Do you want to start a medical clinic? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a medical clinic business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample medical clinic business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample medical clinic marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for medical clinics. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a medical clinic business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Why Start a Medical Clinic Business?
A medical clinic is one of those businesses that requires you to first look at the existing laws in the country or the state you reside before going all out to start the business. This is because there is hardly any country that does not pay serious attention to their health sector. The health industry is usually highly regulated so as to guard against the infiltration of quacks or substandard medical clinics, hospitals or health facilities.
If you have an interest in starting your own medical clinic business, then you would need to pay a visit to the health and medical regulatory body in your country (the department/ministry of health and medical services) to get all the needed information that is required before you can legally start your own medical clinic business in your city.
Another factor to consider when starting your medical clinic business is the place where the medical clinic will be located. Even though it isn’t compulsory that your medical clinic be inpatient; however most of the successful medical clinics are those where patients can stay for a predetermined time and then leave. Your location should be one that will pass health and fire code before you start taking in patients so as not to run afoul of the existing laws in the United States.
If indeed you want to start your own medical clinic business, all you need do is to read this article and you will be well informed and equipped. You can start your medical clinic business from a small town in the United States and if you are consistent and creative, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.
Starting a Medical Clinic Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
The healthcare cum medical industry of which the hospital business is a subset of, is perhaps one of the fastest growing and largest industries in the world; this is so because the wealth of any nation depends on the health of the nation.
There is hardly any country where the health care and medical industry is not handled with all seriousness. As a matter of fact, the healthcare industry is known to gulp well over 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) of most developed countries.
A healthcare provider is a health professional such as nurse or doctor et al or an establishment such as a hospital or a medical clinic or a healthcare center/facility that provides preventive, curative, promotional, rehabilitative or palliative healthcare/medical services in a systematic way to individuals, families or communities.
The hospital and healthcare industry comprises of operators who are licensed as general, medical and surgical hospitals that provide surgical and nonsurgical diagnostics and medical treatment to inpatients with medical conditions. In general, hospitals maintain inpatient beds and usually provide other services such as outpatient services, operating room services and pharmacy services.
There is indeed a very large market for hospital (healthcare service) providers in the United States and of course in most parts of the world. For instance, the World Health Organization (W.H.O) estimated that there are about 9.2 million physicians, 19.4 million nurses and midwives, 1.9 million dentists and other dentistry personnel, 2.6 million pharmacists and other pharmaceutical personnel, and over 1.3 million community health workers worldwide. This goes to show that the health care industry is indeed one of the largest segments of the workforce of any nation.
It is on record that in 2011, healthcare costs paid to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, diagnostic laboratories, pharmacies, medical device manufacturers and other players in the health care system business value chain, consumed an estimated value of 17.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States. As a matter of fact, experts projected that the healthcare share of the GDP of the United States will continue to grow, reaching 19.6 percent by 2016.
The Healthcare cum Hospital industry is indeed a very massive industry in the United States. Statistics has it that the Hospital and Healthcare industry in the United States of America is worth $986bn, with an estimated growth rate of 3.4 percent.
There are about 3,184 registered and licensed hospitals and medical clinic businesses in the United States and they are responsible for employing about 5,513,669 people that comprises of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, opticians, surgeons and other health and non – health workers. It is important to state that there is no medical clinic with a lion share of the available market in the United States.
If you are considering starting your own medical clinic in the United States, then you should try and work around the industry barriers. The truth is that the barriers to entry in the Hospitals industry are high and this is due to the significant regulatory requirements and the experience and strength of incumbents. For example, medical licensure creates a barrier to entry in the healthcare sector.
As a matter of fact, it is absolutely compulsory for any investor who is looking towards starting a medical clinic to meet extensive federal, state and local laws and regulations. These regulations relate to the adequacy of medical care, equipment, personnel, operating policies and procedures.
Regulations also involve maintaining adequate records, preventing fire, setting rates and complying with building codes and environmental protection laws. These regulations make it difficult and costly for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the industry.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own medical clinic business could be that the business can easily get support from government at all levels and the business is indeed a profitable venture despite the legislature governing the industry.
Starting a Medical Clinic Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of a medical clinic business is not restricted to a group of people. Everyone human, whether old or young, male or female need the services of medical clinics when they fall sick or are injured.
In essence, the demographic composition cum target market for a medical clinic is all encompassing; it is not restricted to any gender, race, tribe or group of people. So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your medical clinic business, then you should make it far reaching to everyone in and around the location where your medical clinic facility is located.
List of Niche ideas Within the Medical Clinic Business That You Can Specialize in
Most medical clinic facility businesses tend to operate general services that a standard medical clinic facility provider is expected to offer, that is why it seems like there are no niche areas in the industry. But on the other hand, some medical clinics may decide to major in some key areas or niche areas such as;
- Inpatient care
- Outpatient care
- Anatomical pathology services
- Diagnostic X-ray services
- Clinical laboratory services
- Operating room services
- Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy
- Personal Injury Case Management
The Level of Competition in the Hospital and Healthcare Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into the same area of business and the medical clinic business is not an exemption.
The level of competition in the hospital and healthcare industry to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your medical clinic. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your medical clinic business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
For instance, if you are the only medical clinic business in your location that is into anatomical pathology services and diagnostic X-ray services, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitions.
It is important to also state that the competition in the medical clinic business is not restricted to that line of business as you will be competing against all players in the Hospital and Healthcare industry.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Medical Clinic Industry
It is important to state that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading medical clinic in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
- Barnes-Jewish Hospital
- Mayo Clinic Health System – Health Reach
- Methodist Hospital Emergency Services
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
- Center for Musculoskeletal Care
- Duke University Hospital
- University of Washington Medical Center
- USA Surgical Specialists
- UCSF Emergency Department
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
- Best Doctors Inc.
- Cleveland Clinic Cole Eye Institute
- $59 Walk in clinic Goldenrod
- Navy Medical Center
- University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
- Stanton Road Clinic
- Yale-New Haven Hospital
- USA Health Services Foundation Inc.
When starting a medical clinic business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at the national level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your medical clinic business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing, and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your medical clinic business. As a medical clinic business owner, you have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that renting, medical equipment purchase and overhead cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a medical clinic business and should be considered as major factors when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
Starting Your Medical Clinic from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
If you are looking towards starting a medical clinic business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get the franchise of a medical clinic business to buy. With medical clinic business, you should just try as much as possible to secure a good facility and then leverage on every marketing tool within your disposal, especially the internet to market your medical clinic.
Please note that most of the big and successful medical clinics around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Medical Clinic Business
If you decide to open your own medical clinic today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established medical clinics and of course other players in the Hospital and Healthcare industry in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your medical clinic business are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising medical care prices.
So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumer spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where yours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
Starting a Medical Clinic Business – Legal Matters
- Best Legal Entity to use for this Type of Business
When considering opening a medical clinic, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some medical clinics design their business and services for the community market, while others for national market via franchising and branching out.
You have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company or a sole proprietorship for a business such as medical clinic. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale medical clinic business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital in small facility and with minimal employees.
But if your intention is to grow the business and operate all across the United States of America, then choosing sole proprietorship is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your medical clinic business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your medical clinic business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your medical clinic business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Medical Clinic
Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own medical clinic business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Pristine Jones® Medical Clinic, LLC
- Heart of Gold® Medical Clinic, Inc.
- Coates Philips Memorial® Medical Clinic, Inc.
- Hennessey Soares® Medical Clinic, Inc.
- Noah’s Ark® Medical Clinic, Inc.
- Little Angel® Children Clinic, Inc.
- Complete Mother® Maternity Clinic, Inc.
- Fresh Droplets® Medical Clinic, Inc.
- Borger Jasper Memorial® Medical Clinic, LLC.
- Sharon Holmes® Medical Clinic, Inc.
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your medical clinic business.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own medical clinic business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Building / Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own medical clinic business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Starting a Medical Clinic?
If you intend starting a medical clinic in the United States of America, you are encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in the competitive market.
Besides it is almost impossible to run a medical clinic business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, carrying out any medical related practice without a license is typically illegal. In most jurisdictions, individuals found to be providing medical, nursing or other professional services without the appropriate certification or license may face sanctions including even criminal charges leading to prison.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own medical clinic;
- Registered nurse and Licensed practical nurse Certificate
- ACMPE’s Certified Medical Practice Executive (CMPE)
- Director of Nursing Services–Certified (DNS-CT)
- QAPI Certified Professional (QCP)
Please note that you cannot successfully run your medical clinic business without any professional certification especially the basic certifications such as MBBS, caregiver certification, private Registered Nurse (RN) and Licensed practical nurse.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Medical Clinic
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own medical clinic in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Employee’s Handbook
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
- Building License
- Franchise or Trademark License (optional)
Financing Your Medical Clinic Business
Starting a standard and well – equipped medical clinic business is capital intensive even if you choose to launch the business on a small scale, and you only have a handful of full – time employees on your payroll. Leasing of a standard facility that can accommodate your patients and staff and of course the purchase of medical equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital. In essence, if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you will still have to go source for fund to finance the business.
No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your medical clinic business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Medical Clinic Business
Starting a medical clinic business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location. As a matter of fact, you will need approval from the local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening your medical clinic business.
Generally, in business, it cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your business is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of appreciable growing population and of course people with the require purchasing power and lifestyle.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your medical clinic business, ensure that you first conduct thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out. This is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set – up your own medical clinic business
These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your medical clinic business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of medical clinics and other healthcare related businesses in the location
- The purchasing power of residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of medical clinics and healthcare related services businesses in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Starting a Medical Clinic Business – Technical and Manpower Details
When it comes to starting a standard medical clinic, you will need stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, oxygen tanks, first aid kits and other related medical equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job. It is important to state that these equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget. In setting up a small office for your medical clinic, you will also need computer, printer, home healthcare software, telephones, pager, photocopier, scanner, fax machine, first aid kit, gloves and uniform.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your medical clinic business, the size of the facility you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. Besides, you will need a facility that is in a serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate the number of beds/patients and staff working for you.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. When it comes to starting a standard medical clinic business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer/Chief Medical Director (you can occupy this position if you are a medical doctor), Doctors, Lab Technicians, Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer), Accountant, Nurse Aides, Medication Management Counselors, Human Resources and Admin Manager, Nurses, Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer, Security Guards and Cleaners.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard medical clinic. Please note that there are situations where you will need to call consultants to handle some cases or operations et al and you may not have the financial capacity to retain them under your payroll if you are just starting out.
The Service Delivery Process of a Medical Clinic Business
The services delivery as it relates to medical clinic is simple and straightforward and it is applicable to players in the hospital and healthcare industry.
When a medical clinic has commenced operations, the administrative staff will be positioned to welcome patients and sort out registration, payments and card issues. Once this is done, the patient will be directed to see the doctor and it is the peculiarity of the sickness or medical condition that will determine the next step to be taken going forward. It could be directing the patient to go for X-Ray, it could be directing the patient to go to the lab for test and it could be prescribing drugs for the patient or admitting the patient et al.
It is important to state that a medical clinic business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated medical clinic business process is not cast on stone.
Starting a Medical Clinic Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale medical clinic business is achievable means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your medical clinic, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to your line of business.
This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your medical clinic;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, hospitals, religious organizations, corporate organizations, HMOs and everyone in and around the location where your medical clinic is located
- Open your medical clinic with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets
- Advertise your medical clinic in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business and products on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your medical clinic
- Engage in direct marketing
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your medical clinic; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Service Pricing for your Medical Clinic
One key factor that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Asides from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
So also, if you are able to secure business partnership with HMOs, and medical insurance companies as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your medical clinic business.
As regards medications, toiletries and other medical and administrative supplies that you need to effectively run your medical clinic, you need to ensure that you purchase your items directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers or wholesale distributors, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Strategies to Boost Your Medical Clinic Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a medical clinic business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of medical clinic facilities and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your medical clinic business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your medical clinic
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- Contact households, hospitals, religious organizations, corporate organizations, HMOs and everyone in and around the location where your facility is located informing them about your business and the services you offer
- List your medical clinic in local directories
- Advertise your medical clinic in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your medical clinic is located
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles, ambulances and trucks/vans are well branded with your company logo