Non-clinical B2B service businesses for physicians

Jun 11, 2018

In my previous post on non-clinical service businesses for physicians, I talked about business ideas with individuals as the customer. This post is all about what’s known as business-to-business, or B2B, companies.

Easy-entry home-based service businesses doctors can start

One of the best parts of starting a service-based business is that the barriers to entry are very low. Opening a medical practice has a lot of moving parts and can be a daunting and downright unwanted task for many docs. However, physicians have a great breadth and depth of knowledge. This is an excellent foundation for services tangentially related to healthcare, but without so much red tape and regulation.

Other benefits of a non-clinical service business include:

  • Minimal risk and no malpractice insurance required
  • No office or clinic space required and can be run from home
  • Up-front costs are small
  • Use knowledge and tools you already have
  • Medical background and MD can leverage your marketing

Additionally, the overhead costs are low, which means the profits can be high.

B2B service businesses for physicians

A B2B business involves you, as your own small company, making a transaction with another business. This is in contrast to making a transaction with an individual. This type of service may be well suited to those who enjoy working with other professionals and who have a knack for navigating corporate structure. However, any physician can learn the nuances of B2B.

Some ideas in this group are similar to what is typically offered by freelancers. The difference is really just treating your offering as a true business, rather than considering yourself as work-for-hire.

Confused about the differences between a freelancer, contractor, consultant, and part-time employee? Read about them here.

This type of business has several upsides for physicians looking to increase their income. With the B2B model:

  • You’re likely to face less competition than when marketing directly to consumers
  • You may have more schedule flexibility (and less human contact – a perk for the introverts)
  • In many situations, you can form long-term relationships with clients
  • Use your medical knowledge to impact larger-scale changes than you would by targeting individuals

If this type of endeavor is of interest to you, read on for some ideas!

Expert consulting

With all your years of formal education, chances are you’re an expert in something. This is especially true for physicians who have been practicing for a while. And even more true if you’ve done or focused on something atypical or out of the ordinary in your field. You can capitalize on this expertise by consulting.

Admittedly, consulting is a very broad term.

To avoid getting lost in all it could mean, consider expert consulting like this:  You have expertise in an area (most likely related to medicine or healthcare) that is somehow related to a challenge faced by businesses (which may or may not be in the fields of medicine or healthcare). If one of those businesses allows you do delve into a challenge they’re facing, you can use the knowledge you already have to help them overcome it.

Organizations that may hire small physician-run consulting firms include:

  • Hospitals
  • Biotech companies
  • Physician organizations (eg PCs) or clinics
  • Government agencies and offices
  • Health nonprofit organizations

…and really any business that could benefit from your expertise.

Medical writing and editing

Medical writing, though often not as lucrative as other types of work a physician can do, though it’s extremely flexible, low risk, mentally stimulating, and rewarding. Successful physician medical writing businesses frequently focus on a type of publication, such as:

  • Needs assessments and medical education for pharmaceutical companies
  • Manuscript ghostwriting
  • Regulatory documents
  • Health information for lay people

Others focus on a particular therapeutic area. For example, oncology or mental health writing. It’s really up to you and where your interests lie. It also depends on achieving a balance in how broad your area of focus is and the workload you want to obtain. A heavy workload may necessitate that you hire others to help you.

Once your firm is hired by an organization and client sees the value in your services, you’re likely to have frequent, repeat business from them.

Specialized staffing and executive searches

Forming a staffing business is a great way for an outgoing physician to earn some extra income. It’s true that this type of work is typically done by people without a clinical background. However, as a physician-owned business, you’d have a unique advantage in the industry. You’re in the great position of being able to understand your client’s needs. You also have a first-hand understanding of what a candidate for a position is looking for and values.

Alexi Nazem, MD founded Nomad as a way to match physicians with locums opportunities and to make the locums hiring process less cumbersome. His business has grown and now requires a sizeable team of people to run. But a successful business in this realm can be accomplished as a solopreneur if you’re able to put in the time and effort.

Here are some ideas for additional services that a physician staffing business can offer:

  • Development of job descriptions
  • Credentialing and licensing services
  • Application assistance for job seekers
  • Evaluation of health organization or facility staffing needs

Those with a management or administrative background are especially well-suited to start a business of this type.

Employee wellness consulting

Employee wellness programs are growing in popularity. This is probably not just a trend. Organizations are noticing that healthy employees do better work and can be retained. If you like health, fitness, and lifestyle medicine, a business specializing in employee wellness programs might be perfect for you.

As a physician, you’d be able to combine the typical diet and exercise components of a wellness program with an aspect of occupational medicine, if you desired. Addressing both prevention and treatment for employees would be a perk for a lot of companies looking into the health of their workers.

You can even become a Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist if you desire additional training and recognition as a professional in this field.

Medical sales and lead generation

Sales and lead generation for medical products is a service business idea fitting for physicians who have large professional networks, enjoy meeting new people, and easily form new professional relationships. Many companies utilizing sales people for healthcare products value the expertise of a physician. Moreover, a medical professional may be more likely to purchase a product when they hear about it from a peer.

Doctor-to-Doctor is a well-known sales solutions company whose CEO, Steven Deitch, is an MD. This company hires physicians to assist organizations in drastically improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their sales cycles. He’s put decades of work and experience into building this business; however, every physician-founded business starts somewhere. You can be successful in providing sales-related services for businesses if you’re able to make the appropriate connections, use your existing network, and put in the effort to learn what techniques are persuasive.

Another option is online marketing. You can build a website or use social networking to grow an audience to which you can then market health-related services and products. Many companies are open to setting up commission programs or affiliate relationships with website owners when their customer base overlaps with the website’s readership.

Tell me your other ideas!

Have you started a non-clinical service business as a medical professional? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Even if it’s just an idea right now – let me know!

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