Franchises for doctors and how to tell if owning one is right for you

Apr 15, 2019

In a franchise business structure, the licensed franchisee has the right to operate a business using the franchisor’s business name and systems in exchange for a fee. This arrangement has a number of potential benefits when it comes to franchises for doctors, including:

  • A recognized brand and reputation
  • A business plan, policies, and procedures already developed
  • Assistance in choosing a location and initial setup
  • Professional marketing and advertising materials

Franchises for doctors can be a smart consideration

Certain personality traits and interests lend themselves to franchise ownership. Your modus operandi in clinical practice can also shed light on whether you may be successful with a franchise.

Here are ten characteristics that suggest a franchise should be a serious consideration for you’re interested in owning a business.

You should consider owning a franchise if…

1. You don’t have a great idea for a new business

Owning a business can be an excellent way to generate income – a lot of income, even. Moreover, with effort up front and strong leadership and management, a business can make income for the owner without much hands-on, day-to-day work by the owner.

But we don’t all have a great (or even viable) business idea. For physicians in this situation wanting to be business owners, franchises are something to consider. The idea has already been generated, developed into a reproducible product or service, and tested.

2. You have limited experience in starting and running a business

Physicians aren’t taught to be business owners or entrepreneurs in medical school. You’ve probably spent the majority of your professional time seeing patients, rather than managing financing, marketing, and various aspects of business operations.

A franchise can make up for some of what many physicians lack from a business standpoint, because it represents a proven system. A business needs to demonstrate success before it can consider beginning to use a franchise arrangement. Once a business adopts the franchise model, its processes and product lines have all been tweaked.

This creates a higher chance of success for a medically-minded owner than he or she would have if starting a business from scratch.

That said, though, you absolutely must be at least business-savvy and have a true interest in learning the ins and outs of business ownership.

3. Your business interests lie within a competitive niche

It can be quite difficult to compete with the big names in the healthcare industry, as large companies are buying up practices left and right. Additionally, healthcare consumers seek services from names they know and trust.

A franchise addresses this to a large extent. It comes with a brand and with brand recognition.

4. You enjoy following guidelines and sticking to protocols

Some physicians equate clinical practice guidelines and protocols to “cookie cutter medicine.” If this is you, starting a business from scratch is probably a better bet than a franchise.

On the other hand, if you value the evidence-based direction that guidelines provide in clinical medicine, you should consider franchise ownership.

Franchises have less flexibility than other businesses. You can’t change the product line. You’ll be restricted on the appearance of your store and how your service is delivered.

5. You’re in a solid financial situation

The startup costs and ongoing fees of franchise ownership can be substantial.

While independent small businesses can sometimes be bootstrapped with little to no initial investment, this simply isn’t the case with a franchise. Franchise startup costs vary greatly, but are generally on the order of tens of thousands of dollars. Many franchise launch costs are well above $100,000.

After the launch, franchise owners pay a fee for the ongoing support of the franchisor and use of the brand and licensing. This can be a percentage of sales, a fixed fee, a per transaction fee, or another arrangement.

6. You assertively seek out help and make your needs known

The benefits of owning a franchisor diminish somewhat if you don’t take advantage of the support offered by the franchisor.

Franchise owners can increase their chances of success by making sure they understand what types of support are offered and taking advantage of them. In addition to support during the launch, they may offer ongoing training opportunities for employees, visits and assistance from field support consultants, and even a hotline to call for guidance on questions regarding insurance, human resources, or operational issues.

7. You think long-term and see the big picture

Though one of the perks of franchise ownership is that it comes with a proven business plan and model, franchises can and do fail.

But this can be avoided by an owner who is able to see the forest through the trees and make smart business decisions.

For those who prefer to be handed a schedule of patients and churn through a box of lab results, a franchise might be a poor fit.

8. You want to invest significant time in your business

Some types of professional small businesses allow for a great deal of flexibility in terms of how much time you dedicate, and when. Many physicians start their own businesses while still practicing medicine full-time. A small consulting company is a great example of this.

Franchises, however, typically require a lot of time investment on the part of the owner – at least when getting started. Most franchises are brick-and-mortar businesses with set hours and customers coming and going. They aren’t a side hustle.

9. You make decisions based on facts, rather than emotions

Franchises are only successful when the numbers pan out.

For physicians with a true hunger to make a deep-seated change, an unrelenting desire to help a certain population of people, or a yearning to fix a problem within healthcare, a franchise probably isn’t the route to take. “Success” in this case may not require impressive profits.

While franchises can certainly help people and have admirable missions, success in the world of franchises is largely numbers-based.

10. You’re uninterested in the culture and challenges of a startup

Growing a business from the ground up can be exciting, but comes with a lot of challenges. Growing pains, prototyping, rounds of funding, scaling, and many more. Some physicians find fulfillment in tackling these challenges.

Others, though, welcome the idea of bypassing these in favor of a business model and processes that are already known to work. If you’re in this latter camp, a franchise should be a consideration for you.

Once you’ve decided that a franchise may be the way to go, how do you go about choosing between the many options available? Our next post details the best and the worst franchises for physicians.

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