Volume 80: The Value of a Good Team

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There are many value drivers that contribute to the sale price of a dental practice. There is an uber focus on gross revenue as the main value driver. Regular readers of The Professional Advisory will remember that gross revenue, while important, is certainly not a good yardstick of a practice’s value, particularly when taken in isolation. One of the lesser discussed, but very important value drivers is the value of a Good Team.

Dental offices usually employ very small teams of people. 80 per cent of dental offices run with between two and six team members. This small size makes it extremely important that people work together harmoniously and with a common purpose.

A client of ours was very fortunate to have recently spent some time with billionaire Sir Richard Branson – founder of the Virgin Group. One of the takeaways from that experience was that for any business (practice) to be successful, they must hire well, pay well, cultivate a culture of trust and respect, and then get out of the way! 

This sounds easy but it is difficult to execute. Most dentists hire based on their gut feeling about a candidate. While this is fine, it creates a large margin for error. You were not trained in interview skills, you don’t know how to uncover people’s true strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly how can you ensure this person will fit on your team? As I write this, the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose roster has 11 players under 24 with 6 of those being rookies, have made the playoffs for the first time since 2004 and are doing well against the league leading Washington Capitals. Clearly, that organization has hired very well! How can you hire a successful team like the Leafs have done? You don’t have scouts, a back office that will support you, or a budget like they have. There are tools that are reasonably priced and can significantly lower the margin of error for you. Check out the Kolbe Index System at or the DiSC Profile at Both of these offer valuable insights into personality traits and compatibility that are very hard to determine by using your gut. I have seen these tools used very effectively in businesses from two team members to huge corporations with thousands of employees.

The next nugget is to pay well. This is also important but must be taken in context. A dental office already runs with fairly high overhead, so be fair or perhaps generous to the stars, but it must be within market range or you risk negatively impacting the value of the practice. Branson says to “train people well enough so they can leave, and then treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Studies show that most people do not leave their current job for more money; they leave because of an attitude of indifference from their employer. You can develop a great team by creating a culture of trust, respect and empowerment. These people will stay with you for the long term and you do not need to pay them above the normal pay level for their job.

Lastly, how to cultivate a culture of trust and respect. You see examples of these businesses everywhere. Starbucks does it. Apple does it. My dentist’s office does it. This is where leadership and shared vision come in. If you are reading this and thinking, “I’m a dentist, I just need to do a good job with my patients and good things will happen,” please read on. It is assumed by your patients that you are a good dentist and you can take care of their dental health needs. Today’s dental consumers are savvy customers and they want more than that. In fact, they expect more than that and if you don’t give it to them, somebody else will. Work with your team to come up with your practice’s core value and value proposition. Have a shared vision and embrace this vision and these values. Your team will be engaged, won’t want to leave and most importantly, will champion that message repeatedly to your patients. This will help your practice flourish. A quick word about the “bad apple” on the team: if you have one and they are not willing to get on board with your vision, you must terminate them. They will hold everybody else back, including you from reaching your potential.

How does all of this translate into value for your practice? Beyond the obvious improved financial, growth and profitability numbers that enhance the value, there is also the intangible value. A practice that functions harmoniously will achieve better market value because the buyers will be able to discern that your practice is special. It will show up in the notes in the charts, the smiling faces in the pictures in the staff room, the length of employment, the neatness in the office and the quotes on the wall. These are all things we see in “those” offices. We won’t see instructions in the sterilization area to the staff from “management,” or patients with outstanding treatment that have slipped through the cracks. The office won’t be messy and disorganized. 

Your team has great value to you, your patients and the future owner of your practice. Make it a great one!

David Lind is a Principal and Broker of Record in Professional Practice Sales Ltd. (, which specializes in the valuation and sale of dental practices.  He can be reached at (905) 472-6000 or 1-888-777-8825 or e-mail at:


The Professional Advisory

  1. One Year Later

  2. Dealing with Unsolicited Offers

  3. Covid-19 Practice Sales Update

  4. When is the Right Time to Sell Your Practice and Why?

  5. Partnership Pitfalls

  6. The Real Cost of a Dental Practice Set-up

  7. Smaller Practice Realities

  8. Dental Market Update - 2019

  9. Creating Your Own Most Valuable Practice (MVP)

  10. Small Practice Economics

  11. The Market is Very Efficient

  12. How Can Dental Practice Values be Rising and Declining?

  13. Hygiene as a Value Driver

  14. The Value of a Good Team

  15. Is it Time to Move?

  16. Staging A Dental Practice

  17. The High Cost of Dying

  18. Deal-Busters

  19. Patients - Attract and Retain

  20. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  21. Is There a Buyer for Every Practice?

  22. Good, Better, Best - The Market has Spoken

  23. Smooth-Sale-ing

  24. Buying Time

  25. Patients, Patience, Patients

  26. A Real Patient

  27. Why Do a Practice Valuation? I'm not Selling

  28. Irrational Exuberance or The New Normal?

  29. Do dental equipment and dental technology affect a practice value?

  30. Finding and Being a Mentor

  31. Bigger is Better

  32. Dave's Top Ten List for Buyers (Vendors should read this too!)

  33. How Well Do You Know Your Practice?

  34. Dave's Top Ten List for Vendors

  35. What will happen to dental practice Values in the next 10 years?

  36. Your Premises Lease is an Important Asset

  37. What are Associates Thinking?

  38. There is Life Outside the GTA

  39. When Is the Right Time to Sell My Dental Practice?

  40. Mergers are a Viable Option

  41. Is Your Associate an Asset or a Liability?

  42. Has your Practice Facility Kept Up With Your Billings?

  43. The 100 per cent of Gross Myth

  44. The Past, The Present and The Future

  45. Caveat Emptor

  46. Overpaid Long Term Staff

  47. Selling your Practice in Stages

  48. A Potential Pitfall of Selling Shares

  49. Value in Your Practice Through Balance

  50. Only Trusted Staff Can Defraud You

  51. To Own or Not to Own Practice Real Estate? That is the Question.

  52. Coping With A Large Patient Base

  53. Successful Dental Practice Transitions

  54. Taking Care of Business

  55. The Investing Dentist Phenomenon

  56. Two areas to focus upon that could negatively impact the value of your practice

  57. Organize your Debt in Order to Sell your Practice

  58. Having a Better Team

  59. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale

  60. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 3

  61. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 2

  62. How Do I Prepare My Practice For Sale? Part 1

  63. Advice to My Son or Daughter Graduating from Dental School

  64. Transition - What to Expect

  65. Discussion on Digital X-Rays

  66. Partnerships and Shotguns

  67. Strategic Planning - How to Get Started

  68. Calling All Vendors - Practices have Gone Up in Value

  69. Purchasers: Expect to Pay More for a Practice because of Lower Professional Corporation Tax Rates

  70. Matrimonial Practice Valuations

  71. Purchaser's Guide to Affording a Practice

  72. Location Improvements Throughout Your Career

  73. Small Practice Valuations

  74. Partnerships – The Best and The Worst

  75. Changing Location When the Opportunity Comes Along

  76. Visual Presentation of Your Practice

  77. Presentation of Charts

  78. Your Premises Lease Can Be Your Worst Enemy

  79. How to Select an Appraiser for Your Practice

  80. How Are Your Billing Ratios?

  81. It Pays to Invest in Your Tangible Assets

  82. The Importance of Separate Financial Statements

  83. Five Time Frame Levels to Sell a Practice

  84. 12 Suggestions to Safeguard Computer Data

  85. How to Buy a Visible Practice

  86. Why is there a shortage of good practices today?

  87. The Importance of Equipment in the Purchase of a Practice

  88. The Balanced Practice

  89. Will My Practice Be Saleable in The Future?

  90. Buyer Be Aware

  91. Excess Profit - The Second Key

  92. Patients and Profits are the Keys

  93. Plan Ahead