Working in a clinic

+ Working in a clinic – May 06

Hi John,
I am contemplating setting up in a natural
therapies clinic.  I’m just wondering if you have
any thoughts on the subject.

Thanks for the fab newsletters.
B.N.
Melbourne.

MY COMMENTS:

A clinic can enhance your credibility, likewise
it can also detract from it if it’s the wrong
type.
The first thing to look at is the type clinic
you are going into.  Look at what the overall tone
of the place is and how you perceive the clinic
when you first walk in.
Is it in alignment with the way you want people
to perceive you?
If you want to be perceived in a very
professional way and you go into a very New Age,
spiritual type of clinic you’re going to be at
odds with the other therapists in the clinic a lot
of the time because you’ll be trying to portray a
different image.

You obviously have to look at the room size.
Be careful not to compromise on the room size.
You’ll need enough space to work comfortably with
the persons arms/legs fully extended on either
side.  You’ll also need an area in your room for
taking and updating case histories.  Remember you
may also have parents in the room with you while
you treat their children, they will need to sit
somewhere.  It’s helpful to have enough floor area
to accommodate children.

I’ve always found the more space the better.
If you’re working in a small room the releases
people have are more intense and dramatic because
the energy released bounces off the walls.  I have
found I get more tired more quickly working in
small rooms.

Look at the reception area, the waiting room,
is it big enough?  Is it comfortable?  Does it
convey the sort of things that you want to your
people?

Does the Clinic have a receptionist?  Having a
receptionist can be a plus, but it will usually
increase the cost of your room.

Is there an area that you can use as a post
treatment lounge?  A post treatment lounge is a
place where you can accommodate the people that
you treat for the 30 minutes after the treatment
in which you may advise them not to drive.  If the
clinic you’re looking at doesn’t have a space
available for a post treatment lounge then is the
clinic itself located near to a coffee shop or
similar place?  You can then make an arrangement
for your people to go there for a cup of tea or
coffee.

When you begin to work in a clinic it is easy
to assume that the clinic is going to get you
people to treat.  Generally it doesn’t work like
that.  You must view your practice as your
practice.  If people come as a result of the
clinic, great, but consider that as an added
bonus.  Don’t rely in any way on the clinic to get
you people.

It is easy, as a member of a clinic to get
pulled into group advertising.  Be cautious about
getting involved in group advertising, it can cost
a lot of money and it rarely produces any results
apart from promoting the clinic’s name in general.
It won’t promote your business in particular and
has very little chance of generating a word of
mouth referral.

Do not dismiss everything out of hand, look at
what the clinic is proposing.  If they’re doing
something like a mail out, look at the mail out
and see if it’s a mail out you want to be involved
in? Don’t do any thing that doesn’t represent the
work you do in the way it deserves to be
perceived.
Establish it from the beginning that you are
always asked whether you get involved in something
or not.  It’s important to not get locked into any
advertising on a long term basis.

Having a sign on the clinic will reinforce your
permanency to people and introduce the general
public to the term “Cranio Sacral Therapy”.

The financial management of a clinic is
important too.  Who is operating the clinic?  Do
the operators also own the clinic?  What
experience do they have in business?  Most natural
therapy clinics will have a premises lease of some
sort.  When you consider going into a clinic it
may be worth looking at the remaining term on the
lease.  If you’re coming in at the end of a 5 year
lease does it look as though they will be renewing
it or will the clinic be moving in 12 months time?
If you’re trying to establish  a long term
practice staying in the same place will be
important to you.

Clinics that are new or that have recently
undergone a change of ownership are particularly
vulnerable.  Most small business’s fail in the
first 3 years, and they are generally difficult
years with all those involved on a steep learning
curve with a fair amount of tension, highs and
lows and long hours.
Consider the people involved and if you and
your practice are up to sharing this situation for
a while.  New projects can ride on a wave of new
energy that is satisfying to be around, you need
to discern whether those behind it will take it
all in their stride of if you will be drawn into
making their dream come true rather than building
your practice.

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