How to Start an Alternative Healthcare Business
by Caron_Beesley, Community Moderator
- Created: September 14, 2011, 9:54 am
- Updated: September 15, 2011, 9:29 am
Despite the current state of the economy, not all industries are struggling. In fact, some industries are experiencing significant growth - the alternative healthcare business is one of them. From chiropractors to naturopaths and acupuncturists, alternative treatments are gaining wider acceptance from both the public and insurance companies alike.
Writing in SmallBizTrends recently, Rieva Lesonsky, pinpointed alternative providers as one of a few growth industries to watch in the coming years. According to Lesonsky, the “industry’s revenue is forecast to grow by 4.3 percent annually for the next five years, reaching $14.4 billion by 2016.”
If you’re interested in starting an alternative or complementary healthcare business, here are some steps that will help you on your way and ensure you are properly complying with license, permit, and other regulatory requirements.
Research Your Market
First, keep in mind that any new business venture requires a solid bench of research behind it. This includes evaluating the marketplace, determining the need for your practice, and deciding whether you need to diversify your offering to stay competitive. For example, if you’re interested in starting a chiropractic business, could you add on yoga and relaxation classes to provide your clients with a full spectrum of holistic health services from one location?
What about You?
Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? You may have a passion for alternative health, but don’t forget that you must believe 100 percent in your product or service and be prepared to do much of the business heavy lifting, especially during the start-up phase. This quick Start-Up Assessment Toolfrom SBA can help you assess whether you are ready to start a business. If you are not sure business ownership is for you quite yet, you might want to consider easing into the business some other way.
Decide Where You Will Operate Your Business
Many alternative health care practitioners run their businesses from their homes, an office, or a spa-like environment. The following resources can help you make some critical business decisions about where your place of business will be, as well as the appropriate zoning laws that apply:
- Choosing a Business Location– This guide from the SBA includes tips on securing a commercial lease, tips for choosing a business location, zoning laws, and more
- Starting a Home-Based Business
Take Care of Business Start-Up Requirements
Other financial, planning, and regulatory steps that you will need to take care of as you start your business are covered in these 10 Steps to Starting a Business.
Get the Appropriate Licenses and Permits
All businesses, including home-based businesses, require appropriate permits and licenses. This handy tool from SBA can help pinpoint the exact licenses and permits you need based on your business type and location. It’s called Permit Me and covers a growing number of professions, if you don’t see yours listed, just select “General Licensing” and it will connect you with your state, city, and county requirements.
Research Certification and Training Requirements
Each practice area has its own certification and training programs. Research all the educational requirements that are required to secure any licenses and permits, including any type of certification and training that may be required. When building a staff, focus on hiring licensed employees with a proven track record of success.
Assess Your Insurance Needs
Every business is different and insurance needs vary greatly. To understand your needs, talk to an insurance agent or broker who is familiar with your business type. It’s likely you will need some form of general business insurance (to cover legal hassles due to accident, injuries, and claims of negligence) as well as commercial liability insurance (which protects your business against malpractice, errors, and negligence in provision of services to your customers). You should also protect your business property with commercial property insurance. This Business Insurance Guide from the SBA can help you understand more about business insurance and your options and obligations.
Explore Your Financing Options
SBA’s Loans and Grants Guide can help you determine your financial needs and explains the process of obtaining a small business loan.
- Starting and Managing a Business – A guide for small business owners and entrepreneurs from SBA
Useful Trade Associations
- American Chiropractic Association
- American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
- American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- American Massage Therapy Association
- American Institute of Homeopathy
- Reflexology Association of America
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