Even if you’ve taken some business classes, as a college student you likely have a lot to learn about starting a practice.
To achieve successÂ in your chosen career, you’ll need to accept that when it comes to the business world, most lessons aren’t learned until after graduation. You’ll have to pick up these skills quickly.
Why some new doctors succeed and others don’t has little to do with their family background, the college they attend, the honors they receive, their IQ, or their ambition and drive. It’s not what you know that results in a thriving practice””it’s what you don’t know and are willing to learn.
Here’s some of what you’ll need to grasp after graduation:
Psychographics are different from demographics. Psychographics determine if a potential office site is the right fit for you and will attract new patients.
You’ll either save or lose money depending on your negotiating skills and who advises you on this ability.
You’ll have to bargain with your landlord, contractor, sign company, bank loan officer, leasing company, accountants, attorneys, suppliers, and employees. Each one of these people wants your money. Negotiate wisely.
Whether you like it or not, agree with it or not, think it’sÂ Â unfair or not””people judge you by your image. How you look, your demeanor, your office ambience, and your marketing efforts all contribute to your overall image.
Work on not only meeting people but impressing them so they become your patients. If few people know who you are, what you are, where your office is located””and if the ones who do are unimpressed by you””the quicker you will fail.
Effectively marketing your new practice is imperative.
Starting your practice with high overhead puts too much pressure on you from the outset.
Getting over your emotional hang-ups
While in college, it’s OK to have emotional baggage. In the business world, these kinds of distractions can doom your practice.
Collection training and guidance
You have to become profitable””and quickly. Asking your patients for payment will be your single most important and difficult task. Learn how to do it before you open your practice.
Most doctors have technical expertise, but it’s the people skills such as managing and motivating staff, effective consultations, verbal examinations, reports-of-findings, and office communication that trips them up. Almost 85 percent of practice success comes from the ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead; only 15 percent is attributed to technical knowledge.
Many other mistakes early on can be career-killers. With a start-up consultant, these road bumps can be learned and avoided.
Peter G. Fernandez, DC, the “start-up coach,” has been a practice consultant for almost 30 years. He has consulted in the opening of more than 3,000 new practices and can be contacted through The Practice Starters Program at 800-882-4476, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through practicestarters.com.