You’ve decided to open a new physiotherapy clinic, exciting! After all the training, maybe you’ve had a couple years of work experience too, and now it’s time for you to branch out and create the business you’ve been envisioning.
The choices at this point are to buy an already-established business or start a new one from scratch. For most, the availability and starting capital required to buy an established business dictates the decision.
If your plan is to start a new clinic, your first decision is to focus on a location and demographic that you can serve.
The next decision is determining the size of your clinic.
Is a 2 room clinic too small, is a 6 room clinic too big? The answer to this question has to do with your strategy and cost.
If you are paying by square footage, then you have to consider your monthly lease expenses and the initial capital requirement for getting the rooms to a functional state.
Remember, each room will be a revenue-generating machine. If for example, each room is 120sqft and the cost to lease the additional space compared to the potential profit of the room justifies the cost, then it’s worth considering if you have enough capital to renovate and equip the rooms to prepare to sublet.
Now, how do you determine if the added space is going to be profitable?
There are multiple ways to create room revenue. You can rent the rooms by hiring individual practitioners. This makes it slightly harder to build a consistent brand and customer base, but it’s the easiest way to ensure a profitable business.
Your other option is to hire therapists as independent contractors; however, you have to be careful with various provinces or state laws as enforcing too many rules may suggest an employer-employee relationship.
To maximize your revenue, you could rent the rooms in dual shifts and consider longer hours of operations and/or weekends. The big factor here is to ensure that you have enough patients to support and keep your practitioners busy. Because the therapists are paying rent, you can specify in their contracts that they are required to do their own marketing and bring in their own clients.
The catch with this is that if they aren’t busy, they will leave, so it is in your best interest to include them in your marketing campaigns as their success means success for you and your clinic.
Some may naturally bring their customers with them, but most would want to have access to a steady patient base and business services like a payment system, practice management software and tools to manage patients, charts, bookings, a website, admin staff, and more.
Another option is revenue splits. For example, the practitioners keep 60%, and the business keeps 40%. This reduces the risk for practitioners because if they aren’t required to do their own marketing and they don’t have to pay rent; however, it’s riskier for the business owner as now there is even a bigger requirement to ensure you have an adequate number of patients. The bigger the practice, the more patients you need to keep everyone busy.
In both cases, you have to protect your business patients, as that is your biggest leverage. This is more crucial with the commission-based scenario as you are revenue sharing.
Acquiring patients, especially repeat customers is not an easy task, but here are some top tips to consider for opening a new massage therapy business. [bctt tweet=”Here are the 20 Tips for Opening and Managing a #Physiotherapy Business. #clinicmanagement” username=”yocalenetwork”]
Here are the 20 Tips for Opening and Managing a Physiotherapy Business
1. Make it easy for your clients find you. Location, Location, Location!
2. Offer services and hours that match the demographics. For example, if you service busy professionals, consider longer or earlier opening hours.
3. Make it easy for people to do business with you. Offer online booking and encourage people to use it. Inform your patients of the online booking option every time you see them until they start using it. And, inform them about online booking on your voicemail greeting.
Online booking makes their life easier: they can book anytime, even when you are closed which could increase the frequency of booking, reduces your admin overhead, increases your efficiency allowing you to concentrate on higher value items, and increases your revenue by filling last minute appointment slots.
PLUS it increases your online ranking. Every time your patients want to book you, they search for you online, that increases your online ranking! Your job is to make sure you get an online booking solution that gives you complete control over your schedule with the flexibility to let you do business the way you want to.
4. Use practice management software that allows you to see how your business is doing; provide key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to better manage your business and tools to manage your patients and their charts.
5. Go Green. Use practice management software that helps you save money by going green. Electronic invoices, patient charts, intake forms etc. Not only will it save you money but it also saves you admin time.
6. Invest in your online presence. You have to be found online! Have a professionally made website that highlights your staff and services, is easy on the eyes, and SEO optimized. Some online booking software solutions, like Yocale, give you additional SEO-friendly pages that increase your appearance in search engines like Google. They offer you a mini website with booking widgets that you can also use on your website or Facebook pages. They also have SEO optimized URLs, which help with your online ranking.
7. Your first priority should be to quickly fill the rooms with practitioners that pay you to rent so you can cover your costs and invest in marketing. Advertise in schools, online sites like craigslist, on your own website, etc.
8. Make sure you have good social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other local directories. Some online booking and practice management software like Yocale also provide you with the additional local directory listing benefits as well.
9. Make sure you train your administrative staff to recommend follow-up appointments. This way you can keep your rooms filled. Again, some practice management software solutions (ie: Yocale) have recurring appointments or follow-on appointments, re-calls and reminders, which are a soft way of reminding patients to book again.
10. Seek reviews from your patients. This increases your online ranking. Look for a practice management software that automatically asks for reviews after every appointment to help increase your online reputation. These reviews and testimonials become an important part of your online profile that new, potential clients will use in determining to book with you.
11. Don’t forget to build a proper patient database. Make sure you have contact information (ie: their email address) so you can use marketing tools to keep in touch with your patients and keep your schedule busy. Email marketing tools are sometimes built directly in the practice management software, which makes it easy to run against your patient records. For example, you can set up an automatic email to reach out to patients that haven’t visited you for a while.
12. Your admin staff must be friendly. They make a lasting impression. You can even use variable bonus compensation schemes to have them help you with finding practitioners at the start or if someone leaves. Keep your social pages updated.
Many small clinics start without having a receptionist to minimize costs with the help of a practice management system that can automate most tasks like taking bookings, appointment reminders, cancellations, changes, billing, and reporting.
13. Network! Local business groups like BNI or other community groups are excellent to build a referral-based business. Listing marketplaces like Yocale, have some built-in referral capabilities, they are community-based systems so you’ll have some automatic networking benefits. Getting to know nearby complementary providers such as Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, or Medical Doctors to take referrals from is a great way to build your network.
14. Create content online. Videos and blogs are a great way to increase your online presence. A short video blog on your specialty or blog on a treatment plan shows you are a thought leader and increases your online reputation.
15. Make sure you have enough cash flow to support the business for at least a year assuming minimal income from the operation or rent.
16. Create a relaxing ambiance. Good sound system, decorations, etc. to make people feel relaxed and encourage them to come back.
17. Ensure the people you hire are a good representation of your health and wellness center. Not all registered physiotherapists are trained the same or have the same personality. Pick a system like diagnostic therapy and make sure everyone follows the same minimum standard.
18. Consider other complementary services. For example, acupuncture, chiropractic or naturopath services in your clinic to offer a holistic care plan.
19. Attend community events. Be a part of your community.
20. Watch your online reputation and learn from it. Respond to people’s feedback.
Following the above can help you create a solid cash flow business while creating a great wellness center in the community. It’s important that you adopt a system and continue refining and fine-tuning it as you move forward.
Good practice management software is an important part of it, but you have to make sure you use it properly and to its full potential. If you do this right, you’ll be ready to open your 2nd location!