What main hurdles do I need to overcome to sell my vet practice?

Every veterinary practice owner needs to know two important things about his or her business – where the exit door is and how to open it.

Unfortunately, many owners don’t know the answers to these questions, for a number of (understandable) reasons.

Priorities

Perhaps the most common hurdle is: “I am too busy trying to run the practice and do my day job to think about that.”

As with any excuse based on not enough time, the issue is one of priorities – it is often not sufficiently high up on the agenda. The danger is when it becomes high up on the priority list, it might be too late to realise the value in the business.

Potential buyers

For many business owners, the second hurdle is they simply don’t know their practice’s potential buyer. This, however, is not something that can really be said about the veterinary industry just now.

For some time, the industry has seen significant consolidation as large corporate practices actively look to acquire firms across the country and, as a result, valuations have been rising. Therefore, for many veterinary practice owners, the question can be whether to sell the practice to younger vets in the practice or one of the larger corporates. This question can be a very difficult one, but one owners need to deal with.

In some cases, the answer will be driven by which route allows the owners to maximise the value for their business. However, in many other cases, maximising value is not the key driver, and owners are prepared to sacrifice some of the value to go down their preferred exit route.

Performance

Poor financial performance is also a hurdle many owners think they need to overcome before giving thought to an exit.

This is flawed logic!

Performance drives value, not exit strategies – owners need to address financial performance, but it needs to be considered in conjunction with exit strategies. If different options to improve financial performance are available, the one that fits better with an identified exit strategy is likely to be the right one.

Summary

To summarise:

  • The veterinary industry has, for a few years now, been going through a lot of consolidation. For those veterinary practice owners who don’t have a planned route to the exit door, now is the time at least to work out which floor the door is on and who might be on the other side of it.
  • If you can identify an exit strategy (or strategies), make sure it informs the ongoing decisions taken in the business.
  • If you have competing interests among different owners, try to avoid letting them fester so resentment grows and positions become more entrenched.
  • Value is only one aspect of the exit – focusing on the right exit strategy will drive value.
  • Try to run your business with one eye on the exit door – what will potential buyers be looking for when they take over the business?

Latest updates from @MacRoberts

  • To celebrate the Olympic Games in Tokyo, we're delighted to launch our latest sporting challenge in support of our… https://t.co/Y8IEq3eT53 23/07/2021
  • MacRoberts is recruiting! We are currently looking for a Real Estate Planning Solicitor to join the MacRoberts tea… https://t.co/ioGQaF2hQc 23/07/2021
  • The countdown is on! With just 100 days to go, we’re looking forward to #COP26 in Glasgow! ♻️ As a firm accredite… https://t.co/Ooldhmo8tW 22/07/2021
  • Has lockdown led you to consider a move to the countryside? From discussing a possible purchase to obtaining the… https://t.co/patbF42pjk 22/07/2021
  • Have you seen our latest vacancies? 💼 We currently have opportunities in various departments across the firm. Fin… https://t.co/NpiWs2sphg 21/07/2021
  • Acas has published new guidance for employers with helpful information on #flexibleworking & #hybridworking. With t… https://t.co/SoX87hFkko 20/07/2021
  • Busting the myth that a career in law is only for the privileged few: @marikaflawyer is speaking at this morning’s… https://t.co/awfcub4cw0 19/07/2021
  • MacRoberts is recruiting! We are currently looking for a Support Services Assistant to join our team in Edinburgh.… https://t.co/DJ27fRmmdb 16/07/2021
  • MacRoberts is pleased to have been part of the team advising @HV_Systems in its £5m capital boost from Beehive Equi… https://t.co/BxcwjCgIVk 15/07/2021
  • MacRoberts is recruiting! We are currently looking for a NQ Solicitor to join our Conveyancing & Private Client te… https://t.co/zubGY4zo0D 14/07/2021
  • For the last of our IGTV mini-series, we hear from Katie MacLeod. She will be giving an insight into what it’s like… https://t.co/0v2nNQ9zzZ 14/07/2021
  • RT @marikaflawyer: Exciting opportunity for Associate in our award winning Family Law team #familylaw #LegalCareer https://t.co/z3WEtfFJUo 14/07/2021
  • MacRoberts is recruiting! We are currently looking for an Associate to join our Family Law team in Edinburgh or Gl… https://t.co/CaitiMeVBs 14/07/2021
  • Last week, the UK Government took the decision to relax the rules on the length of time lorry drivers can work as a… https://t.co/o559McerYg 13/07/2021
  • Did you know that we are on Instagram?😜 Follow our page for all the latest legal updates, exclusive IGTV’s and mor… https://t.co/Xx2xOMGBZg 09/07/2021