Congratulations! You’re at the point in your career where you’ve decided to bring a partner into your dental practice. You feel excited, but it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed at the level of time and effort required for a successful transition. Almost as important as choosing when to bring a partner into your practice is choosing the partner itself. Putting all the work into crunching numbers, finding your breakeven, and determining your long term goals could be in vain if your partner doesn’t align with your vision for the practice you have built.
The list of characteristics your proposed partner must meet we refer to as your conditions of satisfaction. Compiling your conditions of satisfaction might seem a bit tedious, but doing so provides significant benefits you’ll appreciate during the selection process. With the outlined criteria, you can more easily eliminate ineligible options, validate appropriate options, and defend your decision to stakeholders.
Choosing Your Criteria
For many, creating conditions of satisfaction for business decisions involves static factors. Adding a partner to your practice, however, requires much more than just financial and administrative consideration. Introducing a new partner involves introducing a new personality, and a new opinion to your office. Before diving into the contractual implications of a partnerships, we suggest you begin your search with an interview process. This allows you to evaluate the intangible pros and cons of a candidate, the kind you won’t find on their resumé.
Spending your office time with a partner who has significant personality differences can be uncomfortable and unproductive. Using personality testing, like Culture Index, you can evaluate which candidates seem like a potentially good fit versus a total mismatch.
Learning the goals and motivations of potential partners can help pare down your list of candidates. Ask individuals where they want to be in 1, 5 and 10 years. How do they envision their career? If their career trajectory aligns with the goals you have for your practice, perhaps a partnership could assist you both in reaching your desired outcomes.
While prior business experience is certainly an asset, many viable candidates might lack the same caliber business acumen you possess. For many new dentists, the desire to learn the administrative side of the industry is great, making them ideal partners. Additionally, leveraging a new partner for greater networking abilities can be an excellent way to further grow your practice.
An important part of your conditions of satisfaction are your deal breakers. Knowing what factors you can and cannot negotiate will help minimize future headaches. Taking the time to self-reflect and write these down can help drive these points home, and more importantly, help eliminate the likelihood of engaging in an incompatible business match. For example, if forming strong customer relationships by spending extra time chairside is a key value of the practice you’ve built, then you want to find someone with a similar vision and priorities. You and your customers have come to expect that from your practice, and bringing on someone who values production numbers over relationship can compromise the culture you have built.
Finding the right partner is a lengthy process. However, with the right preparation and a proper understanding of how to evaluate candidates, the process is well worth the time. Without completing your due diligence upfront, you could can waste substantial time and money, and potentially delay anticipated career goals and retirement. Brainstorm a list of priorities, both business and personal, and let those goals guide your conditions of satisfaction, and ultimately, your choice of a partner.
To learn more about selecting the right partner, check out our podcast series, Creating Successful Dental Practice Partnerships available on Soundcloud, Google Play and Apple Podcasts. Download our toolkit to get our printable full list of conditions of satisfaction questions at cainwatters.com/pts.