I want to start a care-management business to take care of seniors and their health needs, along with people undergoing cancer treatment and other chronic illnesses. Do I need to hire a lawyer or an accountant? I’m a little overwhelmed by the whole process of starting a business.
Wants to Start a Business
Dear Wants to Start a Business,
Good for you! There is a great need for nurse care managers. If you haven’t already done so, connect with the Aging Life Care Association, formerly known as the Geriatric Care Managers Association. You need to belong to a community of others working in the same specialty for support and ongoing learning, and to keep abreast of related trends and issues.
While you don’t need to hire an attorney, you should consult with a nurse attorney while in the planning phase of your business. A nurse attorney (as opposed to a regular attorney) is uniquely qualified to work with nurses who provide any type of care services. They can help with legalities of business ownership and interpret your nurse practice act to be sure you are working within your scope of practice and minimizing your liability through the use of contracts, release forms, etc. Find a nurse attorney by referral from your state chapter of the American Nurses Association, by asking around or through the American Association of Nurse Attorneys.
You should also consult with a small business accountant. These professionals can advise you on tax-related issues, setting up your accounting system, business start-up requirements and so on. To find an accountant, seek a referral though your current network or from local chapters of associations such as the National Association of Women Business Owners and/or a local chamber of commerce. Interview a few accountants and find someone you feel comfortable with. Many accountants will offer an initial free consultation to discuss your business plans and for you to get to know them in the hopes you will do business with them.
Contact your local community college and see if they work with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Small Business Development Centers. These organizations often offer classes and counseling for small business owners on subjects such as writing a business plan, marketing your business, managing your finances, etc., at local colleges.