The healthcare franchising trend continues to proliferate and may be making you curious. Is buying a healthcare franchise a good investment decision?
It certainly can be. Franchises in the urgent care and home health spaces are earning traction – and revenue – across the country. But purchasing a franchise is not a business decision to take lightly. Making the best return on a franchise investment requires a great deal of foresight and planning that you shouldn’t overlook.
We reached out Dr. Alejandro Badia for insight into what factors franchisees should focus on to make the best decisions in this emerging sector of the healthcare industry. Dr. Badia, in addition to being a world-renowned hand and upper extremity surgeon, is a healthcare franchising expert: he used to own a franchised walk-in clinic and is now the founder of OrthoNow, an expanding network of orthopedic urgent care centers.
1: Clear Message & Value Proposition
Dr. Badia entered the franchising sector seeking to solve a major problem: the inefficiency surrounding the referral-to-specialist process in his specialty.
When he purchased his first urgent care franchise, Dr. Badia hoped it would attract patients suffering from orthopedic injuries and function as a feeder into his existing surgical center. The only problem?
“The franchise’s branding didn’t send the message that I wanted to communicate, which was a focus on acute injuries and orthopedic issues,” says Dr. Badia. “It didn’t attract the population I was looking for.”
In his current venture, Dr. Badia ensures that his healthcare franchise’s message is clearly conveyed up front, which helps it appeal to the right patients immediately. You can tell precisely what types of issues the center is designed to address just from the name “OrthoNow.”
2: Good Franchisor Relationship
Dr. Badia encountered some snags getting his first franchise up and running because his franchisor didn’t provide the level of support he was expecting in the launch of the business.
Ask your franchisor to put you in touch with another owner on the franchisor’s network, then contact that person to find out what level of support to expect as an owner and what assistance to negotiate for in the purchasing process.
Take our New Medical Practice Start-Up Quiz to help you decipher what support you may need. Then, inspect contracts closely and discuss your needs with the franchisor frankly before signing anything.
Establish expectations with your franchisor up front and hold them accountable to providing whatever assistance they promise you in marketing, equipment purchases, location selection, staffing or otherwise.
3: Be Prepared
In your quest to generate a return on your franchise investment, you may be in a rush to open the doors and bring in patients – but moving too quickly can end up hurting you.
For one thing, make sure you’re prepared to accept insurance from a multitude of different payers.
“At my first franchise, we ended up turning away a lot of people because our insurance situation wasn’t prepared to handle all the different carriers,” says Dr. Badia. “That’s a big thing to watch out for. It can really hurt you financially to send people somewhere else.”
Before you open, make sure you have effective processes established, a functional infrastructure in place and a staff trained to handle your protocols. Being operational from day one is key to generating success quickly.
4: Market Yourself
If you’re accustomed to the traditional healthcare setting, such as the hospital or doctor group environment, you may not have ever addressed marketing before. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t neglect the importance of promoting a franchised practice.
When you purchase a healthcare franchise, your franchisor’s existing brand presence is a major asset to you. Failing to use it effectively can stunt your chances for success.
“My franchisor emphasized the importance of good signage, but we didn’t have it right away,” says Dr. Badia. “I almost wish they hadn’t let me open without it.”
With OrthoNow, Dr. Badia has not only capitalized on the power of signage, he’s using brand awareness to maximum effect. New OrthoNow franchises are equipped with a wealth of marketing collateral, so they can launch promotional efforts right away.
5: Meet Your Mark
Make sure your franchise can generate loyalty by following through on your value proposition. For Dr. Badia, launching a franchising venture that provides greater convenience to patients by eliminating referral hassles has been an effective strategy.
“With OrthoNow, partnering directly with an on-site surgical center makes all the difference,” he says. “The ability to have someone walk in the door with an injury, assess immediately whether they need a procedure, ask them when they ate and take them downstairs to have surgery in the same building allows us to really act like a mini-hospital, for the benefit of patients.”
Business success in this sector is borne from presenting a genuine solution to an existing issue. To do that, ensure that your business provides services that will truly benefit the patients you want walking through your doors.
The right franchise can prove financially beneficial to you while improving the healthcare atmosphere for your community. Avoid pitfalls and focus on the keys to success to achieve excellent outcomes from your franchise investment.
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