Choosing to start your own solo practice is an exciting and rewarding endeavor — but it’s also fraught with challenges and risks. Although managing everything yourself means you have total control over all the processes and decision-making, these advantages can quickly become burdens. (Especially when the tedium and logistics of running your own business infringe on your ability to build and maintain relationships with your patients.)
At some point in their career, nearly every solo practitioner has contemplated making the move from running their own show to joining a group practice. But, is this the right choice for you?
Here are a few tips to help you make the decision and prepare for the shift if you choose to join a group.
Weigh the Pros and Cons of Each Option
Preparing a pros and cons list may seem an elementary way to approach such a significant career move, but it can help you quickly identify your top priorities.
First, outline all the challenges you’re facing and identify how moving to a group could ease your burden. For example, maybe your practice’s growth has become stagnant, and you know joining a group could help bring in a steady stream of new patients.
Next, identify some of your favorite things about running your own practice and how this might change if you become part of an existing team. For example, maybe you enjoy having full control over your schedule and don’t like the idea of conforming to another practice’s hours.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each practice option, and only you can determine which “cons” you’re willing to live with, and with “pros” are non-negotiable.
Consider Your Professional Personality
Managing your own solo practice can be lonely, especially if you’re a naturally extroverted and gregarious person. Working as part of a group means you’ll be surrounded by peers — which can also come in handy when you need professional input or feedback.
“Traditionally, group practices enjoy the benefit of greater shared clinical experience and access to information,” says Dr. Jai Parekh, MD, in an article for Healio.
On the flip side, if you’re someone who prefers independence and making decisions alone, joining a group can be a difficult adjustment. For example, you’ll likely have to adapt to new patient processes, products, software and office politics.
It’s also essential to determine whether you plan to join an existing group or develop your own by partnering with other solo clinicians. If you start your own group, you’ll likely have greater control over the business foundation than if you join a pre-existing team.
Ask for Professional Advice
Before you make the shift from a solo practice to a group practice, there are at least three people you should reach out to for guidance: Your attorney, your accountant and another physician who has made the move.
First, your attorney can walk you through the shift from a legal perspective. Because business laws vary from state to state, it’s crucial you understand how moving from a private practice to a partnership can affect hiring processes, legal protections, insurance and more.
Second, your accountant can help you crunch the numbers and determine whether you’ll be in a better financial position if you move to a group set-up rather than continue running your own practice.
While there’s no surefire way to predict whether you’ll make more or less, joining a group can alleviate some of the business costs you’re currently responsible for managing. Also, if you move to a group, it will likely affect your taxes, too.
Last, talking to a peer who has made the shift can give you insight into the benefits and drawbacks of this career move, and help you decide whether it’s the best choice for your career. A group practitioner can also share advice to ensure a smooth and painless transition should you choose to make the shift.
There are many factors to consider before you decide whether to leave your solo practice for a group. By weighing the pros and cons, examining your personal preferences and talking to trusted professionals and colleagues, you can ensure you’re making the most informed decision possible.
Gebauer's Ethyl Chloride is the world's first instant topical anesthetic and is relied on by thousands of clinicians to improve patient comfort. Learn more about Ethyl Chloride and where it can be purchased.