Are you thinking about using your expertise as a nurse to launch a business? Do you have innovative ideas about patient care? Are you eager to create a new opportunity at the forefront of health care that is independent, flexible, and profitable?

Perhaps owning your own business is your next move.

As a nurse entrepreneur, you control everything, from your calendar and career path to your success or failure. Whether you plan to launch a nursing education business, work as a legal nurse consultant, start a community-based elder care business, or sell products, growing a profitable business requires information, inspiration, and insight into industry needs.

So what do you need to know and do to avoid costly mistakes?

Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset.Thinking like a business owner instead of an employee, is essential, says Michelle Podlesn, RN, president of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA) and author of Unconventional Nurse: Going from Burnout to Bliss! “When you realize you are your business, you start looking at everything with fresh eyes from that viewpoint. And yes, every nurse can adopt it. In my book, I ask nurses to make this paradigm shift so that they can strengthen and prosper their careers, regardless of their setting,” says Podlesni,

Create a business plan. It can be simple, but having one is essential.  In short, it’s a description of your business goals and the strategies you will use to meet them. Update and revise when necessary.

Clarify your business focus or niche. Be clear about your idea’s scope and target audience. Who are your intended customers for your services or products?

Research market place need. Ensure a market exists for what you want to do with your business. Do a market analysis to help you see potential opportunities and threats as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.

Find a mentor. Relationships matter. Get a mentor you trust and respect to brainstorm ideas. Learn from his or her mistakes and setbacks. When you are ready to take your business to the next level, consider a business coach.

Keep learning. Developing your business skills is a wise move. Running a business requires skills in marketing, negotiating, and branding. Read widely, attend conferences, take classes, and consider a certificate program on innovation and entrepreneurship.

For resources, including mentors, check out the NNBA, a professional nursing association for nurses transitioning from traditional nursing to small business ownership and self-employment.

As a nurse, you are keenly aware of what needs to be fixed to improve patient care. As a nurse entrepreneur, you can provide solutions and advance patient care while being your own boss. Are you ready?

Robin Farmer

Robin Farmer covers health, business, and education as a freelance journalist. Visit her online at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.

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