When we were asked to teach our first class to Chiropractic students in 2010, one of our two goals after working with several to open their office was to help the Chiropractor understand the process of opening their office facility. We found that each of these Chiropractors, not unlike our numerous clients over the years, have very little understanding of the building or renovating process – until they go through their first full experience of designing and having a space built out.
As a result of this lack of knowledge – not knowing what they don’t know – they are less effective than they could be, are under more stress than necessary, waste time and money, and often end up with a less than wonderful space.
Opening or renovating an office is an EVENT. It has a set goal with a beginning and an end. When it is over– unlike the management and marketing of your business – you don’t continue the process. The average business will only go through this process every seven years, with only one of those times being the first full built-out.
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Be an Educated Consumer
As we teach in our classes, it doesn’t serve you to be an expert, but it does serve you to be an educated consumer.
As an office facility project begins – a plan needs to be created to see it to the end. There are key items that need to be completed at a critical date along the way and before other tasks are started. We call this the critical path. To manage this critical path and the multitude of tasks and critical dates in design and construction, CrossFields, as do many such companies, use a GANTT chart to identify the time line to successfully complete a project. Each GANTT chart has a goal end date with all the key tasks, their start and stop date, goal duration and their connection to each other.
To make this process more manageable, we developed a 5 phase system for the Chiropractor to break down into manageable parts the process. Each phase has defined goals and tasks to be completed before moving to the next phase. This framework ensures a manageable and cost effective timeline approach to this major event.
We developed this simplified GANTT Chart to illustrate our 5 PHASE SYSTEM.
If we track the date that the Chiropractor’s initial dream of a new or redesigned office becomes a focused vision, it is consistently about 18 months prior to the actual opening of the new space.
This first step is where you fully develop and gain clarity of your vision for your future office, your expansion, or the change you want to make to your current practice. This is where you make decisions such as the services you will provide or change and the goal number of patients you would like to treat or increase to each week. You will set a target date to open and determine the milestones you need to achieve to meet this opening date.
This is a good time to start looking at financing your practice and your credit worthiness.
You should allow about six months for the vision phase starting at least 18 months prior and is completed within 12 months prior to opening.
In this second step you define the parameters and goals of your new facility. A business plan is established or revised at this time. Detailed financial planning is done, including plans for up-front and ongoing expenses. You will review ideas for marketing campaigns and if your practice is new (or you are making a major change) you will define your company name, logo and graphics.
Determining your desired city, if new, and what other businesses you may want to be located near is another crucial part of this phase.
From our facility side, you should know how much space you need and why, and a conceptual vision for the aesthetic image of your space. You should also start educating yourself of leasing office space and how Tenant Improvement Allowance can affect your building costs.
This phase is typically started at least 12 months prior to opening your office and should be completed nine (9) months prior to opening.
The third step you will be “looking for space and looking for money.” It involves securing your financing and finding the best space available for your practice. You’ll be hiring a real estate buyer’s agent to help you find and visit desirable space in your target area. When you find space(s), you will need to determine how you will fit and use the space and how much any modifications or construction will cost. Once this is determined, lease or purchase negotiation will be completed.
These tasks begin at nine (9) months prior to your opening date and run through six (6) months prior to opening.
The fourth step is where you create design and documentation for your new facility and begin to prepare for your opening. Personnel interviews will be done during this time, as well as vendors. Your marketing campaign will include press releases for your soft opening day and your grand opening in the near future. Your online marketing will need to be executed.
These tasks are done between six (6) months and four (4) months prior to the office opening.
The fifth and final stage of building a new Chiropractic office is construction itself, as well as all the tasks needed to complete your facility for opening. This includes training your personnel and arranging for delivery of your office and Chiropractic equipment. It includes finishing construction to receive your Certificate of Occupancy, and then installing the furnishings and equipment and making sure all systems are working in preparation for your opening.
This phase can last two (2) weeks to sixteen (16) weeks dependent upon the level of detail and work to complete the construction, with a raw, undeveloped space requiring the most time. We suggest you plan a week for furnishing and equipment installation prior to your soft opening date in which you start to see patients. We always suggest about four (4) additional weeks after your soft opening to work out the processes before your grand opening event.
CrossFields Can Help
We offer help in any one or combination of the phases we mentioned above. Contact us today to find out more.
Bring Your Vision to Life!