Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Going Solo? 10 Pearls For Success

Now that I have been solo for 2 1/2 years and feel that I have traversed the valley of death successfully, I can look back with some perspective and understand some of the important decisions I made that enabled me to get to where I am today.

In no particular order:
  1. Start small: preserving capital is critical. Most businesses fail because they run out of money before cash flow starts to take over.
  2. Develop a business plan: this will serve as your road map and guiding vision and will help you make important decisions when the future is uncertain.
  3. Go EMR: whether you purchase one or make your own, these systems have major advantages for small sized practices.
  4. Build up a nest egg: For most of people, the decision to go solo is made over years, not days. This should give you enough time to build up a cash reserve that can get you through the first 6 to 8 months. If you can't save it, then getting adequate loans in important. best of all, save it yourself, then take out a loan and use the bank's money.
  5. Surround yourself with good employees: staff turnover is lethal. When you find good people, reward them and retain them.
  6. Invest into the practice: as money starts coming in, rather than take a vacation, invest some of it back into the practice, say, for new billing software, new equipment, advertising, etc.
  7. Network: This is not only important as a good source of referral business, but you can learn from others who have "done it" and have overcome challenges that you now face.
  8. Study: read business books and do your homework. It will pay off dividends.
  9. Get on the web. Web presence is critical.
  10. Have fun: if you don't enjoy the process, you will certainly fail.
Good luck.