So! You Want to Own Your Own Practice?

As kinesiologists, we often get the message that we must be supervised by other health care practitioners - physiotherapists in particular. And physiotherapists typically perpetuate this myth! In fact, kinesiologists can own their own independent practices, fitness centres, rehabilitation facilities, high performance coaching businesses, disability management companies, occupational health and wellness empires … you get the idea.

Maybe you are intrigued by starting something small or even something BIG! But where do you begin? Let’s look at four areas to consider when deciding if owning your own business is for you:

1) Find your ‘why’;
2) Decide if you’re ready to go out on your own;
3) Check off the steps in your ‘pre-launch’ phase; and
4) Address your startup challenges - ‘cause there will be challenges!

Grab a journal and your favourite pen, and let’s get started.

1. Find your ‘Why’

As Simon Sinek discusses in his book ‘Start With Why, the first step in your business development journey is to think carefully about why you want to start a business of your own. Would you like to launch a new product or service that you can’t find in the marketplace? Are you looking to have more control over your own schedule? Would you like more freedom to manage your finances? Maybe the ability to make more money than what you currently see being offered by kinesiology employers is pretty appealing?

Simon Sinek says that super famous people like the Wright brothers, Martin Luther King Jr., and Steve Jobs realized that, unless people understand your story, your ‘why’, they have a hard time connecting with you to buy your product or service. The more clear you are about why you want to do the thing you do, the more easily you will be able to connect your clients with what you have to offer.

2. Are you ready to go it alone?

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely space. Your origin story, your passion, why you want to do what you are about to do, is going to need to sustain you. It takes time, patience and a ton of resilience to set all your ducks in a row and then launch your new venture. You need to firmly keep your ‘why’ in your mind’s eye for the days that go sideways - and, trust me, there will be more than a few of those!

Next, think about what resources you have to support you when times get tough. Do you have a movement practice that centres you? Maybe a meditation or breathing routine that you can rely on? Are you able to set aside time now, before things get a bit nuttier, for regular massage therapy appointments, coffee dates with friends and time reserved for a book and a cup of tea? Book these into your schedule and make them non-negotiable for your physical and mental wellbeing.

3. Make sure that your pre-launch steps are checked

Before you launch your business, you’ll need to get real about your finances. Like, really real. Do you have debt? Make a plan to clear it up as quickly as you can. Start with your highest interest debt first, put your head down and get it paid it off.

Do you have savings set aside for your startup phase? You’ll need some! Do you have income that can sustain you while you get your business up and running? You’ll need a few months of savings to get you started. You might want to keep your ‘day’ job and pull some nights and weekends before you make the leap into your new practice full time.

What about the very worst case scenario? What’s your fallback plan? If you launch to crickets - what then? Will you have enough money to keep you going while you tinker with your widget or get even more clear about who your best clients are and what they truly require?

How about your mate, family and friends - can they be relied upon to prop you up on the difficult days? Do they support your new ideas? Remember, you are signing up for this scenario, but they may not be tuned in to what this might mean for them! Have these discussions early and often. Let the people around you follow your thinking and planning, so they are fully on board with you as you make a transition to business ownership.

4) Address your startup challenges - head on!

What are the potential pitfalls in your new business? In yourself? Understand where you may have difficulties getting started. Try using a personality questionnaire like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This questionnaire helps to identify 16 different personalities. It can alert you to how you function best and where you might need support for the qualities that you simply don’t have!

Consider whether you have enough experience in the area you want to grow in. Have you worked for a few years in the area that you want to focus on for your new business? Have you read, listened to, talked with and studied EVERYTHING you can about the kind of client that requires your product or service?

Identify ALL the things you can think of that could possibly go wrong. (Is your journal starting to fill up at this point?!) It’s important to get very clear about all the things that could go sideways so that you can develop contingency plans to keep you from derailing in your early stage startup.

Starting your own practice or building your new product is exciting! Some of the very biggest businesses of our time have been started at kitchen tables, in garages and in basements all over the world.

Give your idea time, space and deep thought and, when you’re ready, introduce it to the world!

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