Five steps to creating your exit strategy

April 9, 2010

By Jay Geier

Most dentists don't spend a lot of time thinking about their exit strategy. Maybe it's because exiting your dental practice or beginning to phase out seems far away or unattainable at this time. These five tips will explain what it takes to engineer a great exit strategy.

Step 1: Know how much money you need to retire.
If you aren’t clear on this then the answer is always one more dollar. This number is your ultimate goal. As with anything, if you don’t have a goal, there’s a really good chance you’ll never reach it.

Step 2: Visualize the lifestyle you want to enjoy once you sell your dental practice.
Your exit strategy has to be crafted around the lifestyle you want to experience when you retire. Talk with your spouse and anyone else who is appropriate to help you define what you want during retirement. This must be done before you can finalize No. 1.

Step 3: Review where you are now.
Make a list of the assets you have now. This includes cash, real estate, and your practice. In order for you to sell your practice, you have to have a lot of cash saved and you have to have all of your real estate paid off.

Step 4: Work on your relationship with money.
Write down how much money you save each month. Make sure your savings plan is on track to reach the cash goal. If you’re not already doing it, putting your savings on autopilot is one of the best decisions you can make. Look at your mortgage acceleration schedule and make sure you’re on track to pay off your real estate in time.

Step 5: Make the necessary changes to become financially independent.
Design and create the changes you want so you can exit when you want and live the lifestyle you want from then on. Start mapping out a plan that you have full control of and create your exit strategy so you’ll become financially independent. Then when you’re ready, sell your business and enjoy the retirement you dream of.

Jay M. Geier is the founder and president of the Scheduling Institute. He is a well-known dental speaker and has helped more than 10,000 doctors nationwide grow their practices. Jay offers a free practice analysis on his Web site. If you’d like him to do this for your practice, go to and click on “Take the 5 Star Challenge” at the top. Jay can also be contacted at [email protected].