From the blog Chiropractor Ownership: Guidelines for Opening Additional Offices
Practitioners with a strong and consistent client base will need to grow in order to meet demand. There are several options are available — subcontracting office space, relocation, or expansion. A lot of chiropractors will decide the best way to grow isn’t to take on more clients themselves, but to partner with other practitioners to open another location.
Finding the right way to expand chiropractor ownership into new territories isn’t always easy. However, opening a second practice requires significant research and planning — and more than a little daring. How do you replicate your success in another location without cutting into profits at your original one?
Here are some valuable guidelines to follow when you’re looking to branch out:
Before You Do Anything, Measure Your Strength
Opening a second location requires a considerable amount of time, planning, and revenue. A lot of companies will end up doing harm to their original practice by trying to expand before they have enough of a foundation. You need a strong clientele that provides a consistent revenue stream and reliable staff members before you can start to plan for expansion. Don’t rush or you might spoil a good thing!
Be Ready to Delegate Tasks
Small business entrepreneurs are usually quite accustomed to having everything done in-house. Unfortunately, when expansion comes around, they’re forced to confront the fact that they can’t be in two places at once.
Opening a second location isn’t like adding a new wing to your office. In many ways, you’ll have to start from scratch, especially when it comes to vetting employees and securing a location. It also means moving half of your operations to another location. For many highly involved practitioners, not having immediate access can come as quite a shock.
Be ready to delegate tasks and responsibilities to trustworthy partners. Establishing a strong base to grow your second location will likely mean sending some of your best stakeholders to the next location. It may involve hiring new people in your existing office to meet increasing demand as well.
Solve Operations Inefficiencies Now
A small number of people can usually find workarounds for inefficiencies rooted deep in how a company is run. However, growth quickly uncovers problems with communication, organization, and logistics — creating chaos in the process. For chiropractors, uncovering these inefficiencies before they can impact patient care can be critical for success.
Before you divide operations between two or more locations, be sure to solve whatever issues you have with scheduling, file processing, management, and other communications issues. Expansion offers a great opportunity to implement new tech strategies to streamline processes — upgrading technical capacity, records management, changing your ISP or email provider, and more. Just be sure to do so with enough time to iron out any problems during launch that you may encounter.
Analyze Vendor Costs
Small things add up when you are planning to expand. A lot of companies will stick with a vendor for years without wondering if they are getting the best rate for the services they receive. Opening a new location offers a great opportunity to review those relationships.
That extra cash goes a long way during an expansion. When you pay too much for your internet service, that takes money out of your budget for support hiring for a support staff. If you have a payment processor that costs too much, you’ll be overpaying for two locations instead of just one. Finding a vendor partner like Talus who offers industry-leading service and low rates can help streamline operations and save you money at the same time.
Plan the Right Distance
Choosing the right distance between locations can affect the success of both locations. Place them too close together and you can end up cannibalizing clientele from one another without expanding into new territory in any meaningful way. This can quickly become a big problem when you’re paying double rent to service the same pool of clients as before.
Alternately, if you position your two locations too far apart you lose any benefits from being able to co-manage locations. Finding the balance takes intuition, research, and some luck. Consider asking small business owners in your network if they can offer insights.
Growing your business is a painstaking process that takes considerable time, effort, and resources. When it comes time to make a big move, make sure you have all your bases covered. With proper planning in place, opening a second location can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor for chiropractors.