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a blog by Chris Barrow

A tale of two sales

Yesterday I spoke to two dentists, one of whom cannot sell her practice (no buyers after multiple listings) and the other deciding whether to accept a disappointing offer from a corporate.

Why does the first dentist want to sell?

Work/life balance (as it's known, although I thought the opposite of life was death).

She wants more time off to tick her bucket list.

Why is the first dentist struggling to sell?

  • She generates most of the sales herself;

  • The practice has 2 chairs but with little opportunity to expand;

  • In rented premises.

Option 1 - drop the price for a fire sale;

Option 2 - be patient and wait for the right buyer to come along - any time in the next 4 years (that's the longest I've ever seen a lifestyle business take to sell);

Option 3 - take the time off anyway (in which case the goodwill value will drop to the fire sale price anyway).

I've left her to think about that. My own opinion would be to carry on and pay a little more attention to time off, but leave the "for sale" sign up in case a young dentist(s) want to use her location as a first rung on the ownership ladder, because they want to raise their kids in the post code.

Why does the second dentist want to sell?

Because of FOMO - he is concerned that the offer (even though disappointing - low cash value, long earn-out, high uplift target) might be the best her ever gets.

I asked him if this was a distress sale - divorce, tax, debt, litigation, exasperation, exhaustion - and the answer was a resounding "no" - he still enjoys the job.

Option 1- sell. Hope you hit the earn out targets. No regrets - don't look back. No FOMO in a few years when goodwill values climb back again.

Option 2 - don't sell. Carry on in control. Build the business.

This time my advice was direct - don't sell - keep on because you love the craic.

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