I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits.
Are you ready to start your own business? Every year, millions of people answer yes to that question. And every year, that answer costs them money, time, confidence, and heartbreak. The Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates almost 600,000 new businesses opening each year, and that number does not include the small, one-person entrepreneurships that pop up every day. However, even if you are your business’s sole employee, there’s still something to be learned from the SBA’s numbers.
According to the SBA, two-thirds of new businesses survive at least two years. Forty-four percent survive at least four years. Two critical factors in a business’s survival and ability to thrive include the owner’s education level and the owner’s reason for starting a company in the first place. How can you make sure you are among the winners in this high stake game? The answer is inside of you.
Here are four key questions to determine whether your physiatry practice will survive and thrive:
1. Are you ready?
Have you mentally prepared yourself for the switch from an employee or student to the boss? You will be the one making the decisions now about everything from office products and equipment to services provided. This total control is one of the driving forces behind many doctors taking the plunge into starting their own practice, but it is also one element that drives new practice owners crazy.
When you start out, there’s an endless list of decisions that need to be made, and new questions pop up every day. Even more important, you will need to remember that in a new practice, you will wear many hats. Even if you manage to start out with one or more employees, you will each fulfill more than one role in your new practice. And if you are running a one-person show, you serve in every capacity from file clerk to maintenance crew to a salesman to the CEO.
Can you handle switching from task to task, role to role like that? Are you willing to make those switches? Similarly, have you prepared your family and friends for this switch in attitude? Your life will change, probably pretty drastically, and that change can have a positive or negative impact on your family life and social interactions. It will make things much more comfortable if your family and friends support going into the process.
2. Where’s your niche?
According to Business News Daily, a business niche is ” a specialized or focused area of a broader market that businesses can serve to differentiate themselves from the competition.” Have you identified your niche yet? One of the reasons many practices fail is that they fail to focus on an ideal patient population.
In general, if you are a major discount chain, you can sell everything from peanuts to wallpaper to nearly everyone in the community. This type of business, however, requires vast resources that aren’t available to all small businesses. Yet, small businesses dominate the marketplace, creating more than 50% of the private gross domestic product last year by finding a different approach: a niche.
Knowing your niche means you can find your target, maintain your patients, and provide the best possible care and services that the patient population needs. That focus is one of your best chances to not only survive but to thrive in a very competitive marketplace.
3. What is your action plan?
Another critical factor in your practice’s survival and potential to thrive is how much planning you do before opening your digital or physical doors. You need to decide if your practice will be based on the internet or include more traditional models. Are you going to work full-time or part-time at your new practice? Are you going to hire help or go solo? Have you written or at least outlined your business plan? Dreaming, thinking, and planning can save you much trouble and waste later when hectic problems strike. Planning can also keep you focused and help to balance your spending and time.
4. Whom are you going to call?
At some point, no matter how experienced a practice owner you are, you will need help. You will need support, advice, tools, information, or all of the above. One of the most beautiful and frightening aspects of growth is that it can lead you to places you’ve never imagined. And no matter how much planning and experience you bring to your new position as CEO, the unexpected will arise. How will you cope with this?
It is essential to recognize that no practice is an island. It is not a failure to seek help. Failure is when your practice shuts down because you did not get the help you needed. The best way to get timely help is to work on your support system while building your practice. That way, you will already have a ready list of resources available to you that you can quickly tap into when emergencies strike.
There are many excellent resources available to help you thrive in today’s world. No matter what your practice model may be, these include:
- publications (e.g., newsletters, magazines, and books)
- people (e.g., professional advisors, mentors, coaches, and consultants)
- networks (e.g., organizations and forums in your particular practice niche)
- education and training (e.g., tutorials, courses, and seminars)
After you’ve answered these four questions, you’re now ready to ask yourself that one big question again: Are you ready to start your own practice? If so, be sure to check out my blog post on naming, marketing, and pricing your practice to ensure that you’re setting yourself up to not only survive as a business owner but to thrive.
Attention, Physiatrists! Stop leaving money on the table. Sign up for the free video series: How To Build A Profitable Practice in 90 Days or Less: http://www.sixtytosuccess.com
I’m Dr. Hassan, a Board-Certified Physiatrist and Independent Practice Owner. I help physiatrists start and grow their own profitable practices so they can achieve financial independence and live without limits. Follow me on social media @DrHassanRehab.