11 minute read
Are you getting ready to start a new practice or need to do an annual review of your current practice? Review this blog to make sure you have all the things in place to be successful!
Every business needs a business plan, and Chiropractic practices are no exception. Even though you primarily view yourself as a health care practitioner, if you own all or part of your practice you are also an entrepreneur. While a chiropractic business plan includes many of the same components of any standard plan, there are elements in a Chiropractor’s business plan that are unique to the profession. You will also need a solid business plan to obtain financing to start or expand your practice.
Every Business Plan is Unique
Keep in mind that every business plan is unique, just as your chiropractic practice differs in some way from every competitor. While you want to include all the pertinent and specific information relating to your practice, you don’t want a fill-in-the-blanks, cookie-cutter approach. When a lender reads your chiropractic business plan, they should not only read a well-organized, well-argued document that doesn’t leave them asking a lot of questions, but should also be able to take away the vision you have for your chiropractic business.
Business Plan Basics
Start your business plan with the obvious – what is your service, how is it structured, and what are your goals to make the practice a success? While the concepts are obvious, how you reach your goals may not be, and this aspect of the chiropractic business plan requires a great deal of thought.
Actions to make a successful practice
If your practice is new, you’re starting from scratch. If your practice is successful, this is the time to review what works for you and what is not working as well as you had planned.
Determine if you will offer additional services
Offering various services can distinguish you from your competitors. By definition, every Chiropractor offers Chiropractic manipulation, but most practices are not limited to just that. Do you offer, or plan to offer, complimentary services such as massage, nutritional supplements or yoga? Do you offer something unique in your area, such as hydrotherapy? If you don’t offer other services now, do you intend to do so in the future and how will you integrate them into your practice? It’s not just financial institutions that want this information. Putting it in writing helps you build a roadmap for a continually evolving business.
Identify your client base
Identifying clients and potential clients are crucial to a successful practice. Research the demographics of potential clients in your area. You can find market demographics through your local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) branch. Typically, the SBCD has free advisors available to help with business plan development
While you can’t expect patients from out of your region to use you as a practitioner, will you market complementary therapies such as supplements, to a wider audience? How do you market your business and services to your patient demographic? How do you intend to grow your patient base? Whether it is by holding information sessions for the community, participating in community activities, extensive conventional or social media advertising or other means, it is vital that lenders know your practice should continue to grow and thrive.
Identify yourself, your business, and your team
A summary of your educational and business background, along with that of your top employees, is a critical part of a business plan. It’s essential that lenders know who they are dealing with when they review your plan. Identify yourself, including your professional experience and expertise, as well as your other valuable assets – members of your team. You don’t have to go into huge amounts of biographical detail, but you must include what your team members contribute to the business. If your practice is new, you chose them based on prior experience, so include those particulars.
Identify practice areas
Do you intend to focus on specific practice areas, such as sports medicine, or is yours a general family practice? If you are focusing on particular areas, how will you attract the clients you seek?
Determine not only your priorities but what makes them a priority at a particular phase of your business. For example, in the beginning, finding the right business location is a top priority, and that makes sense. Later on, bringing in another chiropractor to help with your workload may prove a top priority, because without another doctor, your business can’t grow.
Outline your goals and strategy
When a lender, or anyone else, reads your chiropractic business plan, they must come away with a clear idea of your goals and the strategies you will employ to meet them. There’s little value in stating your goals are A, B and C if you don’t outline ways in which you plan to attain them. Try to stay as specific as possible. If you have a goal in mind but haven’t yet developed a strategy to meet it, consider options and include them in the business plan. The act of creating a business plan forces you to come up with concrete ideas for issues that were formerly vague.
Crunch the numbers
A lender wants to see the numbers, so make sure you have current and projected numbers, as well as numbers for your goals and objectives. Include current gross revenues and the projected revenues in three or four years. Provide the background for these numbers, such as the current number of patients and their average visits and the projected numbers over a certain timeframe. What is your current collection rate and how do you intend to improve it?
Determine financing needs
Putting your financial needs and wants on paper is one of the primary purposes of a business plan. Figure out what you need to invest in, and how much that will cost. Determine projected expenses and income. List your current financial state and where do you plan to be in a year. Make sure all of your business plan, but especially the financial part, is rooted in reality rather than wishes.
One caveat: there are countless business plan templates available, and there is nothing wrong with using them. However, while the template is cookie-cutter, the information included must prove unique to your business. That’s especially crucial if a bank or other lender is not familiar with the Chiropractic industry. For the average small-to-mid size business, expect a business plan to run between 10 and 25 pages.
Chiropractic Business Plan Specifics
Because the plan deals with a particular industry, include near-term projections for Chiropractic from reputable sources. You should also include a mission statement for your business, as Chiropractic is a healing art as well as a business venture. Of course, the aim is to heal patients and make money doing so.
Track your Metric of Success
Include information on the metric of how you judge the success of your practice. That includes how many patients you intend to treat annually. Add such practice measurements, including the financial dimension.
A Chiropractor’s business plan should state everything relating to their business, including:
- plans for leasing or buying equipment and software
- renting or purchasing an office
- estimated salaries and benefits for staff
- marketing and advertising budgets.
Always remember that if a lender has any questions about your business or your projections, you must have a solid answer.
Once your Chiropractic business plan is complete, it is not relegated to the shelf or stored on your computer and never visited again. Think of it as a living document, and conduct at least an annual review for changes and updates. Plans are just that, plans, and are always subject to change. Economic and other realities can cause you to reconsider your goals and focus on different aspects of your practice. Regular review will let you see if you are meeting your goals and benchmarks, or if the material in the plan is no longer relevant.
Create a PowerPoint presentation
Complement your chiropractic business plan with a PowerPoint presentation consisting of 10 to 12 slides hitting the highlights of your plan. Graphics are good, but use some photos of your practice so viewers receive a personal glimpse into your business. The PowerPoint presentation is an easy way to present this information in addition to the business plan, and it’s something the lender you work with can show to higher-ups who make the ultimate lending decisions.
After you’ve compiled your business plan, compose an executive summary, which outlines all of the major points in the document. The executive summary is placed at the beginning of your Chiropractic business plan, even though it is written last. Its purpose is to give readers a quick overview of your plan, so that they can grasp the basic concepts. Include a brief description of what Chiropractic is and how you conduct your practice. List any areas of concentration, such as sports therapy.
The executive summary can make or break any financing plans, as a poorly written one can make a lender decide if there is no need to read further. A well-written, compelling plan invites the lender to take a close look at what appears to be a promising venture. Before submitting your plan to a lender, show it to a successful business person for a critique and review. You might also seek guidance from a mentor or another Chiropractor when putting your plan together.
ChiroTouch Can Help
Successful Chiropractic practices need a strong business plan, but even the best business plan can’t make a practice succeed if they don’t have first-rate Chiropractic software in place. ChiroTouch offers state-of-the-art EHR software for every aspect of your practice. ChiroTouch is there to help your business succeed every step of the way. You can find additional resources on how to make a business plan at CTAcademy.net under the “Collegiate” tab. You can find a series of videos that will help assist you in this process.