You have probably heard of the KISS Principle: Keep it Simple, Stupid, or Keep it Short and Simple. When you are planning your practice startup, the KISS principle will help you get started more quickly and easily, and with few complications. Less complicated also means less expensive, so using the KISS principle will have the added benefit of keeping your expenses to a minimum. Here are some ways you can implement the KISS Principle in your startup:
Choose the simplest legal form
Start as a sole proprietorship, which doesn’t involve complicated paperwork or cost. If the liability makes you uncomfortable, establish a limited liability company. You can always move upward in complexity to a corporation later.
Buy only the equipment you absolutely need
Make a minimal list that includes only the equipment you absolutely need for startup. Keep asking yourself, “Do I really need that or do I just want it?” Buying minimally will not only help you keep your loan request small (increasing your chances of getting accepted), but also make it easier to get it set up and running before startup. For example, you might be tempted to buy the latest special-purpose equipment because someone has told you it will make more money, but you can make money by adjusting people with less costly equipment. Wait for the gadgets until you have the cash flow to support them.
Stick to the essentials
Some things can’t be eliminated or simplified, but keep these essentials to a minimum. For example, you will need to set up a system for processing credit and debit cards, so don’t skimp on that process. Buy what you need to process cards, but no more.
Go for the minimal look
As you furnish your office, buy clean, simple furniture and decorations, and buy less of them. Buy one poster instead of three; buy only a few children’s toys and keep them in a toy box. People prefer the clean, uncluttered look in an office, and buying minimally will save you money that could be used for more important things, like paying your rent.
Buy simple office software
Most of us think of computer software as essential, but paper forms work well, and they have the advantage of being simple. Trying to learn a complicated software program at startup is frustrating and it takes your time away from your primary task of meeting people and providing chiropractic care. As you grow, you can move into that computer system with all the “bells and whistles” and you will know more about what you want and don’t want in a system.
Choose the simplest way to do things
Don’t unnecessarily complicate your office procedures and processes. With the requirements of Medicare and insurance providers, they will be complicated enough already. Creating a simple filing system will help you find things quickly and having a minimal number of simple forms will keep your stress level low. Someone once said, “Paperwork proliferates,” and it is true that paperwork can get complicated quickly. Before you create another piece of documentation, ask if there is an easier way. Your patients will quickly tell you if you have too many forms for them to fill out, and your staff will find it easier to do their jobs.
Hire an employee to help you get organized
Speaking of staff, an experienced front office person can be a huge benefit to a startup. For your first staff member, find someone who is trained in medical office management and billing, if possible. Let that person set up the office systems and processes, while you work on bringing in new patients.
Implementing the KISS principle for your startup means consciously working to keep your office clutter at a minimum, making your processes simpler, and keeping your expenses down. As you grow, you can expand and get more equipment, and you will need more detailed processes and structures. You can always move up and grow; it’s difficult to move back and decrease. You may find you like the short and simple and make it a hallmark of your practice.