SECRETS TO FUNDING YOUR NEW CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICE – Part I

    

       So I’m sitting at a CE seminar earlier this month, and it’s December, so many of us present are in the same camp.  We waited ‘til year’s end to get the last of our required hours.  

       Anyway, I notice doc sitting in front of me isn’t paying attention to the instructor.  He’s got his laptop logged into an online CE hours site.  He’s studying another course for more required hours.  I can see his screen from my seat… the topic?  “Chiropractic Ethics” 

       Oh, the irony.

       Here’s another grand irony. 

       When you have the money needed to fund a new start-up practice, banks are all about lending you the money you don’t need. 

       When you don’t have the money needed to fund your new practice, and need a source of financing, banks aren’t interested in lending it to you.

       Like the old US Army commercial, “How can I get a job without experience, and how can I get experience without a job?”  

       Getting your hands on some capital has been more difficult than ever since the banking industry’s virtual collapse in 2008.  It’s been a real hurdle for recently graduated doctors looking to open a new practice.

       But there is Hope!  Besides that the lending environment is cyclical and things will rebound, the current situation that has hamstrung the Big Boy banks has revealed some opportunities in certain pockets.

       Your local community banks and credit unions are where some answers lie.  In an AOL smallbusiness article written just recently, author Geoff Williams outlines some critical points to increase your odds of getting funding.  Here are a couple:

  • Don’t be afraid to get personal.   Working with a community bank means you often deal with the chief lending officer or bank president who makes all lending decisions right there, in-house.  Meet with him or her.  Offer to take that person to lunch so he or she gets a sense of who you are and what you can do.

       One doctor who recently opened in Indiana detailed the process through which he obtained funding, and this was part of his strategy.  It obviously worked, as he received a $30K loan for his start-up.

  • Don’t shortchange yourself by shortchanging the banker of every scrap of information you can give them.  The article quotes Gilles Gade of the Cross River Bank in Teaneck, NJ, who points out that “…community bankers are often more open to funding companies in a variety of industry segments… particularly if you seek to own a niche, relatively obscure market, you need to provide ample detail in the market analysis section of your business plan.”

     Let’s face it, in the majority of markets the chiropractic profession is still a mystery.  Most do not have an understanding of what it is we do, nor what we can mean to the well-being of a community.    

     What are the chances the lending decision-maker has either no clue of what you do, or holds some urban legend in the recesses of their grey matter upon which they’ve drawn a perception of what chiropractic is?  How many comprehend the amazing growth potential of a chiropractic practice, ESPECIALLY when the DC has truly learned HOW to reach and positively impact his or her community?  

       The article stresses the importance of helping your community banker “truly understand the market you’re pursuing — along with its particular nuances, challenges and opportunities.  The more you ‘educate’ ( him or her), the more you showcase your knowledge of the market segment and demonstrate your ability to successfully penetrate it with your product or service.”

       The value of a well-written Bank Pro Forma and Business Plan for the new chiropractic practice, including detailed market analysis and well thought-out growth & income projections, cannot be overstated. 

       Without rehashing entirely what has already been written, check this link to the article to see how the local community banks and credit unions hold promise for the well-prepared doctor seeking financial help:   

 http://smallbusiness.aol.com/article/_a/small-banks-really-want-your-business/20091209154209990001?icid=main|htmlws-sb-w|dl2|link3|http%3A%2F%2Fsmallbusiness.aol.com%2Farticle%2F_a%2Fsmall-banks-really-want-your-business%2F20091209154209990001

     What are some other ways to get your hands on some needed funding?  That will be the topic of an upcoming post.  Be sure to check back soon…

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