An often overlooked aspect when selling your practice are the psychological factors that come into play during the transaction process. In this discussion adapted from the Webinar Should I Stay or Should I Go, expert panelist Daryan Angle (VP IRIS The Visual Group) discusses the emotional journey of selling your practice.
The process of selling a practice is definitely an emotional experience with lots of ups and downs. When you get into the actual sales process you go through a range of emotions. There’s the stress of running your practice at the same time going through a sale process, and the questions that come up with regards to financial evaluation or diligence. They can be confusing, and you can get frustrated. You may think that things aren’t going to happen, and you can have low points.
It’s important to recognize that that’s going to happen no matter how stoic you are and how a logical thinker you might feel you are. We are all humans and we are driven by our emotional centers as a real way of making decisions and taking action.
What are the solutions? Have a trusted advisor, somebody who’s been there before who can fill in some of the more technical questions and be a buffer, walk you through certain things, and give you a better perspective on the whole process as it goes forward. It has to be someone you trust, it could be your CPA, or your broker, or someone else that knows the space.
You must set realistic expectations, and retain some flexibility. The sales process is not black and white, and things change based on information on the buyer’s side. It certainly can be helpful to be open with the buyer, so if you are feeling like something isn’t going right, or your point is not really being made, it is beneficial to be open with the buyer so that you can come to a resolution. Before you wind up being partners with your buyer, you want to make sure that you are able to air everything that gives you some apprehension. Part of the discussion during the sale can surround what the practice is going to look like post-transaction.
In addition, now that you are free of all the administration you used to have as an owner, you are going to have some free time in your life and you need to have a vision for where you are going to spend that time. That will make the post-transactional life more smooth and you may have less feelings of grief or loss due to the changes that have occurred.
Lastly, support the integration plan. Whenever there is a transition of ownership, the seller is goingto be a crucial part of that transfer of trust for the team, for the employees, and for the suppliers. As the seller, they are all going to look to the cues of the former owner as to whether they are going to accept the new owner and what they want to do. Being part of the integration plan in a meaningful way will not only help the transitional goal for the buyer, but it actually helps you emotionally because it allows you to go through a smooth transition as a cheerleader in the process.