The waiting room of a new chiropractic practice a DC is considering purchasing.

Should You Own a Practice?

How to determine if you're a right fit for ownership.

Owning a practice can be a dream come true for some DCs – and a nightmare for others. Is ownership a good fit for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

Guest Author

In many cases, purchasing a clinic is a sound financial decision that brings a higher salary and accelerated growth compared to an associate position. It also can be a source of pride and accomplishment in that you are the decision maker and captain of your own ship. Buyers are often concerned about the demands of clinic ownership. Having started three clinics from scratch, I can certainly relate.

Questions to Consider

If you’re wondering whether clinic ownership is right for you, consider the following questions. In my experience as both an owner and a broker, these are the attributes buyers need to thrive in clinic ownership.

Can I Handle Some Risk?

Buying a clinic eliminates much of the risk of starting a clinic from scratch, but entrepreneurship is never a sure thing. Markets change, staff leave, and technology continues to evolve. Insurance changes and patient trends can vary due to factors out of the owner’s control.

Clinic owners need to be comfortable with some risk. Changing circumstances can also provide opportunities for growth. With the right attitude, a business owner can turn the risk into financial and professional gains.

Am I Willing to Learn the Business Side?

Chiropractic doctors are already experts in patient care. That’s an important asset, but owning a clinic involves a great deal more than seeing patients.

An owner must learn to manage, market, and finance their clinic. These aspects are just as important as treatment, but most buyers don’t arrive with the expertise. That’s okay. As long as you’re willing to learn, the skills you add will translate into value in your practice.

This is another good reason why buying a practice is a shrewd move — existing clinics come with established systems as well as support from the previous owner.

Can I Find Good Help?

All the aspects above — marketing, finances, logistics, etc. — could be studied for a lifetime. Optimizing them can offer real benefits to your business, but you only have one lifetime.

Knowing when to ask for help is an important part of the process. Find experts who can offer shortcuts to the growth you’re looking for. Make sure that you select your advisors carefully and look for those who have a proven model and a track record of success.

Can I Help My Employees Grow?

Running a clinic well means hiring and retaining effective employees. Good people will only stay if they feel that your clinic offers them the financial and professional opportunities that they’re looking for.

A good clinic owner is committed to providing those opportunities. The more you help others, the more you help yourself.

Can I Sustain Motivation?

Clinic ownership means work, and not just when that work is easy. In the early stages of managing a clinic, an owner may need to work extra hours to see the clinic through the transition. When times are difficult, growth can require sacrifice.

As a business owner, you’re the only one holding yourself accountable. For the sake of your patients, your family, and yourself, it’s important to stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Can I Set Boundaries?

Paradoxical as it may sound, maintaining balance is just as important as working hard. One key part of staying motivated is avoiding burnout. When ownership becomes a chore, your clinic is likely to stop growing and your motivation to provide the best patient care possible may wane. You must “First Heal Thyself.” Do this by caring for your own needs through a balanced schedule and prioritizing family, rest, and your health.

It’s essential to be deliberate about how you spend your time. The most successful entrepreneurs focus on the most valuable aspects of their business and know when to step away.

Do I Know My Limits?

No one is good at everything. The best clinic owners know their limitations and structure their business to support them.

Owners who love the business side may need to hire support for patient care. Doctors who love to spend time with patients will need to do the opposite.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and few buyers feel entirely confident stepping into clinic ownership. It’s a major transition, and it’s natural to feel some hesitation.

But if the answers to the questions above are “yes,” then it’s likely that you’d be a good fit for buying a clinic. While owners shoulder some additional risk and responsibility, the rewards are great — for the right buyer, a life of financial freedom and professional autonomy awaits.

Don't miss the next article in our Buying and Selling Series: Should I Sell My Own Practice?

About Crystal MisenheimerCrystal Misenheimer

Crystal Misenheimer received her BBA from Baylor University in International Management Information Systems. She worked in database management in the non-profit sector prior to taking over the management and marketing aspects of three of Kevin's chiropractic clinics. As the Lead Broker for Progressive Practice Sales, Crystal has helped hundreds of chiropractors to successfully transition into the next stage of their careers. With an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of practice valuations, the constantly changing challenges of the current marketplace and the many complexities of practice sales, Crystal is the leading expert in the chiropractic practice sales space. You can find her regularly featured in industry podcasts, blogs and periodicals. She lives in Chattanooga, TN, and enjoys spending her free time hiking, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband Kevin and their four children.

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