Are you an established physiotherapist? Do you feel the urge to take the next step and move on from merely being an employee, to starting your own physiotherapy practice? Let’s do it! We have a few steps you can take to make your physical therapy clinic start up dream a reality.
Why start your own practice?
Firstly, decide what you want from your personal physiotherapy practice. Can you enhance life quality and independence through therapy? Do you want to make a better living for yourself and gain more control over your career? It’s advisable to set your goals clearly before laying out a business plan on paper.
List your main motivations and goals for getting started in business. Answer this question several times to understand what is going on. This is how you’ll guide your decisions.
Develop a business plan
It’s time to explore competition and decide on your specific target, make the financial decisions to start a clinic, and look at the requirements of a physical therapy clinic.
You’re also going to need an excellent business plan to be submitted for funding – whether through a bank, alternate loan provider, or investment.
Keep it simple so that your vision is clear. It’s necessary to understand your business principles to ensure everything from product marketing to customer support is running smoothly.
To take the pain out of writing one from scratch, we’ve created a business template for you to download for free.
Buy an existing business?
Is it better for physiotherapists to buy an existing practice than begin a new one? When you buy an existing enterprise, it means the patient base and staff have already been installed. The purchase of a business is an extremely difficult task, however, unless there’s specialised expertise in this area; for example, legal and financial expertise are essential.
You’ll need to establish why it’s being sold in the first place – was it unable to flourish for reasons you too will encounter? Establish an authentic financial position to ensure a good price for the business.
Start searching for and hiring staff
It is your job to attract and retain the best talent. Your clinic will only be as good as your physios, so you need to pay careful attention to the hiring process. Do you need specialists? Would a more recently educated physio have new methods that you could harness? Would a more experienced practitioner suit you better?
You may also need to hire an office manager, cleaning service, and someone on the front desk. This will all depend on the size of your practice and how much of your attention you wish to pay to clients as opposed to managing the administration of your business.
How do I differentiate my practice?
It’s time to think about what makes a good practitioner different from other practitioners. You must anticipate competition between physiotherapy clinics an get ahead of it. How will your clinic differ? You need to know what sets your clinic apart:
- Will your practice have a multi-disciplinary nature?
- Will you home in on a niche?
- Will you focus on your price point?
- Will you have the latest fit outs and equipment?
- Wil you offer the newest treatments?
- Will you bring client services and satisfaction into sharp focus?
Cement your competitive difference and work it into your marketing.
Promote and market your clinic
1) Your website
Your website is first up – you should be ensuring you have a high-quality website that’s mobile friendly and fast. Make sure you have thought about user experience (UX) and design, keeping it simple and well branded.
You should also be paying attention to landing pages and calls to action – specifically for click throughs from ads or social content. This is what helps drive sales.
Make sure you have a solid blog page that’s regularly updated too. This will keep your website ranking high on search engines like Google.
Your content is king. Creating fresh and engaging content will be pivotal in your marketing plan. Your content is often what populates your other digital channels, and it should appeal to your base of customers. Try to create the following:
- high quailty blogs
- ebooks and in-depth content
- video content
- original brand-oriented photography
- testimonials and case studies
- web content
- how-to guides
Much of the content you create will seed things like social media and email activity, so make sure you’ve spent time crafting great content.
3) Social media
Social media is one of the cornerstones of digital marketing. Make good use of the content you create and share it across your social network as well.
Pay attention to linking back to your website booking form with a call to action, landing page or customer journey. Look into the following avenues for social media marketing:
- paid or boosted posts
- brand stories
- organic posting around your products or customers
- click throughs to blogs and other website hosted content
- direct promotions such as sales and deals
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is paramount in digital marketing. Spend time teaching yourself about basic keyword SEO and how to set up your website to be easily searchable.
It might be wise to engage with a specialist to best understand how to ‘game’ Google and increase the visibility and relevance of your content, website, and social media posts.
6) Paid ads
Paid ads are another mainstay of digital marketing. Whether you engage with paid social posts, Google ads or host ads on relevant websites, paid ads are still a great way to increase awareness of your business and get people ‘in the door’.
This is extremely valuable as your open your physiotherapy practice for the first time. Putting down money to do a big advertising drive to drum up attention may be necessary in your early days, before word-of-mouth kicks in.
Design the space
Now you need to design the area you’ll be practicing from. Your physical space is not just practical in terms of treatment, it also reflects your brand and creates a sense of comfort and professionalism.
Take into account that an expert designer can maximise your square footage while capturing your vision of your clinic.
- Practical and private treatment spaces
- All the equipment you’ll need and the spaces they can occupy
- A stellar front desk and waiting room
- Branded colour scheme
- Practicalities such as plumbing, heating and lighting
If you want some tips on designing a cracking front desk experience, read our article here.
Financing your new practice
Many people feel intimidated when it comes to business financing. This can be completely understood as your studies in physical therapy may not cover the financial aspects, but it is a crucial element for a physical therapy clinic.
First, you’ll need that business plan you created, then you need to decide on your chosen mode of business financing. These include:
- debt financing (aka a loan)
- investor financing
All have pros and cons attached and you need to think carefully before eyou commit yourself to any one type of finance. Read more here about how to finance a business.