8 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Private Practice

Going into private practice is an exciting career move. Whether you are a dentist just out of school, a physician who has been working in a hospital setting, or a healthcare practitioner in another field, the decision to strike out on your own is a big one. Finally, you get to be your own boss, set your own schedule, and decide courses of therapy for your patients . But before you make the leap, there are some basic questions to ask yourself to make sure your practice will be a successful one.

Why am I interested in private practice?
This may seem like an obvious question, but it is the crucial one. Private practice is hard work. You will be responsible for managing the business and its people, in addition to being a practitioner. Whether you are interested in providing exceptional service to patients, being your own boss, or making your own hours, make sure you have solid reasons to take the plunge.

How will I differentiate myself?
How will you stand out from your competitors? Will you break into a new market or cater to a specific population? Maybe you have a unique specialty or are able to offer a cutting edge procedure that few others are performing. Identify a few key differentiators that can elevate your practice amongst the others to attract new patients.

How will I sustain the practice until it becomes profitable?
When you’re starting a private practice, you will need an initial infusion of cash for the location and supplies, but also legal fees related to business creation, branding and marketing, and more. Whether you have another source of income or you can save enough to sustain yourself, make sure you and the business will be able to survive until you start turning a profit.

To determine how much money you will need, you should make an educated guess on how long it will take your practice to be profitable. QuickBooks has a good guide on how to do that. From acquiring a location to purchasing equipment, hiring staff and marketing your practice, there are a lot of financial aspects to cover when going out on your own.

Do I have a business network?
Even if you have been practicing for years, there is a definite learning curve to going off on your own. The good thing is there are plenty of people who have launched their own businesses and are willing to help guide you. The first place to look is your business peers, even if they are not in healthcare. More often than not, they are willing to help other entrepreneurial-minded professionals. The best way to get connected is through a professional association or local business organization. A quick phone call or email will most likely get you connected to the people who can help you the most.

What are the things I need to do aside from treating patients?
We might call this time “administrative hours”. These hours include networking, building systems, planning marketing, or training new hires. It depends on your goals. Maybe you want to build supplemental income outside of your full-time job, then you’re going to look at the minimum amount of time. Focus on getting a website set up, finding an office and other essentials. If you are wanting to create a super mega group private practice, it will probably be more time on the front end.

In addition to hours spent seeing patients, you will need to set aside some time for actually running the business. It is important to consider the amount of time you have available for these tasks while taking into account your life outside of work. Your time constraints may factor into your hiring decisions. Additional staff to help with administrative work will increase costs but could end up saving you time and peace of mind.

Should I start my practice full-time or part-time?
The idea of being your own boss is exciting and you probably want to dive head first into your private practice, but it might make sense to ease into it part-time. Starting your practice on the side while you’re still working for someone else gives you a financial cushion to get you through the start-up phase of your business.

Do I enjoy working alone or with peers?
Think about the days you enjoy the most as a healthcare professional. Do you bounce ideas off
other practitioners or thrive off the community of the practice? If so, you may want to consider buying into a group practice rather than going completely solo. This ensures that you are able to work on your own while also having access to a professional support system.

How will I grow my business over time?
Most businesses close after 2 years. To sustain a private practice, you need a mix of repeat customers and new patients. Client retention is crucial to growing your practice over time. Your clinical training and ability to use that training effectively will definitely make or break a private practice. When you do not have sufficient training to perform the therapeutic services you offer, your clients will notice this deficit and will move on to a therapist that is a better fit.

Are you ready to take the first step into starting your private practice? Head to our contact page for turn-key solutions on how to set up your private practice today.


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