So you want to own your own practice, you’re not alone. Starting a new practice fresh out of university isn’t always feasible, besides entering a difficult economy and lacking community connections, chances are you haven’t yet acquired crucial financial and marketing acumen.

University teaches you how to be a good clinician, but no one teaches you how to run the business side of a practice. To prepare for the private practice path, Ideal Practice advises you to:

Gain Experience First When you first leave university, think about working for an established clinic rather than trying to set up your own clinic right away. By joining an established practice, you can gain experience, connect with colleagues and have a guaranteed paycheck with benefits. It can also give you an inside look at how to run the business side of a practice.

Develop a Niche While at the beginning of your practice you will probably need to take any and all patients, specialty niches tend to provide the best income and make the best use of your time and energy. Think about populations you most enjoy and are best at treating, as well as what the market needs.

Watch Market Trends Be aware of social, geographic, economic and political trends that may square with your interests. If you live in a city but your specialty is children and families, consider practicing in the suburbs. If you notice one market trend evaporating and another one gaining steam determine how to get on the new track in a way that suits your abilities.

The practice owners who have long-term success are those who can adapt to these changes. Without adapting, I think practitioners can get angry, depressed, burned out and fall into learned helplessness.

Create a Strong Plan That includes developing a mission or value statement for your practice, a list of whom you’d want to work with if you decide to create a group practice and a business plan.

Develop New Talents To run a successful practice, you need to learn business skills, as well as skills related to new content areas you’d like to practice in.

Sell Yourself It’s not enough to be a good practitioner: You must market yourself, too. That means giving free talks in venues such as schools and community centres. Also consider meeting with people who could refer clients to you, such as GPs, Specialists, other allied health professionals, educators, sporting clubs and leaders in the local communities. Finally, be sure to use technology to your advantage — for example, building a strong website that defines your practice and draws patients to it.

In general, you need to get over the idea that your clinical competence alone will sell your practice, ultimately it will, but not at the start.

Respect your Worth Some new graduates may feel that dealing with money is morally wrong or even beneath them. But to be successful, you have to know and appreciate your value in dollar terms. Learn to be comfortable charging a fee that reflects your worth and your area’s market. Remember that your hourly rate encompasses business costs including your phone system, computer, employees and time you spend outside treating working on a patient’s case. Be sure to compare your rates with those charged by other professions.

If you are a Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist, Psychologist, Osteopath or Health Specialist who owns their own practice or clinic and are looking for help with your practice or clinic then using Ideal Practice as your healthcare business coach is the first step.