Andy Acton of Frank Taylor and Associates recently led the keynote speech at the Start Up in Dentistry event, and was able to share his insights of, and experience in, the entire practice buying process with the attendees.
“Well before the ink is dry on any contract, before a client has even started looking at potential practices and before even rough affordability and/or loan calculations are done I always advise clients to consider if buying a practice is what they really want” says Andy.
“Owning a practice can be hard work. As in any walk of life, there will be days when things go wrong, and you are left thinking to yourself why on earth you wanted to own a practice. It’s important to have the resilience, commitment and motivation to withstand those days and soldier on. On the plus side of course, there will be a great many days when it is hugely rewarding, where you can see you are really helping and making a difference both for your patients and your team.”
“It’s always important people go into the process with their ‘eyes open’”, Andy emphasises. “It would be wrong for them to look at ownership through rose tinted spectacles, and it would be just as wrong for us at FTA to allow a client to see things that way as we wouldn’t be serving their best interests. For most people it will be the biggest financial decision of their lives and we want to ensure our clients are happy with the way they have approached it and considered all angles”.
“That’s why it’s key to understand the motivations for owning a practice”, continues Andy, “you’d be surprised at some of the reasons, ‘’a status symbol’’, ‘’my friends and dental school peers have one’’, ‘‘I was told to’’ are some of the answers we’ve had. Fortunately, the vast majority are much clearer in their rationale, with the opportunity to help patients, build and develop a strong team, to be in control of their own destiny and provide a much-needed level of care and support to those who need it are at the forefront of many people’s thinking.”
“Once we’re certain that a client is in it for the right reasons, and aware they are investing a lot in the process, not just in terms of time but naturally financially (and most likely emotionally too!) we can really start the planning. This is crucial as we gather information on geographic areas, practice types, prices and affordability amongst other factors. For some clients they are ready to go with a clear and realistic vision, for others we may need to ‘test the waters’, consider a number of options and gather more information before narrowing the search field down or may need to take further steps before they can make their dream purchase.”
“The one thing we advise all clients”, Andy concludes, “is that once a decision has been made about the strategy, then to take positive action towards it without delay. There is nothing to be gained from procrastinating, when Benjamin Franklin said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”, he really could have been talking about the process of buying your own practice!”