Retirement may seem far away, but it’s never too early to start planning. Someday, you might want to sell your practice, and naturally you’ll want to get top value. It’s easy enough to figure out a price for your building, furniture, office equipment and supplies, but the true value of your practice lies in its reputation. Factors such as patient loyalty, practice reputation, and future income—known as “goodwill”—generally account for 70 to 90 percent of your selling price.
Goodwill Hunting? Try These Steps
The best way to build goodwill and increase the value of your practice is to develop a comprehensive marketing plan that focuses on both short-term and long-term goals. Key elements include advertising, branding, outreach, patient retention, and reputation-building. Make the following efforts a primary goal:
- Online presence. Building an attractive, organized, user-friendly website focused on search engine optimization is crucial. Include a variety of content such as blogs, podcasts, and videos, and update frequently. Social media is equally important in creating an online presence; sign up for all the major platforms and make posting engaging content there a regular habit.
- Customer service. A friendly, knowledgeable, and engaging staff serves as a front line in your marketing and reputation management efforts. Keep your reception and waiting areas neat, tidy, comfortable, and inviting.
- Online reviews. Encourage patient feedback through online reviews, surveys, and testimonials, and respond in a timely manner. Don’t hide or delete negative reviews; seize them as opportunities to make positive change and turn an unhappy patient into a happy one. The power of loyalty cannot be overstated; satisfied patients will keep coming back—and they’ll share their positive experience with others. Do be wary of HIPAA regulations when responding to reviews.
- Communication. Personalized engagement with patients is an excellent way to build long-term relationships and improve your patient retention efforts. Interact with patients regularly through social media posts and stories, e-blasts or newsletters, and various community events. This fosters a culture of friendliness and trust.
- Capital investment. It’s worth spending as much as you can on advanced technology, comfortable furniture, and high-end equipment—not only to ensure patients receive quality care and encourage them to come back, but also to maximize your investment when it comes time to sell.
- Branding. A key component of marketing is creating a brand identity for your practice. Make sure your collateral highlights your name and logo consistently. Branding helps your reputation grow, increasing your overall value.