Choosing to sell your veterinary practice is a big decision. It is often brought on by major life events that affect your ability or willingness to continue running the business full time. You may be curious why anybody would give up their practice after years of building it into a successful engine. The truth is that there are many outside factors that could be affecting this decision. Here are the five most common reasons people decide to sell:
Retirement. This is the most obvious answer, but it's a big one. If you've spent years managing the ins and outs of your practice, you probably feel like you deserve to enjoy a few years of golfing, fishing or traveling, and you're right! Retirement means that you can hand over the reigns and let the stress of running a business fall by the wayside.
Illness. A major illness can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. What's more, illnesses often make it difficult for owners to continue running their practices effectively. This usually leads to management challenges and potentially affects the business's reputation in the eyes of clients. Many owners choose to sell their practice after a serious health diagnosis so they can focus their attention on recovery.
Death. Whether it's the death of one of the practice's owners or even a loved one, these experiences often shake us up. For those who have been working long hours for years at the practice, an unexpected death often makes you realize that you've been missing out on time with loved ones. If an owner dies, there is often legal ramifications that can force the sale of a practice.
Burnout. A topic that is rarely discussed, but very real. Some people simply burn out on running a practice due to the long hours, high level of stress, and never-ending phone calls. Even those who are most passionate about their work may eventually reach a point where they want to go do something entirely different in a low-key atmosphere for a while.
Starting a new venture. Every once in a while, something comes up that is just too good of an opportunity to pass up. If you've found an exciting new venture that you need to fund, the option to sell may be your best bet. Knowing that you will likely stay on through a transitional period and even continue consulting with your practice long term allows you to participate in both ventures to some degree.
Whatever your reason for selling your practice, you always need to be prepared to present your business in the best possible light. Unexpected events can push you to sell even if you haven't been working on your practice's curb appeal. This could damage the valuation of your company when it comes time to start marketing. That's why we suggest always having a five-year plan that will keep your business in sale-ready condition no matter where life leads you.