The “emotional” chiropractic practice sale is not an uncommon one. Chiropractors who have been in practice for decades get progressively tired of managing their business, hiring new employees, keeping up with insurance changes and sometimes even, taking care of patients. Some of these DC’s eventually get to a breaking point where they just want to throw in the towel and retire. Others have great dreams and just want to get hurry up and get on with them.
Unfortunately, the “rush to retire” scenarios most often lead to a sale based on emotions and typically result in a very disappointing transition.
The obvious problem is that most DC’s will retire and need to transition their chiropractic business at some point. But the not-so-easy-nor-obvious solution is that we must avoid doing so when in emotions are high and good decision making is low.
When I speak with chiropractors who are ready to transition their practice, here are a few questions I routinely ask them to prevent the mistake of the emotional sale.
- What’s changed? Taken from the most basic viewpoint, what’s changed that made them want to go to the office yesterday, but not tomorrow or in the near future? Most owners indicate something has changed and the factors that are different are rarely positive. Sometimes the change does signal that it is time for the chiropractor to sell and move on. Other times, the factors at play are problems that could be solved and would produce many more years of enjoyable practice.
- Why now? After we’ve discussed “why” the chiropractor wants to sell (because of what’s changed), the next best question is often “why now.” Although there are certainly ebb and flows to the marketplace, market timing is rarely a great reason to sell in and of itself, because you also have to consider the timing in terms of your business and your life. So while there may be many bad answers to the “why now” question, the best answer and best time to sell is when you have made a strategic, unhurried decision that’s accompanied by a solid plan for your post chiropractic life.
- What’s next? Here there is no “right” answer, but there are certainly many wrong ones. In fact, all the wrong answers are variations upon the theme of “I don’t know.” In order to ensure the success of what you are retiring or transitioning “from” (chiropractic), you need to know the other half of the equation: what you are going “to!”
Even More Questions to Ask and Answers to Avoid
The reality of chiropractic retirement and transitions is that there are many questions to ask from multiple angles. There are also many answers to avoid because they lead to a disappointing sale or transition.
Have you thought about the “why’s” and the “what’s” when it comes to transitioning your chiropractic practice?
If not, you’ll need to ask them BEFORE you decide to leave so that you can establish a good plan…along with solid answers to these questions and more.
Done right, you will transition your chiropractic practice at the right time, for the right price and looking towards and exciting future that’s just right for you!
THE 4 BIG BASICS WILL BE ENOUGH
The good news is that you do not need your entire life planned out down to the day in order to exit properly. The basics will be enough. The three most important things to consider are:
— Timeframe: here a rough estimate works. Are you ready now, within the next year, the next couple years, 5 years or more?
— Financial Preparedness: how much money do you need to retire? If you’re there, then consider why you are not leaving now! If there’s a gap, then you may need to figure out if a practice sale would close the gap. If the gap cannot be closed with the sale alone, can a little extra work after the sale do it? If the gap is large, that may dictate you stay on for a while or find some other work.
— Post-Chiropractic Plans: what do you plan to do after you sell? Something to look forward to is great and helps you move towards the goal. Those with no clue move reluctantly, if at all.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Certainly, there’s much more to it than these three questions and 3 big basics. Join us for our Exit Essentials Webinar where we will help you ask more and better questions so that you can transition your practice for the best possible value!