Saturday, June 1, 2013

Mistakes Made... Lessons Learned in Owning a Dental Practice

Here is another guest blog from our client Dr. Lurie

It seems to me that each person has a different reason or need to retire.  In my case, retirement came about due to age and illness.  My body told me that it was time to retire. 

As I stated in my in an earlier blog, I had strong convictions about retirement and how to proceed.  However, the illness got to me before I was totally able to implement them.  Because I had such good advisers, the transition into retirement was relatively easy.  Was I totally financially secure? No. I did not sell my practice (solo practitioner of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery).   There was not enough time to find the buyer and have an agreement but because I had such a good team around me, and with an understanding wife, I was able to transition to retirement with little anxiety.  Looking back upon it, the lesson to be learned is to be prepared for the Health Issue.  Be prepared for the Financial Issue.  Be prepared for the Wife Issue.    As I mentioned in my previous article, The Team for Retirement came to my rescue.  Due to some wonderful real estate investments in previous years, I was able to help my employees get positions, walk out, lock the doors and have peace of mind that I had helped so many people over the 50 years.  It was a profound feeling and a truly good feeling.  

Would I have like to have sold the practice?  Absolutely.  It is well known that in today's dental world, a solo oral surgeon is a dinosaur.  We are in a time of mega-specialty groups.  You can't sell the charts and the patients are all referred (in my case by a swell and dedicated referral base.)  My health issues have improved dramatically and I am now able to look back and reflect on that time of decision making.  This is what motivates me to write these articles and is, in no small part, one of the ways that I can give back to dentistry.  There are other ways of giving back that I am partial to also but I will save them for another article.  In review, I should have partnered with an associate long before retirement (at least 5 years).  This would have taken the stress of those last 6 months to a minimum.  Had I known of impending health issues, I could have explored the transition of the office into one of the mega offices either as a partnership or a private contractor.  The latter is a good means of solving several problems if you look at the logistics--space, rent, manpower, coverage and the like.  I ran out of time and could not complete the negotiation.  As I said, my wife was the rock behind me all the way.  Her prayers and strength were just part of what she extended to me to keep me going and we have been blessed with renewed health and a great life.  We intend to make it count.  More next time of mistakes made and lessons learned

If I can be of help to anyone, please contact me.

Dr. Donald B. Lurie, DDS
phone:   717-235-0764

cell:       410-218-2228

For more information, please contact

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