Ready to be your own boss? Here are 6 tips to starting your own Allied Health medical practice.
Whether you’ve just graduated from uni or been working in an allied health job for some time, the thought of going out on your own has probably crossed your mind at some point.
Straight up – running a business is not for everyone and you need to go in open-eyed: it’s estimated that 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years and only about half make it to the five-year mark. But don’t let that deter you!
While it’s true you will be competing with a lot of established businesses, health is a growth industry – data from the Department of Health showed that between 2015 and 2019, the allied health workforce grew across many roles, with the biggest jumps being for Occupational Therapists (7%), Osteopaths (6.9%) and Physiotherapists (5.3%).
If you’re determined to go out on your own, here are 6 tips to consider before starting your own allied health practice.
1. Research, research and more research!
We already started this for you with the stats we provided above, but it obviously goes well beyond just stats on what allied health jobs seem to be growing in number (and therefore demand).
The key research you must do is to identify where there is a gap in the market – is there an unmet need amongst those looking for care? Are there regions/towns/suburbs where there aren’t enough allied health professionals? Is there a particular speciality or technique within your professional role people are crying out for?
This is why working for several years in an established practice is useful because you are right in the thick of it, listening to your customer – the patient – and getting primary data on what they need most.
The other side of research is learning the basics of running a business, such as marketing, accounting and HR because, at least initially as you build your client and revenue base, this might all fall on you.
2. Have a business plan
Whatever industry you are in, having a business plan before starting a business is essential. At the heart of this is outlining your goals for the practice – and not just for the first year. A good business plan should look as far ahead as five years, with each year building on the last with progressive but achievable goals.
When formulating these goals, remember the simple acronym “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-limited.
You can read more about business plans here and also download free templates to get you started, and don’t forget, there are also numerous government-funded resources for small businesses.
You might also consider engaging a business coach, many of whom specialise in helping businesses write a plan and, importantly, to action it!
3. Show me the money
It may sound obvious, but starting even the smallest of allied health practices requires an initial (and ongoing) capital outlay.
You may not need a million dollars in your bank account (although that would help!), but determining how much capital you need and where the money will come from is the only way you can action that business plan you’ve worked so hard on.
Spend some serious time working out your budget (again, get professional help with this if you can) and then ascertaining where the money will come from – is it savings? A business loan? A silent or co-investor if you decide this could be a partnership?
4. Have a marketing strategy
This will be something you begin thinking about when you work on your business plan but needs to be fleshed out further once you have your budget and finance locked in.
Branding, online marketing, printed materials, networking events and referral programs all form part of this, with marketing remaining an ongoing and critical part of the success of your business.
5. Be hopeful and positive yet agile and realistic
While this tip applies at the business planning stage, it typically applies even more once you are up and running.
We all know after weathering a global pandemic that there is no certainty in life, and starting your own allied health practice will prove this to you in more ways than one. This means that the amazing business plan you put so much time into may need revision as external circumstances change.
While you should try to stick to your business plan, stay positive and focus on achieving your goals (or much beyond them), you also need to be realistic and agile, adapting when needed. This could mean not expanding as quickly as you hoped or, even better, expanding sooner if the market requires it.
It could also mean slightly changing the way you deliver your services after doing additional professional development that gives you that edge over your competitors. Just be open to change – it’s the only real certainty in life.
6. Let Gorilla Jobs help when you need staff
When you hopefully find yourself in a position where it’s time to expand, just as when you possibly reached out for help with your business plan or budgeting or marketing, using a specialist medical recruiter like Gorilla Jobs to find your allied health staff will mean you’re in good hands.
Our amazing team can optimise your search, smooth out the recruitment process and deliver you the talent you need to take your business to even greater heights!
Gorilla Jobs Can Help You
We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!