By Stacy M. Menz, PT, DPT, PCS
I took a moment before I started writing this to look up the definition of Strategic Alliances. Wikipedia defines a strategic alliance as “an agreement between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon objectives needed while remaining independent organizations.” Looking at this definition, I was able to reflect on how my company has pursued and benefited from strategic alliances both within and outside of our community.
One of my favorite strategic alliances is with another local pediatric clinic. They have a completely different model than we do, and they offer multiple services, but their primary service is occupational therapy. Since they don’t have physical therapy (PT), and we don’t have occupational therapy (OT), we made an arrangement where we see kids for PT in their office and they see kids for OT in our office. This allows both of us a chance to expand into new markets without the burden of a huge overhead, as well as provides cross referrals for both companies. We are able to collaborate with each other and learn from both professions to enhance the care for our kids.
What are some strategic alliances that you could pursue that you may not have thought of? Is there a practice in a different but complementary discipline, such as speech therapy, that could sublease office space from you? What about sharing space between two different practices, such as peds and ortho? Or working with a hippotherapy location and having students use one of their days to go observe a different avenue of PT? There are local retailers such as running stores that you could work with.
If you want to move beyond what is local to you, what about a group like the Private Practice Section’s Peer2Peer NetWorks? This puts PT businesses that are non-competes together to share information and learn from each other. In the Peer2Peer group of pediatric practices that I participate in, we regularly help each other out with things such as policies and procedures, negotiating hospital contracts, employee challenges, and the list goes on and on.
I am a big believer that there is enough business to go around, and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Strategic alliances have the potential to support businesses in a mutually beneficial way, as well as provide additional resources and knowledge.
We would love to hear some of your stories about strategic alliances that you have entered into and how they have or have not benefited you and your practice.