According to a research, healthcare professionals lack significant training in the business field of healthcare. The gap between the medical training and the business training is large enough impairs doctors to become an integral part of the entrepreneurial and management world.
Knowing how to build a vigorous and sustainable business model would help any medical entrepreneur manage the business side of their profession.
In this way, they could contribute more to research, development, and proper healthcare services provision.
However, becoming a medical entrepreneur and building a steady career in healthcare as a manager is not impossible. The healthcare industry is ready to absorb innovative startups.
Segments like biotech, big data analysis systems, health apps, and prevention medicine, among others are waiting for capable people and outstanding ideas.
According to recent statistics, the cost of healthcare per person might rise up to $16k by 2025. No matter the amount of turmoil the healthcare industry has to face in the immediate future, people will still invest in their own health.
In other words, there will always be a market for medical entrepreneurs. As the economy recovers and the needs increase, medical entrepreneurs will have their hands full.
Nevertheless, embracing a business path is no easy feat no matter what profession one chose as a career. Those becoming doctors face the same challenges – if not harder ones – as everybody else who wants to take the entrepreneurial path.
Today we will learn together how to become a medical entrepreneur.
How to Become a Medical Entrepreneur
1. Research Market Niches
For a medical professional, it is easier to build a business based on his knowledge, experience, and connections in the field.
As a heart surgeon, for instance, one knows already what the industry is missing in, let us say, devices aimed at prevention.
Based on his experience and studies, with the help of his network of contacts, he can access funds and human resources to build the said device for patients with cardiovascular problems.
While it is common sense to think that the IT market for medical devices is large and strong, the idea of a new gadget will not make you the next trailblazer in the medical business field. This is where business knowledge comes in.
As a future medical entrepreneur, you need to thoroughly research the market.
You need to focus on some essential starting points: the local demand of healthcare products and services, direct customers’ needs, the competition’s offer in the field etc.
With a bit of luck, you may tap in a niche that nobody explored thus far. You can also strategize your business in a highly competitive field as well, as long as you know very well what your leverage is in comparison with the competition.
For instance, establishing a medical clinic in an area that already has a number of reputable clinics and hospitals may not be a good idea.
On the other hand, establishing a clinic in a less favored area or providing a community with a particular service it lacks may become a successful business from both a financial and a social point of view.
On the other hand, a recent survey showed that around 80% of consumers have adopted at least one digital or mobile healthcare technology.
Now that we got used to being connected at all times, it is only natural to wish for the same efficiency and connectivity when it comes to our health and wellbeing. This market will grow exponentially as technology evolves.
In order for you to make the best out of what you already know in order to create something people want, you need to learn the market like the insides of your pockets. This leads us to the next step in becoming a medical entrepreneur.
2. Network, Network, Network
Your journey to being a successful medical entrepreneur will need more than an idea and the funds to make it happen. Healthcare is a competitive market and healthcare businesses have even a harder time to become stable and successful.
The first step to take is to participate in healthcare meetups, congresses, and conferences.
Some of the largest healthcare meetups gather thousands of participants in numerous fields. In comparison to traditional medical conferences, such meetups bring together professionals in business and management, IT, entrepreneurs, investors, insurers, and so on.
These gatherings represent the perfect opportunity to gain direct knowledge about the business side of the healthcare industry, meet potential investors and partners, learn from policy makers, managers, and more.
Another step to implement is to begin a thorough research regarding healthcare startups. You will learn more about competition and potential partnerships if you keep a close eye on the field.
Joining investment clubs and meeting potential angel investors in your industry is the next logical step. Talk to them and learn what they want and why you are the best person to deliver.
3. Choose the Right Investor
An investor who does not share your vision and goals in terms of profit, advancement in the medical field, and social development through medicine, will become a burden in the long run.
No one can undermine the importance of the investor, be it a bank, an angel investor group, a finance group and so on.
However, with the correct networking, a clear grasp of your business’s goals and importance of the market, a solid business plan, and strong knowledge of the industry norms and opportunities, you will be able to find the right investors for your future medical startup.
What is more important is that the proper investor will also help you brand and promote your business.
4. Profitability vs. Social Responsibility
If you would like to start a business by selling books, for instance, you will face a certain amount of moral and ethical dilemmas.
However, when you want to start a business in the medical field and be able to call yourself a medical entrepreneur, these dilemmas and their resolution will shape the way you will conduct your business.
One of the biggest issues you will face is the affordability of proficient healthcare.
The poor and the rural populations have troubles in accessing proper health care due to the gap in affordability.
If you want to cover this gap, you will have to deal with the challenge of breaking even or making a profit.
A free clinic may be a good idea in association with an NGO or in partnership with the government.
Assisting the government and NGO’s with research, prevention, and curative measure programs may help you reach your financial and social goals at the same time.
Related: How to Start a Business in The US
5. Personal and Professional Life
Becoming a medical entrepreneur will not happen overnight
. The chances are you will have to invest more than your own money into the business. Your most prized possession here is your time and determination to reach your goal.
You have to understand that this is not a risk-free venture. Your idea may be brilliant and it may respond to a market need to a tee.
You may have the investors’ backup and trust. You may have the connections to set things in motion. You may even have time to engage in networking as a newly unemployed medical specialist.
What you do not have is control over the industry.
Healthcare has an almost intimate relationship with politics and big players in the field, such as corporations, insurers, and other investors backing up other ventures.
While you cannot insert into your business plan the task of “managing the stress of becoming a healthcare entrepreneur”, you will have to be aware it will affect you.
A steady career as a medical entrepreneur requires plenty of personal sacrifices.
All doctors agree to some extent that these sacrifices are necessary if one wants to succeed. However, going solo will probably double the amount of stress and have an impact on your personal life.
6. Understand Your Limitations
All medical entrepreneurs should take to heart this piece of advice: knowing your limitations and owning them is a path to success.
If your collaborators and partners, volunteers, and even financial backers have expertise in a certain field, it would be in your detriment to begin your business in another field, even if it is highly profitable.
Moreover, you will not be able to play the medical expert in your startup and handle the responsibilities of a manager, accountant, attorney, and PR specialist at the same time.
It goes without saying, but you should take the right person for the right job and not be afraid to delegate.
Many startups fail because the managers want to have full control of everything – and this is simply not possible.
Other startups fail because they do not ask for feedback or do not implement the feedback they receive.
At this point, you should take a look again at your market analysis – which is a part of your business plan – and readjust the strategy according to the feedback you receive.
Understanding the business’s limitations and trying to overcome obstacles in an efficient manner is what makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful entrepreneurs.
7. Give the Business Your 110%
This is a buzzword you stumble upon every day, but in your case it applies. You work with one of the most sensitive issues to date: public health. You have to deal with politics, constant changes, public outcry, social problems, financial issues, personal issues, competitors, and a very dynamic market.
In other words, you will have a lot on your plate and you might feel discouraged at times. However, your ambition, determination, and effort are the keys to your success.
About The Author
Jennifer Clarke is a health care fanatic, working as a financial advisor in the field by day and writing informational articles about the salaries in this field in her spare time for HealthCareSalariesGuide.