What Makes a Buyer Qualified?

Finding a qualified buyer for your practice can be a bit like searching for the Holy Grail—you want to make sure that the person stepping into ownership of the practice you built is someone you feel comfortable leaving your legacy.

Before you sell, consider what makes a potential buyer qualified.

Is the buyer a dentist?

This is a given, but it must be included in the list because it is one of the most important things to consider when selling your practice. You’ll need to know more than the potential buyer’s degree. Take note of their specialty, the number of years they’ve been practicing, and the amount of experience they bring to the practice.

Is the buyer a recent graduate? Have they put in decades of work in another practice before deciding to buy their own? Do they specialize in the same area as you?

Is the buyer financed?

Common sense dictates that a buyer will obtain financing before approaching a seller, however, that’s not always the case. There are numerous commercial real estate cases where the buyer puts the cart before the horse, committing to the purchase of a practice before their financing has been authorized.

A qualified buyer will have preapproval in hand before beginning their search for a practice to buy. Preapproval means they’ve already jumped through most of the red tape and credit check hoops, which means you have less paperwork and hassle after you accept their offer.

Is the buyer keeping your staff?

Your staff has likely become part of your family, and you consider them to be an important part of your life.

If the buyer wants to buy the property, they need to consider your staff as part of the deal. Unless previously stated in the purchase documentation, your staff stays with the practice. This means the buyer isn’t just buying a building and an inventory, he is committing to keep the practice running smoothly and profitably.

Before signing on the dotted line, invite the buyer to meet with your staff. Watch how they interact with them, look for any push back from your staff, and make sure that the match (between the potential buyer and your staff) feels right.

Ask they staff what they think about the buyer, and be sure to take what they say into consideration when choosing a final buyer.

Does the buyer have a good reputation in the community?

A good way to gauge if a buyer is right for your practice is to check online to see what their patients are saying about them.

If they are purchasing your practice, they are also acquiring your patients. You want to make sure that the people you’ve treated over the years continue to receive the same, or higher, level of care.

If the reviews or ratings online foreshadow a poor level of care, consider another buyer.

This list of qualifications isn’t a ruler by which to measure your potential buyers, it is more a guidebook for what to consider when selling your practice. If you’d like more information about what to expect from buyers or what to expect from the dental practice transition process, contact our transition specialists.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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4 Important Tips for Letting Go of Your Dental Staff

Letting go of your staff can be a difficult issue.

Let’s be honest, we live in a very litigious society, and while this may not be a huge hassle for big corporations with huge budgets, for small business owners it can be an absolute minefield.

If you are not careful with how you handle certain situations, you can unfortunately, be held liable for a number of legal violations, which can negatively impact the health of your business.

Whether you are looking to sell your practice or not, a healthy ecology between staff members is vital for maintaining consistent revenue. This is why in some instances, though it may be difficult, you may need to fire a member of your staff for the good of the practice as a whole.

Here are some practices to follow if you want to handle the situation carefully and to ensure you don’t end up in a legal battle further down the road.

Don’t rush into the decision

Firing someone on instinct and emotion is never good for any party involved. Before you decide to let a member of your staff go, take a second to consider all the factors.

For example, what are the repercussions of firing this person on your daily operations, your staff and your reputation in the community? Is this person’s behavior detrimental to the long-term health of the practice? Do you need to make a larger point to your staff members?

Taking a moment to think things through and not act on impulse will help you make the right decision.

Consult a lawyer

Before letting go of any members of your staff, consult with a lawyer so you are crystal clear on the rights of both parties in the given situation. Remember that it’s not necessarily what has happened that is important when it comes to a court of law, it’s what can be proven, so you need to be careful.

Give adequate warning

Both the person who is being let go and other members of staff will look for consistency in your behavior. If there have been ample warnings about their behavior or incompetence, then they’re much less likely to view your actions as inconsistent and it won’t compromise your trust as a leader. Often it is not the firing that causes people to retaliate negatively, it is the shock or feelings of injustice.

Keep in mind that if you fire a member of staff unexpectedly, this will cause anxiety amongst other members of staff. They might begin to wonder if the same could happen to them, and an anxious working environment is a lot harder to run than a relaxed and friendly one.

Conduct the final meeting with dignity

 No one likes to be fired, but even more so than that, no one likes to be disrespected. Make sure the meeting you have in which you notify the employee of their termination is done at an appropriate time and in an appropriate place. Don’t rush the meeting, schedule it in advance and give it ample time, and when you’re explaining your decision do so clearly and focus on the facts – highlight the overall mission of the practice, and not your personal opinion or feelings towards that person.

Letting go of staff can be a difficult task. Make sure you don’t get caught with legal issues that can damage the value and profitability of your practice by following the above protocol.

Have you had any experience with having to let dental staff go? Let us know in the comments.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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NAPB Brokers How to improve scheduling in your dental practice - Flickr CC, Credit Marco Bunovino

How to Improve Scheduling in Your Dental Practice

Scheduling is a key a part of any successful dental practice.

If your practice were a vehicle, your schedule would be the oil that lubricates the engine and keeps things running smoothly.

Because an organized schedule is fundamental, making improvements to streamline your processes should be the first thing you consider before investing in any new technology, continuing education, or clinical skills.

The effectiveness of the scheduling system that you have in place is based on a clinical team that is organized and self-aware. Remember, a well-managed clinic is a valuable clinic, particularly if you are looking to sell.

Here are some tips to improve the scheduling system in your dental practice.

Track your workdays

Although it may be easier to simply estimate how much time you spend on daily activities, tracking your time accurately can save time and money in the long run. Most dentists will find that after they track their days, they have completely underestimated or overestimated how long it’s taken to do certain tasks.

Spend a couple of weeks encouraging your employees to keep a journal of how many hours they worked and what tasks they worked on within this time frame.

From the responses you get, you can then begin to project production relative to annual goals that you set.

Make use of bunching

Bunching means organizing your schedule so similar tasks can be done around the same time. This ensures that you don’t have to completely change a room for one procedure, only to change it back for another later on in the day.

Make sure your administrative staff is aware of the most effective way to group appointments for your practice.

Promote and track hygiene appointments

Many dentists simply use hygiene appointments as last minute a way to fill in gaps in their schedule.

A more effective way to use them is to reach out to your clients directly, promoting hygiene appointments and organizing them well ahead of time so you know that you don’t have to generate leads at the last minute.

Prevent empty appointments

Empty appointments are one of the most frustrating parts of a dental schedule, and when they are frequent, they can be terrible for your profits.

Here are three quick ways to limit the number of empty appointments.

  • Ensure a 48 hours notice and broken appointment fee
  • Make it easy for clients to reschedule
  • Send a friendly message to clients when someone cancels. Something like “our schedule has recently changed and we immediately thought you might be interested in pushing your appointment forward.”

How have you improved the schedule of your dental practice?

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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Tips To Market Your Practice for Back To School

The start of the new school year is an incredibly busy time for parents.

As they get ready to get back into the swing of things, it can be difficult to get everything organized.

For the busy parent, it often feels like there is too much to do and too little time. They might get an itchy feeling that there’s something more that needs to be done.

Fortunately, this presents an opportune time for you to offer your dental services.

If you are looking to add value to your practice through increased efforts targeting kids and parents during this time of year, there are some pretty simple but effective ways to do so.

Here are five different ways you can market your practice for back to school specials.

Step up your social media efforts. Creating useful blog content and promoting back to school services through your social media channels is the quickest way to remind families of your practice. Though parents will be busy and it will be hard to grab their attention, there is one thing that you can be sure of – if they have social media, they will be on it. However, new changes in the algorithms to platforms such as Facebook and Instagram mean that parents won’t always catch your posts so don’t be afraid to post frequently!

Print a physical leaflet. Emails are a great way to offer discounts, but there is something to be said about leaflets. Creating something with color that will likely be left on a table at home could showcase your services to other families who have similar aged kids.

Request patient referrals. Many dentists are a little shy about asking for referrals directly, but if you have made sure that your patient has had a positive experience, they will be more than happy to recommend you. This is because they know that they’re doing a favor for their friends, who understand the stresses that come with taking children to the dentist.

Create and promote special offers. A lot of parents know that going back to school is a time when they have to spend money. Books, clothes, haircuts, these are all things that add up and can put a certain strain on some families. This is why during this time they’ll be more conscious of saving money and they may be more attracted to the idea of a discount.

Send out an email newsletter. Remind families of your services and let them know that you have back to school offers available by sending out an email newsletter. The letter can include brushing, flossing and nutrition tips, while simultaneously generating leads to fill your appointment calendar.

Whether you are looking to hold on to your practice or are even considering selling, showcasing a variety of ways to generate profit throughout the year is always an effective way to demonstrate value to a prospective buyer.

Have you had any experience marketing back to school specials? Let us know in the comments.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale


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.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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Effective Networking for Dentists

Networking is an important part of building your business, whether you are just starting out or are looking at selling your dental practice.

Here are some simple steps on how and where to effectively network for your dental practice:

  1. Apply to local chapters of professional organizations. If you’re able to join the organization in a leadership role this is even better. It will help to establish you as an authority in your field and as a respected leader in the community.
  2. Join your local community networking groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and other service and community-based groups.
  3. Don’t discount business networking groups, such as Business Networking International (BNI). These groups are designed to provide referrals for their members as a requirement for participation. Additionally, many of these groups only allow one person per industry so you would be the only dental provider in your group with a full team of people working to provide you with referrals on a weekly basis.
  4. Always have your business cards on hand to share with new people you meet, even if you’re just going out to a dinner with friends. You never know who you may meet.
  5. Approach every new contact with a positive attitude. People quickly learn if you’re only interested in promoting yourself and will likely not engage if they feel you are only there to do self-promotion.
  6. Get involved in community events. If there are opportunities to set up booths or tables at community health fairs or festivals, take advantage of these opportunities. It will get your name out in the community and establish a sense of goodwill.
  7. Don’t discount social media networking. Sites like LinkedIn are great resources for professionals to network and could lead you to a prospective buyer if you’re going to be selling your dental practice in the near future. If you’re just starting out, it can help you network with other dental professionals around the country and learn from their experiences and possibly receive referrals from them. It can also provide you with opportunities to participate in exclusive events for your profession.

With these tips, you can effectively network and build your professional contact list as well as your customer referral base.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale


How to Stop Conflict within a Dental Practice

In a perfect dental practice, there would never be any conflict. This means there would be no arguments, no bickering, and jobs would get done without tension and without friction.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for your team to see eye to eye all the time.

It’s important, however, for you as a practice manager, to ensure that any arguments that do come up don’t get out of hand.

Remember that the number one thing to consider is that conflict doesn’t get in the way of your patient care, because if the quality of your practice starts to slip, your profits will go along with it.

Whether you are looking to sell, or to hold on to your business for a while, a dental team with less conflict will mean a more enjoyable work environment and a more profitable business.

Here are three ways to stop and prevent conflict in your dental practice

  1. Ensure that everyone has a voice.

To keep conflict to a minimum, make sure there is a platform for everyone to express his or her opinion. It’s almost always going to be the case that the louder members of your staff are more vocal than the quieter ones, but you can prevent any tensions from brewing by offering a platform for more introverted individuals to be heard.

This may be best addressed in a weekly meeting, or just by personally asking them what they think of specific things within the practice.

  1. Focus attention on common goals.

If your staff has a common goal that they are working towards, they’re far less likely to argue. In fact, in a best-case scenario, you can get them to band together and form bonds as a team.

Try setting objectives and timelines for your team to adhere to, with creative incentives that motivate them to work together.

  1. Be a leader.

Leading means a few things. First, you need to be prepared to step up and deal with the conflict head on when it arises. This means being objective and willing to put the good of the business in front of any personal connections you may have with staff.

It also means taking definitive actions without hesitation and being willing to deal with any backlash from employees.

Finally, being a leader means knowing when to cut your losses, so if someone is not good for the longevity of the practice as a whole, you’ll have to cut them.

Office conflict may seem normal, but it can have a devastating impact on the quality of your business operations and the value of your practice. Try implementing these tips today and see the positive impact that they can have on the nature of your practice.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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Dental practice valuation NAPB 4 Tips to Ensure Your Dental Practice Runs Smoothly credit Naomi Pncher Flickr

4 Tips to Ensure Your Dental Practice Runs Smoothly

When your dental practice is running smoothly, your job will tend to be a lot more enjoyable.

You’ll be able to provide your patients the best possible service, you’ll approach the work with more energy, and you will be able to stay a lot more focused.

Unfortunately, when the management side of things isn’t going so well, the opposite tends to occur. The quality of your work tends to slip, you’re not going to be as profitable and it’s a lot more likely that you will experience stress.

A practice that is effective is profitable both in the short term and in the long term if you are looking to sell.

What follows are four simple ways you can make sure that the operations of your business are running smoothly and successfully.

  1. Hire a professional to manage your cash flow and billing

While we understand that if you own a practice you may want complete control over your finances, it is usually a lot more effective if you hire an accountant. This not only means managing your cash flow and automating your billing solutions but knowing when it’s possible and worthwhile to offer financial help to clients.

  1. Take your inventory seriously

Inventory management is an essential, yet often overlooked skill for dentists.

Make sure that you have systems in place so that you always have the appropriate products on hand and that you are not spending unnecessary cash on inventory that never gets used.

  1. Automate your marketing

Marketing is vital for every dental practice and can ensure you are bringing in consistent leads. However, without experience – and trial and error – it’s difficult to know where to best focus your attention.

Once you’ve determined a strategy that you know is effective, either by experimenting yourself or bringing in outside help, you should look to automate the process as much as possible, freeing up your time for other work related endeavours.

  1. Maintain organization in your exam rooms

This can be something that you dental assistants help you with, but initially, this requires training on your part.

Consider using mobile units to keep tools for any given procedure within reach.

Running your dental practice smoothly will keep your headaches to a minimum and your profits coming in.

What tips have helped you run a smooth and successful dental practice?

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale


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.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale


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.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale