Become a Nurse Entrepreneur
The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International
Begin with the End in Mind
Establishing a business plan is essential. Whether formal or informal, it defines the goals and objectives for your business. Plan in phases, with goals that build on prior goals, to establish a firm foundation for your business. Periodically assess and keep track of progress toward business goals and troubleshoot the reasons any goals are not met.
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Establish your income requirements — do you need a regular paycheck? Can your income vary from month to month? What about health coverage? Is contracting an hourly wage for your patient services an option? Can you bill for your patient services? Can you consider working part-time for your current employer to allow time and transition in starting your own business? In Kentucky, as well as many other states, diabetes education services are mandated through private insurance. The final rule on Medicare coverage for diabetes education and supplies was published in 2001. Learning what it takes to be a provider is important. Even if the mandate is the same, interpretation may vary among health coverage providers. Knowing the requirements and getting them in writing was essential for our diabetes education service billing. In our case, obtaining “recognition” as an American Diabetes Association Education Service requires a nurse and dietitian as instructors.
Put First Things First
What things are necessary to get started? How much equity do you have to invest? Do you need start-up money? Where do you get it? What types of professional items do you need to get started? Local governments, universities, public libraries and your local chamber of commerce can usually direct you to resources that help small business owners with organization, resources, taxes and even dealing with legal issues. Many of the services are affordable and some even free. The Small Business Services may have a Web site that can be useful from your home or office setting.
Be professional — do you need a logo? Do you have stationery? Do you have an invoice for billing? Many computer programs are available to help you develop professional documents.