Transitioning or selling your practice to another physician is much more than a business transaction—it’s a venture that requires extensive emotional trust. While we’ve provided extensive information before about the nuts and bolts involved in practice transition, we want to now focus on another aspect: how to protect your legacy. This will ensure that your patients equate your brand to a positive experience.
Protecting your legacy also means that you have prepared your family and yourself for the emotional impact of leaving a practice.
Consider These Aspects of Securing Your Legacy
- Be prepared for the long haul.
Nothing worthwhile happens overnight, and if you try to rush through the process, your frustration can transform a positive experience into a stressful one. In addition, remember that the economy may hit a few speed bumps, and it could be beneficial for you to wait before selling or transitioning your practice. Your practice advisor should be able to help you because they work with a team of experts who stay on top of the latest market trends.
- Leave on a positive note.
You want to be sure you leave your practice on good terms, not just with employees and patients, but with the physician who will be taking the helm. This means being upfront and honest with employees about upcoming changes. Give patients time to adjust to the new physician, and you should continue working for them while the transition is taking place. Your patients have been faithful to you all these years—make sure their last memory of you is a great one.
- Get your house in order.
Are you able to retire from practice? You may be surprised if you find you’re not doing as well financially as you’d like. Some physicians make the mistake of using practice income to pay for personal expenses such as a new house or car. Be sure you’ve been working with a reliable advisor who can help you prepare for the future—and start preparing long before you’re ready to transition your practice. This will not only provide emotional confidence, but it will also provide peace-of-mind without worrying that you’ll have to stay in the practice longer than you had originally planned.Also be aware that you’ll need to be sure your business is in order—leaving detailed policy and procedural manuals and ensuring that your books are in order will not only help you get a higher price for your practice, but it will gain respect from the incoming physician.
- Be realistic.
While a practice advisor can help you reach your goals, remember that there may be some minor compromises you need to make along the way. In addition, be sure you’ve decided what you are going to do after you leave the practice. Know yourself. If you’re going to retire, make plans for what you’d like to do, whether it’s engaging in a hobby or embarking upon a second career. Don’t look back on selling or transitioning your practice with regret.
- Let it go.
Once you leave the practice, leave the practice. Realize it is out of your hands, and don’t try to micromanage or tell the new owner what he or she should do instead. Doing so only creates tension. After you help ease the transition, sometimes a clean break is best emotionally for all parties involved. Be sure you’ve had permission to transfer all patient medical records as well.
Selling or transitioning a practice is about much more than dollars and cents—it’s about being sure you’re remembered in a way that brings credit to the brand that you have dedicated yourself to building over the years. These tips will help you deal with the emotions often involved in saying goodbye to your medical practice.