According to Rock Health, a venture fund for health technology startups, funding for new digital healthcare companies is on pace to surpass $4.7 billion in 2017. There are a plethora of opportunities in this field for those who are thinking of starting a business and taking advantage of the changing healthcare environment. The following tips can assist graduates in applying their business management skills and healthcare industry insight as entrepreneurs.
1. Address a Specific Need or Problem
There are many ways in which the business and delivery of healthcare can be improved. From small-scale problems specific to the individual practice to much larger obstacles that hinder countries or entire populations in need. One of the keys to launching a successful business in the healthcare sector is having a strong focus on providing a useful solution to a specific, existing problem. It is not necessary to be the first company to tackle a certain problem, however, having a clear focus shows a new company is relevant and has the potential to stand out from the competition. A sharp business focus will also help garner support from investors and shareholders during the initial fundraising stages. Healthcare MBA courses such as Marketing, Global Perspectives, and Decision Making & Data Analysis can be beneficial in identifying the opportunity.
2. Understand Laws and Regulations
In healthcare, it is critical for entrepreneurs who are starting a new venture to learn which laws apply to their business. This can be a daunting task, especially in the highly regulated healthcare sector. It is important to begin with an understanding of compliance issues. Healthcare regulations are constantly changing and new laws are being introduced, which is particularly true for digital and information technology markets. Some business owners may find it useful to employ policy management software, to keep managers and employees up to date. Businesses that pay attention to, and stay in compliance with, industry regulations will continue to see benefits and experience a competitive advantage over other startups that are not compliant. Healthcare MBA courses such as Business Ethics and Public Policy and Operations Management can be beneficial in understanding and implementing compliance.
3. Build a Knowledgeable Team
A high-performance, knowledgeable team can help startups move past the early stages of uncertainty to become successful, competitive businesses. Due to the vast amount of information in healthcare, there is not a single business owner or entrepreneur who will be able to tackle every problem that arises. A key strategy is to assemble a diverse team that possesses varying critical skill sets. This will not only provide the startup with valuable insight and innovation in many areas of the business, but it will take the pressure off an owner who feels confident enough to rely on team members. Healthcare MBA courses such as Organizations and Human Capital and Strategic Management can be beneficial in identifying the opportunity.
4. Work with the Major Businesses in the Industry
Some entrepreneurs work to establish themselves independently in their chosen industry or find niche areas in the market that enables them to be the first or only major player. However, those starting businesses in healthcare have to contend with sizeable entities and companies such as regulators, hospital systems, insurers, pharmaceutical providers and more. Because these organizations are well established and likely hold influence in the industry, it would benefit entrepreneurs to know who they are and how to work with them. Applying this strategy can facilitate a young business in finding its footing and speeding up its ability to perform at the next level. The essential skills and network gained from Healthcare MBA can be beneficial in facilitating these connections.
5. Implement a Marketing Strategy
Once a new healthcare business has determined the unique way it will fulfill an industry need, it can leap the competition by creating a strong marketing strategy. Companies can start by defining their target audience. For example, does the product or service help patients find a certain type of medical care, or is it a valuable resource for doctors to help them save time and costs? The next step involves developing goals — such as increasing sales or name awareness — and implementing a plan to achieve them. It is also important to routinely evaluate the marketing strategy and make adjustments as necessary. Healthcare MBA courses such as Marketing and Financial Accounting can be beneficial in setting and managing return on investment goals.
6. Be Prepared for Challenges
While having a detailed business and marketing plan benefits startups, entrepreneurs should be aware there will always be a number of unforeseen challenges to overcome. Many areas of healthcare are rapidly innovating, especially those involving digital and information technology. As these new technologies converge with established healthcare companies and systems, there will be new concerns to be addressed in areas ranging from cybersecurity to energy efficiency, from regulatory dynamics to supply chain management and far beyond. Healthcare MBA courses such as Operations Management and Global Perspectives can be beneficial in preparing readiness plans and proactively address trends.
7. Be Open to Learn from Others
The ever-changing landscape of healthcare, and the challenges that come with it, require entrepreneurs to be flexible and to be open to gain insight where they can. Chances are, there are other companies in the field who are working toward similar goals. Entrepreneurs can reap significant rewards by listening to, and learning from, the successes and failures of other business owners.
Starting a business takes more than just having a good idea. It also requires a willingness to learn from those who are successful, and from one’s own mistakes. There are many unique obstacles for startups in the healthcare sector, just as there are many exciting opportunities. Graduates who hold a Healthcare Master of Business Administration should be prepared to tackle these obstacles and embrace opportunities to develop successful companies.
As healthcare evolves, so can your career. Start by forming a clear strategy. At George Washington University, our online Healthcare MBA draws insights from elite faculty leaders based in the nation’s capital. As a pioneer in the industry, this program is designed to help professionals expand upon decades of experience to hone specialized expertise — and it has helped graduates succeed for more than 15 years.