Should I Bring On a Partner for My Physical Therapy Practice or Not?

If you think of MEG Business as against the idea of bringing in a business partner for your physical therapy clinic, let’s unpack the concept a bit more. Spoiler Alert: It should come as no surprise that we are always on the side of whatever is best for YOU.

Like marriage, when a partnership is built on the right foundation and structured to highlight each other’s strengths, it can be a successful, harmonious relationship. But, if the partnership is ill-founded or set up incorrectly, it will almost certainly lead to a divorce or exit in the partnership.

As a physical therapy business owner, the decision to have a business partner can be a tough one. While there are perceived benefits to having a partner, the actual value may differ. In this article, we’ll explore the perceived and actual values of having a business partner and discuss when it might be a good idea, and when it might not.

Perceived Values: Having a Physical Therapy Business Partner

First, let’s consider the perceived benefits of having a PT business partner. One of the most commonly cited benefits in the MEG Mastermind community is shared financial burden. Starting and running a physical therapy practice can be expensive; a partner means you can split the startup costs and share the ongoing maintenance expenses of the business. 

Another benefit we hear often is the balancing of skill sets. Your partner may have a skill set that supplements your own, such as marketing or accounting, which can be invaluable in running a successful business. 

It also can quite literally be about companionship. A partner makes you part of a team and gives you someone to bounce ideas off of, share the highs and lows of running a business with, balance the workload of treating, hiring, training, and more.

Actual Values: Having a Physical Therapy Business Partner

Unfortunately, many owners find out too late that perceived benefits don’t always translate to actual benefits. Shared financial burden can also mean shared financial risk, and if your partner is not as committed or financially stable as you are, it can put a strain on the business. 

Differing skill sets can also lead to disagreements over decision-making, as you and your partner may have different ideas about how to run the business. 

Companionship can also mean that personal conflicts spill over into the business, causing tension and potentially damaging the patient experience or business results.

So, when should you consider having a business partner? Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it depends on your individual situation, but here are some generalizations. 

Scenarios Where a Physical Therapy Business Partner is a Good Idea:

  1. You need additional funding: If you do not have the financial resources to start or grow your business on your own, having a partner can be a way to secure additional funding.
  2. You need complementary skill sets: If you have a strong clinical background but lack business or marketing skills, having a partner with those skills can be invaluable in running a successful practice.
  3. You need emotional support: Running a business can be lonely and stressful, and having a partner can provide emotional support and someone to share the burden with.

Scenarios Where a Physical Therapy Business Partner is Not a Good Idea:

  1. You value autonomy: If you are someone who likes to make decisions independently and does not want to consult with anyone else, having a partner may not be a good fit.
  2. You have different visions for the business: If you and your potential partner have fundamentally different ideas about how the business should be run, it can cause tension and disagreements down the line.
  3. You have different work styles: If you and your partner have different work styles, it can lead to conflicts over workload and responsibilities.

How to Find the Right Business Partner for Your Private Practice

Assuming you decide to pursue a partnership, the next step is to find the right one. When looking for a partner, it’s important to find someone who shares your values, work ethic and vision for the business. You should also consider their financial stability, skill set and experience in the industry. We highly advise working with a business coach or consultant like MEG Business to help you identify potential partners and evaluate their suitability for your business.

Once you’ve found the right partner, it’s time to establish clear roles and responsibilities for you both and map out a plan for decision-making and conflict resolution. You should also have a written partnership agreement that outlines the terms of the partnership, including each partner’s financial contribution, ownership percentage and exit strategy.

PODCAST: To Partner, or Not to Partner?

If you want to dive deeper into the question of whether or not a business partner is the right choice for your practice, Brian Gallagher, Founder of MEG Business, shares some industry-specific advice for when to partner and when not to partner in this very helpful Podcast: Episode 259: To Partner Or Not To Partner?

Need more help with your PT practice? Let’s schedule some one-on-one time to assess your current state and see what solutions can get you to your ideal role as an owner.

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