Do you want to start a naturopathy clinic? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a naturopathy clinic business with no money and no experience.
When starting a naturopathy clinic, you are required to first look at the existing laws in the country or the State you reside in because there is hardly any country that does not pay close attention on their health sector. The health industry cum alternative medical industry is usually highly regulated so as to guard against the infiltration of quacks.
You need to visit the health and medical regulatory body in your country to get all the information that is required before you can legally start. You can start your naturopathy 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.
Steps to Starting a Naturopathy Clinic
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The alternative medicine practice industry has been in existence as far back as modern civilization and it is common to find these clinics in India, China, Japan and most countries in Asia. Naturopathy which is a complimentary medical practice that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself embraces many therapies, including herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling.
It als0 includes therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, lifestyle counseling, and hydrotherapy, which is the use of water to treat a disorder or disease. Please note that licensed and registered Naturopathic Doctors must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually and have a specific scope of practice as defined by their state’s law.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
The Alternative Medicine Industry is a well – established industry in the United States, Canada, and Australia; the industry works hand in hand with other manual – therapy related professions such as naturopathy, chiropractic, massage therapy, osteopathy, and physical therapy et al.
The Alternative Medicine industry is projected to grow slowly due to reservation about the field’s validity. On the other hand, the number of people who are over the age of 50 is rising, supporting alternative medicine industry demand, and healthcare reform is expanding the number of individuals with Health insurance policy cover, boosting revenue growth.
In the next few years, sustained public uncertainty of the industry will likely continue to limit the industry growth, but on the other hand, acupuncturists are positioning their business to take advantage of newfound consumer interest in complementary and alternative healthcare.
In addition, the reform in the healthcare sector will also continue to positively impact the industry, even though it will likely impact the profit margins negatively. The Alternative Medicine industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much active in all the parts of the world.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 232,562 registered and licensed alternative medical clinics cum naturopathy clinics responsible for employing about 292,324 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $18bn annually. The industry is projected to enjoy 4.4 percent annual growth 2013 to 2018.
More people are entering into the alternative medicine industry because the entry barriers in this industry are moderate compare to the medical industry.
The major obstacle to an entrepreneur who wants to start their own naturopathy clinic business is that they are expected to obtain medical licensure. This because any practitioner in the industry must be appropriately licensed before they can be allowed to practice.
In order to earn a naturopathy license, aspiring entrepreneurs must prove that they have received adequate education and that they uphold basic ethical standards. Just like any other regulatory entry barrier, licensure has the effect of controlling supply in the industry and generating security for incumbent practitioners.
As a matter of fact, it is absolutely compulsory for any investor who is looking towards starting a naturopathy 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 fires, 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.
If you are considering starting your own naturopathy clinic in the United States, then you should try and work around the industry barriers.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who need the services of a naturopathy clinic business is not restricted to a group of people. Everyone human, whether old or young, male or female need the services of naturopathy clinics when they fall sick or are injured and would not for personal reasons subscribe to western medicine.
In essence, the demographic composition cum target market for a naturopathy 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 for your naturopathy clinic business, then you should make it far reaching; to everyone in and around the location where your naturopathy clinic facility is located.
3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On
There is no clear cut niche idea in this particular business because naturopathy clinic is a niche idea in the alternative medicine industry, although we are not ruling out the fact that a naturopathy clinic may decide to specialize in the treatment of a particular disease.
So, if you are looking towards starting your own naturopathy clinic, you can choose to specialize in the treatment of a particular disease
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Irrespective of the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into same line of business.
The level of competition in the alternative medicine industry depends largely on the location of the business, your area of operations and the capacity of your naturopathy clinic. If you can successfully create a unique niche for your naturopathy clinic business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition.
It is important to also state that the competition in the naturopathy clinic business is not restricted to the line of business but also you will be competing against all players in the alternative medicine industry and of course hospitals and the healthcare industry.
4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry
It is important to point out the fact that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and general public.
Some of these brands have been in the industry for a long time and have built a reputable brand, while others are known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years. These are some of the leading naturopathy clinics in the United States of America and in the globe;
- Bear Creek Naturopathic Clinic
- Aahana Naturopathy Centre
- Saiseva Yoga Nature Cure Hospital & Research Centre
- Best Ayurveda Nature Health Cure Hospital and Naturopathy Health Cure Therapies
When starting a naturopathy 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 national and international level.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your naturopathy clinic business, you just have to examine these key factors; place, pricing, and promotion.
You would have to continue to review these key factors at regular intervals while running your naturopathy clinic business. As a naturopathy clinic business owner, you need to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that rent, medical equipment and overhead cost are some of the important factors that contribute to the overall cost of running a naturopathy clinic business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
If you are looking towards starting a naturopathy clinic business, you would have to start from the very scratch because you can hardly get a franchise to buy. This is due to the nature of the business. As a naturopath who is interested in starting a naturopathy clinic especially in the United States of America, you don’t need the license of another naturopath to run your own naturopathy clinic.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
As a naturopath who is interested in opening your own clinic, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established naturopathy clinics and of course other players in the Hospital and Healthcare industry in your location.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your naturopathy clinic business are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising medical care prices and organic foods which are predominantly used in the naturopathic treatments.
So also, unfavorable government policies, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumers 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.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
If you desire to start your own naturopathy clinic, please note that the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow. You have the options of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your naturopathy clinic.
Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale naturopathy clinic business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup 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 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 partnership.
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 naturopathy clinic business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entity to use for your naturopathy clinic business, you will agree that limited liability company 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 ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
Please note that if you decide to upgrade to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation, it will give you the opportunity to grow your naturopathy 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.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name from the ideas Below
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 in the heart of people. If you are considering starting your own naturopathy clinic business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Chris Williams® Naturopathy Clinic, LLC
- Headstone® Naturopathy Clinic, Inc.
- Flora Williams Memorial® Naturopathy Clinic, Inc.
- Nature’s Delight® Naturopathy Clinic, Inc.
- Noah’s Ark® Naturopathy Clinic, Inc.
- Mother Nature® Alternative Medicine Clinic, Inc.
- Complete Cure® Alternative Medicine Clinic, Inc.
- Green Life® Naturopathy & Chiropractic Clinic, Inc.
- Nelson Matthew Memorial® Naturopathy Clinic, LLC.
- Nature’s Nest ® Alternative Medicine & Yoga Clinic, Inc.
9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
Please note that 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 naturopathy clinic business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your clinic 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
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own naturopathy clinic business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it 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.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
If you intend starting a naturopathy 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 market.
Besides it is almost impossible to run a standard and registered naturopathy clinic business in the United States without the proper professional certification. In most countries of the world, practicing any medical related practice without a license is illegal. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own naturopathy clinic;
- AANP – American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
- American Naturopathic Medical Certification Board (ANMCB)
- Accredited Programs – (ANMAB)
- The American Naturopathic Certification Board (ANCB)
Please note that Naturopathic Doctors are required to graduate from accredited four-year residential naturopathic medical programs and pass an extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license or registration.
For information about the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examination Board (NPLEX) and the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), please visit the nearest Education Board in your city.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
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 can 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 catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own naturopathy clinic in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Naturopathy Clinic Business Plan
- Health inspection Certificate
- Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
- 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)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard naturopathy clinic business is capital intensive especially even if you choose to launch the business on a small scale. Leasing of a standard facility that can accommodate your patients and staff and the purchase of medical equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital.
So if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you will still have the need to go source for fund to finance the business. When it comes to financing a business, the first thing 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 startup capital for your naturopathy clinic business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- 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.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a naturopathy clinic comes with its own challenges. As a matter of fact, you will need approval from local council and other regulating authorities in the city you intend opening your naturopathy clinic business.
The location you choose 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 a growing population and of course people with the require purchasing power, and lifestyle.
If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility for your naturopathy clinic business in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business. It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough fund for leasing/renting in your budget.
You can engage the services of a business consultant or a realtor to help you find a suitable location. Most importantly, before choosing a location for your naturopathy clinic business, ensure that you first conduct a 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. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your naturopathy clinic business;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of naturopathy clinics and other alternative medicine related services in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of naturopathy clinics and healthcare related services businesses that in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard naturopathy clinic, you will need stethoscopes, Blood Pressure Cuffs, and first aid kits and other related equipment that will aid you in carrying out your job. In setting up a small office for your naturopathy 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 naturopathy 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 serene environment, a facility that is big enough to accommodate your patients and staff.
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. Averagely, you would need the services of the following professionals;
Chief Operating Officer / Chief Naturopath (you can occupy this position if you are a licensed naturopathic practitioner), Doctors, Lap 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.
You would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard naturopathy clinic.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When a naturopathy clinic has commenced operation, the administrative staff will be position to welcome patients and to sort out registration, payments and card issues. Once this is done, the patient will be directed to see the naturopath/doctor and it is the peculiarity of the sickness or medical condition that will determine the next step to take.
It could be directing the patient to go for X-Ray, a lab test and it could be prescribing medications which could include therapies from the sciences of clinical nutrition, botanical medicines, homeopathy, physical medicine, exercise therapy, lifestyle counseling, and hydrotherapy.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale naturopathy 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. So you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
When you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your naturopathy clinic, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company’s profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve.
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 naturopathy clinic;
- Introduce your naturopathy clinic by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to households, hospitals, religious organizations, corporate organizations, HMOs and everyone in and around the location where your naturopathy clinic is located
- Advertise your naturopathy 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 naturopathy clinic
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your naturopathy 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.
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your naturopathy treatment 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. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your services.
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 naturopathy clinic business.
As regards medications, toiletries and other naturopathy and administrative supplies that you need to effectively run your naturopathy clinic, you need to purchase them directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors in pretty large quantities. The higher the quantities of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers or wholesale distributors, the cheaper you tend to get them.
18. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The alternative medicine industry is a competitive industry, and you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors in the industry. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to continue to create easier and cheaper ways of taking care of your patients / clients and also make your facility highly secured and conducive.
In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your patients are always comfortable. The truth is that if there are fluctuations in the services you provide, customers can shift allegiance and settle for other options available.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
One of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps to attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always.
If your customers are satisfied with your products and services delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers or products. One of the strategies that you would need to employ in order to generate repeated sales from your customers and also to retain them is to ensure that your facility is always homely and secured and your customer service does not fluctuate.
If your customer service fluctuates, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back; people usually go for products or services that are of good quality.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized emails and above all, you can easily receive complaints and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be.
If your intention of starting a naturopathy 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 naturopathy clinic facilities and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your naturopathy clinic business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your naturopathy clinic
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your naturopathy clinic in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your naturopathy clinic in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your naturopathy clinic is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles, ambulances and vans are well branded with your company logo.