The urgent care industry is booming —driven by a new breed of healthcare consumers that wants affordable and accessible medical care that fits into their on-demand lifestyles. There are several factors fueling this trend —long waiting times at primary care physicians and emergency rooms, the lack of after-hours care, and cost-effective healthcare services. According to the Urgent Care Association, the total number of centers had reached 9,616 as of November 2019, a 9.6 percent jump from the previous year.
It’s also not surprising that many entrepreneurs are interested in opening an urgent-care clinic. You may be one of them. Whether you are planning to open an independent business, purchase an existing business, or invest in a franchise, one of the most important steps is building a strong business plan.
Without a plan, a business is more likely to fail. In fact, studies have shown that companies that follow a business plan grow 30 percent faster than those that don’t.
A business plan is a blueprint for helping you effectively build your business and manage risk along the way. It describes all aspects of your urgent care center, including an overview of the business, services provided, marketing strategy, management structure, and —arguably the most fundamental part of any business plan —financial projections.
Financial history is usually unavailable when starting a new business, so you must provide more extensive details about what industry research and market analysis you have done to effectively create your profit and loss projections. Providing this information will allow those interested in your business, such as an investor or lenders, to fully understand your plan and its viability. You need to show that your urgent care business can realistically generate enough revenue to cover your operating expenses and pay back your loans.
You can start creating the master plan for your urgent care by including the following seven sections:
1. Executive Summary
This section summarizes your entire proposal in one to two pages. It’s an overview of the most important points covered in your business proposal. The executive summary makes it quick and easy for your potential client to gain insight into what you are offering them and why it will benefit them to do business with you.
2. Company Summary
This section describes the organizational structure of your business and who the key players are. The company summary will include information about when the company was founded, the name(s) of the company’s owner(s), and any other legal information, such as entities associated with the company or date of incorporation.
3. Business Description
Here, you outline your services and how they differ from competitors. Go into detail about the need your business fulfills. Explain the competitive advantages that will make your business a success. The business description is the place to boast about your strengths.
4. Market Analysis
You will need to provide an overview of your target customer demographics, competitors in the urgent care space, and potential for market growth.
5. Sales and Marketing
How will you drive customers to your urgent care as well as retain them? This is the section where you explain how you plan to get the word out about your new location and the types of ongoing advertising campaigns you will provide.
6. Management Summary
In this section, you establish the key members of your management team who will be an integral part of the day-to-day operations. Consider including the professional highlights of key members of your team and highlight how each person’s unique experience will contribute to the success of your venture.
Funding and Finances
This section of your business plan is arguably the most important. To start, you will need to create and provide forecasted income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and capital expenditure budgets. The financial predictions you put together will be an invaluable tool for you to measure the financial health of your business.
If you plan to finance any part of your urgent care business, you will also use the financial predictions you build to show potential lenders that the industry is stable and the odds that the business will succeed are greater than the risk that it will fail.
In addition to providing revenue predictions, you will also need to map out all your projected expenses. Calculating expected profits and losses (P&L) will help you determine your funding requirements for the next five years. It will be important to provide potential lenders or investors with a detailed description of how you’ll use your funds, including fixed and variable costs.
Fixed costs include initial investment expenditures like build-out costs, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, plus fixed monthly payments like rent and utilities. Variable costs include things like a marketing budget, product purchases (inventory), and payroll.
Because a business plan projects your company’s growth in the next three to five years, you should refer back to this document frequently and continue updating it as you gain more information about how your business is growing and where you see outgoing.
7. Franchising and Business Plans
The quicker your urgent care is up and running, the quicker you can begin earning profits. Choosing to go with an established franchise, like American Family Care, could make your ownership goals an easier reality. You still need a business plan, however. Franchising makes creating that plan easier, too.
A major upside of investing in a franchise instead of starting a business on your own is that working with a franchisor helps take a lot of guesswork out of building a strong, reliable business plan.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires all franchisors to provide prospective franchisees with an updated Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). All FDDs must include estimated initial investment costs, as well as recurring costs. Some FDDs may also include revenue projections, but franchisors are not legally required to do so.
FDDs can be incredibly useful when starting to build your business plan, but be sure to ask the franchise representative you are working with any questions regarding the numbers; or any other items in the FDD. Additionally, make sure you confirm your understanding and assumptions with existing franchisees during the validation process.
8. About American Family Care
American Family Care is the original urgent care franchise, and its founder, Dr. Bruce Irwin, is an industry pioneer. After more than four decades in franchising, AFC operates more than 200 clinics with 600 in-network physicians caring for nearly 3 million patients a year. AFC is the nation’s leading provider of urgent care, accessible primary care, and occupational medicine. Ranked by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S., AFC’s stated mission is to provide the best healthcare possible, in a kind and caring environment, while respecting the rights of all patients, in an economical manner, at times and locations convenient to the patient.
Click here to learn more about urgent care franchise opportunities with American Family Care or request more information.