Every medical practitioner has the same dream of opening their own practice. Whether you are a dentist, physician or other medical specialist, the dream of striking out on your own and building your own practice, on your own terms, in your own building, is part of what drives you to excel. And the dream is the same regardless of where you are in your career, whether you are just starting out or if you have been practicing for years. What can you do to help make that dream a reality?
Here are four key steps to starting your dental practice or healthcare clinic off right:
Plan, plan — and plan some more: It’s never too early to start planning your own practice. Regardless of whether you are still in college, or actively practicing, now is the time to lay out a vision and goals for yourself and your practice. Set goals, and stick with them.
Maintain your credit rating: The importance of maintaining a good credit rating cannot be overrated. Your credit rating will help determine not only how much credit is available to you — which is critical for such vital things as buying equipment, financing construction or renovation, or financing real estate or other loans — but the interest rates and terms under which the credit will provided to you. A poor credit rating can cost you and your practice tens of thousands dollars, or more, in unnecessary interest or loan payments, or make it difficult or impossible to obtain loans when needed. Part of maintaining good credit is paying all debts fully and on time, and never, under any circumstances, should you co-sign a loan for someone else. When you co-sign a loan, you are agreeing to be responsible for that debt if the person you co-sign for is unable or unwilling to pay off the loan. This means that if you co-sign for someone, and they fail to pay the loan, you will be legally responsible for paying off the loan and any penalties or fees associated with the loan. This can cause tremendous damage to your credit rating.
Build a core team of trusted advisors: No one is an expert at everything. You need to foster relationships with a group of trusted individuals who can provide you with expert, professional advice and guidance to help build your practice. For instance, your team of advisors should include an accountant who is experienced not just at accounting, but at working with medical and dental practices and who is familiar with their special needs. Your team should also include an attorney, loan specialist, insurance broker and general contractor, all of whom have experience working with medical practices. A more experienced practitioner can also be an invaluable resource. Taken together, these advisors should be able to provide the guidance you need to achieve your dream of building your own practice.
Approach potential lenders with confidence: For new practitioners, this can be the hardest step of all, but it does not need to be. You may be intimidated by the idea of approaching a bank or other lender for a loan of $500,000 — the average cost of starting a new dental practice, for example — but the truth of the matter that you have no reason to feel intimated. If you have good personal credit, a healthy credit score, you are currently practicing, you should be considered an excellent credit risk for any lender. Resist the urge to go with the first lender who makes you a loan offer. Take the time to shop around, and find a lender who offers the right terms and seems to be the best fit for your long-term plans.
Contact us for more information on how to get started down the path to opening your own practice.