Does anyone else aspire to become a consultant or already own a consulting business? I posted about a year ago my idea to become a home health consultant- helping home health and hospice agencies do start-ups, prepare for surveys, staff education, quality improvement projects, etc. I've since made a career move that I hope will further my goal of starting a consulting practice in the near future. I'm now working as a state health care surveyor, specifically for home health and hospice. I'm gaining a lot of good experience and I'm enjoying the work for the most part. Because of the nature of the job, I'm not able to do any consulting on the side, so it's impossible to start a consulting business part-time at this point. I'm trying to soak up as much experience as I can, but I'm anxiously awaiting the day that I can move forward with my business plans. I'm planning on getting at least a year or two of survey experience before making any kind of a move. I'll probably have to leave this job and get another one that will allow me to build the consulting business part-time. Does anyone have any ideas on things I can be doing in the meantime (without violating any conflict of interest contracts I've signed) to prepare for starting a consulting business of this nature?
Also, any feedback on the feasibility of such a business would be helpful. I do know that there is a need for this type of service, but I'm also aware that there is some competition out there. Do you think my experience as a state surveyor will be helpful in that regard? I also have experience in several aspects of home health care- from working as a clinician, manager, and educator. Thank you in advance for your thoughts and feedback.
Sep 15, '11
Good idea! I think your idea is more than feaseable because you have experience in almost all areas of the business. Also, your current job will be an asset. As you go to these places to do your job, look for areas that need improvement and look for shortcomings in their practices and policies; also, look for commonalities with "issues" that you identify in each facility and try to come up with ideas on how to fix these problems. I would also ask the owners/administrators if they had the opportunity to improve in one area, what area would it be. Again, look for commonalities in the answers and use that to your advantage. Good luck, keep us informed.
Oct 22, '11
Great to hear about your business ideas! What kind of work are you doing currently; are you identifying deficiencies and making remediation plans to bring things up to code, or are you working on staff development over and above "the basics?" If you're working with programs to prepare them for surveys, you could make notes for yourself regarding the most common problem areas according to management, care providers, and clients (which will probably result in 3 different answers!) Then, find topics that you could address in a short presentation that you could present at local community centers, senior centers, assisted living facilities, etc. and present it as an "In-Kind Donation of Services" (for the tax write-off.) I find that I get more referrals stemming from pro bono work than I do "cold calling" or distributing flyers.
Oct 27, '11
I'm glad to see nurses thinking about going independent. It's my chief regret but I'm trying to resurrect a non-nursing career. Make your business plans now while you're working and re-work them as needed. Have them ready to go plus establish a small emergencey fund in case you get fired. I don't mean you'll be fired, but be prepared like you might be. The objective is to get ready to leap when you're ready and have funds set aside.
You've got to find a niche (probably from the surveyor role) to keep ahead of competition. Look forward at obscure health laws that might garner more clout in the future. You don't mention your age but you don't need more work experiece after two years. Get certified, it gives you leverage, the tests aren't jokes, and when you have them people are confident in you. Take small business courses and learn the computer programs.
The people you want to partner with probably go to local small business meetings in the city. Try to go and learn. Networking takes years, don't wait, until you're actually ready to do it. Finally, offer to teach a class for free. Wow them and the door is cracked. Good Luck.
Last edit by Rodoon on Oct 27, '11
: Reason: Add sentence
Oct 28, '11
Thank you to all for the great ideas!!! I will start working on my business plan now and that will help the time past faster while getting this valuable experience as a surveyor. I really feel like I could do the consulting now, since I already have significant experience in home health, but I believe the work as a surveyor will be what separates me from other consultants in this area. Thank you for the great networking ideas! I will start working on this right away!
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