What Does "Owning Your Own Business" Involve?

Lots of the professions described on this website are ripe for the opportunity for you to "own your own business" by opening your own practice or getting into a partnership with another Doctor or Dentist in a private practice.

This all sounds fine and good until you discover everything you'll have to do just to keep a ship like that running and running smoothly. There's a few things you need to consider before you embrace "freedom" in a private practice.

First thing: You have to hire people! If you've never thought of how you would make payroll every week AND pay yourself AND handle you patients AND deal with insurance then you're like most people because it isn't easy. You have to enough cash in a "payroll only" account to cover payroll every month and you have to hire people to handle all of that money or you'll be lost every week trying to get your employees paid. Payroll is your FIRST obligation because when you hired those folks they expected to get paid.

Now, if the economy goes bad (like it has recently) and you can't afford to pay someone then you have to have steely nerves...steely enough to let someone go. It's not any fun, but you will be responsible for hiring and firing and if that makes you squeamish then you need to walk the other way as fast as you can.

Next is your taxes. Actually...this is the biggie. You have to have someone do your taxes for you because there is so much going on in your business that you can't simply "half-do-it" and then send them in and hope for the best. This requires a great deal of precise record-keeping and documentation for your accountant to get your taxes together and make sure the IRS isn't breathing down your neck. I don't think it would be hard to get all of this done, but like I said before...you have to hire people to handle this stuff for you and if you don't feel comfortable entrusting people with all of your money and your business then you might want to run the other way...fast.

Finally, your reputation is on the line everyday and everyday you have to work very hard to make sure YOUR best face is on display. It's one thing to do good, but it's another for your reputation to stay intact from day-to-day. This means you have to do right by your patients AND keep your staff in-line AND keep morale up AND make payroll every week. That's a lot for one person...but you can do it if this is the right path for you. If it isn't then read now and learn your lesson. Don't think for a second about going into business with someone else to make sure it's not "just you" if that's what you need. Or if you're scared off altogether then get into a partnership at a larger practice. These are not bad options, but you need to know your options lest you get in over your head.

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