• 11 Steps to a Successful PT Clinic Grand Opening

    March 26, 2021 | Kevin Kasmar
  • Updated March 26, 2021.

    You have planned every aspect of your new clinic for months. You’ve:

    Your physical therapy grand opening will be successful due to careful planning and execution!  Let’s get you going…

    Goals for your grand opening

    With your clinic grand opening, aim to achieve three important goals:

    Branding

    Like the importance of using a business name that tells people what your clinic does (e.g., including in the name “physical therapy”), crucial to your grand opening is your branding. This includes having a strong logo and using your brand colors throughout, but most important is your messaging. Collateral and staff at your grand opening needs to clearly communicate what your clinic stands for; what sets you apart. The message should be presented from the perspective of the patient. In other words, why does your message matter to them? Make it clear and obvious.

    Create a buzz

    What will make patients and physicians who attend your grand opening be so interested that they share it with others? Express what is unique about your clinical deliverables that will drive physician referrals and patients to choose your clinic for treatment. Hopefully you’ve already thought through what patient and physician pain points you can solve when you did your SWOT analysis. If you can get across how you’ll solve a pain point that no other clinic can, and deliver on that promise, you’ll be in an excellent position to drive referrals and 5-star reviews.

    Build relationships

    Not only are you trying to make an impression on local physicians and potential patients, but you want to network with local politicians, Chamber of Commerce leaders, and other local businesses. Prepare in advance for how to strike up conversations with these various folks. One goal for the conversations is to learn specifics about them and how you can help them in their endeavors. Have a generous mindset… what you can put out towards helping others will come back to you.

    Top 11 keys to a successful grand opening

    1) Pick your Grand Opening date carefully.

    Make sure you have already been open and operational for a week or two so that your clinic is sure to be completely equipped, furnished, and prepared to accept guests on the Grand Opening date.  Avoid holidays, as your attendance will be less than hoped for.

    2) Apply for permits and licenses required for your event.

    An indoor event likely will not require permits or licenses, but it is best to check locally to be safe. In the case of an outdoor event or one that you otherwise will need a permit or license for, you’ll need a few details prepared. You will likely have to estimate the number of attendees, as well as details such as date, time, and noise level you expect.

    3) Set your budget.

    You will find it easy to spend too much on your grand opening, given the excitement that surrounds launching your new business or new location.  One rule of thumb is to look at your annual marketing spend and divert 20% of it to your Grand Opening.  You certainly want to have a big enough budget that your target patients, physician, companies (for worker’s comp) will be exposed to your ads multiple times in a short period (two to three weeks?) prior to the grand opening.  Items to consider for getting the word out include:

    • Online coupon advertising
    • Facebook and Instagram advertising
    • Radio advertising
    • Newspaper advertising
    • Grand opening flyers
    • Sidewalk signs – 24” wide and 36” tall “Open House” poster in front of your clinic at least a week before the event to notify passersby.
    • Direct mail postcards
    • Website – develop a map or put directions on your website if you have one
    4) Develop your invitation list.

    Make a list of potential patients, friends, family, physicians, and local municipal government officials. If the Mayor is unable to make it, be sure to invite someone from their office. Make sure your local Chamber of Commerce announces your Grand Opening in their newsletter and on their website.  If you use LinkedIn, then check the list of contacts you have there.  Check your Outlook Email contacts as another source for names.

    5) Decide on food and drink selections.

    Feed them and they will come! Designate a willing family member or friend to help set this up.  Check out local caterers to see if they are willing to jointly sponsor part of the open house in exchange for promoting their services.  Do forget that this is a celebration, so offering assorted wines or champagne is appropriate.

    6) Prepare name tags.

    Name tags facilitate greeting and networking.

    7) Make it festive.

    Consider door prizes such as free massages for a few and offer take home items for everyone, such as pens, brochures etc. that have your clinic’s name, address, and phone number on them.  Decorate with balloons or streamers to help make it a fun event.

    8) Plan your background music.

    You’ll want to set an uplifting atmosphere that makes attendees feel good about being in your space. You may also consider a computer set to a rotating PowerPoint slide show describing your clinic’s staff, offerings, specialties, etc.

    9) Consider a ribbon-cutting ceremony if appropriate.

    Make sure the local newspaper is there to take pictures. Invite prominent local figures and other business owners.

    10) Create a “script” for your staff to say as visitors tour the clinic.

    Include facts and figures that amplify the skills of your staff and the quality of the treatments you will be offering. Consider an introductory talk with a microphone and amplifier where you (the owner) and some key staff can introduce themselves to the attendees at a time when your open house is well attended.

    11) After the event

    The benefits of the event don’t stop when it is over. Send out thank you emails to those who signed in to your guest log (or “liked” your Facebook page). Also, if you had someone taking pictures of the event’s attendees, consider posting those photos to your own social media pages.

    Starting a physical therapy clinic is a huge undertaking. You don’t need to deploy all of these tactics to have a successful Grand Opening. But the more of these tactics you deploy, the higher the likelihood that you will have a very successful Grand Opening. Remember that you are getting the word out to as many people, and in as many ways – and utilizing as many channels – as possible to make that most important first impression. It is very important to make this a social event. Do not focus on selling; focus on building relationships and celebrating.