Connect with us

Start-up Advice

How do I Start a Primary Healthcare Business?

Growing demand for better healthcare offers opportunities.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

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.

[box style=”gray,info” ]

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.

[/box]

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

[box style=”gray,info” ]

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.

[/box]

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Start-up Advice

Put On Your Wellies: It’s Time To Wade Into Risk

Entrepreneurs aren’t all leaping into the unknown like lemmings off a cliff, but they do need to consider it…

Chris Ogden

Published

on

risk-management-rain-boots

You’ve had a great idea. You’ve looked into its development. You’ve recognised that it has potential beyond just what Auntie Mabel and Mike From The Grocer think. And you’ve clearly nailed a pain point that can make money. Now it is time to take the risk of running with it.

Every big idea comes with risk. You can’t step out into the world of entrepreneurial thinking and business development without it. Your idea may fail. It will also be time consuming, demanding, hungry for money, and hard work. It is unrealistic to expect that your project will leap out into the world and be an unmitigated success.

It is also unrealistic to assume that it isn’t worth taking this risk.

There are steps that you can follow to ensure that your risk is managed so you aren’t blindly leaping off that cliff…

Step 01: Do your research

No, canvassing your neighbours, friends and family is not doing research. You need to know that your idea will appeal to a broad market and that it will have significant legs. This may sound like daft advice, but you would be surprised how many people think an idea will take off just because Susan in Accounting said so.

Step 02: Understand the costs

Projects are hungry for money and investment. Realistically work out your budgets and how much it will cost to take your project off the ground and then stick to it.

A calculated risk is a far better bet than one that shoots from the hip and hopes for the best. You can also use this as an opportunity to draw a clear line under where you will stop investing and end the project. If it keeps eating money and isn’t getting anywhere with results you need to be able to walk away.

Step 03: Know when to walk away

As mentioned before, this can be defined by a line you’ve drawn in the proverbial sand (and budget) but no matter where you draw this line, you have to stick to it. Often, when time, money and energy have been poured into a project it can be incredibly hard to walk away.

You think ‘but I have put so much into this, just one more’ and then it gets to a point where the ‘just one more’ has taken you so far down the line that walking away feels impossible. Leave. Learn the lessons. Apply them to your next project.

Continue Reading

Start-up Advice

Mind The Gap

The entrepreneur’s guide to finding the gaps and building the right solutions.

Chris Ogden

Published

on

entrepreneurship-gap

Innovation may very well be the key to business success but finding the gap into which your innovative thinking can fit is often a lot harder than people realise. Some may be struck by inspiration in the shower, others by that moment of blinding insight in a meeting, however, for most people finding that big idea isn’t that simple. They want to be an entrepreneur and start their own high-growth business, but they need some ideas on how to find that big idea.

Here are five…

1. Network

It sounds trite but networking is actually an excellent way of picking up on patterns and trends in conversation and business problems. The trick is to note them down and pay attention. Soon, you will find patterns emerging and ideas forming.

2. Look for pain

Just as networking can reveal trends in the market, so can spending time reading. The latter will also help you find common business pain points. These are the touchpoints that frustrate people, annoy business owners, affect productivity, or impact employee engagement.

Be the Panado that fixes these pains.

3. Luck

luck

This is probably the most annoying of the ideas, but it is unfortunately (or fortunately) very true. Luck does play a role in helping you capture that big idea. However, luck isn’t just standing around and random people offering you opportunities. Luck is found at networking events, it is found in research and it is found in conversations with other entrepreneurs.

4. Luck needs courage

You may have found the big idea through your network, a pain point or pure blind luck, but if you don’t have the courage to take it and run with it, you will lose it to someone else.

Being bold in business is highly underrated because most people assume that everyone is bold and prepared to take big leaps into the unknown. However, not all brilliant entrepreneurs were ready to throw their family funds to the wind and leap into an idea – they were courageous enough to figure out a way of harnessing their ideas realistically.

5. Pay attention

This is probably one of the most vital ways of finding a gap in the market. Often, people are so busy that they don’t really pay attention to that niggling issue that always bothers them on a commute, or in a mall, or at a meeting. This niggling issue could very well be the next big business opportunity. Pay attention to it and find out if that issue can be solved with your innovative thinking.

Continue Reading

Start-up Advice

5 Things To Know About Your “Toddler” Business

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind.

Catherine Black

Published

on

small-business-start-up

Ah, toddlers. Those irresistible bundles of joy bring a huge amount of energy, curiosity and fun to any family – but there’s also frustration and worry that comes with their unpredictability, as they grow and start to become more independent. If you own a business and it’s successfully past its “infancy” of the first year or so, it’s likely it will also go through a toddler stage of its lifecycle.

Pete Hammond, founder of luxury safari company SafariScapes, agrees with this. “Our business is now three and a half years old, and we’ve found that we’re not yet big enough to justify employing a large team of people to handle the day-to-day admin tasks, yet we still need to grow the business as well,” he says. “As a result, our main challenge is finding the time to step back and see the bigger picture. Kind of like when you are raising a busy toddler and you spend most of your time running after them!”

As you navigate this new toddler phase of your business, here are five things to bear in mind:

1. This too shall pass

Everything in life is temporary – and that goes for both the good and the bad. It’s as helpful to remember this when you’re facing the might of a toddler temper tantrum, as it is when you’re facing throws of uncertainty in your business. If your new(ish) venture is going through a rough patch in its first few years, it can be easy to think about giving up – but don’t. As long as you have an overall big idea that you believe can add value to your customers, keep pushing through the rough parts until you come out the other side.

2. Appreciate what this phase brings

The toddler years mean that the initial newborn joy is officially behind you. But these small humans also bring their own kinds of joy, as you watch them learn new skills, say funny things, and give affection back to you. While your two-year-old business may not hold the same exhilaration for you as it did during those first few months, there are now different things to appreciate about it: Maybe you’re expanding your product range, or employing new people who can take the workload off you.

3. Establish boundaries

Toddlers thrive on boundary and routine – and your toddler business will too. As it grows into a new phase, try and establish limits in terms of the type of clients you want to work with and the type of work you’ll do. It’s also a good idea to make a decision about the hours you’ll work and when you’ll switch off, which will help you establish a good work-life balance.

4. Take a break

Every parent with a toddler needs a break every now and then, even if that means a walk around the block (on your own!), a dinner out with friends, or even a few days away. The same is true for a demanding small business: every so often, remember to take time out to rest properly, where you switch off your laptop and completely unplug. You’ll return much more inspired and resilient to deal with the everyday uncertainty that it brings.

5. Give it space to make mistakes

While the unpredictability of a young business can be stressful and tiring, it’s also a time for trying new things without the risk of huge consequences if they don’t quite work. After all, it’s much simpler to change your USP if you’re a small business employing a few people, rather than a big company where 50 people are relying on you for their salary, or where you’ve received a huge amount of investment capital. While you may fail in some of the things you try with your business (in fact, this is almost guaranteed), see it as a toddler that’s resilient enough to pick itself up, dust its knees and keep moving forward.

During this phase of business growth it’s also essential to have the right type of medical aid cover. There are medical schemes such as Fedhealth which has a number of medical aid options and value-added benefits to ensure that your health and wellness is taken care of too. After all, the healthier you and your staff are, the more productive your business will be – during the toddler (business) stage and beyond.

While this phase can be frustrating, it’s a sign that your business is growing and adapting, rather than remaining in its infancy, and that can only be a good thing! So embrace the difficulties, learn from them, and watch as your business strides forward confidently into the next exciting phase.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending