My Most and Least Prepared Clients Ever

I’m going to do a little preaching to the choir today and talk about preparedness. The thing is, because you’re subscribed to this newsletter, I already know this is important to you.

But let’s make sure you know just how important it is.

The difference between being prepared or not is the difference in how much stress you’ll go through in your transition process. (I often talk about networking with “gray-haired dentists”; don’t become one of them before your time.)

Let me tell you about two clients. Both true stories, one bad, one good.

Doctor 1 – “Tim”

I’ll call the first one Dr Tim. Tim came to me, not with a practice he wanted to buy, but with a simple (but timid) statement: “I think I need to buy a practice.”

Tim knew it was the next step in his career, but knew nothing about how to go about making that happen. I gave him a few pointers and some resources about how to find a practice to buy, and he went on his way. A year later, he came back with a potential practice, and … it was terrible. But Tim had no idea how to tell that. I gave him a few more resources so he could try again, and the pattern continued.

And so on and so forth. Tim eventually bought a practice, but he was riddled with doubt, insecurity, and TONS of stress the entire way through the process. And when I followed up with him a few months after the purchase? Well, let’s just say that buying the practice turned out to be the easy part!

Now, let me be clear, I don’t mind answering clients’ questions—in fact, I really enjoy it! I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t enjoy helping people through their transition to ownership. It’s not for my sake that I bring this up (well okay, maybe a bit) but for yours. The level of stress Tim went through, I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Doctor 2 – “Alice”

Dr Alice came to me without a specific practice in mind, just like Tim. But she had been building her network for some time, and just wanted to get my opinion on whether there was anything more she could be doing. She had read my book and listened to a couple seasons of my podcast, but not only that, she had found some other resources out there to help give her direction. (Am I partial to my own stuff? Ha, of course! But it’s not all that’s out there!)

So in my first conversation with Alice, we got to drill down into some advice specific to her situation. She eventually found a great practice, and I helped her through the purchase process. Every step along the way, she had questions, just like Tim, but they were more like confirmation questions than flailing ones.

“I know overhead should be below 61%, and this one is at about 64%. Is that a huge red flag?” In the case of this practice it wasn’t, and we were able to contextualize that number to understand why. We did the same thing with payroll, procedure mix, and so on.

It’s not that her purchase was easy, per se, but Alice’s level of confidence, her sense that she at least knew the rough outline of the process, meant that her stress levels were way down compared to Tim’s. And that continued to be the case even after she bought the practice. She knew there were resources out there to help her, and she took full advantage.

(Oh, by the way, care to guess which of them was making more money a year into ownership? I’m betting you guessed right.)

I put out a TON of free information about what I do, what I look for in a practice, and so on. Am I giving away the farm? Nope! I’m not worried that dentists would go through a transition alone, because that continues to be a foolish idea. I put these resources out there because I know how stressful this process is, and I don’t want you to be a victim of that.

So when I encourage you to buy a copy of my book, it’s not to make me rich. (In fact, I only break even on it, barely.) And that’s certainly not true of my free podcast. These are genuine offers to help.

And when you do come to me with a practice you think you might want to buy, and you’ve prepared yourself? You’ll do it with excitement, not dread or stress. We’ll actually have a good time together in the process!