If you dream of helping people recover and lead healthier lives, then starting a treatment center might be the perfect business for you.
Are you interested in starting a treatment center?
You might have a passion for helping people, or have gone through recovery yourself and want to work with others in their recovery. You could be a professional counselor who wants to branch out on your own.
Regardless of your reasons for starting a treatment facility, it’s important to recognize that it’s a competitive industry.
There are over 14,500 treatment facilities in the U.S, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
In such a competitive environment, how will you set yourself apart from the competition?
Keep reading to learn how you can start a center and build a successful business.
1. Know and Understand Local Regulations
The rehabilitation industry is heavily regulated. There are federal, state, and local laws you’ll need to comply with. Even if you have someone on staff who knows the regulations, as the owner of the facility, you will be responsible for any violations.
Plus, if you plan on receiving payments from insurance companies, you’ll need to prepare to do a lot of paperwork.
2. Feasibility Study & Business Plan
You may have a great idea and a vision, but without a feasibility study, you don’t know if it will work or not.
A feasibility study will help you understand all the reasons why your business will work, and what needs adjusting.
This is where you’ll also decide on the location, the type of services you’ll provide and the size of your treatment center.
This stage will make you research the local area to find out what type of services it needs. For example, you might want to open a residential facility in Tampa, Florida. As you research the area, you might find a saturated market with too many facilities there.
You can opt for another location or adapt your offerings to suit what the Tampa area needs.
Doing this step will also make it easier to write your business plan.
Your business plan will be necessary to obtain financing for your facility. Investors and banks will want to see that your business is well thought out and profitable. If you can show that you did your research and you have a viable business, then you should be able to get financing.
Here are the most important components you’ll need in your business plan.
Corporate Structure: How will your business be set up? You’ll need to decide if your center will be set up as an LLC, Corporation, or Non-Profit.
You’ll also need to outline the organizational structure of the facility. Who are the main staff people, and who reports to whom?
Competitive Research: Outline what the competitive landscape is like for your treatment center. How many facilities are there in the area, what services do they offer, and how is your center different.
Marketing Plan: You will need to state how you plan to let the public know about your business. What marketing tactics will you use to get customers? Will you rely on search engines and online marketing? When you decide what tactics you plan to use, you can outline your marketing expenses and the expected return on investment.
Financial Projections: In this step, you’ll find out how much capital you need to start your facility. You’ll need to state what your expenses are, such as start-up costs, staff, and the facility itself.
Then you’ll need to project how much revenue you’ll make and how many clients you’ll have.
3. Financing Your Treatment Center
You have a few options to get the funds to start your business. One option is to take your business plan and send it out to investors.
Another is to get a loan from a bank or get a short-term loan. You can always try crowdfunding through a place like Kickstarter, too.
4. Get Licenses and Accreditations
You’ll need to show potential clients you’re not a fly by night treatment center. Obtain the proper licenses and becoming accredited by nationally recognized organizations.
5. Hire Top Staff
Your staff will be the lifeblood of your treatment center. You’ll need to hire caseworkers, managing directors, intake staff, medical staff, maintenance staff, and administrators.
Your job is to get the leadership on board with your vision and ensure that each team member commits to providing world-class care.
Make sure that the staff is well versed in the policies and procedures of your treatment center. Ensure each team member receives thorough training.
The best rehab centers focus on the patient’s experience, which comes from direct contact with your staff.
6. Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
As your facility’s staff grows, you’ll need to create more policies and procedures.
SOPs are instructions that tell employees how to perform certain tasks. You might have an SOP for submitting paperwork to insurance companies or enrolling new patients.
7. Market Your Treatment Center
In your feasibility study and your business plan, you may have discovered what people look for when searching for treatment facilities.
According to a study by Google, 88% of people used search engines to start the research process. About 41% researched for two weeks before deciding to schedule an appointment
What this data means is that you’re going to have to rely on online marketing such as SEO and social media to get new clients.
Start Your Treatment Center
Starting a treatment center can be a big undertaking. With the right planning and systems in place, you can build a successful center that makes a difference in your community.
You also have to remember that you can’t do everything by yourself.
Just like your patients who will take the long road to recovery, you will need a support system to help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
That’s why it’s so important to have a community of other entrepreneurs who know and understand the challenges of owning a business.
Check out the Small Business Brief Forum to connect with other business owners.