Ask Yourself These Questions Before You Start A Business

Starting a business is high on the list of goals for many nurses and nurse practitioners. Many of us want to start a clinically related business, and others do not. Regardless of what type of business you want to start, there are specific considerations you’ll want to understand before you move forward.

Take a look at these questions.

Is this something that people want or need?

Look at the question carefully. It’s not what we as the healthcare professionals think people want or need…but it’s what they think they want or need. It’s an important distinction.

I’m sure you’ll understand when you consider how difficult it is to get some of your patients to change their behaviors. You see that glucose or blood pressure creeping up and recommend your patient make changes. They feel fine and don’t see any need to panic and make changes right now.

So again, I repeat, is this something they want or need? Is there a “market” for the product or service you are considering?

Does your idea create and deliver value to the end user – your customer?

Of course the definition of “value” is subjective. However, in order to keep customers over the long term, you’ll want to make sure you are adding value. What do I mean by value?

Does your product or service have the potential to change lives? Will the result of this product or service positively impact someone’s life? Will it make something easier, better and/or more joyous?

Are they willing to pay for the product or service?

Better yet are they willing to pay a fair and appropriate price for the product or service. A product that fulfills a need or desire and adds value to an individual will generate revenue for the producer.

You do not want to create a product or service that cannot generate revenue. It will not be a sustainable business.

Does your idea target a specific niche?

It’s very difficult to provide services to everyone and even more difficult to create a sustainable business model that provides value to everyone.

You are much more likely to be productive and successful if you focus on a specific population with specific needs.

For example, at NPBO™/Clinician Business Institute, our focus is to provide business and entrepreneurial education, resources and support nurses and nurse practitioners.

Is it within your scope of practice?

If you are considering any kind of clinical business, you’ll need to determine if it’s within your scope of practice. Consider specialty certification (pediatrics vs gerontology) and scope of practice. Be mindful of any additional state and federal rules that regulate health care practitioners.

Is it legal and ethical?

Because of the myriad of rules and regulations on healthcare, you’ll want to walk that narrow path to ensure you are following all guidelines. If you have any question what-so-ever about the legality of an idea, product or service, we recommend you seek out the appropriate legal counsel.

Is it sustainable?

Building a business is hard work. Unless you are in the business of “fads” (Pet Rocks anyone?) you’ll want your idea, product, and service to meet the above recommendations so you can build a sustainable business.

A business must bring in enough profit to make it worthwhile. It has to allow you to continue to refine your product/service so that you can continue to grow and refine the business.

Do you have the time and energy?

Despite what some entrepreneurs will tell you, starting, operating and growing a business is not a walk in the park. It takes time. It takes energy. Sometimes it takes you away from your loved ones? Are you ready to commit to a demanding (at least in the early phases) business?

Next Steps

Of course, there is much more to starting a business than these few questions, but we’ll discuss those in future articles. But as you are going through these questions, you’ll want to start thinking about:

  • Who are your ideal customers/clients/patients?
  • How will you be educating them about your offer (marketing)?
  • What does selling the product or service look like?
  • Can you think of ways to expand your original idea? How can you make it better and add more value? What services or products can you add to it?
  • Simplicity. You want to be able to describe your product, service or idea to your ideal customers easily and in terms that are understandable. A confused customer will always say no.

As RNs and NPs we are fortunate to have a variety of skills and thus businesses we can start. What kind of business will you start?

Your Turn

Can you answer those questions? How are your ideas coming together? Please leave your comments and questions below.

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  1. Hi Barbara, I’m a WHNP in Texas. I was wondering what other things I could do besides paps, exams, and prenatal care. I work for an organization that is burning me out. I want to utilize my education, but need something elese.

  2. Hi Deborah,

    There are several things you can do, both clinically and non-clinical using your knowledge. This post will give you several ideas including a download on business ideas. I’d love to hear what intrigues you!

  3. Hi Barbara I am started my non medical home care business that I had put on hold to finish my Master’s degree. I plan to start with non medical and expand to incorporate a medical practice. Do you know if that would be a conflict of interest with doing so.

  4. Hi,
    Would appreciate your thoughts on a long time Home Health Nurse & Case Manager becoming a Coach & Case Manager using webinars, ebooks to educate especially on Diabetes, nutrition for health. The dream of helping others & being my own boss has been in my heart for so long, am writing signature product but could really use a mentor to guide me. Have a ton of ideas just wait to become reality.

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