Towards the beginning and the end of a year, chiropractors frequently spend a little more time thinking about goals. Perhaps you want to increase income in your practice, lose weight, develop deeper relationships or have more fun. Whatever your target, you’ve undoubtedly heard or experienced the importance of establishing goals.
When it comes to creating a plan to transition your chiropractic business, it really is no different. Regardless of whether you plan to sell your chiropractic practice soon (as in THIS year), begin the transition to your associate or prepping yourself for the journey, it’s critical that you spend some time planning for the process and setting milestones just as you would any other goal.
Sadly, this is not the reality for most small business owners, especially chiropractors. We procrastinate the plans, ignore our present circumstances (and sometimes even our opportunities as well) and in general, put off the inevitable for as long as possible. And, worse, a percentage of docs each year find out exactly what “as long as possible” is for them.
For these unfortunate souls, this life came to an end, their ability to practice stopped sooner than anticipated, their business slowed to an undesirable crawl or they simply ran out of steam and, they are left with a virtually valueless entity to sell or shut down.
Ask Hard Questions Now to Benefit Later
In my book, The Ultimate Chiropractic Exit Strategy, I mention that there are really three core questions you need to answer to begin the journey towards your transition:
- How much money do you need when you exit to support the lifestyle you desire? Do you want to be cashed out when you leave the business, or are you willing to receive the purchase price over time, or do you need to combine both a sale and some work to get your goals?
2. When do you want to leave practice? Or, how much longer are you willing to remain at the same practice schedule and for how much longer could you go at a reduced schedule?
3. To whom do you want to sell or transition your chiropractic practice? (Do you already have a child, an associate or prospect to transition to? Or will you have to find one?
If you can begin with answering just these three questions, you at least have the start of a plan. It’s not much, but believe it or not, it’s more than most chiropractors have.
The Mystery Factor
Once you go down this road, you will inevitably get stuck or stalled at what I like to call the “mystery factor.” Although there are a lot of unknowns that may be in your future, one actually has the ability to really sabotage even the best laid plans.
It is simply: how much is your chiropractic practice worth?
If you have even a ballpark idea of that answer, then you can know how much money you may need to keep saving or you may discover you are financially ready to go now. A “price-tag” on your practice can also help you determine how long you must keep going, the options you have – in other words, a lot.
I’m not trying to say that your exit planning is all about money. But the value of your practice is a big part as is your present financial preparedness.
Starting Your Transition Goals
Fortunately, these are not figures that you cannot begin to calculate now. In fact, let me challenge you to “go a little deeper” on your goal setting for this year and to include some wrestling with the three questions above (as well as The Mystery Factor).
If you prefer to leave your practice on your terms then you must take time to formulate specific, consistent, attainable goals and form a course of action to get there!
Need some MORE assistance? Check out our upcoming Exit Essentials WEBINAR to help you get some strategies towards planning for your practice sale or transition — sooner than later!