3 Things to Consider Before You Start a Practice or Business

The last couple of years have seen a steep uptick in business startups in the US… we’re talking millions on new businesses!

There’s been a renewed interest in going out on one’s own, working for oneself, and waving “goodbye” to the boss.

And that includes Nurse Practitioners. We’ve observed a growing interest in how to start a private practice within the Nurse Practitioner community.

Now how do people decide what kind of practice or business to start? And how do they prepare for starting one?

Well, it’s not surprising that everyone goes about it in their own way. After all, there are no two people with identical interests, backgrounds, and resources they bring to the table. However, there are some things all budding entrepreneurs may want to think about before quitting their job and jumping into practice or business ownership.

# 1 A Clear Vision

Clarity is critically important to everything we do, regardless of the endeavor. Unfortunately, though, it is often overlooked!

Some people know exactly what kind of business they want to create, while others know they want to start a business, but that’s where it ends. All they have is a general idea of what they want to do.

Where do you fall along this continuum?

Do you have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish, or are you still trying to figure it out?

Either answer is ok, but the trouble is that without a clear idea of what you want, it will be tough to turn your idea of starting a business into reality.,

But once you have clarity on your side, making progress toward your goals becomes easier. 

And here is another benefit to having clarity… focus!

When you are clear on what you want, it gives you focus. Clarity and focus are like a GPS guiding you along the path.

No longer will you go back and forth between different ideas, possibilities, and plans.


Once you’ve made a decision about the business you want to start, and what you want to do, you can now focus on getting it done.

Clarity & Focus!

They free you up to do the work!

But what if you don’t know what it is you want at this time? How can you develop more clarity so you can move forward?

Well, if you need clarity, it’s time for some soul-searching.

Pull out an old notebook and jot down answers to questions like…

  • Why do you want to start a practice (business)?
  • What are your reservations about starting a practice (business)?
  • What will a business do for you personally and professionally?
  • What is it you crave: make your own decisions, work on our terms, crete more income?
  • What type of practice would you like to start?
  • Who are the clients you would enjoy working with?
  • What services might you offer?
  • How much income would you like, and how much would you have to generate to make it worthwhile?

These are just some of the questions you want to ask yourself to develop greater clarity… be brutally honest with yourself here.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from starting a business. But starting and growing one takes energy, time, and resources…  some of our most precious possessions, and no one wants to squander them.

And that’s why it’s so important to have clarity.

Besides, you need to know what you’re getting into. I would hate for anyone to get sucked into starting a business for all the wrong reasons.

# 2 Commitment

What is your commitment to starting and growing a practice; how committed are you to seeing this process through?

Are you prepared to roll up your sleeves and go to work? Are you ready and willing to put in the time and effort it will take to get this practice off the ground?

Like anything in life, starting a practice, or a business, comes with challenges. And chances are you will run into problems along the way.

Are you prepared to deal with whatever will come your way, or will you run for the exit at the first… or the second… signs of trouble, or even throw in the towel?

Reach in deep within to see if you’re up for the challenge.

Of course, being committed to your new practice doesn’t mean you pledge blind commitment… that you never change course or even call it quits. If the conditions call for it, you must do what’s right for you.

Next, ask yourself how much time you are allowing to achieve success.?

And… what constitutes success to you? Is it when you break even, bring in enough to pay all the bills, and then some?

What does success mean to you? Do you know? Are you clear about it?

If you can’t define what success in practice (or business) means to you, how will you know when you get there?

So be sure to define what success means to you and how you will know once you reach it.  Because if you don’t, it will be tough to stay the course when the going gets tough.

# 3 Finances

How well prepared are you financially? Do you have adequate funds to pay the bills? Is there enough money to carry you until you break even and become profitable?

Do you know how long you could last financially? How long could you continue to pay your bills without money coming in regularly?

How easily could you tap into credit should the need arise?

While unlikely, you could run into problems with insurance companies, delaying reimbursements. Or, you could experience a personal event leaving you unable to work for some time.

In events like that, it is good to know you can either fall back on personal resources or get credit from a lender.

This brings us to the next question…

How is your credit?

How do you look in the eyes of a lender? Worthy of receiving credit, if necessary, or to be avoided at all costs?

If you don’t have a copy of your credit report, get one from all three credit bureaus.  Study them to see if they contain the correct information. Correct any mistakes to improve your credit score and creditworthiness if necessary.

Be sure to do all this before asking for any loan!

In Summary…

The three critical things to consider before starting a practice (or business) are your degree of clarity, your level of commitment, and your awareness of your finances.

The greater your clarity and commitment, and the more prepared you are financially, the fewer roadblocks you’re likely to encounter.

Spend a few hours thinking about what you want to do and want to accomplish.  It will be time well spent!

Join the conversation! Share your thoughts and experience with your peers by leaving your comment below!

By Johanna Hofmann, MBA, LAc; regular contributor to the NPBusiness blog and author of “Smart Business Planning for Clinicians.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Thank you for the beam of light from the lighthouse. If I told you how long, I wanted to start on my own you would be shaking your head. With over 10 years' experience as an NP and over 20 yrs. as a nurse, fear of the unknown is still a significant handicap for me. Fear of not having the funds to start (because of a critically ill granddaughter, helping my son financially and my adopted mom), not knowing where to start, and not knowing the "How To's" are real to me. With the 3 things noted above, the fear is decreasing. Thank you again!

  2. The fear is real!!! And it sounds like you have your hands full at the moment. When you are ready, start with the dream and then do the hard research and look carefully at your numbers. Spend this time to learn what you can. Take a business course, heck, take one of our courses or even join the membership for a few months – get a feel for it.

    But remember this, not everyone needs to start a practice.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}