Skills On Point has been a rapidly successful startup over the past few years and with the concepts I have learned as the founder and owner, I would love to share some simple ways you can do the same!
Tips for Starting a Successful Nursing Education Company
1. Start with refining your skillset
It’s super easy to find courses about many things, but I know my first step after checking out a continuing nursing education course is to dive into the instructor bio to see not only what, but WHO will be teaching me. Bottom line, you can’t teach what you don’t know, so if you are not prepared to answer the difficult questions the audience will have, you should prepare yourself before taking this step out. Gain credibility with certification, years of practice, and undergoing the hard work that it takes to prepare not only yourself but also others for practice.
2. Start a mentorship relationship
There are entire companies based around helping you spend your money on their generic products to help you start your business. You are far more likely to succeed in a specific business model with access to an expert in that similar business model than generic advice. Start a business with the right person guiding you and you will find a ready and willing jumpstart to your first customer.
3. Exposure to the market
Many people try to build a product and then market their product to an audience who does not know they “need” your product. The best products that sell themselves are able to provide a solution, value, or fill a gap that was not previously identified. If you enter the market with a product similar to another, expect it to ideally dilute your competition, but in a sense, it dilutes yours as well! Find a product which is truly unique and listen to your audience when they say what they want. That is the product you should give them, not the one you prepared. Give the people what they want and they will come back to you for more.
4. Expand your branding
Most small businesses grow from a do-it-yourself branding department, usually staffed by the owner. Consider professional branding. Consistency of a professional design and vectorized art will make a world of difference in your ability to stand out against the DIY websites many in your field may use. Modern web design is a very complex beast and although DIY websites can do somethings, a truly world-class logo design and branding guide go a LONG way in showing your brand as a true icon.
5. Go broke a few times
All the things you want to do will cost money, and although spending someone else’s money is always a nice idea, beware the apathy of easily spent money. First, you will owe it back most likely, and secondly, you will be better off caring about every single penny you spend when you start out your business. This means you will need to learn to shop around, do your homework, and think most importantly about “what does this decision mean for my consumer”. Does choosing a more expensive product mean you can’t afford discounts for students or offer coupon codes? Is your price point higher than your competition? If so, how much and is there anything you can do to change that and keep a margin? What is a reasonable margin for your products? What you are willing to live with while you start out grinding a business forward is not the same your audience will be willing to put up with, so make sure you offer something polished and prepared, not hurried and at risk for seeming like a money-grab.
6. Partner with the experts
This may mean marketing, product supply chain, graphics and printing, space use, ad copy. Whatever it is you feel you like about other companies is likely something you can ask them to help you with as you are growing. You’re not a threat yet, so they won’t mind helping you out if they are big enough. I have even seen direct competitors help each other out. Why? It’s really quite simple. It’s the same reason that you rarely find a Home Depot more than a few buildings away from a Lowe’s. Competition helps both companies and by having collaborative marketing, you will find both companies succeed in their sales goals. Think of the recent debacle between Popeye’s and Chick Fil-A with their spicy chicken sandwich wars. They both sold out. Both teams win when you create healthy competition, but at the same time, collaboration will help both audiences share in the access to content which may not be offered by one, but is by the other.
7. Consider what your role is in the delivery model
Some businesses are located at the very start of the supply chain as manufacturers, and some work as distributors. Neither of these actually set up shop, but rather provide goods to wholesalers who will then supply them to retailers. In business, especially small business, it’s common to be every step of the way in some regard. Those who work strictly at the end retail sector will be setting the price based on their cost to acquire the goods, whether direct from manufacturer or through a distributor or wholesaler. The most important part of business is to know where you fit. I have known many people be able to run a great manufacturing process of truly innovative learning tools, but would simply fall short when it was time to hit the marketplace with their items. This particular example fortunately represents a company who understood their best fit was not at the retail sector and focused on developing a more refined manufacturing arm of their business which made them lean and successful in ways retail would never have been able to.
I’m confident we all could add to this list, and certainly I hope you do as your business grows and you can add your advice. One final thought though. Everyone has an opinion, not everyone has advice. Seek advice from expertise and experience, not friends who want to tell you what you want to hear. Affirmation when starting a business is dangerous. Listen to the voices who tell you the truth like a wet towel thrown on your face coming out of a warm shower, and maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself as the owner of your own successful business.