The day has finally arrived and you are now owning your own practice. You plug in the OPEN sign, turn it on, and your first patient is about to walk through the front door. Prior to the opening day, you have put endless hours setting up your clinic, ordering equipment, and writing all the procedures. Before plugging in the OPEN sign, here are 5 fatal flaws of opening a new clinic and how you can prevent the costly mistakes.
The office administrator can either make you alot of money or make you lose alot. They are your brand ambassador and have an influential role in the patient experience. They play a critical role: checking patients in, scheduling appointments, collecting payment, filing, photocopying, answering phone calls, and helping calm angry patients. That is a tall order to fill! Burnouts and high turnovers are a result of high workload.
Try using a personality test like DISC or Meyer Briggs to help with the interview process. It can give you future insight on how they interact with your team under stressful and normal situations. Here is a free version from Anthony Robbins that is pretty useful.
Patients expect clinics to be open that are convenient with their busy lifestyles. If your clinic is not open, they will go to your competition. Don't fall into the trap of having restrictive hours that is not patient friendly. The ideal weekday schedule is creating two shifts for your clinical team: 8am to 2pm and 2pm to 8pm. Weekends are also great especially for massage therapy appointments.
Some helpful tips for setting your business hours:
- Analyze the demographics in your community
- Find out the competitor's hours of operation
- Have consistent hours and schedules so it's easy for patients to remember
3) No Doctor Relationships
Do you have a good doctor marketing program? A doctor that likes YOU can send you up to 3 patients per week. You need doctors to like you more then who is currently providing their physiotherapy or chiropractic services. Having a personal relationship with them makes it easy for them to do business with you, it really can make the biggest difference. Having a few doctors in your back pocket before your clinic opens is crucial so you can break even as soon as possible.
People expect to find just about everything on the Internet. Not having a website or a social media (facebook, twitter) will make your business virtually invisible to the majority of Canadians. If your website is converting well, it can give you at least 15 new patients per month.
Your website needs to be Google/SEO friendly. It can take up to 12 months for your website to rank in google organically. My suggestion is to start early and build your site 12 months before the opening day of your clinic. Get some outside help to setup your google adwords, content for your blog, and social media strategy. All of these factors will help you rank organically with google faster. Expect to spend around $3,000 to $5,000 for a decent website that is Mobile friendly.
Unfortunately, they don't teach you much about business in physiotherapy or chiropractic school. There are many steps in opening a new clinic and you don’t want to miss anything critical. Are you setup with GST? Did you get malpractice insurance? Are your privacy policies compliant with PIPEDA?
Starting a physiotherapy business is a big job but with the right preparation you can get everything you need to setup a successful clinic on a short timeline. We have made it super easy for you and have compiled a business checklist including all critical registrations, licenses, and procedures you'll need to open a new clinic. Over the years, I have used this business checklist many times to build over a dozen multidisciplinary clinics.
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