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Start-up Advice

How do I Start a Primary Healthcare Business?

Growing demand for better healthcare offers opportunities.

Entrepreneur

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Healthcare

Entering the business of healthcare can be daunting. It’s a huge industry with a variety of sectors and challenges. Healthcare related businesses face all of the generic challenges of business, as well as certain legal, moral and ethical issues while pursuing growth and profitability. An area with the most potential and activity at present is primary healthcare (PHC).

This is the provision of basic care including preventative, curative and rehabilitative services, typically outside a hospital, with the aim of preventing and treating disease holistically and at an earlier stage, thereby reducing cost and complications.

Private providers are increasingly important in the provision of PHC in Africa, and help to relieve pressure on public services while improving the quality of PHC. They also help to facilitate broader socio-economic benefits of improvements in health.

5 Reasons to Consider Primary Healthcare as a Business

1. Size and growth potential

The growing middle class in Africa is increasing demand for higher quality healthcare services, and is able to pay for them. In South Africa, there are about 42 million uninsured individuals, about four million of whom are employed and regularly purchase (out-of-pocket) private PHC services. In addition, as the NHI is implemented, opportunities to become accredited private providers of PHC packages will arise with the potential customer-base comprising all uninsured individuals, irrespective of their affordability.

2. Global focus and policy shift

There is a movement to shift the focus of healthcare delivery from hospitals to the primary healthcare space, based on mounting evidence that PHC is the most cost-effective way of delivering healthcare and improving health. Investments are being made in innovation, funding, policy and legislation, and partnerships within this space are increasing, creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

3. Challenges

There is substantial scope for innovation and creativity in what appears to be a highly regulated sector. If you master the regulatory environment, you’re likely to become successful.

4. Lack of business focus

Healthcare professionals require highly advanced technical expertise and skills to provide care. However, this often means that they feel unable to impact the healthcare system on a broader scale because of limitations in their business and other skills. By combining business skills with sector experience, one can build a successful business.

The business side of healthcare is not the exclusive preserve of experienced professionals, and entrepreneurs are desperately needed to help create and drive the required innovations. 

5. Potential for social impact

The social impact of healthcare cannot be over-emphasised. There are few more important factors in socio-economic development than improvements in health, and few better areas in which to invest if one seeks to improve it.

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Entering Healthcare

Healthcare_Starting-a-business

What are the practical steps required to enter this market? The lessons are based on our experience in healthcare, but apply to most entrepreneurial ventures.

1. Marry opportunity with passion

Find a niche in the healthcare sector that aligns with your passion and interests. This will get you through the tough times.

2. Act

Your business idea is almost worthless without action and the ability to implement it.

3. Be strategic in your partnerships

If you do not have healthcare experience, find a partner who does. If you’re a healthcare professional find yourself a good business partner, but have a honeymoon period with a clearly defined ‘divorce’ agreement in case things go sour.

4. Know what you are offering and believe in it

Starting a business in healthcare is the same as starting a business in any other sector.

5. What need do you fulfill

To attract clients, your value offering must be clearly defined and you must be able to solve a problem or cater for a need. Understand who the clients are and how your business model works and fits into that.

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Focus

Focus is an asset, but this does not mean forgetting the bigger picture and how your business fits into it.

1. Financing

There are many funding mechanisms available for the healthcare sector, but navigate them carefully. Joining an established SME and helping it grow is an option for attracting investment at an earlier stage. As in any relationship, do not forget to clearly define aspects of ownership, responsibility and roles in the business. 

2. Prioritise resource use

Spend all your time and resources on finding clients and delivering a phenomenal service or product to them. Forget fancy phones or nice offices – ensure income is greater than expenses. 

3. Research and mentorship

If you have trouble finding a niche, reach out to people in the industry. Invite healthcare executives for a coffee and ask them what service or product they need and if they would be prepared to pay for it. Get them to guide you as you prepare to sell or package your offering.

4. Network

Attend functions, forums, events and follow up on every person you meet. Keep a record of every encounter so that you always find the right person, and use your networking to help other business people or entrepreneurs. One day they will repay you the kindness.

5. Collaborate

Learn the power of collaboration and co-operation: Share your knowledge and resources. The healthcare sector, particularly primary healthcare, is highly fragmented and it is through collaboration that synergy and efficiency is created, which improves services to patients, lowers costs and increases business opportunities and profits for companies.

The Opportunities

PHC is a vast sector of businesses involved in the direct provision of care as well as delivering key services and products in support of providers:

  • A variety of clinics
  • Retirement homes
  • Nursing agencies
  • Manufacturing
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Training
  • Occupational health
  • Consultancy and software companies

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Examples of Primary Healthcare Businesses

From bicycle-delivered medicines to delivering babies, see how entrepreneurs are tapping in to primary healthcare.

To your door medicine delivery

Iyeza-Express_Healthcare-in-SA

Started in 2013, Iyeza Express is the brain-child of young entrepreneur Sizwe Nzima, that sees chronic medications at government hospitals and clinics delivered to patients’ doors. Nzima realised the need for the delivery service from helping his grandparents. He now has approximately 250 clients who pay R10 per collection.

Delivering bundles of joy affordably

Jacaranda Health is a Kenya-based social enterprise that is a fully self-sustaining and scaleable chain of maternity clinics. These clinics provide high quality maternity and child-health services to poor urban woman at costs that are between 30% and 70% cheaper than other facilities in the country.

See more at www.jacarandahealth.org

Hello HealthCare

Hello HealthCare was formed in 2007 by five entrepreneurs, including York Zucchi. The company offers integrated healthcare services by pulling together different private healthcare sectors to provide primary healthcare.

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Company Posts

3 Companies With Memorable Slogans, And How To Create Your Own

Three companies that have enjoyed these benefits as a result of creating memorable business slogans are Nike, Carlsberg, and Apple. Let’s look at each one now.

Jeff Broth

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A good slogan serves many valuable roles in business. First, it reinforces recognition of your brand. After hearing it a few times, your consumer instantly thinks of you when hearing it again. If it’s catchy enough, they may even find themselves saying or singing it in their head, reinforcing your brand even more.

Slogans also share a little bit about your company. For instance, if your slogan is funny, it says you have a sense of humor. If it contains your goal or mission, it tells the consumer what is important to you. Some slogans share the problems the company is trying to solve or the consumer its trying to help, making it easier to identify the target market.

Finally, a slogan sets you apart from your competitors. It differentiates you from all of the other companies who offer similar services to you. And if it’s memorable enough, it puts you ahead of them in your consumer’s minds.

Three companies that have enjoyed these benefits as a result of creating memorable business slogans are Nike, Carlsberg, and Apple. Let’s look at each one now.

Company #1: Nike – Just Do It

nike

Though many people use Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan as a reminder that they can do amazing things if they just put their mind to it, its author, Dan Wieden, reports that this line actually has a grim beginning.

In fact, it was an idea he derived from a statement made by Gary Gilmore, a double murderer who, before being executed by a firing squad exclaimed, “Let’s do it!” Still, it has stuck in consumer’s minds and is undoubtedly one of the most memorable slogans of all time.

Related: Registering a Trademark

Company #2: Carlsberg – That Calls for a Carlsberg

Carlsberg

Initially, Carlsberg’s slogan was ‘probably the best beer in the world.’ Many consumers came to know and love this slogan; however, in 2011, the company rebranded and created a new slogan: ‘That Calls for a Carlsberg.” The goal of this new slogan, according to CEO Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen, was to encourage the consumer to do good things and then enjoy a Carlsberg after as a reward for a job well done. Both have stuck in the minds of consumers, albeit with some discrepancy as to which one is most preferred.

Company #3: Apple – Think Different

apple

Apple is a company known for thinking (and creating) outside the lines, so its ‘Think Different’ slogan fits it perfectly. According to Rob Siltanen, creative director and managing partner at the company that helped design this Apple pitch, though there are many accounts of how this slogan was created, its true inventor is Craig Tanimoto. Siltanen says that Tanimoto came up with the idea to use black and white photos of some of the most revolutionary people and events of all time and, atop each one, simply display the words ‘Think Different.’ Catchy, right?

Related: Smart Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses

How to Create Your Own Memorable Slogan

These are just three examples of how creating a memorable slogan can help your company get — and stay — in the minds of your consumer. So, how do you come up with this type of campaign?

One option is to get some of your company’s best talent together and see what slogans you can come up with. Have everyone submit one or two ideas and talk them out. See if any jump out at you and, if not, use them to inspire you to come up with even more possible ideas.

Another alternative is using a slogan generator. This enables you to come up with a simple, memorable slogan using keywords related to your brand. Just go through the list and of results and see which ones stand out. You could even pick your top two or three and let your social media followers vote as to which one you should select.

If you find yourself at a dead end and unable to come up with a memorable slogan, or if you lack the creativity or the time, you can also hire a marketing firm to help. Give them a little insight about your company and see what slogans they create. It may cost you some money to take this route but, as companies like Nike, Carlsberg, and Apple have taught us, a good slogan can really propel your brand.

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Start-up Advice

Dear Family And Friends Of Entrepreneurs…

Young entrepreneurs often struggle to establish their businesses as they are not getting the support they need. Sometimes it is not only the obvious support of financiers and supply change developers which is lacking –but also not having that critical “home-ground support” can negatively affect the success of your venture. How can family and friends support entrepreneurs?

Lusanele Mahlutshana

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Entering the market as a newbie entrepreneur is a brave step, and having your family and friends share in your vision for success is critical.  Once you have convinced them that being an entrepreneur is in fact “a real job” – one that requires a lot more sacrifices and hard work than a salaried worker – you can continue to encourage them to support your journey, to ultimately share in your success.

Get a job

In some communities, being an entrepreneur is not recognised as a profession. Therefore, those who pursue enterprise development are seen as irresponsible or lazy as it is not regarded as ‘real’ employment. Societal pressure to attain certain material possessions thus prevents them from pursuing their true passion.

This kind of resistance discourages a lot of entrepreneurs, making their pursuit for success even more difficult.

Related: How To Deal With Unsupportive Friends And Family

Finding out who your real friends are

Financial support is the most obvious support needed by entrepreneurs due to a lack of capital and start-up funding, as well as irregular payments and long periods of being cashless due to procurement holdups and fluctuation in the market for your product or service. Not everyone will stick with you in these times – and that’s OK. You may end up finding out who your real friends are, and these are the people who will give you emotional and social support to keep you focused and motivated.

“I know a guy….”

Another issue is friends and family looking for discounted prices as they know the owner. This means that they don’t see the value of the product or service, nor do they respect the owner. By asking for products and services for free, or at a reduced price, they end up taking advantage of their relationship with the entrepreneur and do not financially support his/her the business.

Related: How To Immigrate With Your Family By Starting A Business In The UK

So, if you have friends or family who are business owners, set an example by supporting them in the following ways:

  • Be willing to pay the full price of the product or service offered.
  • Be kind when giving negative feedback – make sure it is constructive.
  • Compliment them on good products or service. Share positive reviews on your social media pages.
  • Share and promote their business among other people.
  • Be patient and willing to help them establish their businesses.

Be prepared to listen to their dreams, hopes and frustrations. Sometimes, they just need an ear to vent about a bad day. Support them with a word of encouragement to keep going.

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Start-up Advice

Why Embrace The Struggle?

Entrepreneurial success hinges on your ability to approach challenges with the right mindset.

Gil Sperling

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Self-help and business coaching advice is littered with platitudes, which makes it difficult for entrepreneurs to know what they should take to heart. However, one universal truism that most successful entrepreneurs attribute to their success is their willingness and ability to endure the struggle.

It’s a lesson I learnt first-hand when building our ad-tech and Facebook Marketing Partner business, Popimedia. One of our sternest tests came when we moved into new premises and took on more staff to accommodate our exponential growth. Then, amid new and significant financial commitments, some of our pipeline never materialised.

It was at this time that my son was born, and our family had just moved into a new house. To preserve the business, we were forced into retrenchments and directors didn’t take a salary for a while. And, with a lower head count it became difficult to deliver on client deadlines. Needless to say, my personal and professional level of discomfort was at an all-time high.

We reviewed our operations and streamlined where we could. More importantly, though, the experience taught us a number of invaluable lessons.

Lesson #1: Reframe your context

Our leadership approach, our business mindset and our attitude needed to be drastically reframed.

There is a quote that has always stuck with me, which is: “The antithesis of comfort is struggle.”

Related: 6 Of The Most Profitable Small Businesses In South Africa

I believe a person is moulded by the way they deal with struggle. That’s why I’ve always been inclined to welcome a proverbial punch to the face, and use as a mantra the phrase, “comfortable being uncomfortable”.

Being “uncomfortable” forced Popimedia into rapid innovation – and it was this innovation that led to a sea-change in the business. We learned how to scale, how to improve service levels, how to do what we do better, faster, more efficiently.

As a result, and without increasing our staff complement, our year-on-year growth has topped 100%. What was, at the time, the business’s greatest challenge became its greatest ally, and our biggest lesson.

Lesson #2: Fail fast, and learn from it

Obviously, this approach is not about making life difficult for the sake of personal and professional growth. It’s about understanding what is: expecting it to be difficult and taking a constructive approach towards failure and struggle.

There is one guarantee in business: you will experience failures, and you will struggle.

Central to this is your ability to recognise your failures for what they are, and quickly. This allows for a rejigging of processes, attitudes, operations, and sometimes even objectives.

My personal attitude to failure was reframed by simple sales stats. I came to understand that rejection was inevitable – but when it does happen, it brings with it opportunities. I always ask: “Why don’t you want my product? How is it not meeting your needs?” This way, “failure” is transformed into an opportunity to better understand the market and my clients.

This feedback loop has proved crucial, and allowed us to become what we are.

As an entrepreneur, the pressure never ends and you’ll never ‘arrive’. At Popimedia, we’ve come to embrace every opportunity that takes us out of our comfort zone. Working through failure is the foundation on which the entrepreneurial spirit is forged. It is the willingness to try again following a rejection, or to keep grafting knowing that there’s no guarantee of a pay cheque at the end of the month.

And doing so with the ‘chutzpah’ – the sheer audacity – to endure the hardship through mental toughness and a passion for what you do, becomes your greatest asset, because when you get comfortable, you become complacent… and complacency will work you into irrelevance.

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