Finally making the decision to start your new practice can be both exciting and overwhelming. But with all of the exciting aspects of freedom, flexibility, and new adventure come the responsibilities of logistical and strategic planning. When starting your new practice there are several foundational elements to consider. Including, but not limited to location, staff, credentialing, competition, and your niche.
“Where will my practice be?”
The first thing to consider when starting a new practice is location. Location, location, location! When thinking about your practice’s new home it is essential to consider which location will provide you with the best buildings, accessibility, and patient potential. When searching for a location a building should be first on your list. Is it in your price range? Does it have a sufficient layout? Or should you invest in property and construct a new building?
Next is accessibility. Can patients easily find your office? This includes thinking about major roadways to your new practice, such as highways, high traffic areas, and school zones. Ensuring there is proper accessibility to your office will help make the patient’s experience positive before they even get to your office.
Lastly is there patient potential in your location? There’s no sense in opening up a new practice where patients can’t utilize (or won’t utilize) your services. Find out if the surrounding community needs your practice and services, and more importantly if they will support it with their business.
“Who are the potential staffers at my practice?”
Another aspect to consider when starting a new practice is who your staff will be and where you will find them. Will you start with a full staff or will you hire on employees as you go? Check with nearby universities that could help staff your office with new graduates or consider bringing coworkers with you from your previous job.
You also need to know what type of staff you need. New practices often have thought through the amount of practitioners they will need but forget about the unspecialized positions, such as administrative assistants or receptionists that are just as important for daily operations. Staff is a very important cornerstone for a successful new practice because they assist and impact each patient on a daily basis.
“How will my practice approach provider enrollment?”
Another important element in starting a new practice is discovering how to successfully navigate insurance credentialing. Insurance credentialing is vital, especially for new practices, because it determines which potential patients choose your practice. Often patients are not willing to incur out of pocket expenses if their insurance doesn’t cover their visit to a specific practitioner or practice. Insurance credentialing is a time-consuming process, so set aside time before you accept patients to determine if you will personally be taking care of these applications or if you are going to utilize an ally to manage your credentialing process.
“What’s my competition doing?”
The next important facet of a new practice is researching your competition. This could include small practices or big hospitals that offer treatments in-house. Identifying your local competitors gives you a holistic idea of your potential success at each location. If you start a new practice in a location that already has an established practice and a big hospital that offers similar treatments, you might not be as successful like if you moved an hour away to serve another community. Understanding your competition is vital to the success of your practice.
If you do decide to enter a location that has sufficient competition, how will you set yourself apart? Why should customers choose you over another option? These questions lead you to our next step.
“How is my practice different?”
Perhaps the most important question to answer, for new practices, is how are we different? This question could be answered in a multitude of ways. Maybe you have the best and most highly trained practitioners. Or it may be that the most insurance companies cover you. Or maybe you can promise better overall patient care. Whatever the answer is, make it known. What sets you apart is what leads to success in attracting and retaining patients. When starting a new practice you must decide what sets yours apart from the other guys and then utilize the answer to market and grow your practice.