Tips for Starting and Running Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic
by Arina Smith Business Planning 02 May 2018
Are you getting ready to start an ENT clinic?
There are about 18,000 otolaryngologists that are board certified in the U.S. Most of them practice in metropolitan areas with a population of at least a million people.
Does that mean that location is the only thing to consider when starting a new clinic?
No, there is so much more to think about.
Keep reading to learn the steps you need to take to open a successful ENT clinic.
Write Down Your Vision :
The first thing that you need to do is to write down your vision for your clinic. Writing down your vision is essentially a brainstorming session that will become the foundation of your business plan.
You’ll want to write down everything that comes to mind about your practice. They type of office culture, the staff, and the patients you serve.
The initial pieces of your vision should include your mission. Your mission is the goal of your business and answers the question “Why does this practice exist?”
Next, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. What is your scope of services? Wil you align with a university or hospital? Will you opt to have a private practice?
There are many areas where you can focus your practice. Head and Neck Specialties is a great example of outlining their scope of practice. Take a look at their website for more info.
Knowing this will help you define how you will staff your practice. It will also guide your decisions when you’re ready to purchase equipment.
Write a Business Plan :
About 20% of businesses fail in the first year. It’s noted that 50% of businesses will make it to the fifth year in business.
There are many reasons why a business didn’t work. Personal issues, poor planning, not knowing enough about running a business, and burnout are common causes.
A business plan will help you overcome those challenges, and it can also help you get investment or a bank loan so you can start your ENT clinic.
Here’s what you need to have in your business plan:
Mission & Vision of the Clinic:
These should be easy since you wrote these out. They might need refining, but this step is already done.
Who You Serve:
You should have an idea as to who your ideal patients are. You’ll need to do more research on their demographics and psychographics.
How You’ll Serve Them:
This part of the plan will outline your services.
You will need to research other ENT clinics in the area, including what they offer, for how much, and what sets your clinic apart.
This part is the most important. You’ll need to gather your start-up costs, your monthly expenditures, and your revenue.
Promoting Your Practice:
A part of your business plan needs to include how you plan to promote your practice. You may decide to have someone in-house to do it or outsource the tasks to a marketing agency.
As you go through your business plan, you’ll discover what your potential obstacles are and have a plan to overcome them.
Hire Staff :
A key part of starting an ENT clinic will be your staff.
Will you need other specialists such as an audiologist at your clinic? If you do, then how many specialists will you need?
The other option is to develop a very strong referral network and refer patients out on an as-needed basis.
There isn’t a right answer, it depends on the type of experience you want to give your patients.
Do you want to be a one-stop clinic where all of their ENT needs are met? Do you want to be the expert and then refer out?
Your office staff is another challenge. You’ll need someone who knows billing and coding, a receptionist, and a medical assistant.
When you’re first starting out, you may want to hire staff on a part-time basis and expand their hours. You may also want to hire someone who can wear multiple hats, like a receptionist who can double as a medical assistant.
Consider Costs to Ramp Up Your Business :
If you’re fresh out of school, you may be hesitant to take on more debt. That being said, it’s almost necessary if you want to start an ENT clinic right out of school.
There will be a lot of start-up costs. In your business plan, you probably figured the cost of the location, staffing, marketing before you take your first patient.
You’ll also need to factor in the time that it will take to find the right office location, and get the proper equipment installed. Depending on the space, you may have to make additional renovations.
Working with Other ENT Practitioners :
If you envision having an ENT clinic that thrives and adds other doctors, you’re going to want to have a few things in place before they get started.
For example, you’ll want to hire the best doctors who compliment your clinic’s culture. Some are very structured, while others are a bit laid back. This also applies to suppliers such as a nasal spray device supplier and it is well worth researching who is the best fit for you. If you set standards as to how patients are treated, then make sure you hire doctors who meet and exceed those standards.
You’ll also want to have a written agreement in place. This agreement should outline every detail of benefits, expectations, compensation, what locations and hospitals they’ll be working in.
Finally, you’ll need to set standards of success. This entails the financial and business side of the practice. You can do this by checking the gross collection rate, case volume, and the net collection rate.
Open the Doors to Your ENT Clinic :
When you’re starting an ENT clinic, you’re an expert in ear, nose and throat issues. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re an expert in business.
Starting a business of any kind can be a scary proposition. It’s a big responsibility to wear the hats of an ENT doctor and a business owner.
You can be successful as long as you create a plan and stick to it and hire the best people to help you.
Do you want to know more about being an entrepreneur?
Take a look at these articles about entrepreneurship.
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