Project: Long-form blog posts for a firm specializing in helping veterinarians sell their practices.
Challenge: Convince the audience of the need to enlist expert assistance when selling a veterinary practice without boring the reader with dry financial information.
Solution: A laidback, humorous approach is used to make the article friendly, entertaining, and engaging. A lighter tone helps make the potentially intimidating subject matter more accessible and easy to digest.
Never Cut Your Own Hair and Other Rules for Vets
In life, there are a few rules everyone should live by.
Never cut your own hair. It may work out, but it’s much more likely you will end up stuck with unflattering results until it grows out. Similarly, never ink your own tattoo. Permanently marking yourself is a big enough commitment without also having to ensure you aren’t disfiguring yourself in the process.
In the business world, one should never do their own taxes. Corporate taxes are challenging to file and a minefield of missed deductions and incorrect calculations. The results of an inaccurate return could cost you dearly.
If you are a doctor, never treat your own family. It’s impossible to remain objective when your own child is injured and crying, and many a steely-eyed doctor has been reduced to a panicked parent in the face of their kid’s suffering. You want someone whose head is in the game.
As with any rule, there are exceptions. Maybe you are a hairstylist who feels completely confident cutting your own bangs. Perhaps you are a chartered accountant who knows the taxes rules inside and out. But for most of us, it is always best to avoid disappointment by engaging an expert.
Even Experts Need Experts
Selling your own veterinary practice is no different. A major transition like selling a practice needs to be done properly. It’s a game of poker, and the stakes are high.
The results of a poorly conducted sale can set you back both financially and in your career. It can take years to recover from a mishandled sale.
You don’t get a second chance at the transaction. You have one shot at doing it right and will have to live with the results for the rest of your days.
You want to maximize the returns. You have worked hard to build your practice, and you want to ensure stepping away does not involve leaving money on the examining table.
You need to have an objective eye to evaluate your assets and coordinate a transfer. It is very difficult to objectively assess the value of one’s own practice. It’s your baby, after all.
It’s possible you may think your practice is worth more than the market will bear and have a sale fail to materialize as a result. But it’s just as likely you are undervaluing your practice by not having a complete perspective on the broader market picture.
Conducting a vet clinic sale takes a lot of work. On average it takes a total of 1000 person-hours or six months of work to preorder, market, and close on a clinic sale. Preparing the company financials to present an attractive acquisition can take upwards of 80 hours alone.
Veterinary professionals are an intelligent breed and are very used to being the most capable person in the room. But the sale of a veterinary practice takes a very different skill set than clinical care or day-to-day management of a clinic. Knowledge is just as important as intellect. If they were not a trained vet, you wouldn’t let a Rhodes Scholar spay your cat, right?
Expert Advice Makes Everything Look Better
Should you sell your own clinic? If you have enough time to recover from a poor sale, if are the sort of person who can let go of the sting of having made a permanent mistake, if you are so wealthy you can afford to leave money on the table, and if you can be utterly dispassionate about the process, then yes. Go for it.
For the rest, however, engaging with an expert in veterinary practice transitions is the only sensible choice. Your bank account will look much better at the end of the process, and so will you.