Below you will learn the key steps to starting a healthcare consulting business.
10 Steps to Starting a Healthcare Consulting Business
1. Conduct Market Research To Determine Demand
An important step to starting a healthcare consulting business is conducting market research. To begin, you must learn what services your clients want and how much they are willing to pay for them. There are two ways you can go about conducting this research:
- Survey your target market. This can be done through online surveys, focus groups, or interviews with potential clients.
- Perform a competitive analysis. This involves studying your competition and understanding the consulting services they offer, as well as what prices they charge.
Once you have analyzed the survey data, determine which types of businesses are likely to hire you and how much they are willing to pay. Use this information to set your consulting prices.
2. Name Your Healthcare Consulting Firm
Once you have analyzed your market and determined what services clients want, it’s time to name your business. While naming a business can be difficult, there are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:
- Keep it Short: Your business name needs to be short enough for clients to remember and say.
- Keep it Relevant: Your business name should be relevant to the healthcare consulting services you offer and your ideal client’s needs.
- Keep it Memorable: Using clever ideas and words, help your audience connect with your business.
- Focus on Your Target Audience: Make sure that whoever sees or hears your company name understands who you are targeting as clients.
Read our article about choosing the right business name.
3. Choose Your Business Structure and Set-Up Your Company’s Legal Entity
As with any business, the type of legal entity you set up is critical. After all, you want your company to be treated as a separate entity, not just an extension of yourself. There are several types of structures in which you can start your healthcare consulting company. Three popular options are sole proprietorship, S-corporation and LLC (limited liability company).
- Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is one in which the business and the owner are considered to be one entity. Therefore, you are personally responsible for all debts and liabilities your healthcare consulting firm may incur. One benefit of this type of structure is that it’s easy to set up and there are no formal filings required.
- S-Corporation: An S corporation is a type of C Corporation that was designed by the IRS to help small corporations minimize their paperwork while still gaining many of the tax benefits of incorporating. It also offers protection for business owners in case of lawsuits and other liabilities.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC is a structure in which the company is considered a separate legal entity from its owners. This means that the company is responsible for its own debts and liabilities. This type of structure offers protection for business owners in case of lawsuits.
Read our article comparing the most common consulting business structures.
4. Write a Healthcare Consulting Business Plan
A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals, strategies, and how you plan to achieve them. For a healthcare consulting company, your business plan should include the following:
- Business Description: Describe what your company does, who your target market is, and how you will differentiate yourself from the competition.
- Industry & Market Analysis: Detail your research on the healthcare industry and what consulting services clients are most likely to want.
- Financial Plan: Outline your estimated income and expenses for the next three to five years.
Other sections of your plan will answer other key questions such as the following:
- What are your areas of expertise?
- What services can you offer your clients?
- Who is your target audience?
- How will you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Your business plan should also include several sections that detail your company’s history, current financial situation, and future goals. These sections will allow an investor to learn more about your company before they commit to investing in it.
Read our article about how to write a consulting business plan.
5. Apply for a Business License and Necessary Health Licenses
You must register your healthcare consulting company as a legal entity with the state in which you plan to do business.
To file your business with the state, obtain the necessary forms from the Secretary of State’s website or local County Clerk’s office. You will be required to pay a small fee for filing your business with the state.
Registering with the federal government may or may not be required. You can register your business on the federal level by obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
Read our article about obtaining the proper consulting business licenses.
6. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
As with any business, you will need to use your own capital to finance the initial stages of your health consulting business. Your budget may also include several other costs including marketing expenses and the salary you wish to pay yourself.
After determining how much money you will invest in starting your business, review some options for financing your business. Here are several financing options that may be available to you:
- SBA Loans: The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency that provides financial assistance to small businesses in the U.S.
- Bank Loans: Many small business owners are able to secure loans from their local banks. Often, you can borrow money for any purpose that relates to the growth of your company.
- Friends and Family: You can consider getting loans and/or equity investments from friends and family members..
- Angel investors: Angel investors may provide debt or equity funding to you.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a consulting business to help you determine if funding is needed.
7. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Healthcare Consulting Company Efficiently
As a healthcare consulting firm, you will need different types of technology to complete projects and keep track of your company’s operations. To simplify the process of starting a consulting business, we’ve provided a list below detailing some items that you’ll need:
Computers: Even if most of your work is done remotely with clients on the other side of the country or world, you will need at least one computer that is dedicated to your healthcare consulting company.
Software: Software is an essential component of any consulting business. The right software can help you manage projects, track expenses, and communicate with clients more effectively.
Here are some popular software platforms that may be beneficial to your business:
- Microsoft Office: This software suite includes a variety of applications that can help you manage your company, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- QuickBooks: This software is designed for small businesses and can help you track income and expenses, create invoices, and manage payroll.
- Basecamp: This project management software can help you manage multiple projects simultaneously and keep track of deadlines and milestones.
- Gmail: Google’s email platform offers several features that can be helpful for consulting firms, including the ability to access the same email from multiple devices.
- CRM: Customer relationship management software can help you track customer communication, manage leads, and create reports that detail your sales activities.
Additional software specific to healthcare consulting may include:
- EHR software: This software is used by healthcare providers to manage patient data.
- HIPAA compliance software: This software helps organizations comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- EMR software: This software is used by healthcare providers to manage patient information and track medical appointments.
Read our article about the technology and software you need to run a consulting business.
8. Market Your Healthcare Consulting Firm to Potential Clients
Once you’ve established your healthcare consulting company, the next step is to market it to potential clients.
Here are some common marketing strategies used for healthcare consulting firms:
- Website: A website is an essential component of any marketing strategy. It provides potential clients with information about your company, including the consulting services you offer and the team of professionals who work for you.
- Online marketing: Marketing your business online, such as through a business website and pay-per-click and/or social media marketing, can help you reach a larger audience looking for your services.
- Direct Mail: Direct mail is a traditional marketing strategy that can be used to reach potential clients. You can send flyers, brochures, or letters to potential clients that provide information about your company and the services you offer.
- Trade Shows: Trade shows are a great way to connect with potential clients in person. You can exhibit at healthcare-focused trade shows or attend trade shows in other industries to reach potential clients who may need your services.
- Networking Events: Networking events are a great way to meet potential clients and connect with other professionals in your industry. Attending events such as Chamber of Commerce meetings or breakfast meetings can help you build relationships with potential clients.
You should also consider ways to incentivize potential clients to choose you over another healthcare consulting firm. Some incentives that work well include:
- Lower rates: Many healthcare consulting firms offer lower rates on their consulting services to attract new clients.
- Discounts on services: Offering discounts on certain projects may help you win bids against other healthcare consulting firms.
- Free consultation: Providing potential clients with a free consultation can help them determine if your company is the best one for their needs.
Learn more about how to market your consulting business.
9. Establish a Price Structure and Billing System
There are a few factors to consider when establishing your price structure:
- Hourly rates: Charging by the hour is a common way to price consulting services. This allows clients to budget for your services and gives you the flexibility to charge more for complex projects.
- Project rates: Charging a flat fee for a project can be beneficial for both the client and the consultant. It ensures that clients know what they are paying up front, and it allows healthcare consultants to charge more for more complex projects.
- Retainers: A retainer is a set amount of money that the client pays upfront for consulting services. This can be a good option for clients who need regular consulting services.
No matter which pricing structure you choose, be sure to clearly communicate it to your clients. Additionally, have a detailed invoice template that includes all the healthcare services you provided so the client knows exactly what they are paying for.
10. Manage Client Relationships and Deliver Projects
After finding new clients and marketing your healthcare consulting business, you should begin delivering the projects and getting paid. This means managing client relationships and making sure that clients are happy with your work. Some of the ways to manage relationships with your healthcare clients include:
- Regular communication: Make sure to stay in touch with your clients, even if there is not a lot of work to be done. By keeping in touch regularly, you can ensure that they know you are available and that they will be the first ones you contact when new projects arise.
- Project updates: Keep your clients updated on the progress of each project. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as through emails, reports, or presentations.
- Frequent contact: In some cases, it may be necessary to contact your clients more often than usual. If there are major changes to the project, for example, or if you need additional information from them.
Delivering projects on time and within budget is essential for a healthcare consulting business. It can be beneficial to create a project management plan that outlines how each project will be completed. This will help ensure that all deadlines are met and that the client is happy with the final product.
Learn more about how to effectively manage client relationships.
Starting a Healthcare Consulting Business FAQs
Healthcare consulting is a growing industry, and there are many reasons why starting a healthcare consulting business might be the right move for you. Some of the benefits of owning a healthcare consulting company include:
- You get to be your own boss
- The work is interesting and varied
- There is potential for high income
- You can help people
There are a few things you will need in order to start a healthcare consulting company. These include:
- A clear understanding of the healthcare industry
- Marketing materials
- An office space or home office
- Healthcare consulting software
The following tips can help you to start a healthcare consulting company:
- Do your research: Before you launch your business, be sure to do your research and understand the industry inside and out. This will help you to develop a strong strategy and provide valuable services to your clients.
- Establish relationships with healthcare professionals: One of the best ways to grow your business is to establish relationships with healthcare professionals. Attend conferences, meet-ups, and other events where you can network with these individuals.
- Offer a range of services: In order to be successful, it is important to offer a variety of services to your clients. This will help you to meet the needs of a wider range of clients.
- Keep up with industry changes: The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, so it is important to keep up with the latest changes. This will help you to stay ahead of the competition and provide valuable services to your clients.
- Market your business: Marketing is key when it comes to a successful healthcare consulting company. Be sure to create a strong marketing strategy and use a variety of marketing channels to reach your target audience.