Saturday, June 13, 2009

Selling the practice

This is a very complex bunch of business, this whole 'selling a practice' thing. First of all, it isn't cut and dried like real estate. It's a lot more conceptual. It's also a lot more creative. One has to weigh and assign value to intangibles. As a result, there are no "agents" one can hire to shepherd the process. I'm nearly on my own. So, there are categories to consider.

"Hard assets" are the easiest category to deal with. I already have a list from last year when I divided myself from my practice, turned the "practice" into a "business" then sold the "business" the assets of the former "practice."

There is the little matter of 'location and venue'. I really have got myself into a peachy situation, in that there is no serious PT competition for miles, and in that I am ensconced in the only medically zoned building in the neighbourhood, with a handy sink, an elevator, wheelchair accessible office/bathroom, some free parking, climate control, nice blackout blinds that can open at the top or bottom. I have outlasted all competition that dared to set up. This has to be worth a few shekels to somebody.

There is the little matter of having found 'fabulous people' to work alongside of. These people come with the practice, namely a good well-trained PT who can't afford to buy the practice but who will gladly work there, a great receptionist/office-organizer person, a gracious and quiet roommate (half the rent) with her own practice which consists mostly of listening to people as they self-regulate in a sound-proof room. The landlord is in the office right beside ours. He is entirely accessible and unhesitatingly deals with any issue to do with the building, as he is also an occupant.

There is the not so small issue of a 'wide client base' gathered up over 15 years, about 20% of which is brand new every month, self-referred or referred by each other. These are people who expect to and are willing to pay cash. Cash! A fair bit of cash, too, in exchange for 3 or 4 visits to a person who will provide them with a reasonable, plausible, science-based construct to explain their pain to them, who will provide their brains with novel sensory-discriminative input in the form of manual therapy, seasoned with exquisite regard for their sensibilities and delivered in a carefully boundaried manner, and who will support their efforts to learn how to downregulate pain in all manners non-pharmacological. This is a well-trained client base. It comes with the practice. How does one put a price tag on something like this? I'm given to understand that some would pay mega to get their hands on a client list like this. I just hope I can "sell" this base to a person who will look after these people as carefully as I have attempted to.

Wish me luck.

I really hope I can sell it and disconnect completely from Vancouver. However, if I can't sell it in time to the right person at the right price, I may just hang onto it myself, try to run Sherwood PT from afar by granting somebody here in town power of attorney, learn how to run the bank account from Sask., let it continue to generate profit for me at a distance. I mean, if it is as good as I say it is, why would I even want to sell it? I could let it continue support me, and I don't have to be around much. As long as the headache factor is less than the profit factor, I would be fine, I think. As long as the tie doesn't bind too uncomfortably, I'm sort of OK with the idea of retaining a connection of 'owner' of a physiotherapy 'business'.

If I were a real entrepreneur, which I am not and do not have the energy to be at this stage of life, I could set up a string of clinics across Canada, all boutique-like in their service, but strategically innovative, in that each would take on a section of demographic in every city where the rent is reasonable, location is central, cash payment is expected, the client base grows itself through word-of-mouth only, and profitability comes from well-delivered hands-on service minus any hype or pseudoscience, and from keeping overhead down, way down. Bare bones delivery of science-based care for lasting relief of persisting pain, aimed at reducing overall pain suffering, one person at a time. No electrodes and no gym equipment. A clean space, fresh laundry in plain sight, nice freshly showered person with clean warm hands who knows how to use them and has a stripped down idea of why manual treatment is helpful to living human anti-gravity suit nervous systems and their embedded "I"-illusions, willing to answer each question fully from a pain perspective.

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