Effective Transition and Succession Planning

Nov 15, 2023 | Finance

Transitions are tough but inevitable. Planning for them now, as best you can, is imperative.

Suppose a hearing care provider suddenly leaves. Are there structures and processes in place that will allow you to shoulder that loss until a replacement can be found?

Suppose you decide to retire five years earlier than planned. Do you have an exit strategy that leaves you financially healthy — but also leaves your legacy in capable hands?

Few like to think about transitions, let alone plan for them. But whether you’re retiring, shifting roles, or preparing your clinic for unforeseen vacancies, preparation is key.

Let’s look at general transitions, then the more specific case of an owner looking toward an exit strategy.


Transition Planning

Is a structure established for your practice to continue thriving in your absence? How do you go from working as an owner-doer to an owner-investor with a legacy in place that lets you focus on enjoying the next chapter in your life?


Start Planning Now

The hustle, bustle, and urgency of daily operations can easily push aside this kind of planning. But it’s crucial to ensuring continuity of care and avoiding loss of employee morale, so it’s never too early to start.

This is a situation where “someday” can arrive all too soon. Sitting down and actually putting pen to paper ASAP is critical.



Document Everything

 You want a new employee to be able to step in seamlessly upon another’s departure to ease the burden on the business. Transition planning must include the following documentation:


  • Job description with the full scope of responsibilities — consider both their patient-care responsibilities and any leadership duties
  • Training plan that uses the job description as a guide
  • Description of mentor responsibilities, if applicable
  • A transition checklist

What’s that last item? Let’s look a little closer.

Onboarding programs help new hires build a solid foundation in their position. But what about things like transitioning patients?

Your transition checklist should include an expected timeline plus any actions that need to happen during the transition, such as temporary redistribution of duties, rethinking captainships, and your contingency plan.

About the contingency plan: It’s crucial to be prepared for unexpected gaps in coverage. Developing a relationship with a staffing agency that specializes in health care — even better, hearing care — can be a lifesaver.

For example, traveling audiologists, like traveling nurses and locum tenens physicians, are fully licensed and credentialed, and they accept placements where temporary help is needed. If using their services is feasible for your practice, be sure to make it part of your transition checklist.


Captainships Are a Simple, Effective Tool for Elevating Efficiency in Your Practice


Include ENT Physician Transitions

The medical market is in transition. Now, more than ever, it is important to have a plan in place that directly addresses:

  • Staff turnover
  • Succession plans for retirement in key positions
  • Onboarding processes that are as efficient as they are effective

If you’re an administrator or a manager, or you hold a position of leadership in an ENT practice, it’s imperative to have documented processes that allow you to prepare for the unexpected.


Succession Planning for Private-Practice Owners

Don’t leave your exit strategy to chance. If you own a private audiology practice, you want to build solid value for your business so you can leave a legacy and set a good price when you’re ready to sell. That’s where succession planning comes in.


Start Planning Now

Like with transition planning, daily operations can easily relegate succession planning to the back burner. But again, “someday” can arrive all too soon. Sit down and put pen to paper ASAP.



Visualize and Document Your Ideal Outcome

You need to know what success looks like on your terms:

  • Qualitatively, what legacy do you want to leave in your community?
  • Quantitatively, what is the actual sales price number you need to fulfill your retirement goals?
  • Practically, who has the right temperament and skills to run the practice after you exit?


You need to paint a complete picture not only for you but also for those helping you execute your plan.



Work With a Financial Adviser

Your business is your No. 1 or No. 2 largest asset. Don’t try to sort all this out alone. Get the help of a professional in calculating how much you need to sell it for someday for you to be secure in your retirement.

If it’s not on your radar, one option for your exit strategy is to transition ownership to someone already in your practice via equity earn-in. Your financial adviser can help with that as well.



Follow the Ownership Maturity Model

The Ownership Maturity Model indicates where you are currently as a business owner and how to move through the three levels of ownership: the owner-doer, the owner-manager, and the owner-investor.

Progressing through the stages allows you to slowly move away from hands-on revenue generation, put other trusted leaders in place to manage operations, and concentrate instead on community outreach, business expansion, legacy building, and succession planning.

As you progress through the model, you’re putting things in place to ensure staff and patients are taken care of and the business continues to be an asset in your financial portfolio.


Discover how to get the most out of your hearing care business and set it up for long-term success.