exit strategies for doctors

The secret to exit strategies for doctors

Spoiler alert: The secret to exit strategies for doctors is simple. You pretend you are already preparing even if you are not. 

exit strategies for doctors

The secret to exit strategies for doctors

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

August 25, 2022

The first step: a personal brand

personal branding

Most doctors in private practice will start off building a personal brand. It means that your name becomes the brand and that is what you promote. 

Why? Because these are the years you build your reputation, your referral network and your academic profile.

Personal branding puts you in a great position to start planning your next steps:

  • A branded practice: Even if it’s still you as the anchor surgeon or specialist, you can create a brand name for your practice that becomes bigger than your personal name. It allows you to form partnerships, let others work under your brand umbrella, and prepare for a bigger step.
  • A group practice: A collective will welcome you or you will be in a strong position to start a collective once you have built a strong personal profile and proven your ability to generate leads and position yourself as a key authority in your field.

Many surgeons or specialists in private practice will create a brand as if they were already preparing their exit strategy. Even if you are not thinking about an exit… it makes sense to systemise your practice with the future in mind.

Exit strategies for doctors in private practice start with a definition of what it is that you are exiting. A job, or a leadership position in a business that can keep working even if you are not there. That is only possible if the brand exceeds your personal reputation as a surgeon or doctor. 

The second step: a brand bigger than yourself

building a legacy as a doctor

I know. Exit strategies for doctors aren’t popular. Most surgeons will retire or sell their practice without much protocol. Others will build a legacy that is ready to be handed over to a new owner or the next generation. 

Legacy is probably a nicer theme or word. Leaving something behind when you stop doing the work you are currently doing.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"The key to building a legacy as a doctor is to systemise your practice beyond the consultations and surgical procedures. Anything else can be systemised and prepared for growth, rebranding or eventually, your exit."

One of the key areas you can systemise is your lead generation as a doctor. Building authority and visibility for the treatments you offer is not a quick fix. It’s a process that can take years and then takes ongoing maintenance, if you want your brand to stand out in your catchment area. 

You could say that building digital authority is the first stepping stone to preparing your practice for an exit strategy, even if that is a scenario in the distant future.

We will go over the smart decisions you can make today, to prepare your leverage and legacy when you are preparing your practice – and your life – for some changes.

exit strategies for doctors

Step 3: Systemising your digital brand positioning

online reputation

Until a decade ago, doctors only had to look at two key drivers of practice growth:

  • GP referrals
  • Word-of-mouth referrals

There is a powerful third power at work now and it’s slowly overtaking the traditional referral pathways or heavily influencing them. Your online reputation.

Your online reputation may be supported by:

  • Your dedicated medical website pages on symptoms, conditions, treatments or surgery types.
  • Your blog or news section
    Your YouTube channels
    Your email list (of potential referrers)
  • Your Facebook Page
    Your publications, white papers, eBooks, and academic work
  • Your Instagram feed
  • Your LinkedIn Company Page
  • Your personal LinkedIn profile

If you have been doing a little bit of everything until now, it may be time to regroup your digital strategy and to bring it under one umbrella. This is the driver of growth for many surgeons and doctors who look beyond just the hours they put in.

Step 4: Locking in that new digital mindset

business mindset

Brand creation is not just about ordering a logo. Your brand becomes the vehicle to attract suitable team members and partners, associates, nurses or admin staff, allied health professionals and more. 

Your brand meets quality standards when we look at the way it represents your business. Logo, colour scheme, website design, chosen images, tone of voice and the general look and feel of your online presence. Consistency is key and will define your patient numbers, GP referrals, partnership opportunities and the quality of your future staff.

Many clinics have a business mindset but end up choosing commodity services to take care of their most important asset: the clinic’s reputation.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Once you discover that you can build your brand as an asset, with a focus on systemising your referral generation, you enter a new space with your private practice. It’s a space of opportunity, expansion and predictable growth."

Where do you start if you want to lock in a new, digital mindset for the clinic? Here’s a handy checklist to get things underway:

  • Digital assets: Make sure you own and control your digital assets: domains, website back-end and content, social media details, Google Business, YouTube and Analytics usernames and passwords.
  • Visibility: Get clear on your current visibility for your top-10 income avenues (conditions you treat, treatments or procedures you offer). If none of your key avenues gives you Google Page 1 visibility, book a free 1:1 Strategy Session here.
  • Marketing Plan: Check your content plan for the upcoming 12 months and the topics you will add to your blog or content pages. This is the only way to increase organic visibility and become less dependent on Google Ads or other paid advertising campaigns.

The smart way to plan for the future

private practice planning

Just as you would pay attention to your brand as a lead generation system, you would want your practice to be in the most optimal shape. 

Check out Zento Group for more advice on Practice Management, or Direct In Focus Consultancy to dig deeper into career planning.

Your accountant, your financial planner, your marketing agency and your business coach should all be on the same page.

Quite often, your vision for the brand is a good starting point and allows you to create empowering clarity for your next steps.

Let's meet

Let’s meet

brand consolidation

Even if it’s not an exit strategy you are after, brand consolidation is a process of optimising the performance of your clinic based on local market research. Book a Strategy Session today to go over the growth potential of your clinic, so you can align your business planning with your personal and family goals.

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