For any aspiring entrepreneur, the healthcare sector can be a lucrative and empowering place to conduct your business. Always in need, healthcare remains a stable part of the economy and a huge source of financial liquidity in the US. In fact, firms and households spent 10% of GDP on healthcare in 2018.
Individual entrepreneurs can break into this valuable and essential market to tap into this flow of revenues. At the same time, providing products and services to care providers or patients can make a difference in care that leaves entrepreneurs with a greater sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
However, it is important not to enter the healthcare market blindly. Aspiring entrepreneurs must consider where they can make an impact, what skills and education they need to acquire, and potential obstacles to success if they want to create lucrative healthcare opportunities.
Here, we explore these needs and offer useful considerations for aspiring entrepreneurs and healthcare startups.
Exploring Needs and Niches
National healthcare spending is expected to grow 5.5% per year until 2027 when it will reach an estimated $6 trillion in value. This represents ample opportunity for all kinds of entrepreneurs to make a place for themselves in this growing sector of the economy. But doing the best requires exploration and careful planning.
The first thing you should do as an aspiring entrepreneur is to explore needs and niches within healthcare to find the best fit for your business model and ideas. All kinds of products and services supplement healthcare solutions. From technology to physical supplies for care providers and their patients, there is money to be made and good to be done from a product or service that can fill that need.
Every entrepreneur will bring with them a different skillset and product ideas. Fortunately, however, the medical field is broad, and all kinds of niches exist within it. Finding your niche can be the best way to begin your journey as a healthcare entrepreneur.
The healthcare sector is far from stagnant. New tech, treatments, supplies, and other innovations are being created and mass-produced all the time. For aspiring entrepreneurs, exploring these developments can be a great way to help find your niche and generate business ideas.
Here are the constantly growing areas of healthcare where your startup might see the most success:
The global healthcare IT market is valued at $74.2 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.7%. Entrepreneurs exploring the ways information technology can serve the healthcare market may be able to tap into this market growth, leading to valuable and helpful opportunities.
Entrepreneurs exploring a tech advantage should make a note of the following innovations and how they might be applied in healthcare:
- Blockchain systems for smoother and safer digital record keeping and information transfer.
- Artificial intelligence-powered tools for modeling and preventing data breaches.
- Internet of Things (IoT) wearables and sensors to monitor patient needs and collect data.
- Telemedicine assistive platforms and video analytics tools.
- Applications for increasing doctor-patient connectivity in an increasingly virtual world.
These technologies are some of the cutting-edge advancements of modern industry. Their application in healthcare can be a great way for entrepreneurs to find their niche.
New Medicines and Treatments
Times and attitudes towards a variety of treatment methods are changing. Marijuana is one great example of a medication that has proven its value in healthcare and is making its way into more markets. Medical marijuana now represents an $8 billion industry within the US, and the drug has only been made legal in some form in 33 states.
Exploring burgeoning medicines and treatments can be a great way for entrepreneurs to find a valuable business model in the healthcare field. Complementary and alternative medicines are another huge growth market, one that could present less of a challenge in acquiring proper FDA certifications.
Here are some of the new medicines and treatments gaining popularity in niche markets:
- Cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) products
- COVID-19 relief and treatment support
- Gene-specific drugs
No matter what role you might assume in creating, developing, or marketing medications and alternative treatments like these, the market is growing all the time. Consider these niches for beginning your healthcare journey.
Medical Supplies and Resources
The medical field consists of all kinds of needs, ranging from supplies to marketing. In the course of shifting business practices in the wake of COVID-19, this has meant additional personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as software and tools to make telemedicine possible.
The larger digital shift by consumers also requires additional marketing resources for care providers. Marketing in the modern healthcare industry means a unified brand, an accessible online presence, and a digital platform for communicating with patients and building referral networks. Entrepreneurs should consider providing marketing services to work alongside medical practices, taking them into the digital age.
As evidenced, the healthcare industry is a broad field. There is ample potential for all kinds of products and services in healthcare niches. Entrepreneurs must consider the scope of the market and find where their business models and ideas can best fit. Then, hone your skills to maximize the potential of your startup.
Building your Skillset
No matter what niche in the healthcare market you decide to pursue, the right skillset can help you achieve success and promote the best among the providers and patients you serve. While a college degree in your intended niche might go a long way in helping you develop these skills, higher education isn’t necessarily required to maximize your success. You can cultivate plenty of soft skills and industry experience with the right training and dedication.
Among the skills vital for healthcare entrepreneurs, the following three can help you in vitally any entrepreneurial endeavor. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- Develop your communication skills.
The importance of effective communication through great interpersonal skills cannot be overstated. Industry leaders in every sector of the economy rely on their ability to make themselves understood while building trust among their employees and colleagues. As an aspiring entrepreneur in the healthcare sector, you will need to cultivate the relationships necessary to network and market your business model for broad adoption.
Explore methods of developing your communication skills. From community classes to training modules available online, resources are out there to help you improve the way you communicate and empathize with other people. As a result, your ability to target and sell your products and services will improve.
- Brush up on industry-specific knowledge.
No entrepreneur will get very far without a comprehensive understanding of the industry they serve. Whether or not you have a background in the medical field, brushing up on your knowledge of practices and policies common to healthcare facilities can be useful for selling your services.
When you understand the needs and challenges of care providers and patients, you can better form a narrative around why your niche offering is useful. Not only is this important from a marketing perspective, but an awareness of the industry will help you improve your product or service overall.
- Improve your decision-making.
Finally, focus on honing your ability to make decisions based on objective analysis of data and situations. Every entrepreneur faces challenges both anticipated and unexpected. With a tried and true method of analyzing pros and cons, you can quickly navigate even the most difficult business decisions.
In the modern world, data is and should be one of the biggest drivers in making a decision. Improve your ability to collect and utilize data to ensure that the decisions you make for your healthcare startup achieve the most good.
Any entrepreneur who is capable of communication, industry specifics, and decision making stands a much better chance of achieving success within the healthcare field. The range of needs in this industry is broad, but these skills can help ensure the quality needed for widespread implementation of your product or service.
However, even the most skilled entrepreneur will encounter obstacles.
Overcoming Obstacles to Success
Healthcare can be a difficult field to work in for aspiring entrepreneurs with limited experience. Regulations require that privacy and confidentiality be maintained across healthcare records and technological platforms. Meanwhile, liability issues and established networks of providers and vendors can present obstacles in getting your foot in the door.
Amidst the challenges of a healthcare system attempting to shift to digital practices, cybercrime has spiked. The US loses $6 billion per year due to cyberattacks, with 94% of medical organizations reporting an attack. Overcoming this obstacle requires greater cybersecurity and data management solutions.
Additionally, healthcare startups have to ensure that they are complying with all relevant regulations. From the foundation of your business plan, you should be prepared with supporting documents like credentials, credit reports, letters of reference, and legal documents detailing the legitimacy of your practice. Pay close attention to HIPAA guidelines to ensure that your business can maintain compliance no matter the structure of your business model.
By demonstrating your professionalism and capabilities in the carefully regulated healthcare market, you stand a better chance of breaking through established provider-vendor relationships to give your startup a fair shot.
Getting there takes finding the right niche and developing a skill set that can accommodate the challenges of breaking into the healthcare sector. However, once you get there, you can build a valuable business foundation with the potential to make a real difference in people’s lives and health outcomes.