During our one-on-one coaching sessions with you, we often hear that you’re unsure of where to start when setting up your nutrition business or private practice. What comes first, you ask – is it coming up with my business name or brand? Is it handling the legal aspects of my business and setting up my LLC or other business entity? While there is no one perfect set of orderly steps to take for setting up your business, the following are five steps that you should take when you’re establishing your business.
1. Do Your Homework – Research! Before jumping into setting up your business, make sure there is a need for your unique services in the area in which you wish to practice. What are you providing and how will others benefit from your nutrition counseling? If you wish to counsel clients who have eating disorders, and you learn that your market is saturated with dietitians who counsel eating disorder clients, for example, you may consider providing these services via telehealth, or you may opt to focus on a different niche of interest to you.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan. Here at Healthy Bytes, we suggest starting with drafting your business plan. A business plan provides direction for your business. It helps keep you aligned with your ultimate business goals as well. Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect before launching your business. Treat it as a “living” document, one that you can come back to and make changes to as often as need be. In addition, create a brief marketing plan for your business. Marketing plans allow you to put some thought and planning into the direction of your private practice – how will you market your services for a defined period of time, what strategies and tactics will get you to your goals, and at what cost?
3. Determine Your Business Structure. You may opt to set up a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a limited liability company or a corporation; the structure you select has an impact on your business name, your liability and your taxes. We recommend contacting an attorney who specializes in business formation in your area to make sure you’re setting up the business entity that is best for you. The peace of mind that comes from hiring an attorney for this part of the process is well worth the initial fee. If you have a lawyer set up your practice, ask that they secure an employer identification number (EIN) as well.
4. Name Your Business. Start thinking about your unique brand and establish your business name, making sure you’ve searched your state’s Secretary of State website to learn whether the name of your company is currently available. Then, register your business name with your state’s Secretary of State by filing your formation paperwork. Be sure to make sure your business name is available as a domain name as you do your research!
5. Establish Your Budget. Creating your business doesn’t have to be expensive, but there will be upfront investments and some ongoing costs associated with establishing your company, including legal fees, licenses, business filing/registration, liability insurance, branding and marketing, rent and utilities, etc. Think about what you will need for the first few months of operation as well in terms of supplies and other business expenses, i.e. printer, electronic health record system, getting contracted and credentialed with insurance companies and of course, your Healthy Bytes billing platform!
Again, since we’re billing experts and not attorneys, we do recommend enlisting the help of a corporate attorney or an accountant to help advise on the best structure for your business entity. What questions do you have about setting up your nutrition business or private practice? Don’t forget to sign up for one-on-one coaching with your Healthy Bytes experts to ensure a smooth business set-up!