Private Practice 101
Welcome to the world of private practice –more glamorized because of the TV serial PRIVATE PRACTICE. However, in reality, the glamour is in the control that the doctor gets in delivering the desired service to the patient and living the life on his or her terms.
It’s not as rosy as it sounds. Starting a private practice means starting a new business. What it means that it comes with the risks inherent in any business venture. The risks that arise from fluctuations in demand for the services, staff issues, maintaining a competitive position and sustaining the profitability on the go, to name a few. Most importantly, the inherent risks lie in managing stress while managing other risks.
However, it need not be as scary as it sounds if one ensures that the first few steps are taken in the right manner.
Let’s look at four of these eight steps, without any particular order. I would like to call them – private practice 101’s:
Finding the right location is the key to the success of your private practice. The word location here is not limited to the street address but includes the broader geographical area, the suburb, the geography and also includes the details in terms of street frontage, ease of access, availability of parking, neighborhood impact, to name a few parameters. As they say in real estate business, it’s all about location location and, it’s the same in private practice as well.
Finding the right advisor’s team in terms of an accountant, financers, marketing consultants, insurers are also crucial. I have seen quite a few examples where some inexperienced doctors, in absence of the necessary business knowledge, have been taken for a long ride by doggy consultants, resulting in expensive learning experiences. The key to finding the right advisors is to know the questions you can ask them to assess the quality of their advice and knowledge.
Employing the right staff. As easy as it sounds, it is a matter of skill (and luck to some extent for those who believe in luck) to get the right stuff who knows or can complement what you don’t know in the private practice area.
Having a strong marketing strategy is essential for the success of long-term success and short-term viability of any private practice. After spending so much of time and money in becoming a doctor/specialist, there is no point in waiting for your patients to come to you. As a thumb rule, if within three months you’re not reasonably busy, you need to look at your marketing.
If these four boxes are ticked, one can assure himself/herself of reasonable success in the private practice.