7 minute read
Starting a Chiropractic office is both an exciting and challenging time. Decisions you make now, such as an office location and staff hires, will impact your practice’s future success. On both counts, success comes down to your performing your due diligence upfront.
Location, Location, Location
The real estate mantra of location, location, location applies to your Chiropractic office as much as any other business. What exactly should you look for in choosing a Chiropractic office location? Part of it is personal – decide how far away you can live from your home and maintain a thriving practice.
Start out with demographics. Who are your primary clients, and where do they live? Do you plan to have a family practice or focus on sports medicine? Census data can give you some information, but you’ll need more than that. Look for the major employers in an area and find out whether Chiropractic treatments are included in their benefits packages. Are those employers skewed more toward manufacturing involving physical labor or are they more service oriented? Understanding the type of work in your area may influence what your practice will specialize in.
What transportation is available in a potential location? In the suburbs, the automobile rules, but a location in a more urban area means aiming for a site along major public transportation routes, such as bus lines.
What is your competition? That’s research you can do by searching online. There are certainly advantages to being the sole Chiropractic practitioner in an area, but that could mean the client base isn’t that large. Do you have a specialty that other local Chiropractors don’t offer? Take these things into consideration when deciding on the best place for your initial Chiropractic business.
Then there are the practicalities, which may make some decisions for you. What is your rental or mortgage budget? That’s going to narrow your options. What is the local property tax rate? Local taxes can vary widely not only by state or county but by municipal boundaries.
The SWOT Analysis
Once you have all the relevant information on hand, it’s time to perform a SWOT analysis. The acronym stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.” Some of this analysis is based on facts and your environment, while other areas rely on you to examine aspects of your practice. Keep in mind, however, that you must verify all factual items, such as the community’s median income, level of education and school district statistics. Just because someone told you something is true – such as a real estate agent – doesn’t mean it is. For example, if you’re considering a location because of its growth potential, check out how different areas are actually zoned. For your practice, it’s a strength if there are new developments because that means new potential clients if that development is very low density, however – say, one house per 10 acres in some upscale communities – the number of potential patients decreases significantly. Do your due diligence and don’t rely on hearsay rather rely on research. The good news it hat much of this information is available online, or you can have questions answered by a municipal official.
Hiring for Your Office
Your solo Chiropractic office obviously needs employees. The question is: How many employees do you need, and who do you hire first? Much depends on the number of staff you can afford when starting a Chiropractic office. As your practice grows, you can build your team out.
First, what is your most pressing need in the staffing department? The answer isn’t going to be the same for every practitioner. Many providers may require a receptionist right away, because someone needs to answer the phone and deal with patients as they arrive. In the short-term, you may get by with temporary help from an agency, but that’s often more expensive than a long-term solution. When starting a Chiropractic office, you may serve as the office manager for a while, but as your practice grows that’s going to become burdensome. The same holds true for your billing. These tasks can take up all your time when you’re starting out, but you will eventually need to hire someone for the work, at least on a part-time basis. Once your practice is up and successfully running, it’s time to think about hiring Chiropractic assistants.
While full-time office staff is ideal, such hires also involve providing a benefits package. Such benefits may not cost as much as you think, and you can attract better employees when offering health benefits, retirement plans and other amenities. If that’s not in your budget yet, you may have to hire one or more part-timers when starting your Chiropractic practice.
Best Practices for Hiring Staff
No matter whether they’re full-time or part-time, hiring the right people is crucial for your Chiropractic business. What’s the best way to find those individuals? There are the usual methods, such as running ads or networking with other professionals and letting them know you’re looking for staff. Since every modern practice should be using social media, that’s a good way to get your “help wanted” message out there. Once your practice gets underway, patients are a good source of referrals – and some patients may even fit the bill for the openings themselves. Once you have a good employee and need others, ask him or her if they know of suitable candidates.
All things being equal, you’ll probably want someone with prior Chiropractic experience. That isn’t always easy to find and those with previous experience working in any medical office, or dealing with the public, are probably next on the list. Don’t discount a smart newcomer with the type of personality suitable for your Chiropractic business. With the right training and a willingness to learn, such a person can become a valuable employee that fits well into your Chiropractic office.
However you go about searching for candidates, make sure you have an exact job description outlining hours and expectations for each position. When receiving resumes, sort through the “definite,” the “possible,” and discard the ones who just aren’t qualified. Prescreen candidates with a phone interview before inviting them in for a face-to-face chat. No matter how good a candidate appears, conduct a thorough background check and contact all references. If a reference won’t tell you anything other than that person used to work at their establishment, that’s a red flag and you should look elsewhere.
The Right Technology
Along with the right location, the right technology can help you attract and maintain good staff. Talented people don’t want to work in a Chiropractic office with second-rate software. Intuitive, easy-to-use software like ChiroTouch. Their software can help your staff with maintaining scheduling, patient records, insurance billing, with running the overall day-to-day operations of the practice.
As you grow you may find that you are also growing out of your office space, you don’t want to find that one day you are also growing out of your software. Find a solution that is scalable, that can grow with your needs and adapt to changes along the way.