Should practice acquisition be the goal of all dental practice owners?

So, you are considering expanding your dental practice.  One of the options available is to acquire a second practice (or more). Is this right for you?

Successfully managing multiple practices brings new challenges and requires different skills to operating a single site. Of course, multiple practices offer the opportunity for cost savings, synergies and creation of a ‘brand’ which can be easier to market, as well as the consequential opportunity to increase profits and, ultimately, goodwill and an exit value.

When considering expansion, you must ask yourself a number of questions. Firstly, if you manage as well as ‘doing the day job’, will you be able to continue to do both roles within a larger practice? Inevitably you will have to delegate either or both of the management function or the surgery time. What do you prefer to do? Without delegating, you can easily become frustrated, micromanaging multiple sites and cutting into your family and personal time.

You must also consider HR aspects. Maintaining a happy and cohesive workforce across multiple offices is not easy, and will require greater communication as well as operational HR services, including payroll, training and general compliance. Of course, there is also the need to manage multiple buildings, ensuring regulations are complied with, modernisation can be carried out and associates, staff and patients are comfortable and happy.

Operationally, there will be a need to integrate practice management software so patient data and financial and NHS contract contractual performance can be accurately tracked in one place, rather than through individual sites.

However, if you are willing and motivated to take on this challenge, the benefits can be immense. But, once everything is organised and you have oversight over the enlarged practice, cost savings through buying power, an increase in private patients who prefer a more ‘corporate’ offering and increased performance through integration and management enhancements can lead to significant revenue increase and practice value.

 

This article first appeared in Modern Dentist magazine.

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