Here are some of the most frequent questions we get:
- How do I start?
- Should I start with…?
- What should I do first?
Of course, the big overarching question is: “How do I start my practice?”
Make no mistake; starting a practice can be daunting!
There are many things you must consider, investigate, and finally put into action; ideally, without making a major mistake.
Some NPs start the process by looking for office space. Others begin by looking for money to fund their new practice.
And there are those that start their practice by asking themselves a set of questions. And really, doing anything else is akin to putting the cart before the horse.
Because unless you know and understand some things about yourself, it’s next to impossible to find the right space, look for a funding source, or do anything else.
So, first things first.
Here are three things you must know before starting your practice before you do anything else.
Your Big Why…
Can you tell me why you want to start a practice?
The more clarity you have about your reasons for wanting to start a practice, the better.
Not only will it be easier to create a vision for your practice, but you’ll find it gives you direction, focus, and staying power for when the going gets tough.
And, clarity gives to access to resources and resolve within yourself you may not have known you had!
That’s why you want to answer the following questions…
- Why do you want to start your own practice?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Help more people?
- Generate more income?
- Get more control over your time?
- Have more freedom over how you practice?
- What’s holding you back from starting your own practice?
- Lack of funds?
- Lack of business experience?
- Fear of the unknown?
- Negative reactions from friends and family?
- What are you willing to give up so you can start your own practice?
- How will having your own practice impact and benefit you on a professional and personal level?
- How do your spouse, family, and friends feel about you starting your own practice?
The bottom-line? How committed are you to start your practice?
Of course, you are the only one who can answer this question!
Here are three of the most critical resources to consider when starting any business. They are:
Your mood, outlook, and your actions are controlled by how and what you think.
Remember the saying: “No matter if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right?” Keep these words in mind!
Because if there are doubt and fear, there will be hesitation and missed opportunities. But if there are optimism and a “can-do” attitude, there will be determination and progress.
Of course, positive thinking alone won’t get much accomplished; you must take action to makes things happen.
But action alone may not get you far either. You must cultivate both, the right mindset and the ability to take action!
Your Support System:
How do the people close to you feel about you starting a practice? Do they support you or criticize you?
Are they prepared to help you along the way, in any way they can? Or will they do their best to sabotage your efforts every step of the way?
While you may not be able to get support from every friend or family member, know where they stand.
You may decide not to tell or limit what you share with them about your practice. Because getting too much negative input can drag you down and hinder your efforts.
Instead, try to surround yourself with other practice owners. They understand what you’re trying to do and what you’re up against. And most of them are willing to lend a sympathetic ear when you need it.
Your Financial Situation:
What’s the condition of your finances?
- Are you free of debt?
- Do you have a moderate amount of debt?
- Or are you drowning in debts?
While neither scenario guarantees success or failure, not knowing the condition of your financial situation may do the trick!
Unless you’re clear about your financial situation, it would be foolish to assume additional financial obligations, such as leasing space, purchasing equipment, or hiring employees.
Also, if you plan to utilize third-party financing knowing the condition of your finances is non-negotiable. The record of your financial standing will be the first thing a lender will ask you to produce.
Your Business Model…
Finally, how do you plan to generate revenue day-in and day-out?
What is your business model?
- What problems are you going to solve for your target market?
- How will you deliver your solutions?
- How is your solution different from competitors down the street?
- How will you generate revenue with your services?
If you’re planning to start a traditional practice, chances are your business model will follow established parameters, such as:
- You’ll be providing healthcare services to subscribers of insurance plans.
- You’ll be providing services in your office.
- Your clinic will be different from the competition because you offer, for example, evening and weekend hours.
- And most likely, you’ll be generating the bulk of your revenue from insurance billing.
However, if you’re thinking about starting a more non-traditional practice, things may look different. Take the time to think about what your business model will be.
While often overlooked, starting your practice starts much sooner than signing on the dotted line.
Completing the work upfront is not only an opportunity to determine if starting a practice is right for you, but it allows you to fine-tune the type of practice you want to start.
And over time, you’ll find that the time and effort you invested up front will pay off after all.
Join the conversation! Share your experiences with your peers by leaving your comment below!
By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”