Even before the worst of the coronavirus has the United States, the experts have worried about the burden on the public health care system and the need for entrepreneurs to help fill in the gaps with services and technology that can make a difference. A self-sustaining economy finds its future in expanded self-directed business ownership, and health entrepreneurship is providing opportunities to earn profits while making a difference in society. Extreme interest in moving into this field should always be balanced by thorough research. Making a mark in this field is more than just having a passion and drive for change. A health entrepreneur can face problems with investment hurdles, corporate or government regulations, pervasive bureaucracy, and multinational competition from billion-dollar corporations. To have a plausible hope of success in the field, your entrepreneurship journey needs to start with the following actions.
Conduct Market Research and Need Analysis
Before you can join the field, you need to assess what the needs in the market are. Don’t limit your exploration to what you want to do or a product think is a ticket to a better future for healthcare. Start with the local demand for services or health products, but then expand your analysis to see is there is similar demand in other regions or territories. Like Harry Stylli, who with his company made progress with non-invasive diagnostic testing for Down’s Syndrome, you can carve out a niche in a market that hasn’t been fully explored. You will be successful when you can connect your services or products to customers experiencing a gap in what is currently available. Look into underdeveloped regions, if your community is thriving in the area of healthcare access and research. Your interest then becomes socially relevant, as a new facility or program will have a direct impact on an underserved demographic. This presents potential when you are looking for investors.
Carefully Evaluate Investment Options
Investors are often the initial bread and butter of an entrepreneurial venture, but finding the right one is difficult, no matter what industry you are exploring. Within the healthcare field, it is imperative that you find an individual who can identify with your passion and vision. They need to see the profit potential, but they also need to see how you can make impacting advancements in health science areas. Ideally, you will be looking for an investor that already has significant experience working in healthcare, as first-hand knowledge of the regulatory limitations, the licensing challenges, and the needs of the market can save you a lot of headache from trial and error decision-making. Depending on the reputation of your investor, you may also gain access to well-known health or academic organization, extended professional network, and potential validation in marketing and brand awareness campaigns.
Decide Between Profit and Moral Conscience
When you open a business in healthcare, you are faced with a moral dilemma of operating a profitable business or fulfilling your social responsibility to make a difference in the welfare of individuals all around you. For the consumer, there is a widespread lack of affordable, quality treatments and services. You will find this to be true in areas with low-income populations and rural settings. You may not be the most expensive product on the market, but you have to consider your impact and affordability for the community you are services. You may not be opening a free clinic, but by working with an NGO, having some of your employees volunteer for certain projects, or donating products to different needs can help satisfy your moral conscience and social responsibility. If you are able to operate cost-effectively, you can operate in the private sector with affordable services that promote preventive and curative measures for leading health issues, such as premature births, the opioid epidemic, or mental health services.
Plan for Technological Assistance
Technology changes the playing field of any industry almost every day, and healthcare is no exception. You need to make plans to incorporate tech from the moment you design your business, but you also need to keep up with the trends if you are going to remain profitable and efficient. Online patient or client portals, digital health records, social media marketing campaigns, telemedicine, and AI-powered assistance can transform your ability to meet consumer needs. Keep innovation on the list of priorities for your company, and always ask how you can gain a competitive advantage or improve services through creative innovation.
Be Optimistic, but Realistic
You will be the driving force behind your business, and how you proceed will speak volumes to the rest of the industry. Know your limitations and rely on the help of experienced professionals for support. Start small, then work your way to new outlets or markets. Above all, don’t forget the reason for joining the field. Focus on the balance between your social responsibility and the need to stay profitable.