WebPT Blog - entrepreneur
Feb 28, 2013| by Charlotte Bohnett
Today’s blog post comes WebPT President and CTO Brad Jannenga
Earlier this month, I packed my bags and headed off to Washington DC along with Courtney Klein Johnson and Chris Petroff, founders of social incubator and fellow Phoenix tech startup, SeedSpot. Why were we heading to our nation’s capitol? Aside from wanting to see the famed cherry blossoms bloom, we were invited to take part in Startup America’s Champions Take DC event. Packed with amazing dialogue, brilliant insights, and lots of awesome people, the experience was a lot of things—exciting, educational, inspirational—but most of all extremely humbling.
Here are my top four most awe-inspiring moments:
Mar 22, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Our contributing blogger today is WebPT Member, Jack Sparacio, MSPT, COMT, CFMT. He is also the Owner and President of Sparacio Physical Therapy P.C. in New York. We're excited to have Jack sharing his expertise. Thanks Jack!
I know what you’re thinking. There is no way you can open an outpatient private practice for less than $8,000. But the truth is, you can. There are plenty of articles out there that will tell you that opening a private practice requires tens of thousands of dollars and a team of accountants, lawyers and consultants. While that might be the case for some people, it does not have to be the case for you. All it takes is a little creativity and being a cheapskate. Let’s call it being “creatively efficient” (cheap). Of course, you will need patients. We will discuss getting patients later.
Let’s first take a look at what I mean by being creatively efficient. Buying equipment for your office does not need to break the bank. And with the Internet, you can quickly compare prices to save significant amounts of money. Why spend $3,500 on a high-end Ultrasound-Electric Stimulation Combo Machine when you can buy separate portable ultrasound and electrical stimulation units for about $100 each? You will have a lot of choices to make. Just make the more efficient choice. You can buy a $3,000 automatic high-low treatment table or an economical wooden table (with an adjustable backrest) and a step stool for under $500. Or, watch for other clinics going out of business and you may be able to snag a high-low table at a discount. You can buy electrodes for $10 per pack or for $2.00 per pack (which I just did recently). You can buy massage cream for $28 a jar, or for $14 a jar. You get my point. Just do a little bit of research and you can save more than 50% on most items. Use your referral and peer resources and networking to find good deals. Most patients don’t care about fancy bells and whistles. They just want to get better.
Furthermore, there is a very practical method to designing your office. Do you need to buy bulky and expensive exercise machines or can you accomplish the same goals with smaller less expensive materials? A great idea is to utilize different length ballet bars attached to various positions (top, bottom and middle) on a wall. You can then attach various sport-cords and resistance bands for patients to perform hundreds of exercises. Also, keep in mind that when designing an exercise program for a patient, they are not going to have access to that expensive exercise equipment at home. Giving them exercises in your office utilizing sport-cords and resistance bands are reproducible and practical. Moreover, not having all those large exercise machines will enable you to utilize your space more efficiently. Do you need to rent the 3,000 square foot office and pay rent for space you are hoping to grow into? Or can you get your practice up and running in the 800 to 1,000 square foot office for one-third the rent? Growing out of your office is a better problem to have than paying for space you are not utilizing. Subleasing space from other health professionals or health clubs can also be an affordable alternative.
When it comes to marketing and acquiring patients there are only a few things you will need. You will need business cards and letterhead. At this time, you do not need to spend money on any other marketing materials. You don’t need brochures, “Welcome to the Practice” folders, newsletters or even a website. There is no magic marketing widget that is going to have your phone ringing off the wall with new patients. The most important thing you need is time. You need to take the time to go out and establish relationships in the local community. Yes, I know your time is valuable, but there is nothing that can take the place of a strong personal relationship with a local referral source (Physician, Physician’s Assistant, Personal Trainer, etc.). And the good news is you don’t have to lay out any money for your time.
As far as practice management goes, there are methods available to get your practice up and running in a very affordable manner. Outsourcing your billing to a medical billing company can be one such method. A billing company will take anywhere from 5%-12% of the money they collect from you. However, you will not need to lay out all the money that is associated with billing for your services. For example, you don’t need to purchase a billing software program or hire and train a staff person to manage your offices billing. In the early stages of developing a new business, most of your time should be dedicated to providing exceptional care and acquiring new patients. Without patients, your business will have a challenging time being profitable.entrepreneur, how to start a pt clinic, Jack Sparacio, physical therapists, practice management, start a clinic
Mar 15, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Today we are pleased to present Part II of our interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
If you could go back and do one thing differently what would it be?
When I got out of school, I think I had quite a bit of ego. Everything was driven by what I wanted. If I had learned about other people’s wants and needs, I would have had an easier time. I needed to listen and not talk. The more you listen the more action you get. That was a big lesson, learning to let go and not make it about me. Also in the beginning, I don’t think I had a clear purpose of why I started. I started because I wanted to make money. That was a bad reason. You’re not going to make it. Making money is the benefit of doing quality work, having empathy towards patients and great communication. We go into business to make money, however, making money alone is the least long-term motivator that exists.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
Personally, I have the freedom to control my own life. My family. My work. My faith life. That balance and control is great. I’ve been able to watch great therapists succeed. To be able to watch them take care oftheir families while helping people out, that’s rewarding. Part of my mission is to help young therapists take off in their own lives.chad novasic, entrepreneur, how to start a pt clinic, mission, physical therapy, start a clinic, vision
Mar 12, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Today we are pleased to present an interview with Chad Novasic, PT. Chad received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from Marquette University in 1988, and has served the Racine and Kenosha areas for the last 13 years in private practice. He has practiced several years in both a long term care setting and an acute care outpatient clinic setting. Chad is the owner of Alliant Physical Therapy Group. Alliant serves Southeastern Wisconsin with several clinics and is currently planning aggressive growth in the coming year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
I graduated from Marquette in 1988 and started in private practice in 1989. I started out in Racine,Wisconsin. Later, in 2000, I restructured and started expanding my practice. My mission has always been about helping PTs have autonomy. I looked at the model as helping independent PTs go into business on their own. I now have 15 locations with plans to add 2 more locations in the near future. I’m very proud to say that we have some of the best therapists around working for us.
What is a little known fact about you?
I’m a third generation, male, physical therapist in private practice. It’s in my blood. Something interesting?
I get asked for advice on starting clinics all the time. Recently, I’ve been working with a young physical therapist from Cairo, Egypt. She was trying to start a practice at the same time Mubarak was getting overthrown. In order to get the proper licensing, she had to work 6 months at Cairo hospital. During that time, she was literally patching up bullet wounds. And she still wanted to open a clinic! Think of what she went through! We also had to work on how to even get equipment in Cairo. How does one get a license? During all this, she had a one year old baby. Her husband has to stay at home making sure no one is raiding their house. It’s fascinating! Her drive is incredible.chad novasic, entrepreneur, how to start a pt clinic, mission, physical therapy, start a clinic, vision
Mar 5, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Tell us about the ugly side of starting a clinic and what you’ve learned.
Everything to do with marketing has been ugly. It’s mind-boggling how people don’t understand the things that they themselves are supposed to be the experts in. One of the first things I tried to do was a yellow pages advertisement. Their representative sent a rough draft for me to mark up with changes. The draft was way off base so I created my own and sent it back immediately. Shortly after, I received the original draft, without a single change, for my approval. Three times they did this before finally using the version I sent the first time. I once tried to put a sign on a restaurant marquee. The restaurant remodeled and moved the sign into their back office. It’s been one crazy thing after another.
What did I take from this? Write down everything. Don’t assume anything. Make sure you know who you talked to, what they said, etc. And follow up. I hate to micromanage the experts I am hiring to take care of me—why hire them if you have to do it yourself, right? When you're starting a business you don't have time for every little thing but it’s well worth your time to take a peak at what your advertising people are doing. At the moment, I'm plenty busy and I don’t advertise.
If you could do one thing differently what would it be?
I don’t think I would do anything different. I think everything is happening perfectly for me. I almost went with a different location, so if I had, my answers might be completely different. Overall, I am very pleased.
What’s been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
I can spend the time I need with my patients to get them better. Before opening Horizons I was tired of people telling me I needed to be more productive, telling me how to treat, how long to spend, etc. The bottom line is important, yes, but it’s not the most important thing. The most important thing for me is getting people healthy and well again. That’s the main reason that I started my own clinic. Oh, I may not make a million dollars, but I can't imagine having more job satisfaction and peace of mind.Christine Wood, entrepreneur, Horizons Physical Therapy, how to start a pt clinic, physical therapists, start a clinic
Mar 1, 2012| by Lindsay Bayuk
Today we kick off a month-long series for physical therapists about how to start a clinic. We know that many therapists either dream of starting their own practice or want to become even better business owners. Over the next month, we'll share with you interviews, tips, and tricks about being a therapist entrepreneur. Today we're excited to share Part I of our interview with WebPT member, Christine Wood, PT, DPT of Waynesboro, VA. Thanks to Christine for her time and advice.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your practice, location, and years in business.
As of this February I have been in business for one year. I've known for some time that since Waynesboro, VA had only one physical therapy clinic, there was a definite market need. I originally considered opening a clinic seven years ago but decided to have a child instead. I spent the next five years being a mom and working PRN and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to do those things. Last year though, my little girl started kindergarten, so I decided the time was right to move ahead. I’m very blessed to be here. I’ve been a therapist for20 years and opening my own clinic is a long-time dream come true!
Tell us something we wouldn’t know. This can be an interesting fact, a fun anecdote or even a more formal piece of information about starting a PT clinic.
Something funny? Thinking for a little while early on that I could have a child and start a business at the same time. That was funny! I'm so glad I did it the way we did though.Christine Wood, entrepreneur, Horizons Physical Therapy, how to start a pt clinic, interview, start your own clinic