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How to Become a Home-Based Healthcare Consultant

How to Become a Home-Based Healthcare ConsultantConsultancy is one of the most adequate lines of business if you want to work independently from home. You need little equipment, your main assets being your skills and experience in your niche. Today we will show you how to start a home-based healthcare consultancy business.

What Does a Healthcare Consultant Do?
Healthcare consultants are hired by hospital and other healthcare companies to analyze and improve their operations and the way they run their business. The ultimate goal in a healthcare consultant’s job is to advise healthcare providers in a way which enables them to provide better services to patients and improve their bottom line.

This used to be a full-time position in the organizational scheme of most healthcare providers. However, the economic crisis and the need to cut back operational costs has determined most hospitals and other healthcare organizations to replace employees with freelance consultants. For you, as a potential home-based business healthcare consultant, this means that there is a thriving market where you can find customers and that it is not a short-term bubble, but it has the potential to provide you with a sufficient income for your family for years to come.

So, what does it take to become a home-based healthcare consultant?

Education and Skills Required for Healthcare Consultants
The minimum educational level required is a Bachelor’s degree, although many healthcare providers require a Master’s degree in one of these specializations:
⦁ Business Administration
⦁ Healthcare Administration
⦁ Human Resources

Management experience in the healthcare field is a plus, but not always required, especially if you offer your services to smaller clinics and other organizations. As for the core skills you must have strong communication and analytical skills, be good with math and be savvy in coming up with effective solutions. You must also be a good decision maker, with a high level of accountability for the outcomes of your proposed solutions.

If you recognize yourself in this description, you could be a successful healthcare consultant. If you want to work as an independent consultant, these are a few tips to set up your home-based business:

1. Obtain All Necessary Certifications
Each state has different certification requirements for home-based businesses when they are connected to the healthcare field. Even though your activities are not connected to providing actual medical services to customers, you will have access to various sensitive data. Thus, apart for the usual licenses for running a home-based business, you also need to hold specific data processing certifications.

2. Secure Your IT Equipment and Filing System
Apart from the legal certifications above, potential customers will also require you to sign non-disclosure agreements. They will also want you to offer proofs that you can keep their confidential data secure. Thus, you need to invest in effective antivirus solutions for your computer and all data storage devices.

While it is always recommended to have a separate computer for your home-based business and not allow your family to work on it, if you want to open a healthcare consultancy business it is mandatory. You will potentially receive financial and patient records from your customers and other confidential materials. No one but you must have access to them, not even read them.

3. Capitalize on Your Professional Background and Reputation
As we have stated above, being a home-based healthcare consultant is not a line a business you can take up overnight, but after years of experience in the field with a proven track record. This means that you must definitely have great networking skills and persuade your business acquaintances and, where possible, former employers to provide you with credentials and testimonials.

This is a line of business where reputation is everything, so take care to keep yours spotless. Be ethical and fair in dealing with all your customers and maintain good relationships with former co-workers or clients. A positive endorsement from any of them is the best marketing strategy for attracting new clients for your home-based business


How to Use Bartering for Your Home-Based Business

How to Use Bartering for Your Home-Based BusinessYou never know how challenging it is to run a business, no matter how much you prepare, until you actually open it. Day by day, you realize that you have to purchase different products and services to keep your business operational. When you start adding up all the expenses, you find out that soon you will be strapped for cash.

For this reason, many home-based business owners attempt to DIY as many business operations as possible and waste lots of time hunting for the lowest prices for supplies. As a consequence, these business owners end up losing focus on their business in the search for affordable services and supplies. Instead of developing new products, connecting with potential customers and developing effective marketing strategies, they try to keep the business going on a shoestring. At a certain point, that shoestring will snap and the business will fail.

What if we told you that businesses did not appear and grow along the history by exchange of money but by a fair trade of products and services? And that this system of acquiring supplies and services still works at the present? This system is called bartering.

Bartering means that your business needs a certain product or service and, instead of money, it offers the supplier other products or services that it needs and which have an equal value to those you seek. Most small businesses all over the world help each other stay on the market and become successful by using the bartering system. So, how can you make it work for your home-based business?

1. Seek a Fair Exchange, Not a Bargain
The first thing you need to do if you want to benefit from bartering is to get in the right mindset. You are not looking for a bargain, but for a valuable business service or product, just as valuable as your products and services. If you think that bartering means getting something very cheap or for free, you set yourself on the path to finding unreliable partners who will offer you low quality products and services.

In turn, these will impact your own business and the way in which you serve your customers. It will not be long until your own products and services will also decrease in quality.

2. Consider What You Offer for Barter
As a corollary of the above, the product or service you offer for bartering must be one of actual value and utility, one which would find customers if it were for sale. In other words, do not trade “junk” products and services. Bartering is about a fair exchange, not getting rid of valueless items. It is also not the same thing as “unpaid work”, so if you agree to provide a service as your part of the barter, execute it with the same level of skill and care as you would have done for a paying customer.

3. Apply Ethics and Judgment in Selecting Bartering Partners
It is neither ethical nor good for your professional reputation to ask a supplier from which you have already purchased products or services to barter. It looks too much like pleading for a freebie and it may cause your business partner to believe that your home-based business is not in good standing. Instead, seek other small businesses like yours and offer a mutually valuable and beneficial deal: that of long-term partnership in barter, helping both your business and the partner’s business grow and succeed.

If you do not know where to look for a good bartering partner, you should consider joining a bartering organization. For a very affordable fee on the actual transactions you conclude, they will put you in contact with companies which are willing to barter and know exactly how this system works.

4. Do Not Forget about Tax Implications
Bartering must be recognized in your tax returns and financial statements. Before you decide to go ahead and conclude a bartering agreement, you should always consult with an accountant or tax advisor in order to understand what it will mean for your business in terms of tax and to make sure that the formal agreement you conclude is valid according to the IRS.

5. Always Put the Agreement in Writing
Never start bartering with a business partner without concluding a written agreement first. This agreement should clearly specify the quantity of products or services you are exchanging, state both parties’ acknowledgment that this exchange is a fair one, of equal monetary value, and state the terms and conditions for the bartering, including duration and termination.

This is the only way in which your business is protected from liability in case your bartering partner decides that they are not getting a fair deal and tries to sue you. Also, the agreement is necessary as a supporting document for your tax return filings.


How to Grow Your Home-Based Business by Outsourcing

how-to-grow-your-home-based-business-by-outsourcingEvery great business has to go through the growing pains, and the ability to withstand and overcome them makes the difference between success and failure. As a beginner entrepreneur, one of the most difficult issues you have to deal with is being a one-man-show. You have to cover all the bases and fulfill all the roles in a company. Even though you run a simple activity and you are just building your customer base, it is still a lot of work taking up most of your time.

“But what other options do I have? I am only a small home-based business owner!” Yes, it is true, at the very beginning you have to make it on your own. But as soon as your business has taken off, it is time to look for ways to clear up your daily schedule and have time to focus on the strategic growth of your business. The most affordable and effective solution is called outsourcing.

Why Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is the most cost effective way for companies to delegate various activities, such as human resources management, accounting, and legal counseling to professional service providers. The main benefits of outsourcing is that you pay exactly for the quantity of services or amount of time spent working on your tasks. The people who perform the work will not become your employees thus, apart for the fee, you do not have to pay any other benefits (pension, health insurance, unemployment, etc.).

The Reason Small Business Owners Overlook Outsourcing
Even after careful calculations show them that they can outsource a part of their activities, many home-based business owners still refuse to do it. In truth, even you may seem a little wary of our recommendation, but read on. The number one reason that small business owners and top-level managers refuse to outsource or delegate is the fear of losing control.

“I know best how this should be done!” is a phrase more common than you would imagine among entrepreneurs faced with this possibility. Once you let someone else take a task from you, you may feel that you are no longer under full control of your business, that it may be taken away from you or that it is a sign of weakness.

On the contrary, outsourcing is what smart entrepreneurs do to grow their business: they leave time consuming and non-core tasks to people who are skilled at them, and can do them fast and accurately.

What to Outsource
Once you become comfortable with the idea, you will soon find a lot of tasks which can and should be outsourced to others:

1. Secretarial Activities
Virtual assistants can help you with everything from answering emails, preparing documents, proofreading, keeping your agenda and keeping track of bills, tax returns and other important documents.

2. Graphic and Web Design
Free tools will help you design a lot of things, but it is the talent that makes the true difference. You want your website and visual marketing materials to look great and professional, so you should leave them to a professional.

3. Content Writing
Even if you are skilled at writing, it takes time to prepare all the content you need for your online marketing and lead nurturing campaigns. It does not mean that you should stop writing altogether, when you want to add a blog post or article with a more personal touch, but leave the largest part of content writing to a freelance writer.

4. SEO and Marketing Automation
These tasks are not to be done in a hurry – it takes time to identify the perfect keywords to rank for, to set up and monitor Facebook ad campaigns and so on. Outsourcing these activities will free up your schedule and ensure that you get measurable results for the money you invest in them.

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