Transaction momentum…

on 19th August 2019

Lily Head looks at what you can do to stop a dental practice sale or acquisition from getting bogged down and delayed

Momentum is an interesting psychological construct. Remember the England rugby team’s performance at the 2015 Rugby World Cup? Here was a team which sadly had no momentum and could barely win a game. Eddie Jones then took the same group of players on an 18-game winning streak. Was momentum the missing ingredient?

The emotional phenomenon of momentum has been observed in many areas including political campaigns, investment in stock markets, in sports and in business. Indeed, momentum can occur in any situation in life where events follow in sequence. Some scientists argue that momentum cannot be ignored and that it is one of the keys to a successful outcome.

The sale and purchase process of a dental practice is a sequence of events, where maintaining momentum throughout the transaction process gives the best, most successful and most timely outcome.

Gain momentum

Here are my top five tips for creating and maintaining momentum.

1.  Have a clear vision of the outcome you want to achieve. Visualise those changes in circumstance and lifestyle which your sale will provide you and your family.

2. Focus on the positive. Focus on skills and strengths you have. Utilise the skills and experience of your wider dental team: your practice broker, accountant and solicitor.

3. Celebrate success. Reinforce wins. Celebrate the successes of the milestones in the journey. Accepting an offer or having your offer accepted, exchanging contracts, CQC procedures completed. Celebrate each step.

4.  Focus on the smaller number. You can measure progress by how much you’ve done or how much you still have left to do. You’ll be way more motivated if you focus on the smaller of two numbers. For example, focus on the three items you have already completed and not the 10 more things to do. Each new action feels even more impactful when compared to a smaller number.

5. Involve everyone you can. Mass creates momentum. If your sale encounters the odd obstacle along the way it may be slowed. The more experienced and motivated your team of practice agent, solicitor and accountant, the less impact these obstacles have.

Transaction fatigue

Any significant transaction like the sale / purchase of a dental practice can be time consuming, expensive and involve more paperwork than expected. It is likely that at some point either or both parties reach a point in the process where they just want the process to be finished.

Have you heard of ‘transaction fatigue’? Well trust me, it exists! Make no mistake, buying or selling a dental practice is a journey, and from the hundreds of clients that I have worked with, both buyers and sellers, everyone has said it was well worth the effort.

Transaction fatigue is when tiredness kicks in, when numerous details and questions need answering, and just one more question seems just too much. This can make a once appealing deal lose its gloss. Sometimes buyers or sellers just want the transaction process to stop.

Buyers and sellers must recognise the complexity and necessity of the process, and then commit to invest in it, remembering the goals and limitations of all the individuals involved. You don’t want to accept a deal which is not right for you or walk away from a good deal simply because of fatigue.

Managable and doable

‘Selling a practice is like selling a house but way more involved, in my experience. It starts out really exciting, then several weeks down the line, the shine goes and it gets dull. Then several more weeks later, it gets tiring. If it was to drag on for many more months, then it could drive a person crazy! When I was selling one of my practices, Lily and her team checked in on me every few days during the process. At each check in, the next steps were identified, planned and then completed by the time of the next check in. The process became like clockwork and manageable in easy, doable-sized chunks of work. My best advice is work with a super competent team that you really like, so that you can have this journey with great, fun people who are a pleasure to be around.’  Dr Andrea Ubhi, director of Andrea Ubhi Dentistry


Lily Head

Lily is a specialist dental practice broker and is managing director of Lily Head Practice Sales, founding the business in 2010.  Lily is highly experienced and has been in the health sector business sales for 14 years, having helped hundreds of dentists to fulfil their business ambitions.


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