Selling a private counseling practice can be almost as hard as setting up a private counseling practice from scratch. Often, the value in the practice is in the practitioner themselves, so the minute they walk out the door, so too does the business. This can make selling quite difficult. However, there are a number of things you can do that can make selling up a little easier. The following steps are only a guide, but they could be well worth considering.
Change the name of your practice – If your practice has been trading under your name, then change it well before you want to sell. If you try to sell a practice that is named after you, the first thing the buyer will need to do is change that name, then sell the new name. Rename it to something more generic now – then sell the new name.
Bring a buyer in as a partner – When selling a practice, a smooth transition can be difficult. Your skills are your business, and as mentioned above, when you leave, your reputation leaves with you. By taking the buyer in as a partner (or employee), they can build their reputation from within.
Advertise in the right places – When you are ready to sell, be sure to advertise in all the ‘right’ places. Where are they? Wherever counselors hang out, of course. Counseling journals, counseling forums, and through word of mouth to other counselors.
Successfully selling a private counseling practice is all about creating a smooth transition from one respected counselor to someone new – of course, they may be coming from a group practice and be bringing their own reputation with them. The downside to selling to these people is that they are not interested in buying your business name so much as buying your business setup. Remember, when selling a private counseling practice, you have to sell the business, not your name. Brand that business and you can sell it; brand yourself and you’ll struggle.