How Doctors Can Improve Their Revenue Streams with a Franchise
Physicians, heal thy business.
We sometimes don’t think about doctors, dentists, psychologists, lawyers and other people with prestigious professions as business owners but, of course, they are. If you’re hiring people to work for your medical practice and you have patients or clients, you have a business. And, like any business, you probably have good days and bad days.
That’s why I’ve noticed that doctors, dentists and other medical professionals are increasingly adding to their revenue streams by investing in a franchise. Here are some good reasons to think about it, if you haven’t already, as well as some tips on how to avoid potential pitfalls.
You (probably) have the money to buy a franchise.
That’s one reason I think more and more physicians have been buying franchises. Unlike the solopreneur who is working as a computer coder or a freelance writer, you probably have the slightly deeper pockets (no offense to those professions) to purchase a franchise, which typically can be at least $200,000. It’s also easier for you to get a loan for a franchise since you have the experience of running a fully staffed business, which tends to make you an attractive borrower. Banks want to know that a franchise owner is likely going to be successful enough to pay them back.
A franchise can bolster your existing practice.
I’m not suggesting that, for instance, a psychologist should ever say to a patient, “You know, you need to get out more and do something fun. By the way, I own an escape room franchise and happen to have a coupon for 10% off …”
Obviously, you have a lot of power in your profession, and you want to use it responsibly and ethically. That said, if you have signage placed in the lobby of your brick-and-mortar franchise that lets your customers know that Dr. So and So owns this place, that could end up translating into more patients.
This could be the start of something bigger.
Some franchise owners end up with not one franchise, but two, three or more. Depending on how successful and ambitious you are, you might even find yourself having your own little mini-empire where you’re running a successful practice and one or two or more brick-and-mortar franchises.
However, before you do something big, like buying a franchise, I have a few suggestions.
Research is vital.
Not all franchise systems are well-run. You want to do plenty of homework before you buy a franchise. Talk to other franchise owners and see if they are happy or have regrets. Ask the franchisor a million questions, just as you would a patient. You want to determine whether the franchise is healthy or sick.
You also simply want to make sure the franchise model is right for you. You may love a restaurant brand and think it would be wonderful to own a franchise and do something completely different than medicine. You may be right or, on the other hand, you may change your mind when you realize it needs to be staffed from 6 a.m. to midnight, and you simply can’t imagine having to someday fill in for a sick employee and manage your staff at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night.
There are many, but if you’re aware of that, that’s half the battle. Plenty of would-be entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking that franchising is easy. They buy the system thinking it runs itself. No, not quite. All franchise owners need to be engaged when running a franchise. You can hire the right people to run it, of course, but if you don’t hire the right people, or they quit, you may need to get more hands-on with your business than you were expecting.
Additionally, training is important. Will you, as a new franchisee, receive a lot of training and ongoing support so you aren’t left to your own devices after the training is over? Is there simply too much competition?
Owning a franchise and running your own business is an intoxicating and exciting experience, but you have to be someone who loves the idea of owning a business rather than just making money — which leads me to my next piece of advice.
Make sure this is the right time for you.
Just as a particular franchise may not be right for you, you may be thinking about buying the right franchise at the wrong time. If your kid is getting married next June, you probably don’t want to open for business in May. On the other hand, like having a child, in some ways, nobody is really ready to buy a franchise or start a business. There often isn’t a perfect time to take on a new challenge. Sometimes you do just have to jump in and see what happens.
And if all goes well, you may find that buying a franchise is just what the doctor — um, you — ordered.
Devin Haman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center, the nation’s leading medical spa franchise.