Acquisitions, Blog, Culture, Dental groups, Values

Did you forget to consider your Acquisitions Brand?

Did you forget to consider your Acquisitions Brand?  As a smart owner of a growing dental group, you know the importance of developing your ethos and patient perceptions.  This means you have invested time in defining your clinical vision and patient-facing values.

Your ‘Acquisitions Brand’ is an extremely important, but often-missed, aspect of achieving growth.  External perceptions are influenced by the way you do things internally and this becomes what you are known for.  Just as you attract and retain patients, consider, how are you attracting potential sellers?

Is your acquisitions brand attracting the best opportunities and accelerating growth?

Have you anticipated that, as your organisation grows, this will morph?  Unless you proactively manage it, it could become a turn off for potential sellers.  We’ve seen it happen before within dentistry!  What makes you different?  Read on to avoid the same pitfalls!

Consumer Brand

Your consumer brand is about the perception your patients have of their experience.   Apple/iPhone have a very strong consumer brand, for example.

If you develop only your consumer brand and focus only on patient engagement, your organisation will plateau or even decline.

Without back-up, a consumer brand can only take you so far.  You need to have the capability within the wider team to facilitate this consistently as you grow.

Acquisitions Brand is an Employer Brand

After sale, a Principal is likely to remain for a few years.  Although self-employed, the Associate work relationship is akin to that of an employee.

This means that your acquisition and employer brand are essentially the same thing. (More here from the CIPD about Employer Brand).

“The psychological contract between employers and workers addresses and sets expectations, beliefs and obligations of the (employment) relationship.” CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Management).

What do you offer to Principals to illustrate their ‘life after sale’ experience with you?  What psychological contract will be formed with you?  How can they trust that you will deliver on this?

Relinquishing the hassle of running their practice is balanced with the possible sacrifice of autonomy.  In their shoes, wouldn’t you want as much evidence as possible to guarantee a pleasant and fulfilling experience?

Apart from offering them the highest monetary value for their practice, why should they sell to you?  What reputation are you creating as an ’employer’ and how much attention are you paying to how this evolves as you grow?

Created with Sketch. "Employer Branding is the discipline of defining, developing and managing a company’s reputation as an employer. Employer branding is a concept that originated in the mid-1990s when employers began applying well-developed product branding principles to the employee experience for the purpose of growing more competitive in their ability to recruit top talent." Glassdoor

Ambition vs Reality

The ambition of most dental group owners is to develop a dental group which shows how much clinicians are valued.  They know that well-engaged clinicians are the key to clinical excellence and patients who become raving fans.

However, ambition alone will not deliver a positive experience long term.

Especially as the organisation grows.

The Founder (quite rightly) becomes focused on strategy and business development and others become the people-engagers and leaders.

Those working within practices become distanced from the overall vision of the dental group.

Decisions are made centrally with great intentions which at times impact practices negatively.

People feel they are no longer valued.  They are just there to achieve targets and earn money.

Do you think this won’t be you?

Do you think this won’t happen to your dental group?

It happens in every industry and every sector as a business grows.

It’s already happened within dentistry.

Unless you pay attention to your acquisitions brand, articulate it clearly, set out expectations and have a clear strategy to deliver, this will definitely be you!

Invest now in evolving your future culture.

Don’t base investment in the future on your current experience

As you look around your business, how engaged do your people seem? Happy? Productive? Valued?

I’m 99% certain you will have answered ‘yes’, because in the early days of growth this is much easier to achieve.

As the Founder you are the brand and close enough to everyone within the business to keep them engaged, letting them know that you and your business value them.

But your biggest downfall could be failing to realise that as your business grows this will change and that you need to prepare for it now.

Anticipating the future

Running your dental group based on who you were and who you are now will limit growth.

Anticipating the needs of your future culture and therefore retaining a positive acquisitions brand is a key part of accelerating acquisitions and growth.

Evolving a culture which has a life of its own and no longer relies upon you as a Founder, even though you continue to be integral to the business success. This is about the way leaders lead and about consistently and continuously engaging and re-engaging the whole organisation with vision, values and strategy.

Created with Sketch. "The truth is your brand is not your brand until you truly let go and allow the people who helped you discover it to explore, push boundaries, make mistakes, and challenge you. It takes courage to be a founder. It takes even more courage to let go." Balwant Ahira, Creative Brand Director, Studio Ahira

Developing your Acquisitions Brand

What do you tell potential sellers about what it’s like to work within your dental group?

It’s a family…

Clinical excellence is our highest priority…

Honesty and integrity is at the heart of what we do…

Innovation is key to progress…

Consider the vision and values for your dental group and then ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you execute this?
  • How do your leaders and teams behave in order to back it up?
  • What investment do you make to ensure this is understood and interpreted consistently throughout your organisation?
  • How do existing employees/Associates talk about their experience within your group?  Does their feedback provide evidence that you offer a positive and engaging place to work? (Ask us about our recommended employee engagement surveys as a way of gaining this feedback).
  • Are your people management practices carried out in a way that fits your brand personality, or are they a process implemented to tick a box?  For example: reviews, appraisals, recruitment process, induction etc.
  • Are your policies and procedures tick-box exercises, or do you use the opportunity to paint a clear picture of what you hold important as a group and your acquisitions (employer) brand?
  • How do you measure performance and what does this say about your acquisitions (employer) brand?
  • Does your acquisitions engagement journey, from first conversation to completion and integration, reflect and endorse your acquisitions brand?

Stand out from the crowd

Your acquisitions brand is a reflection of your culture. Culture is more than implementing a set of values and putting in place some processes and systems in a cookie cutter fashion.

Develop a brand that enables you to stand out from the crowd.  Create an engaging culture that shows your true colours, injecting warmth and personality into communications and people processes.  Develop leaders who consistently reflect your brand and your culture. Utilise opportunities to engage with your people again and again in every interaction.

This is what becomes your Acquisitions Brand.

It’s what will attract sellers to wanting to work with you.

How many dental groups do you hear describe their organisation in the same terms – a family, clinical excellence etc.?

So, what makes you really different and what evidence can you show me?

With over 24 years combined experience in group dentistry and a wealth of experience in working with a wide variety of organisations, developing their leaders and teams,  evolveyou dental are in a unique position to help you to develop your acquisitions strategy and the culture which will accelerate growth.  Invest in the future success of your dental group, contact us for a conversation.