Urgent care has grown in popularity since its inception, but COVID-19 has changed a lot about the industry. In addition to bringing more visibility to on-demand care, it forced clinics to approach business in a new way. Clinics have evolved to think differently — in terms of staffing models, business models, services offered, culture and branding, and patient engagement to name a few.
Similarly, patients and their expectations have evolved. It’s becoming more and more common, especially with younger patients, to not have a primary care doctor. Telehealth and smart queues are just two of many digital advancements that fit the modern customer’s needs, and it won’t stop there.
As such, urgent cares present an excellent business opportunity in the right circumstances. But before you get ahead of yourself, one of the most critical things you need to start a business is money. And in order to get money, you need a business plan.
An urgent care business plan does a lot more than help you with investors, though. It’s a roadmap to your success. But we’ll talk more about why you need a business plan later. First, let’s cover the basics of what goes into one.
In order to tell a complete story about your proposed business, you have to do your homework. This not only helps investors see the value of your business; it also helps you understand all the aspects to consider in order to profit as soon and optimally as possible.
You can go to five different sources and get five different (but similar) guidelines on how to write a business plan. Our consultants have helped over 500 startups succeed, so we’ll describe the sections they’ve proven highly effective. We’ll share more about their services below, but if you want to go it on your own, here is what to include:
Remember to be thorough in each of these. If you need or want expert help, Experity’s Urgent Care Consultants use a highly sophisticated model to calculate your required startup capital and outline your startup costs, clinic buildout, equipment purchases, wages, taxes and benefits, variable and fixed costs, loan repayments, revenue per patient, and projected patient volume.
They’re also experts at helping with location selection. They understand area demographics like population density, age, and income — as well as nearby competition and retail draw, which also helps with patient volume projection.
Our most popular eBook, Top 25 Urgent Care Startup Mistakes, is also an excellent resource for anyone looking to get into this business.
If you’re overwhelmed by the task of writing a business plan, you’re not alone. One of the most critical elements of success on a big project is to really understand its purpose. Why are you investing time in this massive lift? Here are five reasons you must have a comprehensive business plan before you launch your urgent care clinic — and more details on how to write one.
Unless you plan on financing the entire operation yourself, you need investors. To get the attention and support of banks, potential partners, and private investment firms, you need to prove that you and your startup are a good investment and worth the risk. And while your business plan should include projected startup costs, assets, budgets, cash flow requirements, pro forma, and a breakeven analysis, prospective lenders or investors want to see more than the numbers. They want to know how you think, whether you have a success strategy, have done your homework, and your long-term goals.
Be sure you include an overview of your company and its leadership—highlighting your strengths and demonstrating your deep understanding of the market, your competitors, and your strategy for capitalizing on opportunities. Prove you are aware of possible challenges and have solutions to overcome them. In the end, your business plan helps you prove you possess the business acuity to succeed in the competitive healthcare market.
A business plan will get you organized to deal with all the legal and financial issues involved in owning and operating your urgent care. A complete business play lays the groundwork to help you secure local, state, or federal licenses and permits. Not only will you understand the legalities and regulations that affect your business, but you’ll be organized and prepared to address these situations as they arise.
Look at creating your business plan as an opportunity to think through every aspect of opening an urgent care — and to decide if you’re all in.
As you research the market to flesh out your plan, you can organize your thoughts, assess your strategies, formulate your goals, and decide if entering the marketplace is the right decision for you. Throughout the business plan process, you may find that your original ideas just won’t work. Maybe the local market doesn’t have the best demographic or population to support another urgent care clinic. You may learn that a hospital in the area is planning to open a number of retail clinics that will compete with you for the same customers. Or learn that your estimate of the initial investment is much higher than the amount of money you earmarked to launch your clinic.
While you write your plan, do some soul searching to zero in on your motivation, define the characteristics of your ideal staff, and think about the culture you want to establish in your clinic. What is your unique selling proposition and what will you stand for?
Writing a business plan also offers you an opportunity to firm up your mission, goals, and strategies—then create a roadmap and timeline to put them in place. Ideas and- goals are a great place to start, but without a strategic plan and realistic timeline, they won’t take you anywhere.
As you create your plan, start with high-level benchmarks, and fill in the smaller details and time horizons. If you work this out in the business planning phase, your business plan will be a useful tool throughout the life of your urgent care. And while it’s important to fine-tune this document before seeking financial support, once you launch your business you can deviate from original timelines and benchmarks as the market evolves.
Think about the number of people you know who talk about how great it would be to have a business of their own. If starting a business required nothing more than a dream, more people would do it.
A solid business plan gives your ideas legitimacy. As you formulate your plan and talk to friends and colleagues, they may offer ideas and help you make connections with other professionals that can provide services you might need as you move closer to launch.
A solid business plan is essential for starting your urgent care, but its value lasts long after contracts are signed and your doors are finally open. It’s your go-to resource moving forward. You can refer to your plan to stay on strategy and revisit your roadmap. It continually tells you your next best step for growth, staffing, marketing, and sales.
When it’s time to evaluate your progress, you can look back at projected milestones and see where you’ve accomplished your goals and where you missed the mark. With that information, it’s much easier to change course if necessary and clearly define next steps to get where you want to go.
Not only should your business plan help you plan for success, it should provide realistic criteria for determining if or when business conditions and financial factors indicate it’s time to shut down. A practical exit strategy will help to replace emotions with objectivity if you decide to close your urgent care business.
As mentioned above, Experity has an extraordinary consultant team that knows this business inside and out. They share a lot of great advice in the eBook Top 25 Urgent Care Startup Mistakes. But if you just want to keep exploring advice, we have other helpful resources to help you out.