Starting a physical therapy business is a really get thing to do. Not only will be making a difference in your own life, but also in the lives of others. And, on the face of it, it might seem like it is pretty impossible to get it up and running. However, you might be surprised to know with some simple planning, you can create something that lives up to your expectations.
It should be noted that there aren’t any shortcuts when it comes to starting a business, and even less when it comes to starting a business, whose business is taking care of others.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take in order to get started.
Research Your Area
Of course, the most logical place for you to start your business is in your local area. But you will first need to know what the competition is around you. But that isn’t all. Here are a few other things you’ll need to ask yourself:
- What kind of patients are in the vicinity?
- What type of therapy do they need most often?
- Why do they need it?
- What will make your clinic the one they should choose?
You will want to canvas the competition after:
- How big are the other practices?
- Do they work with the local hospital?
- How is the practice set up – what is the business structure?
- How long have they been established?
These questions will help you narrow down who you will be serving and where.
You are going to want to choose your services based on the needs of the area. A more precise idea of the market that you have around you will mean that you will know exactly what your niche will be. Pediatrics and geriatrics are typically going to do very well.
If you choose one of those niches, you will never be short of work, and you can offer something specialist in those areas. You can also keep an eye out for practices that are up for sale – pretty much a premade business.
Cash or Card?
How are people going to be able to pay you for your services? How are you going to run this practice? You’ll need to give serious consideration to how you intend to bill people because it will make a difference to how much you are likely to make and from what sources. An insurance contract will make things much easier for you. But you should always remember that sometimes insurance companies will decrease its reimbursement rates and many salaries have seen a decline because of this. Cash-based plans are after a good idea for newer companies until financially they are more sound.
Now you have the foundations of everything you need to know, it’s time to put it on paper. You’ve made the call on how you’re going to charge people, you’ve made the observations required to know what your competition and niche will be. So now, you’ll need to locate marketing for physical therapists and get your cash flow in order.
Starting a practice doesn’t come cheap, so your business plan is going to have to be very well thought out and presenting to many funding sources. Make sure you have a clear vision in the front that potential investors and your bank manager can read and understand. Of course, as well as helping people, your bottom line matters too.
Your business plan will be the key to unlocking really great financing options. Here are some of the main options that you will really need to think about.
- Bank – loans are a typical first port of call
- Angel Investors – if you go for this option try to get someone that has experience in the health care sector
- Family Members – many people are lucky enough to have help from family members
If you go for the bank loan option, you will have to revise your business plan and cash flow to represent what you will be paying back and add the initial loan amount in too. There is also a lot of paperwork for that option, so make sure you have everything that will be needed.
Once you have the money sorted, you will be free to go and find a location that suits what you need. You are going to be looking for something with incredibly easy access – as of course, your patients will be movement limited. Use your cash flow to give you a solid understanding of how much you really have to spend on rent right now. And, remember that you might need to rent someone that is slightly outside of the initial location you chose. Always consider these things when choosing somewhere:
- Rent structure – how much upfront? When is it due?
- Parking – you might have ambulances taking people to and from your practice, and you’ll need parking for patients and staff
- Location – somewhere that isn’t too difficult to get to
- Square footage – you need space for people to be able to move around, and a few rooms at the very least. Plus toilets, changing rooms, staff room, and an office.
Once you have nailed all of the groundwork, it is time for you to get some staff in. Earlier on, you will have decided on your niche, and you will need to hire people who are specialists in those areas. As well as having a few generalists who can take care of patients, you might get outside of your niche. You will probably have plenty of contacts already, be sure you aren’t poaching staff from other companies in the area, but let people know you are openly looking for a new team.
The staff you hire will be the face of it when you aren’t around, you will need to trust them to do the work to an impeccable standard. Remember to have really lovely packages for your staff, as the work is physically demanding on them and a pleasant workplace makes a big difference.
Those are the basics of getting your practice to the starting line – it’s up to you to make it a success!