As I talk with LNCs about their businesses, I find that many are stuck in one legal nurse consulting business phase. Here’s what I am hearing from legal nurse consultants. Where do you fit in?
– This is the first legal nurse consulting business phase. You have attended a legal nurse consulting program, or read a textbook such as Legal Nurse Consulting Principles and Practices, and you want to get clients. Your business is not known; you are not sure of how to get clients, and not sure of what services you want to offer. You could be in this phase for a few years; some LNCs I have talked to have been in this phase even longer.
– You have marketing, operations, revenue and profit plans. You know who you want to work with in your legal nurse consulting business, but you have minimal to no client base, cash flow, credibility, follow up or a team.
– You have clients and are regularly attracting new ones. You are making money and becoming more visible and credible. But you have minimal or no repeat clients, and you feel like you are pushing a boulder uphill, although the hill is not as steep as it was in start up and implementation.
– Your legal nurse consulting business has a proven system of functioning. You are generating cash and paying yourself a salary. You have consistent, steady work. Attorneys know you, recommend you to others and your business is flowing. In fact, you recognize you are reaching a limit in terms of what you can do, and are torn between giving up control and delegating cases to subcontractors, versus working 60 or 70 hours a week to make sure the quality is consistent. You feel overworked and overwhelmed.
– You have leveraged your business. Others are doing work for you as employees or subcontractors. You are making money and taking money out of the business. You have deliberately positioned the business so you can sell the business.
This is a case study of how I went through my legal nurse consultant business phases.
In 1987, I began reviewing cases as an expert witness, while also teaching writing, and consulting. One day in 1989, I got a phone call from an attorney who wanted me to review an emergency department nursing case. Since that was not my clinical background, I turned down the case, but gave him the name of a well qualified ED nurse clinical specialist. He called her; she got the case, and I got thanks from both of them. That phone call changed my life, because I realized that I could earn money by referring expert witnesses. I founded Med League, an independent legal nurse consulting business, primarily as an expert witness referral service. The ED nurse was the first expert I recruited.
Implementation to Sustainable
Over the next several years, the business went from start up (I ran the business from a desk made out of two filing cabinets and a board), to implementation and sustainable. I hired my first employee in the sustainable phase when I realized it was impossible to work all day and all evening and still have time for my children. It took 4 years to get to the sustainable phase.
I moved the business out of my house in the scaleable stage, which occurred in 1994, the fifth year. Our first step was to buy a house 10 miles away and dedicate the first house to office space. Two years later, we moved into a 3600 square feet office condo and sold the first house. By then, I had two full time employees. The scaleable phase lasted for several years until I made a deliberate decision to create a sellable business. I downplayed my role in working on cases by turning down medical surgical expert witness cases while I built up a large pool of healthcare expert witnesses. The company provided additional legal nurse consulting services such as screening cases for merit, preparing chronologies for personal injury cases, doing literature searches, transcribing handwritten records, and having nurses attend insurance medical examinations.
The business was sellable when the majority of the work was done by the inhouse LNC, not me, our 3 support staff and our huge pool of expert witnesses. I sold the company in January 2015. I know that many people will continue to benefit from my hard work – my employees, experts, clients, plaintiffs and defendants, law firms, and others. I have left a legacy.
Are you beginning with the end in mind? Can you grow a business to sell? Let’s talk. Schedule a time to receive a free 30 minute phone consultation to let Pat Iyer help you identify where you are blocked. Set up your time at this link.
Thanks to Michele Scism, my coach, for sharing the framework of business phases.