I taught a program at the National Nurses in Business Association on the factors that lead to a successful business. Here are some strategies you can implement to create a strong legal nurse consulting business. Read part 2 and part 3.
1. If at all possible, create your business launch so that you are not under pressure to make a profit right away. It takes more time than you would expect to market and start attracting clients. The phrase, “Don’t quit your day job” is a valid one. When I started Med League, my husband was working as a sales manager and making sufficient income that I could take my time and create self-employment through teaching nurses, consulting with hospitals, and expert witness work. Gradually I centered on working with attorneys as my primary source of income.
2. Learn the nuances of marketing and writing appealing copy for brochures and websites. Your prospect is bombarded with information. You have to capture that person’s attention quickly and in a compelling way. I have studied this aspect of running a business and invested thousands of dollars in courses and books to learn more about marketing. The more you understand about marketing, the more comfortable and confident you feel.
3. Pick the right service that fits your strengths. If you have a broad base of nursing, you are in an ideal position to help attorneys understand nursing malpractice cases. If you have worked only critical care, and continue to maintain a clinical practice, you may be in an ideal position to testify as an expert witness on critical care cases. Know what you are good at and recognize that it cannot be at all aspects of running a business or legal nurse consulting. Find others to help you with the parts you are not good at.
4. Recognize that you need a solid foundation in clinical nursing to be able to work most effectively with attorneys. I worked medical surgical as a staff nurse for years before I took my first expert witness case. Understanding how a hospital runs is invaluable in assisting attorneys. Nurses who have experience only in non-hospital roles are going to find it tougher to perform some aspects of legal nurse consulting.
5. Be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of working on cases or for attorneys who could swamp your firm with volume. For example, a multidistrict litigation case could become the elephant that pushes out the time you have to attorneys who send you one case at a time. When we worked on pedicle plates and screws cases, our regular clients noticed the longer turnaround for their cases. We were on a continuous treadmill of churning out reports and were relieved when the cases finally wound down.
6. Never stop marketing. Your primary client could have a sudden change in practice due to a change in the law, or could leave the firm, or drop dead. In my husband’s case, one year he got 90% of his income from one client. (He sold machine parts.) disaster struck when that client figured out a way to cut him out of the deal. My husband lost his entire business overnight and for the next year, struggled to make any money at all. I learned from that experience. At one point I got 30% of my income from one large personal injury law firm. It would have been tempting to sit back and relax, but I never stopped marketing, exhibiting, and writing to attract more clients. When the personal injury cases in our state took a nose dive because of changes in the law, my business would have also taken a similar nose dive if I had relied only on this firm for paying the bills.
Patricia Iyer MSN RN LNCC was president of Med League Support Services, Inc. from 1989 until she successfully sold the company in 2015. She teaches LNCs how to write compelling copy in her webinar, Cash Copy: How to Supercharge Your Marketing Materials. Watch the replay or check out our Starter Course for clinical nurses who want to be LNCs. Pat also provides individual consulting for LNCs at www.LNCAcademy.com.