The excitement of opening up your own private practice is justified if and only if you translate that initial enthusiasm into a viable, profitable business. However, not every physiotherapist appears well-equipped to handle the rigours of running a clinic, even though they may have earned top honours at university and acquired tremendous practical experience upon graduation.
So what are some of the keys for surviving the cutthroat world of private physiotherapy? Below, we discuss four important aspects for any practice that will determine if you can beat the competition in the long-term:
An accessible location with clean premises
Every heard the expression, “Location, location, location”? It applies to your private practice location, regardless of whether you work from home, offer mobile services or rent commercial space. If your clientele is less affluent or you are located in the city centre, then easy access to public transit is a must. Make sure your treatment and reception areas are bright and spotless.
As they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Superior patient service and follow-up
Once you get patients to visit you for the first time, it’s time to demonstrate that you are worthy of their trust, time and business. Granted, the core of your efforts lie in your professional training and expertise, but it is the value-added care that will make you stand out. Are there things that you couldn’t do in the public sector that can make patients feel more special? Great, implement those practices now! Use ‘thank you’ cards, e-mail follow up and reminder calls to demonstrate your interest in your clients.
It goes without saying that marketing strategy will determine your private practice success. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help physiotherapists make a smooth transition to the business world. While Internet marketing techniques and social networking (Facebook, Twitter) are all the rage, don’t ignore traditional networking with GPs, former colleagues and health professionals in other fields. Discover what works best for you and stick to it.
Successful private practices do not exist in isolation. They integrate themselves in the community via volunteer work with children and seniors, press releases and openness to media exposure and other outreach opportunities.
With the demand for physiotherapy services likely to increase in the future, motivated private practices are well-positioned to lead fulfilling business and professional lives. Competition should spur managers to embrace new technologies and implement enough discipline to thrive and prosper.
Just a note regarding marketing: please beware of any rules and regulations imposed by governing bodies and or associations about various marketing practices that are relevant to you.