• elisha235

10 Things to Know before Opening a Private Practice

So, you’ve made the decision to open your own private practice, Congratulations!

You’re on your way to making your dreams become of entrepreneurship a reality. However, as we all know, dreams and reality can be 2 very different things. Reality is full of unexpected glitches, many “I didn’t know that” and the feeling of “what did I get myself into”.

This article was written to hopefully give you a realistic look of the ups and-downs of starting your own practice and to help you get ahead of some of the hurdles that come from making your dreams a reality.

First off, which I’m sure you have already done, start with putting your dreams onto paper. Write out a business plan; put down on paper your goals of what you want your business to become. Do you want to grow?

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years?

Try to be as realistic as possible, I know it’s great to dream big, but start with little milestones first.

Next, meet with a financial planner and go over your finances. Review your assets and liabilities; can you afford this? The reality of being a business owner is that you don’t always turn profit right away; be ready to invest your own money if needed, especially in the beginning.

Now, once you’ve got your plan written out and your finances are in check, start with picking the right location for your business. Be sure to be easily accessible for clients to find you, nothing worse than you being hidden off some path and clients are unable to find you. You also want great street presence, think of it as free marketing for that area. Make sure to scoop out your neighbourhood; you want to see if you have competition near you. (Be sure to test sound proofing and noise particularly for a shared space)

Now comes the fun and creative part; once you’ve selected your location and signed your lease agreement, it’s time to make your practice your own. How do you want your space to look? What kind of vibe are you going for? This is the part where you get your creative juices following and play designer. If interior design is not your thing, hire a professional. It may cost a bit, but the outcome will be worth it.

While your space is being designed, it’s time to think about the technical side of this venture: have you researched the type of platforms you’ll be working on? You may also need some office equipment - a computer, a printer, office supplies, etc,. These items can easily add up, so you may want to break out your purchases on a monthly basis. This way your bank account doesn’t feel it all at once! Speaking of bank account - do yourself a favour and get a business specific account, this is going to save you a lot of time and accounting work when it comes time to taxes!!

Now it's time to let others know about your decision and get your name out there! Marketing your business to the right audience can be confusing (and costly), especially if you do not have a background in this. This is where you’ll need to spend some money on advertising and getting your name out there, ideally advertising to your specific target audience on as many platforms as possible. Social media can be a great (and free way) to start promoting yourself. Check out what your competition is doing, decide which advertising platforms would suite your business best.

Also, it’s very important to become involved in your local community. Be sure to introduce your business to your local community business association and sign up for as many community events as possible….you want to show that being part of this community is important to you and that you believe in what they do….many local business associations offer great free marketing opportunities and will help promote for you!

Next, it's time to think about employees. Have you decided if you are able to hire staff right off the bat or maybe you want to start-up on your own for a few months and see how that goes? If you want a team in place, you need to hire the right people that are in-line with your industry. If you have the right people in-mind already, then you’re ahead of the game! You’ll need to either connect with colleagues in your network or post job ads for your specific industry and spend time reviewing and interviewing candidates. This can be time consuming, but remember to take your time throughout this process, finding the right people for your business is important.

Ok, so you’ve moved into your beautiful office space and hired the right team and are ready to deliver on your dreams. Think short term and long term, ask yourself where you want to be personally and professionally in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years from now.

Now that you have a business infrastructure you can really focus on developing an office culture that represents your business vision and model. Growing businesses often don't turn a profit for a few years as money earned gets reinvested. Training your staff and investing money may become a bit overwhelming at first, but remember if you invest in the right things to support making your vision a reality, it will pay off in the long run.

You want to create an office culture that you are proud of, that reflects you, and where your staff actually enjoy coming to work, a place where they want to be and actually be productive. Remember, you will be spending everyday together, the work we do is hard so try to create an environment that you can all enjoy. Trust me when I say, if your employees are happy, they will give you their all!

Remember, each day comes with a new adventure! You will learn something new at every turn and you will make mistakes - this is totally normal and no one is perfect. Any time I make a mistake and am in a situation that I wish I wasn't in I like to ask myself "is there a way I could have prevented this" and if so "what changes can I make to ensure it doesn't happen again". This solutions focused mind set can be a valuable way to bounce back from our mistakes and reframe them as valuable learning opportunities.

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