You have put your blood, sweat and tears into building your practice and you have now made the difficult decision to sell. Maybe you’re retiring, perhaps you’re moving, or considering a new business venture. Whatever the reason, you want to make your practice as attractive as possible for potential buyers to secure top dollar for your biggest emotional and financial investment.
Just as if you were selling your home, you want those considering your practice to picture themselves working and succeeding in the space. With dentist offices popping up on every corner, there is increased competition for attention from both patients and prospective buyers.
How do you break through the noise?
It was that very question that got me thinking about how marketing and branding can play an invaluable role in the transition process for all practice owners. Here are my recommendations to help you “stage” your practice and boost the current value prior to placing on the market:
Selling a dental practice typically doesn’t happen overnight, so creating a plan and preparing the business should take place well in advance. Not only does this allow you to avoid panic decisions, but it helps spread the financial investment over multiple months and possibly years.
It is easier to sell a thriving practice than a dying practice, and buyers will be less interested in one with a steady decrease in patients and revenue. Stay active, stay connected and stay busy… in fact, now is time to pick up the pace. Keep marketing, keep inviting new patients into the practice, and keep looking for referrals. A potential buyer will want to see your bottom line numbers and will notice if you checked out early.
With a few easy marketing tools, you can revitalize your new patient marketing push. Even a well-established practice can benefit from a consistent community presence. A quarterly mailer to households within a 2km radius of your office will keep you top-of-mind with potential patients. Regular exposure to your brand and name increases the likelihood of turning a community member into a patient.
While transparency and honesty are critical for a successful practice, don’t share your news too early with patients. When your decision is announced, there will likely be patient attrition. Keeping lines of communication open will be critical to minimize patient loss during the transition. Start communication early with regular
e-newsletters, sharing important dental and clinic news.
LOOK AT YOUR BRAND.
Your brand is more than just a logo. It should be the entire ethos of your business. Does your office have a professional name and a logo that conveys the right message? Do you have a mission statement that your team knows and strives toward each day? Are they the right tools that can help you eventually sell?
For example, if you are currently branded as “Dr. John Smith,” you should consider re-naming your practice to something more generic and easily adoptable by the purchasing dentist. Switching to a name like “ABC Dental” allows for a smoother transition and helps the purchaser avoid immediate marketing expenses to re-brand inside and out. It also allows current and new patients to connect with the business even after you are gone.
GOOGLE YOUR PRACTICE.
It is amazing in today’s day and age how many dental offices don’t have a website. We like to say that not everyone will take interest in your website, but everyone will notice if you don’t have one. It’s the foundation to all marketing and while it doesn’t have to be fancy, it should be thoughtful and create the right first impression. Updating your Google listing and growing your reviews all contribute to building your online credibility. Plus, spend some time having your website optimized for search engines… after all, what good is a website if they can’t find it?
IT TAKES A VILLAGE.
Surround yourself with people you trust. When you have built a business from the ground up, it can be hard to stay objective. Family, friends, industry consultants and experts can provide valuable advice in the areas of finance, tax laws, appraisal, real estate and marketing. Together they can help you create an exit strategy that delivers the most success with the least amount of stress.
Branding and marketing are two tools that you can’t afford to ignore when you’re looking ahead to sell your practice. Aside from addressing the aesthetics of the business, they are the activities that will bring the most into your business, making it more attractive to potential buyers. With some simple steps, you can keep your business thriving, even in times of transition.
To get your dental practice ready for sale requires experience and vision… our Vitamin D Marketing & Design team has both. We would be honoured to help you uncover the best your dental practice has to offer. We have the experience and the ideas to help you succeed… let’s talk!