The question “Should I have more than one practice?” comes up again and again, and although lots of practitioners would not even contemplate it (in fact would shudder at the mere idea), I thought I would give some thoughts on it for those who have considered it as an option. We have worked with 1,400 practitioners for a year or more all over Canada and have helped with this question many times.
Why do you want multiple practices?
Ask yourself why you would like to have more than one practice? If the answer is that you are not making enough money in your one location, it would probably (but not always) be a mistake to start a second one. You would be splitting your lack of adequate management skills to make one practice zing to now try and run 2 practices successfully. Plus you double your overhead. Plus you add driving time. Plus the hours can be long and exhausting. Plus it is awkward for your staff and your patients to try and figure out where you are and when. The answer in most cases is to learn how to make one really fantastic and well-run practice.
Things to consider before you clone yourself:
However, if you have a really awesome practice that you have built up, and it is interesting to you to build a second … third … etc., then why not? The main thing to consider is your management skills to put associates in place of you and run them well enough at a distance to keep them as profitable as when you, the owner, were there servicing the patients yourself. This is very hard to do and requires some excellent executive training and management tools. Otherwise, you end up with 2 so-so practices for all your hard work. Most practitioners who have multiple locations are not seeing the profit they should from each location because they do not have the training to run them profitably.
Why it doesn’t work all the time:
For an example of what can go wrong with multiple locations: I recently met with a doctor who had a successful practice and decided to put an associate in it and an office manager and go to start up another location far away. Over the period of a less than a year, the first practice has dropped in monthly billings by more than half, and the owner has to inject $25,000 per month into the bank account of that first practice just to cover all its bills. All that is “wrong” is that while he is himself a great person and healthcare provider, he is factually an absentee owner and has not had the management training as the executive to keep the first one running successfully from a distance. “Glowing a practice right” is one thing, running one from a distance without all the right tools can be deadly.
And yes, if you were wondering where I am going with this, let us help you gain all the right tools to run any number of practices as successfully as possible.
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