5 Urgent Care Startup Pitfalls

To help you avoid making the same mistakes, we’re sharing some of the top urgent care startup pitfalls.

When beginning your urgent care startup project, the last thing you want to focus on is failure. And we get that, we do. But if you assess the common mistakes of other startup urgent care ventures, you’ll be much less likely to fall victim to them yourself. While no system is fool proof, there are key factors that- if not avoided- can most certainly contribute to the demise of your clinic.

1. Location, Location, Location
Location is critical in the success of your urgent care startup. Your initial entrepreneurial instinct might be to search for potential sites based on cost or cosmetics. But, believe it or not, those are not the main factors of concern. Instead, focus on the site visibility and competition factor.

Qualify your location with these simple questions: Is it on a high traffic road? Is it near a strong retail anchor? Are you permitted ample signage? Does this area need an urgent care? Is there already convenient access of care?

2. Lack of Planning
I have an idea! Ready, Set..Hold on! Any successful business owner will tell you not to dive right into a project. It is essential to have a strategic business plan. Many small businesses fail because of fundamental shortcomings in their planning. It is imperative that your business plan be based on accurate data from current statistics with educated projections for the future.

Consider these topics when writing your business plan:
– Target Demographic
– Competitive Advantage
– Corporate Structure
– Market Analysis
– Staffing Model
– Capital Costs
– Financial Forecast

3. Insufficient Capital
A financial plan, also known as a pro forma, is a vital tool in your startup success. A pro forma is a line item multi-year financial blueprint that encompasses every financial need the startup project may encounter. Insufficient funding is a critical mistake that can be easily avoided with proper planning.

For Example: Did you know on average your accounts receivable will take 3-4 months to mature? Are you considering how your clinic will stay solvent during this period? How will you maintain staffing and operational costs with limited income?

Your capital costs go far beyond purchasing equipment and paying rent. A thorough pro forma, will incorporate not only your startup costs but also cash-on-hand required to stay solvent while your AR matures. It is important to have a realistic expectation of money coming in vs money going out. This step is simply a reiteration of how important planning is to your startup success.

4. Inadequate Internet Presence
To many inexperienced urgent care owners, the dollars allocated to marketing can seem overly substantial. They focus on the initial investment amount instead of the return on investment; thus slashing their marketing budgets. A detrimental mistake. Marketing is the tool in which a startup clinic introduces itself to the community, shares its hours and location and promotes its available services.

Throughout the years we have been advocates prominent signage, and for the most part clinics now understand the importance of their target demographic being able to easily locate and recognize the facility. Kudos! But what about the potential patients, that aren’t driving around looking for a clinic? How are you reaching the sick patrons that prefer to internet search their options?

As a nation, we want the easiest most convenient way to find solutions and the internet is our answer. To succeed, your clinic must have a plan to advertise via the internet. There is an array of methods able to efficiently market your clinic while staying cost effective. At the very least, you should have a well-designed website featuring your location, services and hours.

A corresponding option would be to create a business Facebook page. Facebook is a FREE social media site in which you can advertise your clinic information AND connect with the community through photos and patient interaction.

Remember if you don’t have an internet presence, you’ll most likely be losing business to those that do.

5. Poor Management
Owner-operators frequently lack relevant business and managerial expertise in finance, purchasing, marketing and hiring and managing staff. Unless they recognize their shortcomings, and seek assistance, the clinic could soon be facing disaster. A good clinic leader is one that creates an environment in which the staff has an understanding of their expectations and is confident they have the tools to deliver efficient, compassionate care to the patients.

Non physician owners may have the exact opposite situation. They embody managerial knowledge but lack operational experience. The key here is to find a Medical Director that:
– Compliments your vision
– Can adjust to high volumes as needed
– Delivers excellent service
– Adheres to policy & procedure
– Clearly communicates expectations to the staff
– Embraces Change
– Is able to think strategically

The true goal is to find someone, whether it’s the owner-operator or a hired medical director, that can balance both the operational and financial decisions with the clinic’s overall well-being.

The bottom line? There is no fool proof plan. Take the time to fully assess your project and map out a plan to avoid these common mistakes. In the words of Gordon Moore Most of what I learned as an entrepreneur was by trial and error, but why not let them be someone else’s trial and error.

This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.