When Opportunity Leads to Growth
Growing a client base by purchasing an existing business
When it comes to owning a business, many think of starting from scratch and building a solid foundation. What many don’t realize is that one could similarly do the same with an existing, already proven business. That is exactly what Pete Crane, a Physician Assistant, has done as co-owner of several Urgent Care locations in Eastern Nebraska.
A former EMT with a volunteer fire department, Crane always felt satisfaction from helping others when they most needed it. He combined that need with a love of medicine to pursue his degree as a Physician Assistant, and has spent the last few years slowly growing one location into many. After twelve years at an Urgent Care in Scottsbluff, Crane moved to Lincoln before making the short jump into the owner’s chair at a practice in Papillion. Not long after that he reconnected with two former classmates also interested in Urgent Care, and has subsequently opened locations in York and Wahoo before purchasing an existing practice that serves as a second location in Papillion.
"Each venture has its own set of circumstances, and with each one we become a bit more savvy and understand better how our strengths might blend with opportunity."
- Pete Crane
Having seen both sides of the equation, Crane is able to compare the difference between starting fresh and taking over as “jumping out of a plane, [but] purchasing an existing business at least gives you some idea that the parachute worked once before.” The acquisition of a proven location removes the tedious nature of struggling through the early growth stages of a new business. Furthermore, having seen the track record of a purchase “gives a tremendous advantage in developing your business plan.” It’s hard enough starting a business, but having a strong base when going in lessens the obstacles of a wild card when the doors open.
However, simply expanding is far from enough to ensure survival. In order to successfully operate multiple locations, Crane has learned to rely on and trust several talented and successful personnel to fill his shoes while he see patients and manages Urgent Care’s main Papillion branch. Crane and his business partners have created teams that facilitate and keep each practice running smoothly. It’s a model that “allows [for] the luxury of being able to continue to practice without feeling [the] need to constantly check in and micromanage.” To do otherwise would be an exercise in chaos and severely hinder any possibility of growth.
Even so, simply growing through acquisition is hardly feasible without the right marketing tools at hand. Each business is different and thus its clientele and marketing strategy is aptly tailored. For Urgent Care, Crane relies on his wife Denise, whose experience in the field has provided an edge while learning what does and does not work. Patients are polled on how they heard of Urgent Care, which in turn outlines how to best reach the targeted audience. While the Internet still proves to be the most effective option, a visible presence speaks volumes as well. For Crane, “participating in community and kids’ programs is a mutually beneficial way of getting our name out there.” It’s an effective strategy and an enjoyable opportunity to interact with potential clients.
As with most industries, Crane’s chosen field of healthcare is an extremely competitive market and successful growth is “a mixture of opportunity and ability.” Crane and his partners have the business acumen to see a need and meet it with accommodating and reliable care. They have seen that “each venture has its own set of circumstances…that with each one we become a bit more savvy and understand better how our strengths might blend with opportunity.” It is this realization that has allowed Urgent Care to become so successful in a difficult market and continue to seize opportunity and acquire an ever-increasing footprint in the community. Even more, Urgent Care’s several iterations are proof that starting fresh and building the framework isn’t the only path to a thriving venture.
The Firm Deal Review
Growth Plan: Via acquisition
Bank: First State Bank of Nebraska
Days from Offer to Closing: 49 days
Originally From: Ord, Nebraska