With each passing day, you are getting closer to graduation. Along the way, you should have started considering whether to join a practice or start out on your own. Do not let the excitement of getting into practice lead you into making decisions that you may later regret. To help you weigh the pros and cons of each path, we’ll examine one this month and one next month. This month: going out on your own.
If you are considering going into practice on your own, there are many things to consider before becoming a small business owner. Being a small business owner is more than picking a location and a trendy name. Do you buy or start your own practice? There are pros and cons to both options. Regardless of which path you choose, there are a few things you need to consider.
- A rock-solid business plan. A business plan is a formal statement of your written goals and how you will attain them. It is necessary for obtaining funding for your small business and will be a great way for you to visualize your dreams of being a practice owner.
- Education. You are approaching graduation from chiropractic school, BUT your education doesn’t stop there. You have gained the knowledge to be a great clinician and now you need to educate yourself on being a business owner. This does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars or invest more time in college. It means that you need to attend business seminars, practice-management seminars, read books, and do your research. The Small Business Administration is a great place to start. Visit www.sba.gov.
- Get help. “If you ask any successful businessperson, they will always say they have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” – Richard Branson Bill Gates of Microsoft found a mentor in Warren Buffet. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had the late Steve Jobs advising him. There are many business owners who are willing to share their experiences with you. All you have to do is ask.
- Know the risks. Going into business for yourself is risky. Before you start, make sure that you know your responsibilities as a business owner and employer. Ensure that your practice will be in compliance at all levels, from your State Board of Chiropractic Examiners or other licensing boards to the Department of Insurance for your state and the Office of Inspector General.
- Perspective. Being a small business owner is not easy, but it can be rewarding. Owning your own practice will involve long days and sleepless nights in the beginning. You will need to be driven and focused to achieve your goals. With each goal achieved, you will begin to feel the joys of being a small business owner.
Despite what seems like a list of overwhelming decisions and concerns, you are embarking on a career as a doctor of chiropractic at a time of opportunities like we have never seen before. Expect the best, give your best to the profession and your patients, and you will not be disappointed. Look here next month for a look at what to expect when joining an established practice.
Dr. Ray Foxworth is the founder and President of ChiroHealthUSA. Since it’s inception in 2007, ChiroHealthUSA has donated over $750,000 to help support state associations, COCSA, F4CP and the CCGPP. Dr. Foxworth recently announced the ChiroHealthUSA Foxworth Family Chiropractic Scholarship. Beginning in 2016, one student annually will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship and the students Chiropractic College will receive a donation of $10,000. To learn more and apply, go to www.chusascholar.com.