Bootstrapping your physician start-up can at times seem like an overwhelming task. But with med school loans to pay off and business and daily expenses, it can be hard to come by the extra cash needed to fund your start-up.
Fortunately the Internet has come to our rescue with a huge array of services to help launch most low-overhead physician businesses relatively quickly. Using these resources will allow you to gain clients, network with your peers, prepare legal documents, and keep accurate notes. Here are a few of my favorites:
My overall favorite "extra brain" (that doesn't seem to suffer from menopause!!
Working as a physician consultant often means having to juggle a lot of balls at the same time. Evernote makes keeping track of what you are doing much simpler. This is an online tool that allows you to file away web pages and documents or emails, write notes, snap a photo or record your thoughts on audio. Two of the best things about Evernote are a. that it is searchable and b. that it syncs across all of your devices. That means if you own a tablet, a laptop, smart phone and a desktop, you can have access to your files ("Notebooks") no matter which one you are using.
2. 99 Designs
First impressions are crucial. According to recent research from Princeton University it takes only one tenth of a second for us to form an initial impression. This is especially true in the online environment where websites are constantly competing for viewer’s attention.
Therefore you want to make sure your website looks as good as possible. Hiring a website designer can be difficult or expensive. 99Designs is a creative solution - a marketplace for designers. Using 99 designs, you first submit a design brief (banner, logo, ebook cover etc), and then dozens of designers provide their ideas for your design. You select the one that you like and voila ... the designer completes the task.
3. Email marketing
Email marketing is one of the best ways of nurturing leads and educating them about your physician business or consulting services. Email autoresponder services allow you to automate this process and deliver prewritten emails to prospects who choose to receive them. A couple of examples include Constant Contact, Mailchimp and Aweber -- all an easy-to-use autoresponder services which feature great-looking email templates. They are either free or low-cost to sign up with and so there really is no reason not to get started.
Whether you are looking to network with peers or to find clients, LinkedIn should be your first destination. Unlike other social networks, LinkedIn is all about business. LinkedIn offers a wide variety of groups in the healthcare industry which you can join and contribute your well-thought-out and useful content. No need to even have a blog, if you don't want one. LinkedIn also offers an advertising platform which allows you to target users by their job title, seniority, location, industry and company.
As a physician business owner or consultant, you will need legal documentation, from website terms and conditions through incorporation papers to partnership or vendor agreements. LegalZoom is an online service that enables users to create their own legal documents. This significantly reduces your costs compared to those of having a lawyer prepare the documents for you.
While these resources are fantastic for bootstrapping a physician business start-up, they are by no means the only ones. The Internet has made it easier than ever to launch a start-up without the barrier of prohibitively expensive services.
And what other resources have YOU found invaluable for your non-clinical physician business?