A Letter from Dr. White



Sometimes I will ask a client to writ about their experience of the sale process (especially some of my more verbal clients).  Here’s one optometrist’s unfiltered view of the process.

 

I first began working with Michael Pote in February of 2022. I had spoken with him previously about an exit strategy and how I would go about finding a buyer for my practice. The conversations helped me to realize how someone like Michael could help me position my practice for a sale. I viewed what Michael could do for me as being like a good real estate agent who negotiates a fair price and avoids the communication pitfalls that can derail a sale.

After I sent him my financial information, he was able to give me a valuation of my practice. He also knew of potential buyers that were looking to purchase practices in my area. Since I had a smaller practice, the initial offers were requiring me to merge my practice with another practice. While this was doable, it would have required me to cut out some of my staff and move my practice in with another office. About this time Michael received an email from a doctor in another part of the country who he had helped sell his practice. He told Michael how pleased he had been with the sale. Michael passed this information along to the company who had bought the practice to let them know how pleased the doctor had been with the acquisition. By doing this, Michael found out that this same company was looking to purchase practices in my area.

Michael sent them my financials and they responded with a letter of intent. Michael then spent time going over the offer in detail and listened to any concerns and areas that I would like to have clarified or changed. Michael then presented a counteroffer to the buyer which provided me with an increase in the sale price and a decrease in the number of years in my employee contract. The buyer agreed to this offer. Michael next recommended an attorney to help me with the contract and closing of the sale and how to negotiate the fee for the attorney’s service.

When questions arose concerning my office hours (we requested a four-day work week with the same number of hours worked per week and what holidays we would be closed(we were closed 9 a year and the buyers are closed 6). Michael suggested we get a conference call with the buyer’s HR department to get answers to these questions. We talked the night before the call, and he formulated an agenda for the meeting and emailed the HR staff so they would have time to review our requests. The buyer’s HR people agreed to the shorter work week and added 3 extra days of PTO to cover the holiday question, all in a 15-minute call that had been scheduled for 30 minutes!

As I worked my way through the due diligence phase process with the attorney and the buyer’s people, Michael identified the person with the buyer’s staff that I should work with, and boy was he right. She was extremely helpful, and the process would not have run smoothly without her. With the help of Michael, and the people he recommended, we were able to close the sale on schedule and I now have a solid exit strategy and road map towards retirement.

Michael not only was highly effective, efficient, and professional in the dealings with me and the buyer, but I thoroughly enjoyed our interactions throughout the negotiations. I was impressed with his ability to listen to any concerns I had and provide quick answers and feedback. His experience in negotiations was evident as he was able to discern quickly which topics were open for discussion and which were non-negotiable. This ability saved me a lot of time and frustration as he knew when to push on a certain issue and when to layback and wait.

As I reflect over the experience from the early days of getting the valuation of my practice to the day of closing, I am thankful that Michael was with me each step of the journey. I could have sold the practice without his help, but I would have had more sleepless nights throughout the process and had doubts if I had gotten a fair price for my practice. His services were appreciated, and I would highly recommend him to anyone considering selling their business.

William E. White