01 Nov How to Choose the Right Business Model for Your Practice
There have been a lot of practitioners venturing out and starting their own businesses, especially during the past year as clinics have been closing and rolling lockdowns.
A common question that I have been getting from my colleagues frequently is, “How do I know what business model is right for me? Should I have a home-based business? Should I go mobile?, should I work in a clinic, rent a room?”
Now, the answer to this question may shock you.
The answer is…really depends on you. Here are few factors to consider.
Your current patient base, are you starting from zero, or do you have a list?
Your current employer or landlord, do you have certain non-compete obligations?
Your personal preference of lifestyle, do you enjoy traveling or would you rather be in one spot?
Your current life circumstances, tight finances or a newborn impacting your life?
What are your long-term goals, would you like a team working with you or be a solo-practitioner?
As you can see there are no right or wrong answers, the decision is based on specifically what you want for your lifestyle and career.
Throughout my career, I have worked as a solo practitioner renting space in a gym facility to owning a seven-figure multi-disciplinary clinic, as well as being a mobile therapist flying to treat NFL, NHL, and other professional athletes. At each point in my career, there were different focusses I had at the time that made me choose the specific business model at the time.
This is also an important lesson in itself, your business model can change, there is nothing saying you can’t start a mobile business and change to a clinic if the mobile wasn’t the right fit or your life circumstances changed.
In this article, I’m going to share some of my experiences, personally, as well as clients that I work with on a regular basis on some of the advantages of each business model. I left the cons out as there are too many factors based on individual circumstances and I want to stay positive.
The advantages of a home-based business are;
Lowest overhead expense
Deduct a portion of your rent.
No commute, traffic or parking
Higher potential for profit
Never be late for an appointment
I had a home-based business while I was also working as a mobile therapist because I was traveling 2-3 weeks per month, and it didn’t make sense for me to have a clinic due to costs overhead, and the need for a team.
The advantages of a mobile-based business are;
Low overhead expense
Can serve specific niche markets easier
Can charge higher rates
Can serve larger areas or segments such as corporate offices, or sports teams
New environments and more social
With that being said, you do need to factor in your travel time and charge accordingly, this is a big mistake mobile therapists make is not charging enough for the convenience of coming to the patient and your gas or public transit travel costs.
For me, I worked with NFL players, and I had took weekly flights in order to treat these patients, which took a large majority of my time sometimes 5 hours one way across the country.
Now, clinics vary, because you could have a large multidisciplinary clinic with other modalities and practitioners, or you could simply have an office you rent.
We’ll start with the rented office.
The advantages of a rented office clinic business are;
Typically lower cost and more lenient leasing terms
Can often share days or have another practitioner work with you
Distance between your home life and business
Larger clinic businesses
The advantages of a clinic-based business are;
High ability to increase income and revenue
Can have multiple practitioners or other multiple disciplines
Can offer more services & equipment
Potential ability to expand and scale your business
When choosing the best option, I think it’s important to underscore that there’s no right or wrong answer. Your personal life preferences, life circumstances, and career goals may evolve to where you might start out such as myself, where you have a solo-based home practice maybe experiment with treating patients mobile and then you end up starting a clinic, as you grow your network and patient lists to accommodate a very rapidly growing business.
There are a few tips that I generally recommend when you’re first starting out. If you do not have a patient base, to begin start, and you’re not super strong at the marketing and sales aspect of gaining new patients, a home-based business may be something that is more risk-averse than starting up a multidisciplinary clinic.
Mobile is also another really good option if travel is something you enjoy and easy to do in your specific town, city or area serviced.
If you’ve got a patient base, you have developed business skills, and you’re looking at growing a team, then setting yourself up for success of having a clinic with multiple rooms and an ability to expand is a really important factor.
Far too many practitioners I speak with rent, small spaces that can’t be expanded and get locked into leases that limit them from growth and often leave the practitioner feeling stuck, and hitting a plateau, for long periods of time.
I have experimented throughout my career with the home-based business, clinic, and mobile business and found that I don’t have a specific preference to any of them over the other, and they all had different advantages and disadvantages based on where I was in my life at the time and my goals.
I hope this helps provide you with more clarity on where to start or give you permission to change something that isn’t working for you now!