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Developing a winning business attitude in private practice

Physiotherapists in both the private and public sectors are highly trained professionals with a passion for delivering first class health services to their patients. Having satisfied the required education, training and accreditation, people in need of specialised care should be encouraged to consult them.

However, what differentiates physiotherapists who are private practice owners from their colleagues is the survival instinct, A.K.A. a winning, market-oriented business attitude. Without it, private practice owners would be awash in red ink, lacking patients and eventually out of business, headed back to being employed elsewhere.

So, do you break free from the security and comfort of employment? Almost from the moment you take the plunge into entrepreneurship, you must ween yourselves off the “9 to 5” mentality. Satisfying current patient requirements is no longer enough; you must demonstrate your interest in maintaining a relationship beyond initial diagnosis and treatment. Maintain contact through personalised follow-up campaigns, perhaps with the help of an e-mail newsletter or content-rich website.

Never fail to seize networking opportunities that present themselves or neglect the advice of and relationships with mentors and colleagues who can refer patients your way. Unlike other physiotherapists who are not responsible for finding clients, you will have to hustle and demonstrate why a patient should choose you over the clinic down the road or the nearby hospital.

The most successful private practitioners never compromise the quality of their care. In fact, their clinics must be state of the art with the best physiotherapy equipment (e.g. hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, specific exercise equipment, etc,) to compete. Well-lit, spacious surroundings are expected by patients as well as a welcoming smile by all staff members they meet. You can’t overestimate the importance and attitudes of your reception person. These are important steps in patient retention and earning valuable testimonials in the future.

Private clinic owners never take patients for granted. That’s why they keep a sales and marketing edge about them at all times. Keep a visible presence in the community and use local (and social) media to your advantage with health tips, strategic advertising, community work and press releases. Even if someone does not require your services now, your personal branding efforts will pay off later through recognition as a market leader.