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Mistake #1 — Wasting Money on Unnecessary Expenses

A budget tells us what we can’t afford, but it doesn’t keep us from buying it.
– William Feather

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have to have the best of everything when starting your urgent care center. Paul Graham states this well in his article, “How to Start a Startup.” In this article, which is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society, Graham notes that a startup business needs to do three things:

  • Have a good idea, and it does not have to be earth shattering. No problem here: An urgent care center is becoming a simple necessity any community of any reasonable size.
  • Add good people to your team. Your startup urgent care center will never be better than the people on your team.
  • Don’t waste good money. Urgent care centers are not immune to failure, and the fastest way to fail is to run out of money.
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When you start an urgent care center, you can easily waste an extra $300,000 or more on unnecessarily expensive items that not even established urgent care centers deem necessary. Unnecessary expenses that we have seen include buying top-of-the-line furniture, buying an MRI or CT scanner (Early on, time share leases often make more sense), hiring nationally famous architects (Yes, we have seen this), hanging expensive artwork, purchasing a $250,000+ completely integrated electronic medical record, purchasing a mistake #1 Wasting Money on Unnecessary Expenses $100,000+ practice management system with all the bells and whistles for a hospital system, investing in the fastest and most expensive digital x-ray equipment, hiring only registered nurses to staff your urgent care center, buying only brand new (and avoiding new or refurbished) equipment, and many other exorbitant expenses in starting a new urgent care center.

These expenses rarely make a significant difference in the care of patients, and they are very unlikely to produce anywhere near $100,000 of annual revenue.

Overspending is a big mistake in starting an urgent care center, as new urgent care centers usually underestimate the amount of investment that will be needed in the startup urgent care center. You will need this money to put out fires later on, so don’t burn it up before you start.

Yes, we have seen gorgeous state-of-the-art urgent care centers spending money “like there is no tomorrow” succeed. How so? They have been lucky enough to do many other things right, AND they discover that they need to tighten their belts and start watching their pennies. Unfortunately, we have seen other startups observe their success and try to emulate them. These centers often make several other serious mistakes, so they rapidly run out of money.

There are many places on the Internet that you might consider looking for medical, computer, or office supplies for your startup urgent care center.