Do you want to start a nursing school? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a nursing school business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample nursing school business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample nursing school marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for nursing schools.
Table of Content
- Why Start a Nursing School?
- Industry Overview
- Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Niche ideas Within the Business You Can Specialize in
- List of Well Known Brands in the Industry
- Buying a Franchise vs Starting from Scratch
- Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
- Best Legal Entity to Use for This Type of Business
- Catchy Business Name ideas
- Insurance Policies
- Is Professional Certification Needed to Operate?
- Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- Financing Your Nursing School
- Choosing a Suitable Location
- Technical and Manpower Details
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
- Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Service Pricing
Why Start a Nursing School?
The nursing profession is one of the highly sought-after professions in the united states and of course in most countries of the world because of the vital role it plays in the health sector. A nurse is a member of the health care industry and their responsibility is to carry out health care jobs as assigned by doctors they are working with.
Such jobs could be administering drugs, giving injections, bathing a newborn baby, feeding, dressing, helping doctors to hold patients when the need arises, helping doctors to obtain and organize all they would need to treat a patient or carryout surgical operations et al.
Just like most businesses, the community colleges industry that nursing school is a part of is open to as many people that are interested in the industry as long as they have what it takes to run an accredited nursing school or community college with nursing department.
If you are interested in this line of business, then with proper planning you can easily establish your own nursing school and you can be rest assured to have enough students trooping in to enroll especially if the school is close to an educational hub or any place where health services thrive.
Lastly, if you have done the required feasibility studies and market research, then you might want to venture into opening a nursing school in your community. If you have been pondering on starting your own nursing school but do not know how to go about it, then you should consider going through this article; it will give you the needed guide and direction.
Starting a Nursing School Business – A Complete Guide
Nursing schools fall under the Community College industry and community colleges are post-secondary educational institutions offering college transfer courses and programs; vocational, technical and semiprofessional occupational programs; and general educational programs.
Community colleges confer associate degrees, certificates or diplomas below the baccalaureate level. Public, private, nonprofit and for-profit community colleges are all part of the community college industry.
If you are a keen follower of the community college industry in the United States, you will agree that the industry has experienced fluctuations over the last five years due to the recession and stagnant growth in federal funding for such schools.
High unemployment has caused individuals to seek out further education, while employers are increasing their training requirements to remain competitive. Going forward, decreasing unemployment rates combined with the increasing tuition of four-year colleges will boost enrollment in nursing schools.
The Community College industry that nursing school is a part of is indeed a large industry and pretty much active in countries such as United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Australia and Canada et al.
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 1,839 registered and licensed (accredited) community colleges (nursing schools inclusive) scattered all across the United States responsible for employing about 669,450 people and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $66 billion annually. The industry grew at a -0.4 percent annual growth within 2011 and 2016. It is important to state that there are no establishments in this industry that has a lion market share.
A recent report released by IBISWorld shows that the Community College industry operates in a countercyclical manner. The report shows that the industry revenue grew significantly as a result slow economic growth earlier over the five years to 2016, but has suffered subsequently. Sluggish economic activity helped the industry to grow as the unemployed sought professional training to improve their job prospects.
As national unemployment rate has decreased in recent years, so has industry revenue. The report further stated that in recent years, the restructuring of the US economy has accelerated. Service industry professions are in higher demand than ever, while growth in manufacturing continues to fail to impress. As a result, individuals displaced by major economic change are still retooling their skill set.
Due to the fact that it can be somehow stressful to get government accreditation for a standard nursing school in the United States, it will be safe to say the industry is under saturated. As a matter of fact, in most countries of the world and even in the United States of America, a host of colleges and schools have come up with training programs to train nurses. In recent time in America, almost every state is having training facilities for nurses.
Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own nursing schools despite the fact that the business is challenging is that the business is highly thriving and profitable, they can easily get funding and support from government and charity organizations, and the business can be started in any part of the world.
Over and above, starting a nursing school requires professionalism, a good grasp of the nursing trade and the overall trade and technical schools industry. Besides, you would need to get the required certifications and license (accreditations) and also meet the standard for such business before you can be allowed to start a standard nursing school in the United States.
One good thing about nursing school is that there is a readily available market for their services because there are loads of people out there who want to work as Registered Nurses but haven’t been able to secure admission, and they want to gather all the necessary experience while trying to pass the required exams before they are granted admission to Nursing Schools and even Medical Colleges.
Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who require the services of nursing schools are people who want to work as a Registered Nurse, both male and female and they are not restricted to any age bracket as long as they have the required qualifications.
So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics of your nursing school, then you should target certified nursing assistants, high school leavers and also everyone within your location that is qualified to study nursing.
Niche ideas Within the Business You Can Specialize in
There is no niche area as it relates to nursing schools. Every player in this industry is involved in training and preparing students whose aim is to become registered nurses and to work in the health sector (hospitals and nursing homes et al).
On the other hand, some nursing schools may decide to major on training pediatric nurses, training psychiatric nurses, some general nurses, while others can successfully combine all the areas of the nursing profession. It is important to state that the nursing school is a niche area under the community college industry.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others who are into same area of business and nursing school is not an exemption. The level of competition in the nursing school line of business depends largely on the location of the school and how big and organized your nursing school is.
The truth 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 properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you have what it takes to properly train nurses that will go ahead to excel in their profession and you know how to reach out to your target market.
List of Well Known Brands in the Industry
In every industry, there are always brands who 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 business and the results they have achieved over the years.
These are some of the leading nursing schools and universities that offer nursing courses in the United States of America and also in the globe;
- University of Washington
- University of California
- University of Pennsylvania
- John Hopkins University
- University of Michigan
- University of North Carolina
- Oregon Health and Science University
- University of Illinois
- University of Maryland
- University of Pittsburgh
- Southwestern College Certified Nursing Assistant School
- MiraCosta College Certified Nursing Assistant School
- San Diego Continuing Education Certified Nursing Assistant School
- Akron School of Practical Nursing
- Arapahoe Community College
- Fort Myers Institute of Technology
- New Mexico State University–Dona Ana
- South Texas College
- Eastern Florida State College
- American Red Cross
When it comes to starting a business such as nursing school, you just have to get your feasibility studies and market research right before venturing into the business. It is good to mention that starting a standard nursing school is not for rookies, it is for professionals who have successfully gathered the required nursing and public health experience and expertise to train aspiring nurses and certified nursing aid workers.
Starting this kind of business definitely entails that you acquire the required degree and profession certifications, government approval/accreditation and also build good working relationships with stakeholders in the industry. If you are already a major player in the trade and technical schools cum community college industry before venturing out to start your own nursing school, 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 school on a small scale.
You will be expected to hire the services of experts that will help you with comprehensive economic and cost analysis and the profitability of the businesses within the location that you intend launching the business. If you get your economic and cost analysis right before launching the business, you may not have to stay long before you break-even.
Buying a Franchise vs Starting from Scratch
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.
When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to buy the franchise of a successful and well – established nursing school/brand as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive to buy the franchise of an established and accredited nursing school, 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 trade and technical schools industry, the community college industry and the health industry, then you might just want to start your own nursing school from the scratch.
The truth is that it will pay you in the long run to start your nursing school 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 nursing schools and community colleges that offer nursing as a course 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 nursing school to become a successful brand with clients (students) from all across the length and breadth of the United States of America and other countries of the world.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own nursing school today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established nursing schools and also well-established universities who are offering same nursing program. 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 nursing school operating in the United States are unfavorable government policies, the arrival of a competitor within your location of operations and global economic downturn which may affect the business. 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.
Best Legal Entity to Use for This Type of Business
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership or limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC for a business such as a nursing school.
As a matter of fact, if your intention is to grow the nursing school to become a degree awarding community college and have students both corporate and individual from all across the United States of America and other countries of the world, and also offering other related courses, 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 nursing school; 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 entities to use for your nursing school, 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.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your nursing school so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structures, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.
Catchy Business Name ideas
In the real sense, 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 nursing school, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Fallon Gatwick Community Nursing College
- Northwest Community Nursing School
- Camp David Community Nursing College
- Eastern Regional Nursing School
- Abraham Lincoln Memorial Nursing School
- Unity Fountain Nursing School
- Campbell & Princess Naomi Nursing School
- Crete Island Community Nursing School
- Pallini Simeone Nursing School
- Bally Graham Nursing School
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 nursing school.
Here are some of the basic insurance policy covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own nursing school 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
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
If you are considering starting your own nursing school, usually you are required to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is 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 unique course materials, your school’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.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Operate?
Aside from the results you produce as it relates to training your students to become qualified nurses, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some nursing schools stand out. If you want to make an impact in the community college industry and of course trade and technical schools industry, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
You are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business. Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career and up-to-date in the market.
These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own nursing school;
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Certified Education/Trade Instructor
- Degree in Public Health and Nursing Related Courses
Please note that you cannot successfully run a nursing school in the United States and in most countries of the world without acquiring professional certifications and business license (accreditation from regulating bodies), even if you have adequate experience cum background in the trade and technical schools industry cum health sector.
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 nursing school. 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 long arm of the law catches up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own nursing school in the United States of America;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Accreditation Letter
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Education / Training Curriculum
- 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
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Financing Your Nursing School
Starting a nursing school is indeed an expensive venture and it is not a business for entrepreneurs who are just starting out with little start – up capital. Securing a standard school facility in a good business district, equipping the school with the needed medical (nursing) training instruments, equipment and tools 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 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 nursing school;
- 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 grant and seed funding from donor organizations and angel investors
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends
Choosing a Suitable Location
Nursing school and most training and educational based type of businesses require that you see physically with your clients (students), 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 an educational or health environment if indeed you want to enroll loads of students in your nursing school and maximize profit from the business.
The fact that you can operate your nursing school from any part of the world does not mean that locations has little influence on the success of your nursing school. If you have taken your time to study the community college industry and trade and technical schools industry, you will realize that nursing schools and related institutions are willing to pay expensive rents in order to stay in a busy educational district; a place where there are loads of students.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you choose to open your nursing school is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people and businesses with the required purchasing power and interest.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your nursing school, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar nursing school that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
This is why it is very important to gather as much facts and figures before choosing a location to set – up your nursing school. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your nursing school;
- The demography of the location
- The demand for nurses in the location
- The purchasing power of residents of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of nursing schools and universities that offer nursing as a course in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community/state
- Traffic, parking and security et al
Technical and Manpower Details
On the average, there are no special technologies or equipment needed to run a nursing school except for the needed equipment and technology the students will need for practical sessions. In essence, a nursing school needs medical equipment, machine, tools and instrument. You will definitely need computers/laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves).
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for a nursing school, the size of the nursing school you want to build, and your entire budget for the nursing school should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a standard nursing school that can accommodate a large number of students per time, then you should consider the option of leasing a facility for your nursing school.
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/Principal Partner, School Administrator, Registered Nurses and Health Workers (Teachers/Instructors), Business Developer, Accountant (Bursar), Customer Service Executive/Front Desk Officer.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 full – time key staff to effectively run a small scale but standard certified nursing assistant school. 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 practical sessions. 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 a Nursing School
Nursing schools, community colleges and vocational schools are established with the aim of training students to become qualified nurses. In essence, a student is expected to enroll in a nursing school if they meet his or her expected standard and if it is affordable.
It is important to state that a certified nursing assistant school will work with the established curriculum for nursing schools. If at all they want to tweak it, the core essence of the training must not be missed.
Marketing ideas and Strategies
As a nursing school operator, you would have to prove your worth over and over again before attracting students to enroll in your nursing school. So, if you have plans to start your own nursing school, it will pay you to first build a successful career in the health industry or the trade and technical schools industry.
People and organizations will only enroll in your nursing school if they know that they are going to become qualified nurses and of course get the required skills and certifications they want to get. So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your nursing school, make sure that you create a compelling personal and school 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 health industry and the trade and technical schools industry, and the organizations you have trained in.
This will help boost your chances in the market place when sourcing for students and corporate clients. Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your nursing school;
- Introduce your nursing school by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the high schools, high school leavers, churches and other religious centers, youth organizations and households within and outside the city where your nursing school is located
- Advertise your nursing school in relevant magazines, radio and TV stations (make yourself available for nursing related talk shows and interactive sessions on TV and Radio)
- List your nursing school on local directories/yellow pages
- Attend international nursing and public health education expos, seminars and business fairs et al
- Create different packages for different category of students and clients in order to work with their budget and still get them enrolled in your nursing school
- Leverage on the internet to promote your nursing school
- Join relevant educational institutions and associations around you with the aim of networking and marketing your nursing school; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks
- Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Service Pricing
One key factor that will help you offer your nursing school training at a price that is highly attractive is to ensure that you source your start – up capital from sources that won’t put pressure on you or give you high interest rates. So also, it is important that you purchase your medical training equipment, tools, instruments and materials directly from the manufacturers or from wholesale distributors.
If need be, you can purchase these medical equipment, tools, machines and instruments as fairly used. It will still save you some bucks.
Another strategy that will help you offer your nursing school training 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.
Possible Ways to Increase Customer Retention
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers or products.
If you can continue to churn out nurses who are considered experts in their trades and businesses and your training service delivery is excellent, then you won’t struggle to maintain loyal students and clientele base. Ensure that you offer scholarships and incentives if you want to retain students and of course continue to generate referrals from them and also attract new students.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers, and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software. With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients.
Strategies to boost your brand awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If your intention of starting a nursing school is to grow the school 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 creating 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 nursing school;
- Place adverts on educational, health 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 nursing school
- 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 corporate organizations, high school leavers, churches and other religious centers, youth clubs, schools, and households 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 nursing school
- Advertise your nursing school 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.
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