Eyecare Business November

NOV 2017

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force (often referred to as "consolidators or aggre- gators") has entered the scene. Consolidators or aggregators are generally for-profit groups or large medical groups desiring to buy their way into the market in a particular region of the country. Many of the aggregators and consolidators are gaining access to venture capital markets, allowing these groups to fund acquisitions and gain a large foot- print regionally. From a strict business model standpoint, having consolidators or aggregators in the marketplace can be a good thing. Undoubtedly, it has changed the supply and demand dynamic while perhaps also altering the traditional method for selling or buying a practice. Capitalism is built on this principle of supply and demand, and it operates in all markets, including optometry practices. The ebb and flow between sellers and buyers is an active force of every marketplace. Today's optometrist needs to be aware of how it may impact the transition of their office. For the selling optometrist, having another demand-side "customer" is a positive trend. But, like any new force in the marketplace, there is a certain disruptive quality as both sellers and buyers adapt to this new market force. 3 Transition Points A few important points should be kept in mind by the doctors entering this stage of their career if they are considering a complete sale of their office. â First, for a consolidator or aggregator, buying your practice is a business transaction and does not involve any emotional qualities as it may for the sell- ing doctor. It is a good idea to stay focused on the terms and conditions of the deal and realize that it's business and not personal. â Second, you may find that the purchase price offered for your practice is acceptable, but the offer for your continued employment after the sale is not what you had wanted. It is important to realize in these types of transactions that you cannot have it "both ways." Before entering the process, do some soul- searching so you are clear on what is most impor- tant to you. Stay focused on achieving those deal points. If long-term employment is the most important issue to you, negotiate those points first and realize you may have to concede some of the purchase price to get the deal done. â Finally, not all consolidators or aggregators are willing to cash the seller out at closing, as some ketplace and is affecting the sale of the traditional optometric office. Consolidators Come Out For many years, most optometric practices were sold in the classic conventional manner. As a doctor reached retirement age, he or she would start look- ing for a new or younger doctor wanting to be in private practice and start the negotiations to make the sale happen. The traditional market to buy an optometric office was a young doctor, three to five years out of school—many of whom associated with the practice as an employed doctor before deciding to move forward with the purchase. This model is still alive and well, and many offices transition owner- ship in this way. In the last five years, however, a new market P R A C T I C E T R A N S I T I O N S 38 E y e c a r e B u s i n e s s . c o m November 2017 For many years, most optometrists who graduated from school in the mid-'60s or before have believed (and were taught) that their prac- tice would be a substantial part of their retirement portfolio. PHOTOBANK GALLERY/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

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