Sources of Funding

Cash jar

Know your possibilities.

By Subha Nagasubramanian, PT, DPT*
February 2019

“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” ­— Colin Powell

And money! Starting or growing your own practice takes a lot of work, which along with figuring out where to start and how to market your business, includes scouting various funding possibilities. First of all, make sure you have six months of life expenses saved unless you have family and friends to support you financially. Before seeking funding, a few things need to be considered:

  1. Calculate how much money it will take to run a business for three to six months considering you will have very little to no revenue in that time frame. Divide costs into categories: fixed costs like rent, utilities, electronic medical record (EMR), and variable costs like equipment and linens.
  2. Write up a business plan. If you are getting external funding, then you should include projections for expenditures and revenues. This is necessary if you are asking for support from family or friends or investors since it shows you prepared accordingly.
  3. Determine what kind of market you will be serving and what type of business model you prefer. This information is necessary if you are thinking about any kinds of grants, small business loans, etc.

After performing the above analysis, the next step is to determine the type of funding available. Available sources might include:

  1. Bootstrapping (using your own money): This is one of the most common ways to fund a small business. Use liquid cash from savings.
  2. Personal loans: Loans taken through a financial institution based on your personal credit.
  3. Consumer credit cards: Revolving credit amounts for up to $20K.
  4. Equity loan: Getting a loan against your home equity.
  5. Using your personal retirement account: You can invest money from your personal retirement account or 401k. Remember that you only have six months before tax penalties apply.
  6. Friends and family: Asking friends and family to fund your business.
  7. Small business grants: If you are setting up in an underserved area or you belong to a minority, there might be grants available.
  8. Small business loans: If you need a boost of a small amount of money, this option might be the one for you.

Plenty of information is available online for each topic.

Subha Nagasubramanian, PT, DPT, is a PPS member and owner of Capitol Physical Therapy LLC based in Washington, DC. She can be reached at

*The author has a vested interest in this subject.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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