May 4, 2020
If you’re a doctor or a medical professional, at some point, this thought will enter the realm of your conscience “how to start a clinic business.” Though the answer is simple, the process is long, outstretched, and requires enormous patience, determination, resilience, and hard work. Here it pays to stay in the present and simultaneously plan for the future.
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
The first step in any business is to prepare a thorough, extensive, and impeccable plan while also allowing the flexibility and malleability to mould the plan to respond to the varied outcomes, unexpected events, and unforeseen challenges.
It would be best if you had a projection and estimation of various expenses from the purchase of clinic equipment to the rent of the place you occupy. You must set a target of revenue you aim to achieve and the disposable income you wish to earn, and an elaborate plan to meet these two essential objectives.
It is advised to document and plan every detail of the business in an organised manner. You should also make plans for managing the clinic and day to day expenses in the event of unexpected events or calamities. This would include a business continuity plan as well as insurance.
This is because the slightest oversight can prove to be costly. Since a clinic deals with the health and the life of the patients, even an inconsequential error can lead to serious, unforeseen problems. For instance, during this period when the coronavirus pandemic has required many business establishments to work at a reduced capacity or not at all in some cases, businesses without a proper business continuity plan in place are suffering the most.
Also, a sound plan will convey your idea to the bankers, who are bound to examine your proposal in detail before reaching any agreement to provide financing. A sound and comprehensive plan builds confidence and trust in you.
Also, merely having a clinic and adopting the best practices will not bring the revenue, you also need to attract customers, you also need to make the customers aware about your clinic and the services you provide. In this overcrowded competitive world, you need to have an effective marketing plan to gain visibility and communicate your unique selling proposition.
After laying the groundwork, you pitch the idea or the plan to the bankers and persuade them about the success of your enterprise and your creditworthiness as a borrower.
Many lenders have customised lending products for doctors and medical professionals, which could be very helpful to procure financing. For instance, at Fullerton India, we offer unsecured business loans upto INR 50 lakhs*. For doctors with their own practice and who would like to expand their business, we offer customised business loans at preferential rates of interest with flexible repayment tenures ranging between 12 - 60 months and borrower-friendly repayment facilities. You can also budget for the future by gaining an idea about the monthly payment obligations by entering the loan amount, tenure, and rate of interest using our free online Business loan EMI calculator.
If you are a practicing doctor and are planning to branch out on your own by setting up a clinic, we recommend our personal loan for doctors which can be availed collateral free, with amounts up to INR 30 lakhs* at interest rates starting from 12.99%*.
Your loan amount must take into account financing for shop / office rent or lease, marketing expenses to reach out to the target audience through the right channels, overheads such as staff expenses, electricity, etc; and the working capital requirements (such as buying / leasing equipment, supplies etc.) to be able to run the clinic until the time you are able to bring in a steady stream of revenues.
Must Read: 10 Types of Business Loans in India
Must Read: 10 Types of Business Loans in India
Your clinic should ideally be located depending on the nature of your target audience. For instance, if you are a pediatrician, it would be advisable to start a clinic in residential areas with largely families. Also, such a clinic should have ample parking space as well as facilities for the differently abled.
First and foremost, to choose any location, it is vital to define your target patient. The target patient can be defined based on factors such as age, income, type of disease or problem, etc. Your clinic should be closer to your prospective clients.
You may also have to assess the competition in a location before you set up a clinic.
You also must keep in mind the aesthetic of the office and the ambience it provides. It should provide an inviting atmosphere of calm and relaxation, so you have a better chance of retaining the customers.
It is highly recommended to choose the location before procuring finance, as you will be able to make an exact estimate of your expenses towards lease / rent and include the amount in your budget. In case you opt to choose the location once you procure finance; you may have to select a location within the confines of the loan amount provided to you after considering other future expenses.
Once you have procured the finance and arrived at a location for the clinic, one of the most crucial tasks is purchasing proper and impeccable equipment devoid of any discrepancies. You must examine the equipment first hand and detect any glitches before it translates into a massive problem in the future.
You’re the best judge to decide the type of equipment to purchase for a successful practice and optimal service and treatment of your patients. However, when you open a clinic, it also means you’re conducting business, and thus, all the technology and equipment required to run any business are non-negotiable.
Hence, you must procure computers and communications systems for your practice as well as for the administrative functions required to run the clinic.
Your waiting room may require furniture, water-cooler, some basic amenities like books, magazines for your patients to entertain themselves with while you attend to the needs of the patient at hand.
When outfitting your clinic, you can look into leasing options for your medical equipment
The success of your clinic will depend on the sum of the efforts of your staff. Your staff should be as driven as you, if not more. It’s now time to decide the professionals that staff your clinic. You may have to initiate this process early, so you have the staff on their toes when you open the clinic for business.
Based on the practice, you’ll need certified nurses or certified medical professionals.
You also need an administrative team that handles the billing and the copious paperwork. It would help if you also had a team to manage the accounts and the taxes.
You must convince the personnel about the positive impact working at your clinic will have in their careers and the type of benefits that will accrue working at your clinic.
It is crucial to hire staff that aligns with your values and ideals. It is essential that your goals and objectives align with their goals and aims to create a win-win situation where all the parties involved are satisfied, you, the personnel, and the patient, as the satisfaction will reflect in excellent service and treatment provided to the patient.
Billing is a massive component of a medical facility. The type of billing process you implement impacts the patient satisfaction and trust and the workflow of the medical facility
You can also outsource the billing process and lift the burden off your shoulders and single-mindedly focus on providing value to the customers.
However, in case you want to have complete control over the medical facility, which includes the billing, you must decide the billing software that serves your needs and purpose and is quick, easy, and smooth for the customer.
You may also have to hire staff who have expertise over the software.
What sells is what you communicate. Marketing is required to gain visibility and brand recall. You can provide value only if you can communicate it to the target clients. Marketing is necessary to turn potential into reality. Without a sound marketing plan, it's easy to become obscured in the pervading smokescreen of competition.
Now an online presence is unavoidable to succeed in business. So, you can invest in a professionally run website that provides a snapshot of your clinic and the services it offers. You can communicate how your clinic and its services can be instrumental in reliving the prospect from its problems or in fulfilling the objectives of the prospective client.
You can also start a direct mail campaign for prospective patients. You can also provide offers and discounts to attract the customers
You can also register yourself with local search engines and claim your listing on different websites. You can also advertise in online medical directories in your areas or medical magazines and other mediums.
Must Read: How To Expand Your Medical Practice
Must Read: How To Expand Your Medical Practice
The foundation needs to be reliable. If the foundation is strong, then only the monument will stand for years, or it will collapse like a house of cards.
The steps may sound intimidating. But like any endeavour in life, we need to respond to the present challenges at hand and be ready for whatever outcome it may throw up by taking one step over another.
In taking one step after another, you may not even realise when you completed this tedious journey.