There is an interesting paradox in the world of business mergers and acquisitions surrounding the marketing of an individual company. While there is a need to “get the word out”, there is also a proven loss of value often attributed to “the word getting out”. We recognize a further conundrum in that the entire market we serve contains about 3500 dentists, which by any standard would be the population of a small town. We all know that if you live in a small town and buy a new Corvette on Friday, everyone will know about it by Monday. If you are considering self-promoting the sale of your practice, be prepared to accept that in a short time, everyone in town, including us, will know your business.
The very nature of relationships with vendors, students, study club members, dental schools and even organized dentistry is about networking and not confidentiality. For example, the unintended consequences of conversations with dental students (who we have repeatedly said are likely not buyers) who have conversations with other students and “advisors”, who then themselves have other spin-off conversations may well result in your staff finding out through the back door that you are trying to make them someone else’s employees. That may well result in an awkward Monday morning confrontation. Worse yet, staff members have been known to take matters into their own hands and seek other employment. Premature exposure of your intentions to transition your practice can have a significant impact on its marketability and value. To be blunt, it proves to the market that you don’t know what you’re doing.
One of the top five reasons we are retained by clients to market and transition their practice is our control of confidentiality. By way of agreements and vetting of buyer prospects, we control the flow of information and intrusions into the practice so that when the seller makes the announcement of their intentions, everyone is the first to know. While we aren’t naïve enough to believe that no one ever knows something they shouldn’t, we are confident that very few outside the circle of “need to know” ever know.
By the way – we recently produced a small brochure on the hazards of the “For Sale by Owner” option. Give me a call. I’ll be sure you get one.
Steve Wolff, DDS, UMKC Class of ‘77