Thousands of physiotherapists worldwide have successfully entered private practice over the years, many without significant business experience. Did some people just get lucky and fall into the right set of circumstances or are there some strategies and tactics that can help physiotherapy clinic owners rise above the fray?
Here, we propose some “big picture” suggestions that newcomers should keep in mind as they embark on their practices:
1. Develop a business mentality.
Write a business summary and eventually a detailed business plan that guides you through the turbulent early years of your practice. While many physiotherapists may share a similar professional skill set to your own, it is your business acumen that will set you apart. You must have a vision for what you want to accomplish, apply a disciplined sales approach to your daily activities (patients, staff, colleagues, etc.) and continuously market your brand for the entire world to see .
2. Select a profitable target market and satisfy their needs.
As part of your business plan, you must identify your specialisation and determine if there is demand for what you plan to offer patients. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes brand positioning, pricing, advertising and selling tactics suitable for your type of clinic.
3. Learn how to gain referrals and retain patients.
Working hard is great, but working smart is even better, especially as it relates to patient retention. Like all businesses, client retention and referrals are the lifeblood for a physiotherapy clinic. Networking online and keeping contact with general practitioners, hospital staffers and other specialists to stay on top of emerging trends and tendencies with people seeking treatment.
Having a good, interactive practice website will help you gain credibility and help encourage more patients through your door.
Building a successful physiotherapy private practice may take months if not years of disciplined business building. Transitioning away from the public sector (or employed) mentality of “service only” may be difficult in the beginning. However, the sooner you establish your business credentials, the easier it will be to welcome clients and regularise your cash flow.