Starting any business from the ground up is a challenge. Deciding to build an addiction treatment business is even more so. The need for quality treatment for addiction is massive. For people with a genuine desire to help others in need and to create a sustainable business while making a difference, addiction treatment makes sense. Let’s face it, from a business standpoint, addiction treatment is profitable. But there must be a balance between profit, quality care and compliance.
Starting a treatment center is a complex undertaking. There is much to consider, from location and zoning laws, to program creation to health and safety, staffing and licensing, the list goes on!
How do you do it? By careful strategic planning. And, you don’t have to do it alone.
Elements Of Planning Your Recovery Business
Addiction treatment centers may be small or large, started by an individual or a larger entity. Some treatment centers are big businesses with multiple locations and a board of directors. Some are started by recovering addicts hoping to make a difference.
Wherever you are on that scale, strategic planning is essential for a successful outcome. It’s important to understand all aspects of the treatment business, otherwise your facility won’t get off the ground. Planning is important, and it often requires a team approach and an experienced hand.
Even if your treatment center is already operational, you can benefit from strategic planning. It’s not just for startups, it’s also for organizations in need of improvement. Many treatment centers fail within the first five years. This is often due to a lack of planning. Part of it is the nature of the business. People get into addiction treatment because they want to help. They want to make a difference and they put the focus on helping the client. While this seems like a good idea, and of course there should be a focus on the client, it’s important to remember that you are running a business. This is where many treatment centers go wrong. In order to help those you seek to serve, you must have a business plan.
First Things First
What type of facility are you planning? Is it a residential facility for adults? A long-term or a short-term program? An outpatient clinic? What types of services will you be offering? Will you keep the focus solely on addiction recovery, or will you be offering mental health services, etc?
Location Is Important
Determining the location of your facility is extremely important. When you decide on a location you will have to consider whether it is zoned for a recovery house, how it will impact the surrounding area and how it will contribute to the safety and comfort of the clients you intend to serve. Location plays a big part in success, so it must be considered carefully.
Laws, Licensing And Regulations
A thorough understanding of state and local laws regarding addiction treatment practices and licensing is vital. The licensing process is multi-step and there’s a lot to know. Familiarizing yourself with what it takes to not only open a treatment center, but keep it open, is a top priority.
Staffing And Programs
You know what you want to achieve, you have found your location and you know what you need to do to open up your treatment center. Now you have to assemble a team of professionals to serve your clients and bring your vision into reality.
Choosing the right staff is of the utmost importance. Thoroughly researching applicants to ensure they have the proper training, experience, credentials and education is vital not only to your treatment center’s success, but also to client outcomes.
The idea staff is not only qualified, but also compatible with your treatment center’s philosophies and values. Assembling this team may take time, but it’s time well spent. In addition, you’ll need to provide initial and ongoing training to ensure continued growth, as well as compliance.
Sometimes, people in helping professions are loathe to talk about profits and financial goals, but this doesn’t need to be the case. It doesn’t benefit you, and it doesn’t benefit the clients. You are running a business, and for a business to continue to thrive, it must be financially stable and healthy.
How Coaching And Strategic Planning Can Help
Bringing in a professional to help evaluate your current and future goals is a practical way to start your business off on the right foot. If your treatment center is struggling, bringing in a consultant or coach can help things get back on track. Often, clarifying goals, outlining steps to achieving those goals and improving communication is what it takes to turn things around, or get them off to the best possible start.
Juggling Compliance And Operations
Compliance is not a one-time event, it’s an ongoing requirement. It encompasses a variety of elements of your facility, including education, training and certification of staff members, operations, policies and procedures, health and safety, and more.
Keeping your facility compliant requires careful attention to detail, high levels of communication and strict adherence to state laws and best practices. It must be consistently maintained while at the same time providing quality treatment and attention to clients. There may be times when compliance and client attention can seem to clash, due to time involvement, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Getting support for accreditation, licensure and compliance from an outside agency allows you to stay current and on track so that you can focus on providing clients with the attention that they need.
Getting Help To Keep You Compliant And Up To Date
Accreditation and licensing are essential elements of your treatment business. It’s imperative that they be handled professionally. Whether you are a startup facility just getting off the ground, or an established rehab looking to maintain compliance and improve accreditation, there is help available. It often takes outside help to come into a facility and identify potential barriers to compliance, improvement, licensure, etc. It’s much better to have a consultant come in and point out issues than to have to deal with it during an audit. An impartial third party will see things that your management or director may miss. Not only that, but they can work with you to quickly improve your facility in a timely manner.