According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 1 in 3 chiropractors were self-employed in 2014. Starting your own chiropractic practice poses many benefits -- you can set your own hours, find talented staff to support you on your journey, and build your dream practice from the ground up.
If you are thinking about taking the leap and opening up your own practice, congratulations! To make the most of your time and investment, we’ll share a few tips and considerations to help set you up for success.
Choose the best software/EHR for your needs
One of the most important investments and decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the right software to support every aspect of efficiently managing your practice. Because there are multiple options available on the market, you’ll need to do some research and carefully compare the pros and cons of each option, based on product features, price, and reputation. Some EHR options, such as Practice Fusion.
Practice management software/EHR solutions range from locally installed options to cloud-based software. In order to choose the best one for your practice, you’ll need to demo all of the options, research and evaluate reputable software vendors, and make your decision based on a combination of factors. As a final word of advice, we’d encourage new chiropractors to think carefully about which software is most likely to deliver all of the features you need now, as well as all of the features you’ll need as you continue to grow your practice for many years to come.
In addition to EHR’s, you may also want to invest in other software, such as a Clearinghouse to bill more efficiently ( Office Ally is a popular choice for chiropractors, and is free). This type of software will scrub your insurance claims, and submit them electronically to payers.
Create a website that represents your practice.
Before you start building buzz about your new practice, you it’s important to spend some time to set up a basic website that introduces your new practice to prospective patients. Thankfully, there are many free services that can help you quickly set up a professional-looking website with drag-and-drop elements and easy-to-use templates. Check out our Wix tutorial for a step-by-step guide to creating your first website for free.
Your website needs to accurately convey the mission of your practice, and what patients can expect during their first visit. Prospective patients and referrals will inevitably consult your website to gather a first impression of your practice, so you’ll want to put your best foot forward to convince them to book an appointment. If you don’t think that you have time to create a professional website on your own, you can also look into hiring a chiropractic website marketing service, so that you’ll have more time to devote to other, more crucial tasks involved with launching a chiropractic practice. Though this is less cost-effective than creating and managing your website yourself, it can save you time.
Making your first hire
Hiring your first Chiropractic Assistant, even if it’s only a part-time position, can be intimidating if it is uncharted territory. Make sure that you take the time to prepare for each interview and explain your expectations to the candidate, and ask pointed questions to determine if each candidate has the necessary level of relevant experience. If they don’t, think about whether or not you’d be willing to train the candidate to help them build that experience.
Network, network, network
In the weeks leading up to the launch of your new practice, networking within your local community is incredibly important, and likely to pay off dividends in the long run. While ad placements on Google and other websites can help market your practice, there is no substitute for simply going out into the community and spreading the word about your practice. Join a local rotary club, attend community events, set up your social media page, and speak with other local business owners to build lasting partnerships that benefit everyone involved. Other business owners are likely to have a lot of valuable expertise to share when it comes to growing and maintaining a thriving business in your local area. Tap into your network to get advice, mentorship, and inspiration as you set out to build your practice from the ground up.
In order to capitalize on the potential of each networking event, you should prepare some promotional brochures or business cards that explain your practice’s philosophy and location/contact information. Bring these items to events and share them with as many people as possible. Getting involved in local events and gatherings is a great way to meet future patients, and gain a reputation as an active business owner within the community. You can also focus on seeking out and attending specific networking opportunities that are relevant to your particular niche. For example, if you specialize in treating sports injuries and providing guidance for athletes, you could attend athletic Meetups or get involved in community sports. You may also want to consider investing in athletic gear that displays your practice’s logo and contact information, to provide additional exposure to your practice.
Leverage marketing software
When you’re just starting out, you might not prioritize the art of cultivating customer relationships -- after all, you haven’t even acquired that many customers yet. However, as you slowly build a customer base, reaching out to your customers and building strong relationships with them becomes more and more important. Retaining the patients that you worked so hard to attain will not be possible unless you invest in some strategy that involves customer relationship management. Many types of software can help you communicate with your patients in a way that’s natural and provides value for both parties. For example, you can send out a MailChimp newsletter to stay in touch with your patients and deliver content that will serve their interests. MailChimp has a free tier, which is a great way to get your feet wet with marketing software.