Information abounds on ways for a dentist to prepare for retirement. Topics most often include complex tax strategies, pensions, investments, savings, the sale or lease of commercial property, and how to structure Associate agreements, just to name a few. While all are important to a successful retirement plan, let’s take a look at five other easy and affordable “hidden gem” retirement strategies for dentists who one day – maybe soon – plan to sell their practice and retire.
1. Social Media
Like it or not, and many dentists have not yet embraced it, social media is here to stay, and can be a valuable asset in the sale of your practice. If your practice is not active on social media, now is the time to start. Facebook and LinkedIn are the favorites, but there are others you should consider as well, including Google Plus, Twitter and Instagram.
Aim to update these regularly, with information that is interesting and interactive. Having an active social media presence will make your dental office much more inviting to potential buyers, as it shows that your marketing is current and top-of-mind with new and existing patients. If you’re new to social media, or just want to find out more, I recommend you spend some time at MySocialPractice.com.
2. Practice Website
A good dental practice website is vital to adding value to your practice. ‘Good’ meaning:
- Up-to-date bios on the dentist and the team. Potential patients will visit the dentist’s bio page before any other page on the website. Don’t disappoint the mom who is looking for you!
- Full of up-to-date content and educational materials.
- Access to online forms.
- The ability to contact the office, via email or text.
- Current with the world according to Google, eg, mobile-friendly, and written and designed for optimal, organic search engine results. (This is a vast topic in itself, and there are loads of good resources available to help. Start with your own website host if you don’t have a web-savvy person on staff. Because dentists often get caught up in the “I want to be #1 on Google” mindset, I also recommend you read: Don’t get fooled: 17 questions to ask before hiring an SEO company)
Remember, in a transition such as the sale of a practice, a good website serves as an ‘anchor’ for the new owner, who knows it represents the practice well in the community, and can function as a means to communicate about the transition plans for the practice. Make sure you can hand yours over with confidence.
3. Dental Warranty
An average dental practice that offers Dental Warranty to its patients can expect to generate between $10,000 and $40,000 in additional profit each year. When included in the sale, this means existing patients are covered under the retiring doctor’s Dental Warranty plan, and the new doctor does not need to worry about paying for any revision or replacement of the work the retiring dentist completed. Because it’s natural for patients to wonder what will happen when ‘their doctor’ retires, this is an excellent way to reassure them that their oral health remains a priority with the new owner. The result - peace of mind for all!
4. Community Involvement
As important as social media has become, it is not a substitute for community involvement, like participating in the ADA’s annual Give Kids A Smile Day, or Children’s Health Month. There are loads of opportunities for you and your team to give back to your community which add long-term value to your practice.
- Go to your local elementary school(s) and talk about dental care and good oral health.
- Take part in wellness walks and runs, or other health-oriented events.
- Hold fun days in your practice and provide learning activities and entertainment for the whole family.
- Sponsor local teams, like Little League, soccer, hockey – whatever is popular in your community.
Remember, we all want to interact with people we like and trust. By engaging with potential new patients as a fellow community member, you make it far easier for them to choose your practice, and bring their family and friends with them! Potential new owners will take note of this, and thank you for the ‘head start’ when they take over your practice.
5. Employee satisfaction
New hires are costly, running in the tens of thousands to train, not to mention all the other adjustments that come along with adding a new member to your team. From a practice sale perspective, do not dismiss the importance of reducing employee turnover by providing your staff not only with solid benefits, but with a workplace where they feel valued, appreciated and eager to help a new owner succeed.
Whatever your retirement plan, use these 5 easy and affordable value-adding options to help you sleep easy, knowing your practice is retirement ready!