Selling your practice can be an overwhelming, emotional experience. There is a lot to determine even as you arrive at the decision to sell and well before you begin to undertake the process of selling. Following are some of the key considerations we feel are often overlooked by sellers prior to and throughout the sales effort;
1. Be Honest with Yourself… your practice has strengths and your practice has weaknesses. Identify each and be real about the potential value you are preparing to sell.
2. If Selling on Your Own… the best way to achieve fair market value is by courting a broad range of potential acquirers. So be prepared to market your sale, field inquiries, qualify buyers, and negotiate the terms… while maintaining your confidentiality and running your practice.
3. If Hiring a Broker… focus on the depth of service the broker offers and find out specifically how they are going to be involved in the sale. Platitudes of being the best or false statements of “all cash” sales are meaningless if you end up doing all the work.
4. Identify Priorities from Most Important to Least… often our priorities are in conflict, i.e. wanting a buyer that is the best fit and wanting “all cash” at closing. The best fitting buyer may not be willing to pay all cash. So figure out what is most important and manage your expectations accordingly.
5. Fit… finding a buyer that is a good fit for you, your clients, your staff and your practice is by far the first and best step in minimizing your risk.
6. Timing… plan to get into the market earlier than you may think. Sales we promote in August or earlier typically close prior to the next tax season. Thereafter, the odds of selling diminish.
7. Transition… in our opinion, you owe it to your clients to not only find them a good, new “home,” but also to help acclimate them to the new owner and environment. This, along with fit, is also going to minimize your risk in selling.
8. Put Yourself in the Other Party’s Shoes… having the ability to see the transaction from the buyer’s perspective is crucial when trying to arrive at a sale that works for both parties.
In our experience, putting some thought and effort into each of the considerations above will result in a much more successful sale.