It’s a commonly held piece of wisdom that a craftsman is only as good as their tools, and this holds true when talking about medicine as well. The next time you go to a doctor, dentist, or even a vet, take a look at all the different tools and instruments that they use over the course of their visit. Chances are you’re probably going to lose count.
The thing about this is that every single one of those tools and supplies that you see used, as well as many that are only for specific situations, all come from some sort of different supplier. Medical professionals are reliant on these suppliers so they can do their jobs, and as the demand for medical services grows, so does the need for these supplies. This creates a rather lucrative business opportunity if you’re ready to act and act wisely. Here are the essentials you need to start your own medical supply business.
The first important thing to do, before you make any physical moves towards starting your business, is putting together a niche and target market for your medical supply business. For example, these supply companies stock all types of medical professionals and businesses, from:
- Home health aides
- Nursing homes
There’s a reason why you want to take this added effort. Part of this strategy entails deciding exactly what your supply business is going to cover, especially if it’s smaller. Remember, the storage and marketing demands of something like medical apparel and linen are a lot different than say, hypodermic needles. Knowing your niche early means avoiding having things that won’t sell because your target audience doesn’t need it. This will also come in handy later on when you start investing heavily in marketing. From the formats you use to the tone that you take, everything should be geared towards a specific market segment.
Also, take this time to invest in researching both your customer base and competition. Medical supply business customers generally focus on quality and price, as opposed to other aspects of a brand identity. This means that it’s not that hard to get customers to switch to you from someone else, but you need to have something to draw them. See what other medical supply businesses in your area are offering, and what their prices are. Will you be able to compete with those and make a profit?
When you’ve got this narrowed down, it’s time to start with the logistics of getting a medical supply business ready. For example, depending on what you plan on selling, you may need to reach out to your state’s public health department to make sure you are licensed to sell certain medical equipment. This doesn’t apply to all medical equipment, though, which is why it’s so important to ask. You’re also going to want to establish an early budget to actually physically get the business started. Even if you plan on saving money by starting online as opposed to a retail space, medical supplies can be quiet expensive, especially if you are buying anything based on the latest technology. In addition, there are going to be other fees to consider, like where you are going to store your stock.
This factors back to that initial strategy. Are you marketing to people who plan to use medical supplies to help around the home? Chances are you’re probably not going to need a huge startup investment. Do you want to target hospitals right away? You may need more in order to break in. When it comes to using that money to buy your stock, you need to decide what manufacturers or distributors you’re going to work with, unless you plan on physically making everything yourself. Be careful here. Some brands you can buy straight from the manufacturers, while in other cases, you need to go through a distributor to make your purchase.
When you get things off the ground, understand that a lot of the basic principles of business will still apply. For example, you’re going to need that strategy you created earlier to help create marketing materials to help spread the word about your business to potential customers. Even if you have business experience, there’s a good chance that the medical supply business is different than some of your business ventures in the past. It’s a good idea to try to reach out to influencers, authorities, and mentors in the field to get advice for those rough early years, the same as you should for any other business.