Should you go into business for yourself and start your own practice, or should you work for a hospital? Some doctors know right away that they want to start their own practice. Starting a medical practice can be one of the most rewarding things you do, but it can also be very hard. Here are some of the most common things that private practice doctors need to consider.

Research phase

If you want to start a medical practice, use a business plan to see if it will work before you spend a lot of time or money on it. A strong business plan will help you understand which resources are required to achieve your business goals and help you gauge when you can expect to see actual results. A good business plan is like a road map to success. It explains everything about your business; this includes your marketing activity, operations,  finances, services, staffing requirements and how you will stand out from the competitors.  

Follow legislation

You will need to sign your business up as a professional legal entity. To do this, you can register with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) directly or ask a consultant to facilitate the process. If you don't know much about business terms and specific legal requirements, it's best to talk to a professional first, because registering your practice as a business could have huge tax and other effects. Because of this, you may want to ask your practice management bureau or accounting firm, whichever you will use to run your practice, to help you. 

Make sure that your independent medical registration with the HPCSA is updated. Register for a PCNS (Practice Code Number System) number with the BHF (Board of Healthcare Funders). You will also have to pay BHF a small fee every year to stay registered with them as long as you keep using your practice number. 

Also, make sure you sign up for professional liability insurance so you are covered if someone files a lawsuit, in which case you may need insurance for compensation. Your insurance should cover patients, personal, staff and building/ premises. 

Secure Funding 

Some new businesses can only get off the ground with business funding, and most businesses need money at some point to help them grow or fill a big order. You can secure funding to launch or grow your business in many ways, from banks to venture capitalist firms and even the government. Merchant Capital also has a strong working relationship with medical bodies and businesses and has tailored funding options especially suited for medical practices. The most important thing is to know what kind of business funding will work best for your business. 

Setting up your premises

You need to decide whether to buy or rent. It's also a good idea to think about buying an established practice from a practitioner who wants to sell it. Once you have a building, you'll have a better idea of what furniture would work best in it based on its setup and needs. Your building should have a reception area, a bathroom, and a sink or area to scrub for procedures, if necessary. It will also need easy access for people with trouble moving around, such as a ramp or a smooth path for wheelchairs. You will also need a consultation room with enough space and privacy, a procedure room, a kitchen, and a private place of rest for staff. 

There are many companies that sell medical appliances and equipment that will help doctors set up their new practice. You can rent the bigger or more expensive appliances, like ultrasound machines, or even buy them used. Medical equipment and appliances can be very expensive, so do enough research when making your business plan to ensure you have enough money or a loan. 

Promotion and Marketing 

Make a brand and marketing plan for your practice that fits your vision, mission statement, and value proposition. There are a lot of medical offices out there, so what makes yours different? How can you make it more noticeable? If you can afford it, you should strongly think about hiring a professional marketer to help you with branding and promotion. 

Putting together a good team 

It takes skill to find and hire people. Get help to make sure you hire highly motivated people who care as much as you do. Only hire someone once you are sure that they are an excellent cultural fit and can understand, show, and follow your vision and values 100% of the time. If you want to work in a busy practice, hire people who can keep up. If you hire the wrong people, you will have to spend a lot of money teaching them how to use your IT systems, equipment, and workflow processes. More importantly, being around the right people will improve things for you and your patients. 

Medical Aids 

This step will depend a lot on whether or not your practice will be based on cash payments, medical insurance, or both. Most practices need a mix of the two to work. Because of this, it is crucial to sign up for medical aids. If you don't, you won't get paid. If you have hired a practice management bureau to help you run your business, you can ask them for help with this step. 

The bottom line

Setting up a private medical practice is a big task with many moving parts. But if you take the time to do this well, you will enjoy the long-term benefits of being your own boss, helping your patients on your own terms and running a strong, successful business. Want to grow your private medical practice in the next 48 hours? Contact Merchant Capital today.

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