What Went Wrong: I Bought a Million-Dollar Practice — and Wound Up with Million-Dollar Problems

Dr. Albert has expensive tastes. He always has the latest gadgets, eats at the best restaurants, and drives a shiny new car.

So when it came time to buy a practice, Dr. Albert sought out the best practice money could buy. He borrowed the maximum amount his bank would lend to buy a beautifully outfitted 8-op practice with brand-new, top-of-the-line equipment. Located in a fashionable district of a major city, the seller had built a great reputation by treating many celebrities, including actors and TV personalities.  

A year in, Dr. Albert felt like he was failing miserably. The seller had built the practice on highly complex procedures. With his three years of experience, Dr. Albert had the desire to perform these procedures, yet lacked the education and speed that come with decades of experience. Also, since he had never managed a staff before, he ended up micromanaging his auxiliaries who were used to more autonomy. Two of them quit to take positions with his biggest competitor while a third demanded a significant raise.   

A long-time associate had stayed with the practice, but she was busy with her own patients and did not want to add any more. To keep up, Dr. Albert felt he needed a second associate, but he couldn’t find someone with the right skills willing to work part time. He rarely took days off. Even when the practice was closed, he was busy preparing for his next patients or trying to solve staffing issues. 

His patients — who were also used to the very best in life — weren’t happy. Appointments constantly ran late and took longer than they had under the seller. When the long-term hygienists left, several patients followed and left negative reviews online. And he noticed that referrals were down.

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Topics: purchase a practice, what went wrong, Real Talk

What Went Wrong: I Tried to Sell My Practice to My Child

For many, dentistry is a family business. Children grow up helping around the office and eventually work side-by-side with their parents, ultimately taking over. Handing a practice over to an adult child can be exhilarating and rewarding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always go quite as planned. 

Let’s look at a few scenarios where these parent-to-child practice transitions failed. I’ll then offer tips on avoiding some common pitfalls.

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Topics: what went wrong, Real Talk

What Went Wrong: The Quality of Care Wasn’t Up to My Standard

When you’re considering buying or joining a practice, there’s a lot on your plate! You’re reviewing financials, insurance mix, schedules, local competition… the list goes on. 

At ADAPT, we talk a lot about how important philosophy of care is for making successful matches. However, another element is just as crucial: quality of care.  

Every dentist talks about delivering the highest standard of care. And while there are multiple ways to get a great result, that “great result” can look different to each dentist.  

Let’s examine what went wrong when a buyer discovered she strove for a higher standard than the seller.

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Topics: what went wrong, Real Talk

What Went Wrong: I Got Too Comfortable in My Associateship

I have said it before, and I will say it again: now is a fantastic time to buy a practice! Today’s low interest rates, motivated buyers, and comprehensive support network can help you launch the next phase of your career.

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Topics: purchase a practice, what went wrong

What Went Wrong: I Sabotaged the Sale

Posted by Betsy Krekling, ADA Advisor on 5/12/21 9:00 AM

All too often, I see buyers and sellers alike sabotage what could have been a perfect transition. Sometimes, it just was not meant to be. Other times, an earlier mistake stops the entire process. By then, it’s often too late to fix — especially if the mistake has sowed distrust or doubt. 

Let’s look at three scenarios where a sale was torpedoed and explore how things could have turned out better.

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Topics: what went wrong

What Went Wrong: Life Happened – And I Had to Sell!

As I talk to dentists preparing for career transitions, some are simply taking the next step on their long-planned path. But others are facing an unplanned change after “life happened” and made them rethink their priorities and goals.


Sometimes it’s a positive reason, like wanting to spend more time with grandchildren or pursue a non-dentistry passion. Other times, a health issue (whether their own or a family member’s) forces a shift. Maybe an elderly parent needs full-time care. Or they’re navigating a divorce or major life change. Sometimes it’s simply burnout.

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Topics: what went wrong

What Went Wrong: My Staff Left After I Bought the Practice

When a doctor considers buying a practice, they look beyond the building and the equipment. After all, the patients and staff make a practice!

A strong, loyal patient pool is the most valuable asset in a sale, and long-term, well-trained staff are worth their weight in gold.

But if staff are unhappy with a transition — even if they stick around — patients are more likely to leave. So how can a new owner retain staff and patients after the transition?

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Topics: what went wrong

What Went Wrong: My Transition Fell Through After Months of Planning

Sometimes even the best-intentioned transitions fall apart. All too often, this happens because both parties overlooked the basics: clear communication and putting everything in writing. A few key actions can minimize the back and forth while keeping your transition on schedule.

Read on for one scenario in which a buyer and seller just couldn’t make it work, then learn how you can avoid similar problems.

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Topics: what went wrong

What Went Wrong: The Practice Wasn’t Ready for an Associate

Dental practices can grow slowly over several years – then suddenly reach a tipping point where an owner feels they need to hire an associate ASAP. But it is important to prepare the practice before hiring anyone.

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Topics: "find an associateship", what went wrong

What Went Wrong: My Path to Retirement Got Way Too Bumpy

This is part of the “What Went Wrong Wednesdays” series, in which we explore common problems of practice transitions – and offer tips to help you avoid them.

 

Retirement should be a well thought-out event that you take ownership of. To truly take control of your future, retirement planning should start years – even decades – before you anticipate finishing your career.

Here are two scenarios that illustrate what happened when a doctor did not completely think through their exit plans, along with suggestions to help you avoid the same fate.

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Topics: retiring, selling a practice, what went wrong

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