You are currently managing a physiotherapy private practice and welcome its many challenges:
- Finding and keeping patients.
- Managing clinic expenses.
- Ensuring healthy monthly cash flow and marketing the business.
However, after working one too many twelve hour days, you begin to wonder if private practice was the right decision. After all, was guaranteed hours, a steady flow of patients without effort and a regular paycheque all that bad? Whatever happened to that work-life balance you kept hearing about?
Before feeling too sorry for yourself, take stock of your accomplishments as a business entrepreneur to date and take pride in being able to combine your physiotherapy skills with them. Yes, the process of building a viable clinic is stressful, full of twists and turns. Yet, this is what it takes to lay the foundation for long-term private practice success and ensure that hundreds (thousands, perhaps?) of patients get the health care they richly deserve.
So, what are some steps to pursue in order to gain better control of your business affairs, without compromising the quality of your physiotherapy services? Here are some easy suggestions that, if implemented properly, can make a big difference:
1. Access the best information sources available
- Government departments for taxation, small business and labour information.
- Your physiotherapy association or order for professional development, quality practice and marketing advice.
- GPs, former public sector colleagues, university mentors and other PT owners who are willing to share experiences that may prove invaluable.
2. Why not get a partner and/or some employees?
Being a solo act sounds adventurous and has some appeal. However, it usually takes a team of people to really make it against cutthroat competition. Perhaps you can find a physiotherapist with complementary skills – or similar ones if you are looking to specialise – willing to share an equity stake in your practice. Beyond partnerships, maybe you can hire some well-rounded physios to broaden your clinic’s appeal and reach.
3. Don’t do it all yourself! Delegate tasks to other people
Physiotherapists in private practice will often assume even the most minute of tasks themselves, believing that only they can do things the right way. While admirable to some extent, the reality is that nobody succeeds by themselves. While people like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are entrepreneurial geniuses, the fact is it took millions of hours and brain power from thousands of people to grow their companies and others like them.
Your private practice may be of smaller scale, but the same principle applies. Consider outsourcing basic tasks like telephone call management, janitorial services and some information technology to free up more time for your real passion – helping people.
The key is managing expectations, especially your own. The goals you set at the start of your business odyssey will dictate how ambitious you should be once your “solopreneurship” stage plateaus. Reach out to people who have been where you want to go to achieve the next level.