Entrepreneurial nurse practitioners often reach out to me asking how I started ThriveAP and I’m happy to share my story. Businesses get started in all different ways, but there are a few standard steps entrepreneurs usually take to get an idea off the ground. I took these in an informal sense to launch ThriveAP. Whether you’re interested in opening your own clinic or starting a preceptor matching service, here’s how to get moving.
1. Get a big idea
If you’re going to start a business, of course you’ll need to know what kind of business you want to start. Do you have an idea for a product that would solve a healthcare problem? Is there a service you think nurse practitioners or healthcare facilities need but can’t find?
As you develop your big business idea, keep your end game in mind. If you’re ideally looking for a job that allows for flexibility, offering an online service allows you to work whenever and wherever you want. Opening a retail store, for example, won’t give you that option. Know your “why” and keep it in mind as you develop your concept.
2. Do some soul searching
Now that you’ve got a genius idea, it’s time to decide if you really have what it takes to get your concept off the ground. One thing many entrepreneurs don’t expect is the dogged determination and hard work that will be required to get the wheels of their new business in motion. Think about how you’ll handle the pressure of being responsible for your own success. Assess your level of motivation – do you have the will power to stick with your idea even if it takes a while to get off the ground? How will starting a business affect your personal and family life? Can you handle the uncertainty that life as an entrepreneur will bring? How much can you risk personally and financially to get going and will it be enough?
While being an entrepreneur is exciting, there’s a lot of potential risk involved. You’ll want to do some soul searching to see if this is really the right path for you.
3. Conduct extensive background research
Before you empty your savings account to open the proverbial doors of your new company, you’ll want to get to know the market to see if pulling your idea off is feasible. The first thing you should do is to make sure you know who else is also working on your big idea or something similar. Competition in your market isn’t always a negative but you’ll need to be sure the market is big enough to support both of you or that you can edge out competition with a superior product. Identify your target customer. How many potential customers are out there? What other products or services are they buying that are similar to yours? Where will you find them? Why do people in this market need your product? Knowing and understanding your market will help you to understand the potential for your new company.
4. Put together an action plan
Your business plan pulls together your idea and market analysis outlining what’s required to bring your big idea to life. What will you need to accomplish your goal? Time? Money? Both?
One important consideration of your business plan is financing. You need to figure out how you will turn a profit and how long this will take (it might take a while!). Once you’ve projected these numbers, determine how much financing you’ll need to get started.
As you put together an action plan, keep your ultimate goal in mind but be willing to change your path at times. The steps you take to reach our goal might change. Entrepreneurs often find themselves being flexible and adapting.
5. Get a few investors
If you’ve decided that financial resources will be required to get your company up and running, you’re not alone. Starting a business usually requires some cash. If you can’t float the start-up on your own, pitch the idea to investors. If you don’t know anyone with deep pockets, join a local entrepreneur or small business group that may be able to facilitate connections.
6. Start to hustle
I can personally attest that getting a business up and running takes a ton of time, energy and dedication. In fact, the throw pillow on my home office desk chair reads “Every Day I’m Hustling”. In general, you can expect to get started by developing a website (likely with help), getting some infrastructure in place for your new concept, and then trying to attract your initial users or customers.
7. Hone your concept
Flexibility is the name of the game for entrepreneurs. Pieces of your initial business plan may be out of place. Your product may fall flat with your target market. Or, your original big idea may lead to discovering a bigger, better idea. Adapt as you learn what works and what doesn’t work for your growing company.
Are you thinking about starting your own business as a nurse practitioner? What’s your big idea?