Those who work in medical professions will often dream about opening their own practice (dental or medical), but what’s it really like to take this big step? While owning a practice can mean the potential for making good profits and advancing your career, it’s a big step and can mean longer hours and a lot more stress. So, are you ready to finally go it alone?
Meeting the criteria
Depending on which healthcare profession you work in, there will be a number of requirements to ensure your practice is legally registered. For example, if you’re opening your own GP surgery, which must include at least one registered nurse and a secondary care doctor, then you’ll need to be a member of a Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Dental practices must be run by a dentist on the General Dental Council (GDC) register or be made up of a partnership where over half of the partners are dentists. So, before you make any plans, check what requirements you need to meet in the UK.
Picking a location
It’s important to pick a location where your services are going to be in demand. It’s not simply a case of looking for somewhere that doesn’t have many dentists or doctors in the local area – you need to think about the ratio of population to practitioners already in the area and decide whether you’ll fit in there.
You should also think about the practicalities of your location. If you’re going to be dealing with a lot of elderly and disabled people, then being near a public transport route will make things easier for them. A place with plenty of parking is also going to attract more patients.
Initial start-up costs
The initial start-up of a medical practice can be costly, so it’s important to consider the financial implications, especially since you might not be getting your regular salary in the early days. In addition to rent and initial staffing costs, you’ll need to look at the prices of dental supplies and equipment from Kent Express or whatever else you’ll need on opening day.
You’ll also need to get the word out about your new practice, and while you can advertise cheaply on social media, you’ll also need a marketing strategy to help spread the world. There are guidelines to follow if you’re marketing an NHS-funded practice. You may wish to use a specialist agency to handle your campaign, which you’ll need to include in your budget.
There’s currently a shortage of health workers in the UK, which is down to a number of factors, from the uncertainty of Brexit to graduates moving overseas. So, if you plan to recruit healthcare professionals for your practice, you need to consider how you’ll find people with the right skills. In rural areas, this can be a challenge, and you may need to offer higher salaries to attract candidates, which will need to be factored into your budget.
While starting your own practice gives you a great deal of freedom in your career, it can be a costly undertaking and take a while to establish yourself. Options such as starting a partnership can help ease the burden, but ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what will work best for you in the long term.
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It doesn’t matter what kind of business you are starting; all businesses need an online presence in order to survive. Even a health practice needs an online presence to ensure success. Without setting up a website and social media accounts, the chances of people finding your company will shrink considerably. Making a website is now easier than ever, however. With easy to use templates that require no coding, you can create a website in minutes, but if it is within your budget, you could consider outsourcing to a professional web designer. They will ensure that the website not only looks great but is functional and is easy to use too. For example, you could have online forms so that patients can easily set up appointments without the need to phone up or come in.
By outsourcing this work to a professional, it allows you to focus on building an online presence through social media. Look at your target audience and complete market research to discover which social media platforms you are most likely to find them on. Once you have narrowed down the platforms to focus on, you can start to make a voice for yourself. People love it when they can see a person behind the business, so be sure to communicate with your audience and show just how good your medical practice is.
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.