Do you want to start a healthcare consulting firm? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a healthcare consulting business with NO money and no experience.
It is no longer news that the healthcare sector sells like wild fire all over the world. This is one of the reasons why investors are willing to pump in a whole lot of money in order to be sure that they get good returns on their investments.
If you are a wishful entrepreneur with an experience in human resources and healthcare, one way you can launch your way into the business world is to start your own healthcare consulting firm. You can be rest assured that your services would always be in demand not only by small healthcare organizations, but also big healthcare corporations and related businesses.
Healthcare consulting firms are organizations that specialize in providing business consulting services (healthcare administration or healthcare management) to the healthcare industry in areas such as finance, accounting, marketing, insurance, efficient operational process and other related areas.
Just like most businesses, the healthcare consulting services industry is open to as many people that are interested in the industry as long as they have what it takes to run a healthcare consulting services firm.
Opening a healthcare consulting firm is not too expensive except for the money required to rent and furnish an office space.
Running this type of business requires that you should be trained as a consultant and it is indeed a very lucrative business in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom because of the desire for continuous growth in the healthcare industry.
If you have decided to start a healthcare consulting services firm, then you must make sure that you carry out thorough feasibility studies and also market survey. This will enable you properly locate the business in a community or city with the right demography; a location that can readily accept your services.
So, if you have done the required feasibility studies and market research, then you might want to venture into this business. If you have been pondering on starting your own healthcare consulting services firm but do not know how to go about it, then you should consider going through this article; it will sure give you the needed guide and direction.
18 Steps to Starting a Healthcare Consulting Business
1. Understand the Industry
Players in the healthcare consulting services industry provide specialist advice to businesses involved in healthcare fields such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al.
These services include advice related to financial management, human resources, information technology and other operations.
More than ever before, the demand for healthcare consulting services has increased as a result of technological advances in the healthcare sector and of course the ever – changing regulatory environment in the united states. Besides, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expanded access to healthcare to millions of Americans, driving growth in the overall healthcare sector and stimulating demand for the services of healthcare consulting firms.
Nevertheless, budgets remained tight for many industry customers due to the lingering effects of the recession. Going forward, the revenue generated by the healthcare consulting services industry is projected to continue on its upward flight.
The Healthcare Consulting services Industry is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Australia and Canada et al.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 17,521 registered and licensed healthcare consulting firms scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 26,479 and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $6 billion annually.
The industry is projected to grow at a 7.1 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that Accenture, Advisory Board Company, Deloitte, Huron Consulting Group Inc. and PwC have the largest available market share in the industry.
A recent report shows that healthcare consultants have benefited from many factors over the five years to 2017. The report states that healthcare reforms in the United States has driven hospitals and other care providers to realign their operations to accommodate millions of previously uninsured Americans and comply with new regulatory requirements.
The report also noted that declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rate and the rising cost of care have pushed healthcare providers to look for cost savings and engage industry consultants, thereby boosting industry revenue over the five years to 2017.
Coupled with the recovering economy and the passage and implementation of healthcare reforms, demand for healthcare consultants is expected to boom over the period, with total industry revenue forecast to grow an annualized 7.1 percent.
The fact that healthcare consulting firms can easily be found in cities in the United States of America, does not in any way make the industry to be over saturated. The fact that there are people and organizations out there who would always need professional healthcare consulting services from time to time to sort out business related issue et al makes the business evergreen.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own healthcare consulting business despite the fact that the business is risky is that the business is highly thriving and profitable and can be started in any part of the world.
Over and above, starting a healthcare consulting firm requires professionalism and a good grasp of the healthcare industry. Besides, you would need to get the required certifications and license and also meet the standard for such business before you can be allowed to start a healthcare consulting firm in the United States.
One good thing about the healthcare consulting industry is that there is a readily available market for their services because individuals and even organizations naturally would want to improve and effectively manage their business. So, if you are well positioned and you know how to deliver results as a healthcare consultant, you will always smile to the bank.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic arrangement of persons who need the services of healthcare consulting firms cut across businesses involved in healthcare fields such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al who need advice and guidance to sort out business related issues.
If you are defining the demographics for your healthcare consulting business, then you should make it all encompassing.
It should include businesses involved in healthcare fields such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
Most healthcare consulting services firms tend to operate general services that involve every business activities that a standard healthcare consulting firm is expected to offer. That is why it seems like there are no niche areas in the industry.
But on the other hand, some healthcare consulting firms may decide to major in some key or niche area such as;
- Strategic management consulting
- Financial management consulting
- Information technology consulting
- Human resource consulting
- Process and logistics consulting services
- Marketing consulting services
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competitions that exist in the healthcare consulting line of business goes beyond competitions amongst healthcare consulting firms in your location; you are expected to compete with other consulting firms that have the capacity to consult and proffer business solutions to healthcare organizations. Thus, it will be right to say the competition in the healthcare consulting line of business is tough.
The reality is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you can proffer business solutions to your clients, you can deliver excellent customer care services, get testimonials from your clients and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.
Above and beyond, there are several healthcare consulting firms and general consulting firms that have the capacity to consult for healthcare organizations scattered all around the United States. So, if you choose to start your own healthcare consulting business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst healthcare consulting firms and general consulting firms that have the capacity to consult for healthcare organizations. Besides, there are larger healthcare consulting firms – brands that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading healthcare consulting services firms in the United States of America and also in the globe;
- Advisory Board Company
- Huron Consulting Group Inc.
- Bain & Company
- Deloitte Consulting
- The Chartis Group
- Simione Healthcare Consultants
- FTI Consulting
- Health Advances, LLC
- Pinnacle Healthcare Consulting
- Cynosure Health Solutions
- CTG Health Solutions
- Healthcare Strategy Group
- QHR (Quorum Health Resources)
- Alvarez & Marsal Healthcare Industry Group
- ECG Management Consultants
- Health Care Network Associates
- Healthcare Management & Consulting Services
- Healthplex Associates
When it comes to starting a business such as healthcare consulting services firm, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business. It is good to mention that the healthcare consulting services business is not for rookies; it is for professionals who have gathered the required experience and expertise to proffer solutions to people and organizations.
Starting this kind of business definitely entails that you acquire the required degree and professional certifications and also build good working relationship with stakeholders in the healthcare industry. If you are already a major player in the healthcare consulting services industry before venturing out to start your own healthcare consulting services firm, this might not be an issue.
Depending on the scale at which you want to start from, you might require as much as multiple thousands of dollars to strike this off and at the same time you might need far less than that if you choose to start the business from your house, a virtual office or a shared office space.
You will be expected to hire the services of experts that will help you with a comprehensive economic and cost analysis of the business within the location that you intend launching it. If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay the long before you breakeven.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful healthcare consulting services firm as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive and difficult to buy the franchise of an established healthcare consulting services firm, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.
But if you truly want to build your own brand after you must have proved your worth in the financial services industry, then you might just want to start your own healthcare consulting services firm from the scratch. The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your healthcare consulting services firm from the scratch. Starting from the scratch will afford you the opportunity to conduct thorough market survey and feasibility studies before choosing a location to launch the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful healthcare consulting services firms round started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own healthcare consulting services firm to become a successful brand with corporate and individual clients from all across the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own healthcare consulting services firm today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established healthcare consulting services firms and also other related consulting firms and advisory businesses who are offering same services that you intend offering. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Some other threats that you are likely going to face as a healthcare consulting services firm operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operation and global economic downturn which may affect businesses. There is hardly anything you can do as regards these threats other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, or limited liability Company which is commonly called an LLC for a healthcare consulting services firm. Ordinarily, general partnership should have been the ideal business structure for a small – scale healthcare consulting services firm especially if you are just starting out with a moderate start – up capital.
But people prefer limited liability Company for obvious reasons. If your intention is to grow the business and have clients both corporate and individual from all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, then choosing general partnership is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder’s meetings and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your healthcare consulting services firm; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners, investors’ expectation and of course taxes.
If you take your time to critically study the various legal entity to use for your healthcare consulting services firm, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
Generally, when it comes to choosing a name for a business, it is expected that you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own healthcare consulting services firm, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- McIntosh Jason & Co® Healthcare Consulting, LLC
- J K Randel® Healthcare Consulting Services, LLC
- Sage Group® Healthcare Advisors, LLP
- Clarkson McFarlane® Healthcare Consulting Services, LLP
- Innocent Thompson© Healthcare Consulting Services Company, Inc.
- Harrow Smiths & Associates® Healthcare Advisers, LLP
- Silver House® Healthcare Consulting Services Group
- East Coast® Healthcare Consulting Services, LLC
- Phil Nelson & Co Healthcare Advisors, LLP
- Flint Fingers® Healthcare Consulting Services, Inc.
- Shavonne Pearce Healthcare Consulting Services, Inc.
- Shannon & Shaun® Healthcare Consulting Services, LLP
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States of America and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy covers and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your healthcare consulting services firm.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own healthcare consulting services firm in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Financial reinsurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own healthcare consulting services firm, usually you are required to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to challenge organizations and individuals in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
So also, if you want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even jingles and media production concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by the USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to timely and result oriented finance, accounting, marketing, insurance, and efficient operational process advice to your clients, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some healthcare consulting services firm stand out.
If you want to make an impact in the healthcare consulting services industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in this competitive market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own healthcare consulting services firm;
- Certified Healthcare Business Consultant (CHBC)
- ACHC Certified Consultants
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Chartered Market Technician (CMT)
- Degree in Management and Healthcare Related Courses
Please note that you cannot successfully run a healthcare consulting services firm in the United States and in most countries of the world without necessarily acquiring professional certifications and business license even if you have adequate experience cum background in the healthcare consulting services industry.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized especially a business such as healthcare consulting services firm. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the law catches up with you.
These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own healthcare consulting services firm in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Non – disclosure Agreement
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Consulting contract documents
- Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)
- Company Bylaws
- Insurance Policy
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Aside from the required certifications and hands-on experience, starting a healthcare consulting services firm can be cost effective. Securing a standard office in a good business district, equipping the office and paying your employees are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start – up capital.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business or to partner with you.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your healthcare consulting services firm;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell of shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank/banks
- Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Healthcare consulting services firm and most consulting services based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients hence it must be located in a good location; a location that is prone to both human and vehicular traffic and a location that is at the epicenter of a healthcare – related business district if indeed you want to attend to loads of clients and
- The demography of the location
- The demand for the services of healthcare consulting services in the location
- The purchasing power of businesses involved in healthcare fields such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al in the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of healthcare consulting services firms and related consulting services businesses that are in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On the average, there are no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for customized healthcare consulting software and other related software apps and social media management software applications. So also, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves).
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing an office space, the size of the healthcare consulting services firm you want to build, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard healthcare consulting services firm then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your office; when you lease, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, you would need a Chief Executive Officer/Lead Healthcare Advisor, Healthcare Consultants, Risk Analyst, Legal Secretary, Admin and HR Manager, Business Developer, Accountant, Customer Service Executive/Front Desk Officer.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff to effectively run a medium scale but standard healthcare consulting services firm. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some high – profile clients especially from big corporations. If you are just starting out, you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
The way healthcare consulting services firms work vary from one agency to another, but ideally, a healthcare consulting services firm is expected to first and foremost build a robust company profile before sourcing for clients. Basically, when clients hire your services, they expect you to proffer solution to their pressing business-related challenges and concerns.
Depending on the agreement reached by both parties, you are expected to come up with measurable indices that will show that the professional advice you gave or products sold is indeed producing results. In some cases, the agreed consulting fee will be paid in part and in some cases, it will be paid in full and upfront.
It is important to state that a healthcare consulting services firm may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them, good return on investment (ROI), efficiency and flexibility; the above stated healthcare consulting business cum services process is not cast on stone.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
As a healthcare consulting services firm, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before attracting corporate organizations and individuals to hire your services. So, if you have plans to start your own healthcare consulting services firm, it will pay you to build first build a successful career in the alternative healthcare services industry.
So, when you are drafting marketing plans and strategies for your healthcare consulting services firm, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to the healthcare consulting services industry and the organizations you have worked for. This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for clients.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your healthcare consulting services firm;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the businesses involved in the healthcare field such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services
- Advertise your business in relevant healthcare magazines, radio and TV stations (make yourself available for healthcare consulting services related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radio)
- List your business on local directories / yellow pages
- Attend international healthcare expos, seminars, and business fairs
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to consult for them
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business
- Join local chambers of commerce and industries around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you offer your services at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your working capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you.
Another strategy that will help you offer your services at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products and services.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save cost for paying sales and marketing executives.
18. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes year in and year out to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
If your intention of starting a healthcare consulting services firm is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand, then you must be ready to spend money on the promotion and advertisement of your brand.
In promoting your brand and corporate identity, you should leverage on both the print and electronic media and also social media (the internet). As a matter of fact, it is cost effective to use the internet and social media platforms to promote your brand, besides it is pretty much effective and wide reaching.
Another strategy is to sponsor relevant community based programs, TV and radio programs, advertise your business in relevant magazines and newspapers. Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and to promote and advertise your healthcare consulting services firm;
- Place adverts on healthcare related magazines and newspapers, radio and TV stations
- Encourage the use of word of mouth publicity from your loyal customers
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Badoo, Google+ and other platforms to promote your business
- Ensure that you position your banners and billboards in strategic positions all around your city
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas in and around your neighborhood
- Contact businesses involved in healthcare fields such as hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare related organizations, health management organizations and healthcare insurance providers et al within and outside the city you are operating in who have the capacity to pay for your services by calling them up and informing them of your organization and the services you offer
- Advertise your business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Brand all your official cars and ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirt or cap at regular intervals.