Did you know that experts estimate that only up to 1% of nurses are also entrepreneurs? However, given the open market, you can position yourself to create your dream job by maximizing your nursing skills rather than waiting for healthcare to change for you.
As a nurse, you have skills in:
- Medical policies and procedures
- Healthcare ethics
By honing in on any of these skills —or the many more you have as a nurse— you can both begin and succeed in creating a healthcare business with the right mindset and tools. Here are five tips to help you tackle starting a healthcare business.
1. Start the Right Healthcare Business For You
You have the entrepreneurial spirit and are interested in starting a healthcare business but don’t know where to start. Decision fatigue, analysis paralysis, or whatever you call it, is often one of the biggest roadblocks for new small business owners.
Familiarize Yourself With Your Passions
- What do your coworkers always ask for your help with?
- What are the specific tasks in your jobs that you enjoy?
- If you had to get additional education on any subject, what would you choose to study and why?
Learn About the Market
- What problems have you faced when working as a nurse?
- What successful or interesting businesses have you seen other nurses pursue?
- What business do you wish a nurse was doing but haven’t seen anyone try?
Christopher Seitz, MD, the CEO & Chief Medical Officer of Guardian Medical Direction (Guardian MD), weighs in on the topic. As the CEO of a service that connects nurse-led businesses with a medical director to help them navigate running their healthcare businesses, he has seen a wide range of RN, LPN, and NP businesses succeed, including:
- Home health agencies
- IV hydration clinics
- Medical spas
- Telemedicine services
- Concierge nursing
But that doesn’t mean those are the only nurse-led businesses. There’s plenty of space for nurses in education, product development, and other business areas. “We understand that each business is unique, and we tailor our services to meet the specific needs of our clients,” Dr. Seitz adds.
2. Know You Aren’t Above the Law
After some brainstorming and landing on a business idea, you’ll devise the bare bones of a business plan. As a nurse, realizing that you have legal obligations both as a business owner and as a healthcare professional independently practicing can be overwhelming.
Depending on your business idea, you may have certain legal obligations. For example, giving aesthetic injections versus being a social media influencer has different legal requirements, but every business will dip its toes into legal topics.
Legal issues in nurse-led businesses can range from:
- HIPAA laws and patient privacy
- Medical policies and procedures
- Contractual agreements
- Licensing, accreditation, and continuing education
- Regulatory compliance
- Business structuring (LLC vs. S-corp)
Because many nurses aren’t familiar with legal issues in business, Dr. Seitz encourages, “It’s essential to understand the legal and medical compliance requirements before launching your venture.” He recommends that even before you consult an attorney, you can take an educational course on the type of healthcare business you want to run. Guardian MD has education partners that offer resources and classes and a medical director team that can help guide your business in the right direction.
3. Change Your Mindset About Marketing
Rather than thinking of marketing as uncomfy networking events and practicing sales pitches, picture marketing as a skill built off two core pillars you already use in nursing practice:
- Helping others (this time with a great product or service)
- Establishing yourself as a credible authority
To market yourself, start researching what your competitors are doing. How are they establishing authority in their niche? What connections have they made in their industry? If you examine a handful of businesses doing what you want, you’ll find patterns in their successes. Imagine that the marketing strategy of these business mammoths is the tenth rung of a ladder. Scale down that strategy to create the first rung of the ladder, one your small business can tackle, and start there. Remember, no one will know about your business without some type of marketing plan.
4. Map Out Your Finances
Financial planning is a massive step to starting a healthcare business, especially if you want to eventually ditch your bedside nursing job or make a full-time income from your company. Of course, your financial commitment depends on the type of healthcare business you start, but if you don’t have the capital to invest, you can scale your business slowly.
Scaling your business slowly means you invest money into your business as you grow, often after an initial investment. Experts differ on how much money is optimal to reinvest, depending on your industry and business strategy. You’ll also need to set aside 30 to 40% of your profits for federal taxes. It helps to connect with an accountant to help you stay on top of your quarterly estimated tax payments and any potential business tax write-offs.
As a business owner, you will need to track all your finances to know exactly how much you have invested, saved, and spent and how much it costs to acquire clients. The easiest way to start a financial strategy is by getting a free business checking account to keep the finances separate from your personal accounts and by connecting with a financial advisor.
5. Choose Your Collaborators Wisely
Don’t navigate starting a business alone. Make sure you have the right people behind you to help you reach success.
- Thought leaders in your industry: You can gain insight into the problems your healthcare business is attempting to solve and learn more about your niche.
- Other small business owners or nurse entrepreneurs: Most nurses and small business owners would love to help and advise you on getting started.
- Financial advisors: Financial advisors can help you determine how much cash flow you need to stay afloat, how much to pay yourself, what to set aside in taxes, and how much to reinvest.
- Brands in your industry: Be creative in approaching a brand collaboration, so it is a mutually beneficial relationship.
- A medical director: A medical director is a nurse’s liaison to understand how to practice in healthcare independently. A collaborating physician can help you with medical policies, procedures, oversight, and Good Faith exams.
Dr. Seitz says that collaboration with Guardian MD will bring peace of mind to your nurse-led business that comes with having a medical director behind you. “So many physicians are willing to serve as a medical director and physician collaborator, but many don’t truly realize the complexities of the regulatory and legal landscape in healthcare.”
Chart Your Path as a Nurse Entrepreneur
As a nurse, your opportunities in entrepreneurship are endless.
Dr. Seitz says, “We have seen our clients’ businesses transform from struggling to stay afloat to thriving, profitable enterprises that provide high-quality care to their patients by leveraging our team approach to medical oversight.”
You already have the education and skills to run a successful healthcare business. So go out there and make the nursing profession proud. Are you interested in learning more about having a medical director for your nurse-led business? Check out Guardian MD for more information.