If you are going to start a practice after you graduate from college, consider the following advice.
If you’re a woman, look to hire a female start-up consultant. Because a woman knows the unique problems other women will have. At this point, you may be thinking, “What do you mean a man doesn’t understand the problems a woman faces when starting or running a practice – aren’t they the same?” Definitely not.
At the professional level, many women face the “superwoman syndrome,” whereby in addition to their work they are also burdened with traditional household tasks. This is changing as society increasingly adapts to the two-income family structure, but women DCs commonly find that their time outside the practice can be as hectic as the time spent in it.
Yes, the woman is a doctor; like her male counterpart, that role is the same. But add in responsibilities as a wife and a mother and life can get extremely complicated. She may have to drop off and pick up kids from school, deal with babysitters or nannies, and care for the kids if they are sick. If she wants more children she’ll have to determine who will cover her practice.
Now consider a woman starting a practice. She still has to do everything the male DC has to do, plus scheduling everything a mom has to do, plus everything a wife has to do. She may have different safety concerns that affect women, might need to join different clubs than a male DC, and have different financial concerns that only a woman will have when starting a practice.
When a woman goes to a bank to borrow money, she will usually be charged higher interest and more loan expenses than her typical male counterpart. When she purchases an automobile, she will likely pay $1,000 to $2,000 more than a man would.
When she leases office space, she will usually pay $1,000 to $1,500 a month more and agree to more restrictive clauses in her office lease. She will potentially have more problems with CAs than a male chiropractor would.
It is not uncommon for a woman DC to be led to buy more expensive equipment and X-ray machines than necessary. She will often be advised to place advertisements that don’t work and purchase insurance that isn’t necessary.
These risks can all be mitigated if the female DC is being advised by a female start-up consultant.
Here’s an example from the real world.
In recently opening up my second practice, I saved:
- $9 per square foot ($1,500) per month on the office lease,
- $6,200 in air conditioning repairs (by forcing the landlord to put in a new air conditioner),
- $20,000 in remodeling costs, and
- four months free rent ($6,000 in savings).
I saved all this because I am also a start-up consultant who knows the rules. If I can save this amount of money, so can any other female chiropractor.
None of the above is a call for pity. Women choose to be doctors of chiropractic. They are highly intelligent, usually at the top of their class, are great adjustors, and can often have more empathy for patients than the typical male doctor.
And, women DCs also face the additional challenges mentioned above. Therefore, when a woman starts a practice, she can benefit from specialized coaching from a female consultant – one who understands the problems a woman will have.