Although the right time to transition out of your dental practice is different for each dentist, the time of year does have an impact. Dental transition trends point to an increase in buyer demand early in the year.
If your retirement funds are in order and you’re ready to retire, January may be an ideal time to list your dental practice for sale. Much of the sale price is determined by goodwill, so you know practice value matters. What shape is yours in? Read on for four strategies to quickly increase the value of your dental practice.
We assume that your dental practice has a website that’s modern, user-friendly, and promotes a positive, welcoming image of your practice. If you don’t … this is where to start. A strong online presence will help you reach new patients and interact with existing ones. Plus, your website is the source of information you’re posting on social media.
Speaking of social media, your practice should be active on at least Facebook. It’s the second most popular site for online reviews (more on those next), behind Google. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular sites for businesses, too. Keep your social media accounts updated at least once or twice a week. Your website’s search results will increase and you’ve given new patients an easy way to find you.
As to online reviews, a single negative review, if you handle it poorly, can cost you up to 20 percent of potential patients. Most people look for the negative reviews first when they research a company, so monitoring and responding to online reviews of your dental practice is important.
Investing a few hours a week in your website and social media is all you need to stand out and make a positive impression online.
Look around your reception area and hallways. Is your practice modern, clean, and inviting? Or are the colors and carpet faded, the chairs worn, and the wall décor from another decade? Read our previous post on why redesigning your office can help with practice sales.
If you’re short on time, money, or both, new paint, lighting, and wall decorations can go a long way.
Potential buyers want to know that you have a plan for reaching new patients and growing the practice. Your business plan doesn’t need to be a three- or five-year plan. Instead, include your plans on how you’ll bring in more referrals, how to work with existing employers and insurance companies to recruit new patients, and your plan for external advertising and marketing.
The Bottom Line
There are a few steps you can take in the short-term to improve your bottom line. Reevaluate contracts with suppliers, software providers, labs, and utilities such as phone service and internet. Sometimes, your current plan is more than you need, or you may be able to negotiate a better rate with just a friendly phone call.
Other Ways to Increase Practice Value
Beyond the short-term ways to increase practice value, some things can only be done well over a long period of time. Here are some areas to think about if you’re more than a year away from selling your dental practice:
- Invest in your staff so the new owner has a team who is cross-trained and well-educated
- Raise fees to increase profitability – this isn’t a short-term improvement, as drastic and sudden fee increases can scare off current and new patients
- Review overhead costs and adjust accordingly
- Clean up books and records
Although we do recommend that dentists start planning at least two years out from a potential sale, when time isn’t on your side, these strategies can help get you the most out of your upcoming sale. Wherever you are in the transition process, we can help make the process easier and less stressful. Contact our dental transitions experts with any questions.