Author Interview: Brandon Seigel, author of “Private Practice Survival Guide: A Journey to Unlock Your Freedom to Success“
I had the opportunity to interview Brandon Seigel, an internationally known business coach who specializes in today’s private practice environment, about his new book, Private Practice Survival Guide: A Journey to Unlock Your Freedom to Success. The book covers the essential how-to questions of opening a successful private practice.
Why is it that healthcare practitioners often struggle to make their private practice successful?
After supporting healthcare practitioners for more than a decade, I find that most healthcare practitioners struggle to make their private practices successful because of three common issues:
1. They never put in appropriate systems and infrastructure to streamline efficiencies in their private practice, which causes practices to make major mistakes. They’re unable to address increasing variables that affect the dynamic of our current healthcare environment.
2. They “give away the keys to their castle” in areas where they lack experience, which causes them to lose control of their practice. I find that most healthcare practitioners outsource their billing and collections, meaning they’re not involved until cash flow and collections are out of control.
3. They create a business plan but never identify and establish their unique business model. Often, healthcare practitioners assume the business model in healthcare is generic and focus only on the care-delivery model. Establishing a successful business model is the vehicle for establishing a successful care-delivery model.
It’s far too common that healthcare practitioners focus on their “purpose and passion” from a care delivery standpoint and never take the time to understand all the different variables in private practice or how to create an optimal business model that can accomplish their care delivery in the most effective way.
What particular challenges do “private practice-preneurs” (as you refer to them) face in today’s market?
In today’s market, private practice-preneurs face a multitude of common challenges, including but not limited to:
- Establishing a successful payer mix that’s based on quality, value and positive cash flow
- Identifying a market where there’s enough positive cash flow and profit to support the growing annual increase in expenses
- Creating a business model that empowers greater positive change and is sustainable
- Staying agile in a market where variables are changing on a continual basis
- Empowering a workforce with varying work ethics and financial expectations that aren’t always realistic
- Overcoming the misconception that private practices should be a “service to society” and not a business
- Creating efficient and effective systems that offer a greater patient experience while streamlining operations
Overall, private practice entrepreneurs face many different challenges outside of just clinical practice, which is why it’s so important to have a leadership team of staff, consultants, advisors and others that supports the practice’s vision and ensures accountability.
What are some important questions practitioners should ask themselves when setting out?
As practitioners begin their private practice journey, they should ask themselves some of the following essential questions:
- What work/life balance sacrifices are you willing to make?
- Are you an entrepreneur or an independent contractor?
- What are your funding sources (insurance/private practice/niche contracts, etc.)?
- What’s your financial risk tolerance (overhead vs. funding; 12-month projections; cash flow risks vs. profitability risks)?
- What’s your strategy for scaling your business?
- What “hats” are you responsible for and which are you hiring employees for or outsourcing?
What key components do private practitioners need to have in place for success?
Private practitioners must start with a business strategy/plan of action that includes their entrepreneurial vision, their initial 12-month strategy and key performance indicators, along with an additional 36-month outlook related to scalable goals. They must have metrics that they use to hold their practice accountable. Last, but certainly not least, they must have technology in place, such as a practice management software that empowers them to work smarter, not harder.