New dimensions: Dentex corporate debate challenges practice ownership assumptions
Dentex recently hosted a debate to help address some concerns principals may have when considering selling to a corporate.
Conscious that joining a group may not be for everyone, the debate – titled ‘Why you shouldn’t sell to a corporate’ – reflected Dentex’s desire to help principals identify when selling might be appropriate. As well as highlight some of the considerations that potential sellers should bear in mind.
Sharing top billing on the podium was renowned business guru Chris Barrow and Dentex’s clinical director Rahul Doshi. Combative title aside, the audience was promised a friendly (but spirited) discussion on what selling to a corporate really means. And they were not disappointed.
Chris kept the audience on their toes as he opened proceedings. He explained quickly: ‘I’m actually not going to tell you that you should never sell to a corporate.’
He said he wanted to help delegates understand when selling was the right decision to take for their own circumstances.
‘My premise is that you’ve got to be very clear about the reasons why you would do it,’ said Chris. ‘Joining a corporate is not a one-size, fits-all solution. Handing over the reins to your business is not always a fait accompli. But as with all things it does depend on who you sell to.’
Chris went on to discuss the market forces at work in the UK dental profession, examining the explosion of goodwill values and the chase of dental corporates for the ‘last good dental practices in the country’.
‘In my experience, dentists usually sell because of some form of distress,’ he said.
‘It might be financial – divorce, tax, or debt, for example. It might be what I call “acronym distress” from the GDC, CQC and others. Or it could be some form of emotional or physical distress, in the shape of stress, mental health issues, exhaustion… the list goes on.’
Chris challenged the audience to ask themselves whether they were still (or ever were) entrepreneurs and argued that for those with the passion to create a ‘self-managing business’, there are opportunities to build 100-year businesses in dentistry.
But equally, he made no bones about ceding the fact that ‘if you’re distressed and fed up, then sell – I don’t have a problem with that decision.’
Taking the stage next, Rahul was quick to jump to the defence of selling your practice. He offered a more optimistic outlook on the future of working within a corporate structure, drawing on his own successful experiences to speak with candour and passion.
‘For me, selling to Dentex was a wonderful decision,’ Rahul explained.
He echoed Chris’ sentiments that Dentex offered a ‘new dimension’ to the practice ownership equation by keeping clinicians invested in the wider business.
Rahul continued: ‘If I’d sold to an independent buyer, my clinical freedom would have gone. I wanted to be able to run my practice the way I always had. I wanted to be able to grow it clinically.
‘Dentex allows clinicians to make those sorts of decisions. I’ve never been told what products to use, which lab to use: it just provides support in the areas that we all hate doing.’
Rather than focus on ‘distress’, Rahul painted a picture of clinicians freed from the hassle of practice ownership but still enjoy their dentistry.
He added: ‘The difference with Dentex is that as the business grows, so does your investment. And at the same time, things get easier – my stress levels now are at an all-time low.’
Considering the audience had gathered to hear why they shouldn’t sell to a corporate, interest in the speakers continued for a long time after the debate officially came to end. With 64 practices already part of the Dentex family, around 16 more in due diligence, and a host of intrigued London Dentistry Show attendees to account, the family shows every sign of becoming even bigger in 2020… even if conventional wisdom tells dentists they shouldn’t sell to a corporate! But then with Dentex, you don’t sell up, you buy in.
For more information on Dentex, visit www.dentexhealth.co.uk.