How to sell your practice for 5-10X its profit

As practice owners in refractive and cataract surgery approach their 50s, they often wonder, “What makes a practice sellable?” Surprisingly, many don’t think about this until their 60s because they’re so busy running their businesses day to day.

They’re deeply engrossed in the day-to-day operations, constantly working “in” their business, leaving little room to work “on” their business. This delay in planning can impact their practice’s ultimate value and sellability.

Knowing what makes a practice attractive to buyers isn’t just about retiring—it’s about planning for long-term success and a rewarding exit.

Let’s explore the key elements that make a practice truly sellable.

What makes a practice sellable?

The simple reply? Profitability. But, as someone in this field for over two decades, I know there’s more to it.

Let’s dive into what buyers seek when considering your practice.

1. Financial Health: Earnings Matter Most

The heart of your practice’s appeal lies in its earnings, specifically SDE (Seller’s Discretionary Earnings) or EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization). Higher profits often mean a higher multiple on either SDE or EBITDA, which in turn means a higher selling price.

It’s straightforward: more profit equals less risk for the buyer.

2. Documented Procedures: The Backbone of Operations

Clear and documented systems are essential for a well-functioning practice. The most attractive practices have documented procedures in place. These systems reduce dependence on specific individuals and simplify the replication of business operations.

I advise owners to plot the most important value engines in their practice (typically, acquiring patients and fulfilling services) and document the key stages in each value engine. Doing so ensures an owner can rely less on individuals and more on systems.

3. Predictable Revenue: Stability Attracts

A robust referral network is key in our field, where procedures are typically one-off. This creates a predictable flow of revenue, making your practice more attractive to buyers.

It’s important to cultivate ongoing referrals from optometrists and satisfied patients. A steady flow of referrals indicates how effectively the business meets customer expectations and serves as a reliable measure of its operational strength.

4. A Strong Customer Base: The Bigger, The Better

Your customer base’s size reflects your brand’s reach and impact, lowering the expense of acquiring new customers. This aspect is a major plus for potential buyers. The more successful customers there are, the more goodwill exists in the marketplace. Goodwill offsets customer acquisition costs.

5. Diversified Income: Safety in Variety

Relying on a single income source is risky. Practices with diverse revenue streams are more appealing because they’re less likely to face financial crises. While it’s important not to complicate operations excessively, having a variety of revenue sources ensures that the practice isn’t overly reliant on a single type of patient or service. ent.

6. Intellectual Property: Your Unique Edge

What sets your practice apart? If a buyer can find another practice just like yours for a cheaper price, your practice will appear less attractive. Building a robust, defensible brand and offering unique services significantly enhance its value and attractiveness in the market.

7. Talent and Leadership: The Human Factor

A skilled team and effective leadership attract buyers, especially during the typical 5-year earn-out period following the sale.

8. Market Trends: Riding the Growth Wave

Buyers look for practices in growing markets. Being part of a growing field makes your practice a more appealing investment.

9. Growth Prospects: The Promise of More

Buyers are interested in practices with room to grow. If your practice seems to have peaked, it’s less attractive. Thus, don’t wait until your practice matures before putting it on the market.

10. Synergies: The Perfect Fit

Strategic investors, including competitors and businesses in related fields, evaluate how well your practice fits their existing businesses. Meanwhile, financial investors (PE) look for growth potential.

NOTE: The best way to answer that nagging question about practice growth or marketing or patient volume in the back of your mind is to book a free 15-minute compatibility call. Get some options and go away with a clear idea of what’s possible.

Plan Your Exit Early

The best strategy? Start planning your exit 3 to 6 years in advance. This gives you time to:

  • Boost your financial metrics.
  • Streamline and document your procedures.
  • Stabilise and grow your revenue sources.
  • Expand your customer base.
  • Enhance your brand and leadership qualities.
  • Align with positive market trends.
  • Gradually exit the business so that the business depends less and less on you.

The goal is to make your practice irresistible when you decide to sell.

Start Now, Benefit Later

Don’t delay—start preparing your practice for sale today. By the time you’re ready to sell, you’ll have a practice that’s profitable and highly attractive to potential buyers for all the right reasons. Remember, your effort today will pay off handsomely when it’s time to sell your practice.

Need help getting your practice ready for sale or scaling your business? We recently launched the Get Scalable Accelerator program, a 16-week coaching and mentorship program designed to build and optimise your Practice Operating System. The program aims to double the business’s size within three years. With personalised workshops and strategic frameworks, we ensure steady, sustainable growth without new products or wasted ad budgets.

Spaces are limited, so book a free 15-minute compatibility call with Laura today to secure your spot.

About the author

Rod Solar
Founder & Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor for its customers. Rod mentors and coaches eye surgery business CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to triple their sales, double their profit, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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Meet our Founders

We’re passionate about helping leaders of high-quality, growth-minded practice owners double their practice revenue

Rod Solar

Founder & Scalable Business Advisor

Rod Solar is a co-founder of LiveseySolar and a Scalable Business Advisor / fCMO for our customers. Rod mentors and coaches CEOs/Founders and their leadership teams to double their sales, triple their profits, and achieve their “ideal exit”.

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LiveseySolar completely transformed the way we were approaching this… We’ve gone from having just the dream of having a practice to having a practice up and running with people making inquiries and booking for procedures… It’s extremely pleasing. We feel lucky we connected with LiveseySolar.

— Dr Matthew Russell, MBChB, FRANZCO, specialist ophthalmic surgeon and founder of VSON and OKKO

Laura Livesey

Founder & CEO

Laura Livesey is the co-founder & CEO of LiveseySolar. She has developed powerful refractive surgery marketing systems that increase patient volumes and profits for doctors, clinics, and hospitals, since 1997.

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Rod and Laura know as much about marketing surgery to patients as I know about performing it. They are an expert in the field of laser eye surgery marketing. They know this industry inside out. I believe that they could help many companies in a variety of areas including marketing materials, sales training and marketing support for doctors.

— Prof. Dan Reinstein, MD MA FRSC DABO, founder of the London Vision Clinic, UK