Merging your dental practice with another practice often sounds good on paper. Theoretically, it will reduce competition, grow your patient base and production numbers, and improve your bottom line. In reality, though, not all mergers are the right choice. Like any major business transaction, it is important to think through whether it is right for your practice at this time and what you will need to do to make it successful. Here is what you need to know.
Once you find a practice you like, it is time to perform your due diligence. Analyze the details of each practice, from philosophy of care to operational details to software and technology. If the two practices are wildly different, consider the possibility that it simply isn’t a good match. If you decide to go ahead with the merger, sit down with the owner of the other practice to develop a new business plan that keeps the best of each practice while developing new methodologies that work well for both practices.
Identity and Branding
One of the most important aspects of a successful merger is the development of a cohesive new brand. Remember that each practice has been following a singular vision for a long time, but it is now time to create a new, shared vision. Involve both practice teams as much as possible to help them feel like part of the whole.
During a merger, many employees become nervous and the rumor mill heats up. Keep morale high by keeping your team informed. Explain the benefits of the merger, both for your practice and for them as individuals. Ask for their opinions and contributions, and let them know what you need from them. Keep them posted as to the progression of the merger and discuss how things will change at every step.
It is only natural for team members from each practice to feel loyalty to that practice, but this can quickly spiral into an “us vs. them” environment. Focus on building a culture of engagement by bringing both teams together frequently in a mix of meetings and teambuilding activities. Work with the other practice owner to reassure team members that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and that everyone is working together for the same shared vision.
Preparing for New Patients
A top benefit of a merger is an influx of new patients, but if you aren’t prepared for them, it may feel like a curse rather than a blessing. Develop a plan based on forecasts, but remain agile and ready to make changes on the fly. Get your team members involved in the planning rather than springing such new changes as extended hours on them without warning.
A merger can be an excellent choice for your dental practice, but it can quickly go south if you do not take the proper steps. Start by ensuring that the specific merger is truly right for your practice, and then work hard to make the transition as seamless as possible for everyone involved.
Ready to Get Started?
If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at 413-224-2659 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.
And he knows that once you “get it right,” it’s not a great leap to replicate that success over and over again.
Today, in addition to his work as an actual dentist, Dr. Coughlin coaches, consults and speaks to dentists across the country on how to build the practice of their dreams – based on proven processes and procedures.
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