The Problem with Owning a Practice

For most health care professionals, you go through your college years dreaming of owning an ideal practice and it keeps you going when things are hard, like exams and professors. It’s a similar thing to keeping your eye on the mountain top when you are climbing and going through rough, steep terrain, and you have to keep yourself moving toward the ultimate goal.

You graduate and most of you become associates first to get some income going and buy a car and start to figure out the next phase: owning your own wonderful, amazing, perfect practice.

Is there such a thing as perfect?

Like many practitioners, you may have found that your altruistic dreams don’t always seem to work out the way you wanted, right? You can’t find the perfect space to rent or practice to buy that fits all your criteria – it’s too big, or it’s too small, or it’s cut up a bit weird, or it’s old looking, or it’s unfinished and you have to spend a lot of cash to get it ready to deliver in, or the rent is too high and you couldn’t negotiate it down as much as you wanted to, or the location is not your ideal choice, or the neighboring businesses are not as upscale as you would have liked (but at least it’s available), and so on.

Or, we may be talking about the team you want to hire to help you deliver your special and perfect service to every patient. You may have noticed that there is no such thing as the perfect person who never has a bad moment or two from time to time or a habit that others don’t love, or the perfect sensitivity level for each type of person they deal with. The question is: how close to perfection can you come?

The secret to success

A lot of people have success in these sort of circumstances by using an old planning technique of writing down your exact wish list or criteria.

For instance, for finding a location or practice to buy, it often helps to start by going and looking at a bunch of practices and noticing what you like and what you don’t like. Size, shape, colour, age of building, surroundings, parking, state of the equipment, ease of access, and so on. You can list them in order of importance to you. Put a box in front of each item on the list. Make multiple copies of the list.

And then, with staff you can do the same: list all the ideal characteristics you feel would be a good fit. Quiet, or full of laughter, older, younger, or in between, warm and fuzzy or reserved, experienced or fresh out of school, and so on. Again, list the characteristics in order of importance to you and put a box for each item.

Narrowing the search

When you go to look at different properties or practices, take a copy of the list with you and check off each item that meets your criteria. You may not find the “perfect” fit but you want to see how close you can come. It will help you make decisions more logically and practically. You have to keep in mind that you may be in the location you choose for a long time, so you not only want to love it, it must work for you in the long term.

The same with your team members … you are looking for as close to the perfect fit as you can find because you are going to be working closely together for a long time. Use your list to make the best choice of candidates.

Following your heart or making snap decisions is not usually the best way to go in these cases. These are major, important issues and you have to live with your mistakes or pay a lot of money to get out of them.

Choose wisely!

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