The Keys to Successfully Opening a Physical Therapy Practice
This guide to opening a physical therapy practices was written by Brian Gallagher, PT, President & Founder of MEG Business Management
When it comes to opening your first practice, it’s only natural that the entrepreneur in you gets excited. The goal is to open a physical therapy practice, and skip right to the stage of living your life as a successful practice owner.
These are normal dreams, even if you’re still in the early stages of planning.
Success is the whole idea. In the end, being successful with your new practice offers you a lot of benefits. But what are they?
Benefits of Opening a Physical Therapy Practice
- Living the life you have always envisioned for yourself
- Pride in the fact that you challenged yourself to meet your maximum potential
- Creating the ideal work environment
- Thriving in your chosen field – and practice
If you’re going to spend half of your life working, why not work smarter – and remain happy while doing it?
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately there’s a catch.
What often happens is that a series of obstacles brings 90% of people to a standstill – even temporarily – in achieving their goal of opening a physical therapy practice. But what is even more unfortunate is that in some cases, this standstill turns into a full stop.
On Your Way to Opening a Physical Therapy Practice? Keep the FUD Out!
FUD, which stands for Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, often creeps into the minds of even the most dedicated physical therapy professionals.
When these emotions bubble up, you begin to second guess yourself. All of a sudden, the fears of failure become too real. This is dangerous, because it causes people like you to think twice about the feasibility of opening a physical therapy practice.
The time, money, and effort involved become all-consuming. Slowly, you might begin to talk yourself out of what you were just dreaming of – and were so excited about
To make matters worse this doubt often increases when you share this idea with your closest friends and family. Why? They may tell you all the reasons not to do it. Common challenges that every hopeful entrepreneur has heard include:
- The money
- The risks
- The statistics of failures
- The difficulty of finding good, reliable employees
- Reaching the chosen community population
These are the people closest to you, and the last thing they want is to see you get hurt. However, their “helpful” reminders are often unnecessary – and even discouraging.
The reality is not many of them have experience in starting or running a business. This should make you wary of placing much credence in their opinions. Give them an opportunity to speak. They have opinions – and sometimes, they are relevant.
The best and most relevant advice comes from those that are experienced in a specific field. You seek legal advice from a lawyer and accounting advice from an accountant, right? It should stand to reason that you are better served by seeking business advice from a business coach.
More than that, seek the advice from one who has a proven track record of success in your industry.
Below are some tips to consider when selecting your business coach.
Start by asking the right questions.
Do they have a proven track record of success from where you’re starting? Ask them to explain their journey. While you do this, explore their online presence (website, testimonials, published works, etc). The more you know about their success in your field, the more qualified they become to help you.
Do they take the time to understand you and your philosophy and goals for going into private practice? You must feel understood in this process. A business coach should not only understand, but consider and incorporate your ideal scene and expectations, too. The more they can personalize the experience, the better.
Are they transparent with you when they share what is involved in opening a physical therapy practice? Do they share with you their skills and talents beyond just what they did in their own office, or with their own business? Too many consultants think that because what they did for themselves worked, all they need to do is have you replicate the steps and you too will be successful. It’s about more than repeating steps.
To be successful in your own practice, you need a plan that works for you and your goals.
One suggestion for those looking to hire a business coach before opening a physical therapy practice?
List your top five fears or uncertainties. Present these and see if you like how they respond. To begin a truly successful partnership with a business coach, you need to be comfortable with them and how they operate.
This should help you get started, as you should come to terms early on with the fact that you do not have to do this alone. The most skilled individuals in the world have coaches, so why not get ahead of the curve and avoid the problems and pitfalls before ever opening your doors?
Beginning the process of opening a physical therapy practice starts with collecting and using the right tools for the job. Even though every path to success differs, there are a few options available that are useful for many different business models.
For example? Connect with the right tools and resources from a business coach experienced in opening physical therapy practices through MEG Academy.
What Tools Make the Biggest Impact When Opening a Physical Therapy Practice?
It’s not comprehensive, but here is a list of tools you’ll need to set your practice up for success:
- Create a Business Strategic Plan (BSP).
- Focus on the financials when you develop your 3, 6, 12 month Pro-forma.
- Create an annual marketing plan. Then, break it down into two-month campaigns.
- GANTT chart out each action in sequence. Start this process a minimum of 6 months to a max of 24 months prior to opening.
- Seek funding. This covers training, buildout, marketing, equipment and operating costs.
This funding should cover the first 6 months from the day you open
Each of these items are imperative to successfully opening a physical therapy practice. Remember: it takes time and effort to customize to your practice’s philosophy and business goals.
For these tools, you’ll want to consult the experts.
Contact MEG today for help creating these foundational elements for your practice. You’ll want to ensure each is specific to your individual philosophy and business goals.
You have the tools for success, but what about your mindset?
Having the right mindset allows you to organize and plan for your future in private practice.
- You do not need to know all the answers. However, you should know enough to seek help to acquire the solutions to the problems that are likely coming your way.
- Prediction is king when running a business. As the practice owner, you never want to be caught off guard or surprised. You should always be prepared with ideas, solutions, and a plan to address challenges.Your goal should be to deal with challenges before they become an issue.
- Keep your focus and play the long game. When this happens, you circumvent a multitude of problems and eliminate tons of needless stress.
When you focus and understand what you’re up against, you are no longer randomly jumping in and hoping to land on your feet. Instead, you make things happen in accordance with your vision, laying it all out as planned.
After your plan and tools are in place, the emotions begin to run high. Why does this happen? The answer is simple. For many, you’re outflowing more time, money and effort for the very first time.
For some people, this brings worry, stress and even worse, another pause.
This is where only the strong survive when opening a physical therapy practice.
If you don’t believe in yourself or you are not connected to a strong business coach who has been down this road many times, FUD will get you!
Do not give into these feelings. What separates you from the pack of other potential physical therapy practice owners is your ability to rise above emotion and push forward. Trust in the fact that this money, time, and effort is well worth the prize of your professional freedom.
Success With Opening Your Own Physical Therapy Practice Isn’t Just About Having the Right Tools or Mindset
In order to truly succeed, you also have to follow the right steps. Getting out of order may not derail you completely, but it can make things difficult.
Logistically, you want to accomplish the following actions in the correct sequence when planning the opening of your clinic
- Identify the proper space layout, design and necessary materials
- Select the right all-in-one EMR practice management system
- Determine a process for contracting & credentialing employees
- Set up your EMR and billing platforms
- Consider an online scheduling and/or telehealth platform, like BetterPT
- Order necessary equipment and furniture
- Build out milestones and obtain the C of O (Certificate of Occupancy)
- Schedule a Medicare on-site inspection
- Adopt a compliance stress test and policies & procedures manual to meet all regulations
- Establish a plan for personnel filing and on-boarding
- Keep track of your financials – bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting ledger
Yes, it’s a lot to consider. These aspects of planning and opening a physical therapy clinic might seem tedious, but they are essential.
This probably isn’t what you expected when you began reading this article. However, those that have a great deal of experience with business coaching in the physical therapy sphere know what to expect.
Your success has much more to do with how you think and feel about things than anything you actually do in your practice. Your “doingness” is simply a follow-through on your “beingness,” and this is a representation of the type of person and professional you are. Make a name for yourself from the beginning.
Set yourself apart from the other entrepreneurs in your space.
It won’t always be easy, but it’s not meant to be, otherwise, everyone with a dream would make it happen.
There’s no guarantee that you need to meet and follow all of these steps and tips. However, the list in this blog gives you a much better idea of what to focus on – and where to begin. Expect great things from yourself, and from the others you employ or work with.
Going into private practice ownership and management is a life-changing experience. Those already successful in both areas want others to succeed, and thrive when connected with like-minded individuals.
For this reason, MEG Business is here to help entrepreneurs at the beginning of their journey.
Their team of trusted and experienced professionals is here to help. They’ve been doing it for over a decade – with nationwide success. With MEG Academy, owners are connected to the resources and expertise to start or expand their practices with efficiency. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to MEG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting the business is only the beginning. To be successful long term, you need to continue to adapt the latest tools and technology.
BetterPT is here to help you grow your business by optimizing your digital front door. Offer your staff unprecedented efficiency and access and offer your patients the kind of flexibility and convenience they’ve never experienced in healthcare before.
The goal is to help your practice grow by supporting critical business processes:
- Digital access touchpoints
- Online, patient self-scheduling
- Secure, HIPAA compliant video appointments
- Patient onboarding
- Centralized patient management
- Conversion data via link tagging and channel tracking
BetterPT’s technology solution improves patient access, engagement, and communication. These benefits enable providers to deliver exceptional patient experiences and operate more efficiently while reducing costs.
As a trusted BetterPT partner, MEG’s practice management solutions deliver the technology, resources and services for PT owners to optimize their practice and function more efficiently. With MEG’s business resources, you can shift to a profitable, scalable business model that achieves your vision.
Brian Gallagher is the president and owner of MEG Business Management (a PT business solutions company). He has more than 27 years of rehabilitation experience and nearly 20 years in business, Brian’s focus is on helping others. His specialty areas include physical therapy practice management, executive coaching, and restructuring practices to encourage efficient operation. On top of this, Brian also has extensive speaking experience with regard to marketing and public relations.