Have you ever thought about pursuing your own medical practice startup? Some medical practitioners are entrepreneurs at heart. Others, however, may not consider starting their own private practice until they’ve already worked through years of bureaucracy and heavy administrative workloads in the traditional employment model. Regardless of what path has led you to consider starting your own private medical practice, there are many factors to consider before making a decision.
Launching your own private medical practice is a difficult task and you will undoubtedly face many barriers to entry. The most common barriers to entry include issues such as financing, insurance and credentialing, staffing, marketing, and finding a medical space to rent. Working through these issues in the early planning stages may cause you to feel overwhelmed or discouraged, but you are not alone. Starting a private medical practice has become so difficult that for the first time, the number of employed physicians is greater than the number of those who own practices. Despite this recent trend, there are many benefits to starting a private medical practice such as increased flexibility, greater earning potential, and the ability to form deeper relationships with your patients.
Opening a private medical practice is a life changing decision and we encourage you to strongly consider the following three questions. These questions will help you determine if pursuing a medical practice startup is a good idea for you and may eliminate some of the previously mentioned barriers to entry.
Starting your own medical practice can be very expensive and it may be difficult to accurately project your growth.
The cost of office space, medical equipment, supplies, insurance, credentialing, and a single employee can cost more than $100,000 per year - and that is before paying yourself a salary. Carefully review your finances and funding, find out how much you’re willing to invest in your practice, and determine how long these funds will keep you in business. Most private practices have a difficult time generating revenue during their first year in business, so make sure to use the lower end of your revenue projections when calculating these numbers.
Connecting with patients is often the biggest obstacle to overcome for new private practices. Most full-time physicians do not have the time or experience to create effective sales or marketing plans and hiring outside agencies to do this work for you will dig into your budget. If possible, try to create a large network you can tap into that will generate strong word-of-mouth interest and referrals. Many customers make their physician choice based solely on referrals so it is very important that you keep your customers happy.
Other options for reaching patients include traditional advertising such as physical signs and direct mailing, and digital marketing through social media, a custom website, or paid search.
However you decide to find patients, make sure you have a well thought out plan - and even a backup plan or two.
Most physicians take one of two paths when transitioning into their own private medical practice.
The first option is for those that are employed in the traditional model. If this applies to you, you can save money while working a full-time position and use savings or a loan to kick-start your practice. This option will provide you with great experience and a good personal and professional network, but it will not alleviate the financial pressures new practices face. If you’re interested in all aspects of the business including marketing and sales, this may be a good option, but if you plan to outsource this type of work, it may not be the best choice. Business will probably start out slow and if you don’t want to be heavily involved in other business functions, you won’t have very much to do.
The second option is for physicians that are currently employed or have recently received their professional certifications. If this applies to you, you can continue to work in the traditional employment model or generate income by other means while pursuing a private practice on the side through a “soft opening”. In the past this was very difficult, but with the rise of medical co-working models this option is becoming easier than ever before. Medical co-working models provide a comprehensive and full service plan that will provide you with all the resources you need to successfully transition to running your own private medical practice. Having access to these resources for a low and predictable rate can vastly reduce your risks and lower your startup cost to nearly zero.
If you’ve calculated your budget, determined a well thought out plan to get patients, and have decided what type of transition you will make into private practice, it may be time to kick start the process. Regardless of the transition type you plan on pursuing, we encourage you to utilize a medical co-working model instead of just focusing on finding a “medical space”. Finding a simple medical space will not solve your problems and is just one small part of starting a successful medical practice.
A well-structured comprehensive medical co-working model will provide you with everything you need to launch a successful private practice. There are numerous benefits to these models such as pay as you go staffing, discounted medical supplies, flexible and as needed office space, the ability to tap into a community of others like you, and access to professional guidance from those who have started their own successful private medical practices.
Utilizing the resources provided by a medical co-working model will translate into reduced and predictable startup costs, a higher chance of success, and will greatly reduce the overall risk of starting your own private medical practice.