transition out of clinical dentistry is on the horizon for all dentists. Some will practice longer than others, but the day comes when we all hang up the handpiece. Stopping clinical care and selling the practice may sound the same, but they are two very different movements with different dynamics. If you stay in your clinical mindset, you will miss the entrepreneurial perspective that influences the success of your transition. You can stop cutting preps tomorrow, but you can’t build a stellar brand, reputation, and team overnight.

Most dentists have a vague vision of their transition plans. Homeowners who capture maximum appraisal value, protect their legacy, and enjoy entering the next phase of life begin their exit plan years in advance. With an eye on the future, you can tune your sail to get exactly where you aim. Consider refining these four elements for a drive sale that maximizes your profit and joy.

Build a brand buyers want

Brand power carries weight with today’s consumers, and we can learn from well-known companies. Amazon, Uber, and FedEx bring instant name recognition, and they all use a cross-platform marketing approach that can be applied to healthcare. Big brands tell their stories by integrating user-optimized websites, digital convenience tools, social media campaigns, email marketing, paid search, sponsorships, and more. to develop a coherent strategy. We can do the same in our communities.

Effective digital marketing requires a multi-faceted approach that weaves a story through the complex consumer landscape. Today’s young dentists, mostly millennials, recognize and appreciate authentic brands. Focusing on building a strong dental brand pays dividends when it’s time to list your practice.

Refine your business

Many dentists find clinical procedures less daunting than managerial tasks, but practices require a full set of business skills. In many organizations, you’ll find a CEO, CFO, and CMO with interconnected systems and support staff. But dentists fill every role in their practices while restoring implants and placing composites. Most buyers expect to find a well-run business with a clear vision, organization, systems, and financial management.

A systematic approach to small business development helps impress the type of buyer you want to attract. Like anything of value, your practice framework takes time to develop and personalize. A potential buyer should find at their fingertips a written vision, flowchart, critical patient systems and metrics notebook. Figures that keep overhead at or below targets attract buyers.


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Cultivate a team culture

Dentistry is about relationships, and employees are your first customers. A loyal team that believes in your mission is more valuable than any technology. As a leader, you are responsible for developing a culture that gives the best a reason to stay. In my practice, we have focused on two big ideas: deliver exceptional patient experiences and leave fulfilled as a team on a daily basis. The strength of our team created an environment that my associate said underscored his desire to stay and own the business.

A transparent culture that values ​​everyone’s contributions and ideas sets the tone for a future transition. When the time approaches, a well-defined plan that honors patients and staff helps turn a stressful experience into an opportunity for growth and excitement. A well-executed transition can lead to a brand’s next upward trajectory. But a failed practice change will see patients and teams walk away.

Design your life plan

Some dentists want to practice until they can’t anymore, and others want to explore other interests. I began planning my transition from dentistry in 2011. I found an associate and created a partnership that led to a full sale, and at age 53, I now serve my colleagues as a coach and strategist. But my father practiced for almost 50 years; we all have different visions.

The best exit plans involve a team of trusted advisors who help you piece together complex pieces for a seamless transition from practice ownership to your next goals. Investments and savings are important, but it’s best to formulate a tax-efficient income replacement plan several years in advance. If there’s a move in your future, some real estate purchases may make sense sooner rather than later. If you plan to develop new career interests, working on some of them before you retire builds momentum. A trusted team helps you take the right action at the right time.

Anticipate and imagine the possibilities

Over the past two years, many dentists have reassessed their goals. Most will continue to practice, but others will adjust their career paths and retirement plans. Regardless of the year, young buyers or corporations are looking for well-run practices that show profit potential. By focusing on branding, organization, culture, and overall planning, you can realize the return on investment you deserve after caring for patients for many years. With a consistent plan, the legacy you leave will reverberate for future generations.

It’s never too early to consider your next move; life does not slow down and the future usually arrives before we are ready. Comprehensive resources provided by trusted advisors can help with branding and marketing, financial planning, organizing the practice, and communicating changes to patients and staff.

Start now and discover how much more your practice can mean after you’re gone. Whether you stay and care for patients part-time or leave and work on your to-do list, a transition can set the stage for the best in life.


Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the September 2022 print edition of Dental economy magazine. Dentists in North America can take advantage of a free print subscription. Register here.

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