Starting an entrepreneurial physician venture is risky, but an even more risky period in the life span of your business is when it's time to expand. Your schedule is full, you have waiting lists for new clients, patients or customers, you're constantly working in the business and lack time to work on it. Your only options are to say No or to scale up.
Rule # 6 in the "Intelligent Entrepreneur" by Bill Murphy Jr. is "Manage Risk" (you can read about the Fifth Rule here) reminds us that successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily more risk-tolerant. They aren't any more prone to gambling with their ideas and money than you or I. Where they excel is in managing risk.
How do you hedge your financial risk?
Above all else, you DROOM (Don't Run Out Of Money)!
According to Murphy, to manage risk effectively, the business-savyy entrepreneurial physician and business owner needs to:
- believe in your abilities and your business idea
- understand your marketplace - make sure your business addresses a genuine problem rather than provides a nice-sounding solution to a problem that doesn't exist
- raise funds before you need them, or figure out how to bootstrap on a budget
- focus intently on generating revenue
- watch your expenditures, even the teeny ones, and spend your dollars only when it makes sense
- keep your finger on the money pulse by understanding and reviewing regularly your medical practice's or company's financials (time for a community college course in reading Cash Flow statements, P and L's and Balance Sheets?)
- develop an exit strategy, even if it's to return to your former job or career
- be lucky and have a good sense of timing!
And lest I frighten you away from your dream medical practice or business, remember that being risk-averse poses an even greater threat -- that of never getting started!!
If you're interested, here are the first 4 Rules from this fine book:
- Make the commitment!
- Finding a problem, then solving it
- Think Big, Think New, Think Again
- You can't do it alone
Philippa Kennealy ran a private family practice, and a hospital, before building her coaching business helping MDs launch and run successful practices and businesses. Visit her online at www.entrepreneurialMD.com to learn more.