A Perfect Storm of To-Dos
In the process of advising buyers and sellers of a medical practice on how to effectively transition from one owner to another, we are often besieged by questions of organization. “How can we possibly figure out everything that needs to be done, and do it efficiently and effectively, in the time allotted?” “What’s the secret to staying organized in this maelstrom of to-dos?”
The purpose of this post is to assist you in answering those very questions by explaining what we advise in respect to staying organized and effective through the transition.
We spend so much time trying to find the right buyer (or seller), going through due diligence, and negotiating the terms of the deal, most of us rarely think of the time, energy, and organization necessary to make the transition to a new owner once the practice is effectively sold. And there’s a lot to think about!
For the sake of example, here is a very partial list of some of the tasks that needed to be accomplished for a recent transaction that we managed, in no particular order:
- Update all current charts to show which patients are current versus those who should be filed off-site.
- Change signage on front of building and throughout practice to reflect new owners names.
- Modify all forms to show new owners names.
- Change ownership of electronic patient management and charting systems.
- Modify website to eliminate old owners and put in information for new owners
- Spend time showing new owners or their representatives how to modify website, add blog posts, etc.
- Contact landlord in order to transfer lease and get original deposit back.
- Contact utility companies to place invoices and payment information in the names of new owners by the day after the sales contract is signed.
- Get new owners set up with their credit card processing.
- Check that new owners are preferred providers for relevant insurance panels.
- Develop and get approval from new owners on mailer that will go out to all patients about new ownership and transition.
Of course, this is only a partial list of the many things that are required once the big picture items of finding a new owner and signing a contract have been finalized. The list above does not include complications such as dealing with employees, and all of the attendant issues with Worker’s Compensation, insurance, payroll and the like.
You’ll also note that each one of the items above will often require many smaller steps. For instance, to change the utilities, someone needs to call each one of the utility companies, preferably with the new owner standing by. A sub list of all of the different utilities, such as phone, Internet, gas, electric and the like, will need to be part of each to-do list item.
This is all further complicated by the fact that you and your seller (or buyer) will need to be coordinating many of these tasks together.
So what’s the secret to staying on top of it all?
The answer may lay with a not-very-sexy term that you may find quite sexy indeed once you have used it for a while:
Project Management Software
For those of you who are not familiar with project management software, its intention is to help teams of any size stay organized and on task. A good project management software package will be shared among several people, and will usually have one person who is more or less in charge of assigning tasks and checking them off as completed over time.
When used correctly, most of the tasks remaining in your transition will be organized from within the software, down to texts, emails, and related documents that can all be shared. Think of it as an ongoing conversation between one another related to specific tasks.
And though learning a new software package may seem onerous at this stage, these products are designed to be simple and intuitive enough that you could be up and organized in no time flat.
When you are looking to choose software for this purpose, we recommend that it has the following features:
- The ability to add multiple team members with different levels of access or security. For instance, some people may have the access rights that would allow them to change or delete tasks or lock them complete. Others may only have the security clearance to view tasks and perhaps write notes or memos or attach documents related to a given task.
- The ability communicate with other team members through the program rather than just through email.
- It’s cloud-based. This means that the software is based on the Internet, so that it can be accessed anywhere and anytime that one is online. It is possible to be off-line with many of these as well, and then as soon as you are back online, data will be synchronized.
- The ability to attach documents to your to do list. Often times, your to do list items will have to do with a lease, or a document that must be signed, or something else that you may need to attach to that item in order it to be completed.
- It should have an app version that you can access from a smart phone or tablet.
Choosing The Right Package
There are many different options out there. If you Google “Project Management Software”, you may be quite overwhelmed by the choices.
There are many sites that review project management software. Here's an article from PC Magazine on their choice of top 10 project management applications in 2017.
If you already have Microsoft Office, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that Microsoft Project is already included as a part of the package. Microsoft Project has been around a long time and has many of the features most requested by users of this kind of software.
Other companies include Trello, Jira, Podio, Proworkflow, Smartsheet, Zoho, Asana, Basecamp, and Dapulse among many others.
Our Three Favorites
Many of our clients are do-it-themselves types who like to do as much of their purchase or sale as they can on their own. We love to cater to these people, and to them and most of our clients, we are currently recommending Asana, Basecamp, or Dapulse (soon to be renamed "Monday" or whatever reason). While there are many other options out there that may be just as good, these are the three with which we have the most experience.
Has a free plan with very few features, and otherwise starts out at $9.99 per month. We've found it useful for very basic to do lists
Our current favorite
Has been our go-to of late. It is quick and easy to get started, is free for 15 days, and then costs up to $25 per month thereafter. We feel it's worth it.
The most features
Has been around for many years, and is one of the first we used. You can sign up for free for 30 days, and if you end up using it for a long time, they charge a monthly fee of $99 and up. This is how most project management software packages work.
To see a short demo video of each of the three products above, click here.
An Introduction to Asana
An Introduction to Dapulse
An Introduction to Basecamp
How To Get Started
Once you have signed up with one of these packages, the first thing you want to do is go to the administrative area of the program, and add the names and email addresses of the key person or people to whom you are transferring your business. You will be sharing the program with them, and using it to help you both transition the business, so we recommend giving them full administrative access or something just below that level of security so they may add and modify and check off to-do list items as they see fit. Normally, each person who is added will have the ability to log in themselves once you set them up in the program.
Next, start adding your to do list items. For each item, you will be given the option of writing as much or as little detail about the item as you wish, along with the ability to attach any relevant documents or pictures or whatever. You will also be given the option of a signing or sharing this item, each item, with the others that you have added to the program (the people to whom you’re transferring the business). You can also set dates and deadlines for any given to do list item.
From this point forward, all of your to do list items for your transition can be entered into and managed from this software package, rather than keeping random notes on your phone or on slips of paper. Given that both parties can access it from apps on their phone, tablet, or computer, it is a great, centralized method of keeping organized and appraise of what items are still outstanding, which items are coming up in the near future, the details of any given transitional item, and/or a timeline of when and how stuff needs to get done.
Updates - April 2020
A newer article on project management software covers the latest updates and newer cloud-based options. Check out the article here.
Need Help Getting Started?
If you are unsure how to proceed or how to set up one of these packages, we can set it up for you! Let us know if you’d like some help by contacting us below. We’ll call or email you back, figure out what your needs are, and get you moving.
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