After speaking to hundreds of practice owners about the sale of their practices, we have found that there are six common goals that sellers want to achieve. These six goals sum up what you should be trying to accomplish as you head into the sale, and as you find your way through on the other side. They can be broken down into two categories: personal goals and business-oriented goals.
The most obvious personal goal of the seller is to get as much money out of the sale of the practice as possible. This number is calculated using after-tax proceeds because the sale of the practice is going to initiate a chain of tax liabilities that would not otherwise be applicable if they had not been sold. Another personal goal that is directly tied to this first goal is the desire to open up free time to explore other hobbies and interests. Maximizing post-tax proceeds makes it possible to do more traveling and play more rounds of golf.
Both of these personal goals are tied to a third goal that relates specifically to selling: making sure that the deal is sound and will result in proceeds that go directly to the seller. This could be viewed as personal protection during the selling process.
Alas, the selling process is not just about what the seller wants for him/herself. The other half of the equation is how the seller is going to leave the business. The first business-oriented goal is making sure that your patients are still will cared for after the sale. Managing a smooth transition takes work, but it leads to another important business-oriented goal: setting up the buyer for success. You didn't go to all the trouble of selling your practice only to have it run out of business next year. It's in everybody's best interest that you help the new owner get the hang of things. This leads to the third business-oriented goal: documenting the transition period during the early months. You want a clear track record of your time and compensation during this time as it can affect your end of year taxes.
These are the six goals that every seller should have in mind as they prepare their practice for new ownership. The first three goals relate directly to how the seller will benefit from the practice personally. The last three goals have to do with where the practice is headed once your out of the picture.