Have you just decided to start your practice? Even if you have years of experience working with clients or working in a practice, starting your own practice brings about a host of non-medical challenges, some of which you may not be prepared for.
The paperwork, processes, and initial setup often can be confusing. This blog post gives you a brief introduction to the first six steps you need to take when you decide to set up your integrative medicine practice.
- Research and set your business strategy
The first thing you have to do is understand your business strategy. You need to decide:
- who your target market is,
- how you will reach prospective clients,
- your list of services,
- potential working partners,
- service pricing, and
- operational costs of running your practice.
Some practitioners start small – providing their services online or from their home offices – while others need to make bigger investments into physical space.
Regardless of the approach you adopt, remember that it may take several months of planning and preparation to open your practice (and at least a few more to build your brand and reputation).
2. Decide on your business name
Next, choose a unique name for your practice that will center your branding efforts. Make sure you research your practice name online, so you do not go through all the work of registering as a legal entity (see step 3!) only to find someone else has the same, or a similar, practice name.
If you’re feeling a lack of inspiration, think about your backgrounds and words, phrases, locations, or ideas that are meaningful to you. It might also help in future advertising and outreach efforts to choose specific keywords that can help more people identify the nature of your practice. For instance, if you are an acupuncturist, we highly recommend incorporating acupuncture in your practice name.
Spend some time brainstorming with your friends and family, scour the internet for more ideas, and test your name through a crowdsourcing exercise with your existing clients. Remember, though, not everyone will agree – it’s your decision at the end of the day!
3. Register a legal entity, get a bank account, and register for taxes
You need to register your practice in the form of a legal entity as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Head here to learn more about how to register an LLC by yourself; some legal sites can also guide you through the process.
We also recommend you separate your personal bank account from that of your practice to keep the cash flow transparent since, over time, you may hire other people to join you as well. Along with your bank account, you may need a business credit card to pay for additional services you hire or the equipment you purchase. Make sure you shop around – different credit cards have deals that may add up in the long run.
Finally, complete the legal formalities to register your business for applicable state and federal taxes. Some of you may require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) based on the type of practice you set up and the kind of taxes you have to pay. It might help to find a business accountant to help you with your practice’s taxes.
4. Gather information about licensing and permits
Based on the type of practice you set up, you may need specific licenses and permits. Several healthcare providers must obtain a National Provider Identifier (NPI), a unique identifier. Learn more about applying for an NPI here.
5. Set up your website and online profiles
Irrespective of the nature of your services, it is always good to create a vibrant online presence for your practice to attract a more extensive clientele. At the outset, you will require a website, a Google places listing, an online appointment booking software, and an active social media presence.
6. Implement an EMR system
An EMR system makes setting up and keeping track of your practice, patients, appointments, charts, and finances so much easier; it can also help you directly connect to labs, insurance clearing houses, and supplement dispensaries to speed up your practice workflow. Some EMR systems also include secure video conferencing, easy appointment booking and private messaging, patient portals, and more.
Head here to read our article on what you should look for while choosing an EMR system for your practice.
Schedule a demo with our team if you’re interested in learning how OptiMantra can serve your practice.