Balancing Start Up Business Dreams & Reality – Nicky Jardine

The excitement of starting something new is eventually tempered by the reality of day-to-day operations.

Even the greatest inspiration and degree of determination still require a well-thought-out and executed plan to increase the potential for long-term success.

Regardless of any realities, it’s best to think big when setting up your own business, after all, you can always tone down what you’ve imagined by finding a happy medium.

Thinking big allows us to find that ideal destination where we achieve in business those things that will make our efforts worthwhile.

Starting up a business may offer more flexible working hours, control over our finances or an opportunity to try all the things we wanted to do when working for someone else!

Once you have planned your ‘big picture’ destination and are on the journey towards establishing a successful business, you may follow the advice of Henry David Thoreau – Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

Scout A Location

Yes, we all want to work with a beachside view, but so do a hundred thousand other doctors.

Perhaps writing down a wish list at the start can help achieve a happy medium between your dream location and one that is positioned in a less serviced area.

Part of the above wish list could include your ideal client, as this may position the practice within reach of your chosen demographic.

Some aspects are essential, from the ease of access for patients with mobility issues to consideration of signage and visibility of the medical practice from pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

An idea of the location of specialists, allied health and pharmacy services may also influence the decision of a potential location.

Research The Competition

After finding a potential business location, it’s wise to look at the local competition and the services they offer.

A list of competitors could record their physical and driving distance, their billing type, services offered, opening times and the key focus areas portrayed through their website and signage.

This list may highlight service gaps within that local area, particularly ones that may align with your specialist qualifications.

It can also ensure that the name and branding developed for the practice are unique and therefore will create differentiation within the market.

Understanding the aspects above will help to create another essential ingredient in successfully launching a practice – the business plan.

Formulate A Business Plan

From an executive summary that briefly describes your business vision, goals, structure, strategy, target market and financial highlights to the finer details, a business plan provides a central place to return to along the road to setting up a practice.

Although information will change over time, the main areas of business plans generally include a breakdown of the key people involved and a description of the services that will fulfil a market need and points of differentiation from the competition.

The plan should also include a competitive analysis of the market. This analysis should encompass the strengths and weaknesses of the competition and the target market of your services.

A financial summary spreadsheet is essential as this will clearly state from the beginning how much money is required to launch as well as ongoing costs.

Planning adequately for the capital to acquire crucial assets, such as medical equipment and, more importantly, the capacity to pay it back, is key to the success of any business venture.

The above elements intertwine with the last area, the marketing plan that should cover sales and advertising strategies, including associated costs.

Making a business plan easy to read and follow will then make the final touch easier, which is to show a trusted mentor or business associate for their feedback.

Keys Along The Way

There are many gems of information that you will pick up along the way to help refine and optimise your business operations.

Fortunately, business owners are keen to impart their wisdom as they understand, in retrospect, how difficult it is to make that journey from an idea to a business in bricks and mortar.

A simple mantra that may exemplify such a key is ‘stay calm, work smart and trust in the result’ which may come in handy when the timing of phases in setting up a business is out of sync with what you currently need.

For example, it is frustrating if you have discovered a perfect practice location only to have your finance approval delayed and the property taken by someone else.

Rather than looking back at those missed opportunities along the way, use them to learn what you can use from that search to help in finding the next place – it may have even more appeal.

Even if there is nothing obvious that you have learnt with these hiccups, experiences like these may solidify what your real needs are for making a more informed decision when the next opportunity comes along.

After all, luck is the meeting place of preparation and opportunity.

The attitude we bring to starting up a business will influence how we manage day-to-day practice operations and hopefully work towards ensuring our future success.

Nicky Jardine has decades of experience in the health industry and has helped establish a range of rural and urban practices across Australia.

Along with connecting you with industry professionals, she is a business owner who understands all the challenges associated with the dreams and realities of individual enterprises.

For more information, please email or call 1300 798 831.

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Alexandra Headland, QLD 4572