Transition Types — One Size Does Not Fit All

It’s sometimes a secret that we, in fact, can do just about any type of transition. Before undertaking the challenge though, the viability must be determined for each of the parties involved.

Here is a Very Common Scenario:
A senior doctor has been practicing in a location for about 30 years. When he started, he joined the office as an associate and eventually bought the practice. Since then, he has worked solo, living comfortably and keeping the overhead “low.” The practice is a golden opportunity for a fresh, new dentist and generally, what the senior doctor is looking for is the transition that he experienced when he started, specifically, finding an associate to come in, earn their keep, bide their time and take the reins on the day that the senior doctor decides to retire. The senior doctor wants somebody in the office who is young, willing to learn and looking for the opportunity to shadow. They remember when they started, when sweat equity was just that, and expect that since their practice has not changed much since then, that it is still a viable way to transition.

Does this actually work today?
Without proper analysis, there is no feasible way to tell for sure. Without looking at the most obvious issues, including office size, staffing and new patient flow, it is impossible to know if an associate could be adequately supported. Is the production of the practice sufficient enough to support two doctors? Is the staff willing to adapt to another doctor? Is the senior doctor able to mentor and relinquish some patients and responsibility? Will patients accept a new doctor?

Can They Transition to Fill Your Shoes?
Possibly the most important consideration is that the junior doctor will be coming in with previously unheard of debt. In a world where $150,000 in debt is considered low, ‘sweat equity’ takes on an entirely different definition.

Every opportunity is a golden opportunity for the right doctor. What is most important is finding the right transition structure for yours. Without a professional analysis, how can anybody tell you anything specific? You cannot diagnose and develop a treatment plan for dentistry without looking in a patient’s mouth.

Transitions can take on many forms and we have seen most of them. Why ‘most’? Because the next phone call will probably bring something new to adapt to and include in the progressive realm of practice transitions. Keep in mind that dental practice transition strategies start the day a practice begins. Managing that practice as it evolves will allow for smoother and more profitable transitions.