Is Selling Your Practice the Right Decision?

Selling your dental practice can be a stressful and complicated decision. How will you know if it’s the right time to sell? Consider the following:

Are You Ready to Retire?

Once you sell your dental practice, your income stream no longer exists and your pension has to take on the income role. It should be able to support your lifestyle until you reach the age of 90. Remember, you need to factor in inflation and a bit extra for comfort. You’ve worked hard, you’ve had a long career, you need to ensure complete financial freedom before you sell your practice.

You No Longer Want to Practice Dentistry

If you no longer want to practice dentistry, this could be the right time to sell your practice but not if your pension isn’t fully funded.

Consider how easy it is for dentists to experience burn out and whether you have been taking care of yourself. If you lose the drive to practice, it may be worthwhile to take a short break before making any major decisions.

After decades of practicing dentistry, you may have a desire to pursue a new career. You may find this new excitement has replaced the drive you used to feel for dentistry. If this is the case, it may be time to sell your dental practice.

Some dentists develop a dislike for the industry, because of experiences they may have had. They may feel unsupported or powerless to make changes happen. Again, this approach is not advisable unless your pension is fully funded.

Speak to Professionals

Selling your practice is not something that should be done on a whim. Before making a major decision like that, it is advisable to speak to a dental transition professional to give you a practice valuation and help you with a plan.

Ultimately, the sale of your practice is a long term goal that should be planned as far in advance as possible. Considering the sale of your dental practice over a long period can maximize your sale price and profit if it is well timed.


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Creating a Dental Practice Brand

It’s no secret: the world we live in is highly competitive, and the people in it are extremely visually aware. It’s therefore critical to develop a strong and consistent brand for your dental practice. But just how do you do that? And what constitutes a strong dental practice brand in the first place?

To begin, your brand is the sum of all the experiences a patient has when interacting with your dental practice. From the way you answer the phone, to your location, to the décor, and the level of dental care received (plus many more factors), all contribute to your brand.

What is Your Differentiating Factor?

Potential patients may be faced with many different options when choosing a dental practitioner. What makes your dental practice extra special, and why should that patient select you?

Do some market research. How are competitor practices branding themselves? Do you see any patterns in terms of graphics, colors, or slogans? What can you introduce to your brand that will set you apart?

Dig deeper into your target audience. Consider the factors that motivate their behavior, including their likes and dislikes. Build the brand that will appeal to your audience.

Where Can You Add Value?

Have you ever heard of perceived value? Perceived value is achieved when a brand has a strong presence or brand awareness. Because of this heightened awareness, people are willing to pay more for a product or service. This is why people are more willing to buy a brand name product over a similar, less expensive store brand even if the products look the same and are composed of similar ingredients.

Consider where you can add value to your patient experiences, and how you can customize the experience for each individual.

Don’t Forget Your Internal Branding

While patients engage with and experience your dental practice brand, so too do your staff. The team that patients engage with also needs to adhere with your brand vision, and become brand ambassadors when dealing with your patients.

Take The Answers and Get Visual

Now that you have thought about your dental practice and how you want it to operate, you can start to consider how you can enhance that visually, through the development of a logo. Which colors will support your brand vision? Will you introduce a graphic or a font-based logo?

If your plan is to build an enduring brand, it is worthwhile investing in a high quality logo; particularly if you want it to last for the next 20 or 30 years. Once you decide on the logo, be sure to have a style guide compiled, so you can lay down the rules for engaging with your brand graphically/visually.

Effective Brand Placement

For your brand to be truly effective, it should be highly visible where your desired target audience is likely to see it. Consider different channels: print media, digital, social, and broadcast, but also remember that in order for your marketing and advertising to be effective, it needs to be consistent and you need to retain a presence across those channels.

NAPB specializes in bringing dental practice buyers and sellers together. If you need assistance to create more perceived value or with a branding strategy to see you through a transition.


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Why You Should Sell Your Dental Practice?

As you probably already know… timing is crucial when selling your practice. But, how do you know when it’s the right time? Let’s take a look at the reasons why selling your practice is a good idea to make sure you’re totally on board.

You No Longer Want to Practice Dentistry

After years of commitment to the profession, some dentists find their interests are distracted by other avenues. If dentistry is no longer your passion and you do not have the desire to help people anymore, your efforts may be better directed to other pursuits. When you realize your heart is no longer in your work, it may be time to sell your practice.

You Are Ready to Retire

When you reach retirement age and no longer have the steam to take you through long days, it may be time to part with your practice. This should only happen when you have achieved real financial freedom and have a comfortable pension that can take care of your financial needs.

You Are Emotionally Comfortable Leaving the Practice

Selling your practice will certainly affect your daily life. You will no longer be able to chat with six different people every day. You will not have the management and financial pressures that go along with it. The bottom line is that a major change in your routine requires careful planning in order to make your transition as stress-free as possible.

Ask yourself: what will you do once you sell your practice? How will you motivate yourself everyday? What will you do with your free time?

You Have a Physical or Mental Impairment

In the event that you become physically or mentally impaired, selling your practice is a responsible choice that could benefit you and your patients. Some dentists decide it’s the right time when some kind of impairment affects their ability to perform their work to their existing standards.

You Want to Leave the Profession

You may not like your industry and its players. You may feel jaded by dealing with the same kinds of issues over a long period of time. Some dentists become demotivated with their profession, in which case, the responsible choice is to sell their practice and pursue other interests.


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Ways to Prepare Your Staff for Your Transition

If you’re selling your dental practice and you’ve put a lot of effort into building your dream team, it’s important to put your staff at ease before and during the transitional period. Don’t wait to let them know that you’re selling your practice and that a few changes may occur within the office once the transition takes place. Here are five quick tips to prepare your staff for your dental practice transition:

Don’t Skirt Around the Transition

Address your staff on an individual basis, with regard to the impending change. Be direct about the sale, your reasons for selling and praise each staff member’s contribution to the practice. Acknowledge the important role each person plays and state that you would like them to continue to perform this role.

Acknowledge that the new owner will not necessarily follow the same systems that you did, and prepare the staff mentally for the transition by giving a heads-up on what they can expect.

Develop a Transition Strategy

The sale will not happen overnight, it will take some time to prepare. Similarly, each staff member should be given enough time to prepare mentally for the changes. Create milestones in the transition strategy for when certain changes need to be made.

Be Involved

The hand-over process requires your involvement. Your staff need an introduction to the new owner, some insight into what he or she will bring to the practice. If the new owner has your endorsement, your staff are more likely to be accepting. You have led the practice to that point; you can also lead the staff effectively through the transition process.

Make it Clear That You Have Protection Measures in Place to Look After Your Staff

For most staff members, their job security and remuneration packages may be a source of stress. Let your team know you are batting for them and that you have arranged for their earnings to increase of remain the same.

Get Everyone On the Same Page

The transition is a branding decision and all stakeholders should be given, and give out, the same story. Each staff member should be briefed on what to say to patients who ask about the change, and they should all be relaying the same information.


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NAPB Dental Practice Broker 3 Important Points to Keep In Mind When Rebranding Your Dental Office - Source Flickr CC, Credit Wurlitzer Heart

3 Important Points to Keep In Mind When Rebranding Your Dental Office

Markets and trends change, and eventually, there comes a time when your dental practice may need to be rebranded.

If you have an established practice, you may just want to update your image. For example, maybe your logo needs a redesign, perhaps you’ve recently purchased a practice, or maybe you have a partner that has moved on. In these scenarios, you may want to let your community know of the changes that have been made to your practice.

Here are 3 important points to keep in mind when rebranding your dental practice.

  1. Invest in a high-quality logo

A modern image can bring you thousands of dollars in revenue in the long term, so it’s not unreasonable to invest in a high-quality logo. It’s important to strive for something that will be iconic and memorable.

To save money there are dozens of websites that offer professional graphic designers at affordable prices – for a crowdsourcing or freelancer networks you can look to something like Coworks. Your logo is the moniker everyone will associate with your business and reputation so consulting with a trusted experienced brand marketing agency first to at least understand your options and take advantage of their associations is most advised.

One option is to have two or three alternative logos and show them to your clients via social media or in person in the office. Ask them which they prefer and they’ll be happy to be involved in the process.

  1. Recognize the importance of oral health on the rest of the body

The world is slowly but surely becoming more accustomed to the idea of a holistic approach to medicine. Long gone are the days when dental procedures were performed by barbers.

Unfortunately, poor oral hygiene can cause problems with digestion, inflammation, and even brain function. Patients want to know about the systemic impact of their dental health on the rest of their body, so ensure all of your staff are knowledgeable enough to answer any questions they may have.

This also means working with patients to suggest when they should see a physician, should you see signs of potential illnesses such as diabetes, allergies, or sinus issues.

  1. Double check that your branding is consistent in all areas

This seems like something that would be pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many practices fail to make sure this is the case.

It may be a signature at the end of an email, a twitter handle or some old business cards, but typically something is forgotten in the transition. This may not seem like a big deal but can cause a lot of confusion if prospective clients come across a now defunct brand and think that your dental office is under new management or has moved.

Whether you are looking to hold on to your practice for years to come, or potentially sell in the near future, rebranding can bring your dental practice a lot of value.


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Transition Dos and Don’ts

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, a dental practice transition can be highly stressful and complex if you don’t manage it through a broker. To help demystify the process and ease you into a seamless transition, we’ve selected our top tips to let you know the dos and don’t of a successful practice transition.

Do Separate the Emotional and Financial Aspects of Your Decision

Sure, you may have put a lot of yourself into your practice and you may have mixed emotions over your decision to sell, but you don’t let your emotions dominate your decision-making.

Don’t Forget the Tax Implications

The lump sum that an interested party has offered you may look very attractive at face value, but have you considered tax costs? While you can’t negotiate how much tax you pay, you can structure your sale price more attractively to compensate.

Do Look for Assistance

Dental practice brokers help dental practices make the transition. So why do it alone?

It’s also important to mention that each sale has its own complexities and special needs that you need to consider. Perhaps an outright sale and hand-over is not ideal for your particular circumstance.

Do Have a Plan and Embrace Team Work

Follow a strategic approach, have a checklist and document each step of the process. Seek advice from a broker, your attorney and your accountant so you know you have all of your bases covered. Having the right collaborative team will ease much of the stress involved with a practice transition.

Do Brief Your Team and Ease Your Staff into The Transition

Your staff may be mature, responsible and capable but you can’t assume they will all just slip into their new roles as if nothing has happened. Use your finely honed chair-side manner to prepare your staff for the change, and get their support.

Do Vet Your Transition Expert

Selling your practice is a big deal. Look into the credentials and experience of the transition broker you want to hire. If you don’t know where to start, ask your colleagues for referrals. Compile a list and interview people, just as you would if you were filling a position in your practice.


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6 Phone Tips for Closing Prospective Patients

Keeping regular dental patients coming in the door is a matter of having a proven and reliable sales funnel in place.

Whether your clients are coming from direct mail, personal referrals, or by way of the Internet – at some point you’ll need to speak to them either on the phone or in person. If you’re looking to sell or hand over your practice you will need to establish a solid sales funnel to prove to a buyer that your business model is sustainable.

When receiving a call from a client, make sure you and your staff are pushing for appointments and not simply going through the motions or passively answering questions.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when speaking to prospective clients on the phone.

Set an intention. Make sure you have a goal from the call, whether it’s for the client to set a date to call back that week or to get them to agree to an appointment.

Be knowledgeable. Answer any questions your patient has with complete confidence. People come to a dentist to get their teeth cleaned but they also want to be as comfortable as possible, and they need to have confidence in you in order to feel reassured about their care.

Spend enough time building rapport. You don’t need a master’s degree in communications to be able to understand the basics of building rapport. For the most part, it is a matter of developing empathy and general interest in your patients. One thing you can do is to start the conversation with a question. Simply ask them how their family or work is going – if they are a returning patient, try and get into the habit of picking up the conversation where it left off last time.

Make sure you answer all questions. Always finish the call by asking if they have any more concerns. Not everyone will speak up on the phone. They may think the question they have is silly even if it’s completely valid. It’s up to you to get it out of them.

Give them instructions about what they need to do next. Let them know when you’ll be in touch or when they need to be in touch, and exactly what they need to do if they have a procedure coming up. Also, always make sure to follow up with an email or a text so they don’t push your conversation to the back of their mind.

Have you trained your staff in best communications practices? Are there any tips we’ve missed out? Let us know in the comments!


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What Dentists Should Look for in a Financial Advisor

As an owner of a dental practice your financial needs are unique. It’s a good idea for any professional in any business to have a financial advisor help them maximize their earnings to keep the money they have earned safe. There are a few things that separate your financial needs from other professionals, so it’s important to work with a financial advisor that knows how dental practice operates, how to value a dental practice, and how to address your unique set of circumstances.

Here are some of the most important things to look for when searching for a financial advisor:

  1. Make sure your financial advisor has worked with other dentists. The more, the better. You want an advisor who has already experienced the financial patterns of a dental practice and knows what dentists need, from the time they begin practicing until they get ready to make a dental practice transition. There are many areas that a general financial advisor has no understanding of when it comes to dental expenses and income.
  2. Find out how your financial advisor gets paid. Do they earn their income through commissions on selling products for a larger company or do they earn based on fees paid by you? The commission earners will be biased toward a specific product and may not give you a full picture of what you can do with your money.
  3. What type of education and licenses does your financial advisor hold? Many companies provide “weekend workshops” allowing almost anyone with any background to become “certified” as a financial advisor. There are only two designations you want to look for – Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Financial Advisor (CFA).
  4. Look for a fiduciary planner. Someone that is licensed as a fiduciary has made a legal commitment to putting their client’s needs above their own. This is not something that just any financial advisor will necessarily have.
  5. Talk to other dentists that you know and respect. Who do they recommend? This may be your best source for locating the ideal financial planner for your dental practice and for your transition of that practice.

Picking the best financial advisor for your specific financial needs is one of the most important steps to peace and security for your future. If you’re considering selling your dental practice it’s a good idea to use the best financial advisor available to you. Likewise, if you’re just starting your dental practice and want to make sure your financial needs are met for the duration of your dental career, use this checklist to determine if the planner you are considering is the best for your situation.


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5 Ways to Start Your Day for Success

Preparing to sell a dental practice can be a stressful process, however, there are several things that you can do to start your day that will alleviate a little bit of the stress you may be feeling. These five habits are shared by many successful people and are guaranteed to get your day off to a great start.

Here are five ways to start your day off productively:

  1. Take time to meditate or have quiet time – Even taking 5-10 minutes when you first wake up in the morning to just be still will bring tremendous benefits to both your stress levels and your productivity at work. Don’t check your phone, don’t scroll through social media – just wake up, sit up and if possible move to a different room and soak up the quiet and stillness of the early morning. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and begin.
  2. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy – It can’t be said enough. Our bodies were not made to be still. By starting your day off with some movement, even something just as simple as a short walk, you have set your day up to be better. Exercise gets your endorphins (feel good hormones) moving through your body and will put you in a better mood the rest of the day.
  3. Write down your thoughts – Take another 10-minute chunk of your morning to write down all that is on your mind. This can be a list of things to do that day, a time to reflect on a personal challenge you’re facing or just free thought writing to clear the cobwebs before you start your day.
  4. Read something – Read a motivational or personal development book. Using another 10-minute block of time, read something that will keep you motivated and encouraged throughout the day.
  5. Eat a good breakfast – It’s true what they say. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat a healthy breakfast with a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to give you plenty of energy and mental clarity.

If you can do all five of these every morning, you will see amazing results including a reduction in your stress levels. However, even taking just one of the suggestions and doing it daily will have a positive impact on your day. These tips are especially valuable if you’re going through a dental practice transition.


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How to Know if You Are Ready to Sell Your Dental Practice

The truth about running a dental practice is that it can at times be very stressful. This causes many dentists to go into retirement before they are ready.

Problems may range from burnout to personal issues – and often once resolved, the dentist may be willing or even eager to get back to work.

However if you retire, and even sell your practice, too early – you may find that you’ve missed out on thousands of dollars of value.

In order to make sure that it is the right time, and that you are really ready to sell your dental practice, consider these questions below.

Are you financially free?

If you are looking to retire you should make sure you are financially ready to do so.

This means that you are comfortable enough to retire with the lifestyle that you want, regardless of if the sale goes well or not.

You want to be as accurate as possible when planning your future to make sure you don’t later have to settle for a lifestyle that is more frugal than what you’d expected – or that you even need to start working again.

Make sure you hire an expert to help you with the valuation process and to educate you as to other tax consequences. Remember that there are various state and federal regulations you have to meet in preparation for a dental practice transition.

Is the financial climate right?

Most dentists will unrealistically value their practice, and this is expected. If you have been working for years in the business, it’s likely that you will be optimistic about how much it is worth.

This can be more obvious in an economic down market where dentists may try to cling onto old valuations and expectations. The reality however, is that the value is only determined after the sale.

Regardless of what you believe a practice to be worth you need to hire an expert appraiser and have some interested buyers in order to be sure that you are going to get the kind of value you believe your practice is worth.

Do you have desire to pursue other interests?

Many dentists look to sell their practices and leave dentistry because they’re burnt out – but what they really need is a break, not a retirement.

If you are thinking about leaving dentistry, it is necessary that you have other specific interests in mind that you want to pursue. Otherwise, there is always the likelihood that once you spend some time away you will grow bored, get the itch to start working again and you won’t have a practice to return to.

If you are in a position to sell your dental practice, think of yourself as privileged. However, this is not a move to be taken lightly, so think thoroughly about whether you are really ready to sell your practice, or whether this just a period of stress or burnout, or whether other personal issues are in the way.


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