Are you considering opening a geriatric care management practice? I can’t tell you how many calls I get from overwhelmed and frustrated health care professionals wanting to know how to start a geriatric care management practice.
My response is always the same. Have you completed a feasibility study?
And yes, I’m often met with resistance when I ask this question. So much so that I can almost feel the eye rolls on the other end of the phone. Believe me, I use to feel the same way.
All too often I see social workers, nurses and other health care professionals opening private practices only to find out later that it wasn’t a good fit for them personally or the local market demographics weren’t solid.
A feasibility study is a chance to begin to flesh out your geriatric care management practice to see whether you can pull this off. Before you invest a bunch of time and money, you need to take time to see if a geriatric care management practice is really for you on a personal level and a financial level.
Doesn’t that make sense? If you need convincing, read on!
9 Reasons to conduct a feasibility study before you open a geriatric care management practice!
- Guards against potential losses. Before you invest a bunch of money in education and business development, doesn’t it make sense to know if a private practice is financially viable? It’s better to find out before you invest thousands of dollars and quit your day job that private practice isn’t a good fit for you from a financial perspective. Take the time to crunch the numbers and see if a private practice can meet your financial needs.
- Creates the frame work for your business plan. We would never attempt to create a care plan before completing an assessment and that’s basically what a feasibility study is. An assessment that will provide you with the information you need to create a business plan. A plan based on researched demographics and market information not on hunches. Don’t fall for this idea that you don’t need a business plan because you do. Not having a business plan is not a good plan!
- Provides you with an honest prospective. It’s almost impossible to obtain information from other care managers about the ins and outs of private practice. One, they are really, really busy but also because they don’t always want to share tips and information that has taken them years to learn. But if you poke around (join our private Facebook group), you can start getting an idea of how practical this business may be for you. MORE: ENDS AND OUT OF GERIATRIC CARE MANAGEMENT
- Inspires you to step outside the box. Through a feasibility study you may be able to identify a need in the market outside of geriatric care management. For example, wellness coaching, consulting or training. Or you may start to identify yourself as a caregiver coach versus a geriatric care manager. You might even discover that a non-profit versus for profit model is a better fit for you. A good feasibility study can expand your horizons and put you on a path to success that you didn’t consider before.
- Identifies your ideal client. Your ideal client is not the older adult who’s struggling. Your key client is adult children, spouses and other family/friends stressed by the daily demands of managing the life of an . These adult children share certain characteristics that you need to identify through your feasibility study in order to communicate and connect with them. You’ll start to identify ways to connect with these ideal clients as you get specific about who they are.
- Identifies key referral sources and clients. Once you know your ideal client you’ll start to identity key referral sources and influencers of your ideal clients. Once you identify key referral sources you can set out to gain their trust and ask for referrals. Without a strong referral network, you won’t get good referrals. By doing this during a feasibility study, you will be a step ahead of the competition and able to gain referrals sooner versus later. MORE ABOUT DEVELOPING KEY REFERRAL SOURCES
- Helps you recognize obstacles and strategize opportunities. In your feasibility study you will conduct competitor profiles that will help you strategically present yourself to the market place. For example, you may be a nurse that can provide that little something extra in terms of vital signs and medication management. Or maybe you’re a social worker that can emphasize counseling and family mediation. Your competitor profiles may indicate a need for a specif service that you can provide.
- Provides you with demographics of your local market. A successful practice in geriatric care management depends on certain demographics in your local market. Without a specific number of older adults that are of a certain profile, you’ll never succeed no matter how much marketing you do or how low your rates are. When you research demographics, you’ll either find yourself scratching your head in frustration or jumping for joy ready to start. Either way, you need to understand these demographics inside and out because without a ripe local demographic you’ll never succeed.
- Helps you gain clarity around your vision. This is one of the most powerful reasons for completing a feasibility study. Without a clear vision (also known as your business plan), you’ll become reactive instead of pro-active. We all know how easy it is to run around all day putting out fires, going to unproductive meetings and wasting time at the wrong networking events. You could spend all day being busy and at the end of the day feel like you’ve accomplished zero! A feasibility study helps you identify what’s important and what’s not important as it relates to your vision. MORE ABOUT CREATING YOUR PERSONAL VISION.
The bottom line is this….
Geriatric care management is an incredibility rewarding business but, as with all businesses, there are some downsides to consider. A feasibility study is your chance to open your eyes and ask yourself some tough questions about the business of geriatric care management before you start tacking that business plan or quit your day job.
You need to determine whether this idea will work or if your original idea needs to be modified, refocused or scrapped all together. If you determine that indeed this is the business for you, you’ll be ready to start creating that business plan with confidence and clarity!