These are tricky and trying times for small businesses.
Despite the uncertainty and headaches, difficult times can provide unique opportunities for growth and expansion.
For example, the changing market may reveal new ways to serve your customers and your community. For some entrepreneurs, it might even be the right time to start a completely new business.
You can take some inspiration from the following business founders, each of whom saw an emerging need in their own community and stepped forward to meet that need with a unique service.
MedRX Partners: Providing Better Access to Mental Health Medication
Piper Buersmeyer had been working in private practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner for about five years when she decided to tackle a serious problem she had encountered regularly. Namely, psychiatric patients in her area hadn’t been able to get access to medication quickly and easily.
In Oregon, the state where Piper practices, patients are expected to establish care with a physician before they can be prescribed medication. But establishing care can be a tricky prerequisite for certain patients with mental healthcare needs, such as those coming out of a hospital, or those who have just moved to the area but need medication urgently.
Plus, even once care is established, patients may find that primary care physicians don’t have the level of specialized expertise required to prescribe the best treatment for more complicated or severe mental illnesses.
Piper and her co-founders started MedRX Partners to address these issues. Its goal is to get patients the medication they need quickly and without additional hurdles.
Because psychiatric nurse practitioners like Piper can operate independently in the Pacific Northwest, patients can visit the MedRX Partners office and get evaluated, diagnosed, and an expert treatment recommendation after a 60- or 90-minute evaluation. Patients can then come back to MedRX Partners to follow up in shorter appointments (30 minutes or less) to assess how the treatment is working and make adjustments if needed.
To learn more about MedRX Partners, you can listen to our full interview with Piper Buersmeyer on The FABRIC Podcast.
Therapy Space: Making it Easier for Therapists to Start Their Own Practices
When Marcus Germoes started out his career as a marriage and family therapist, he always knew he wanted to eventually go into practice for himself.
However, he also knew that there were significant obstacles to setting up his own office. As we wrote in our post Common Mistakes Therapists Make When Starting Their Own Practices, operating a full-time practice is expensive, due mostly to the office space costs. And it takes time to grow your network and market your practice enough to create a steady income for yourself.
Going solo requires lots of careful financial planning and experience. In fact, the best route for many therapists who are considering operating independently is to start out part-time on the side and gradually ramp up to full-time work.
Marcus and his colleague Dr. Noah Zapf saw an opportunity to provide a service that would allow solo therapists to get the affordable office space and flexible schedules they needed: A new kind of coworking space just for mental and behavioral health professionals called Therapy Space.
Marcus and Noah worked to create spaces with clean, calm, inviting rooms for individual and group therapy. Therapy Space clients share amenities like refreshments for clients (coffee, tea, and filtered water), paper and pens, locked filing cabinets, and a secure, confidential visitor check-in system. Members also enjoy a shared sense of community that is rare for solo practitioners to get on their own.
To learn more about Therapy Space, you can listen to our full interview with Marcus Germoes on The FABRIC Podcast.
Cultivated Synergy: Serving as the Hub for an Emerging Industry
As cannabis becomes legal in a growing number of states and municipalities, more and more businesses are springing up to meet a growing demand.
This is especially true in Denver, Colorado, a thriving metropolis that legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000 and then for recreational use of marijuana in 2012.
However, Ryan Tatum and Connor Lux noticed that there was no place for industry professionals in Denver to come together to collaborate and be around like-minded people.
Networking and collaboration is particularly important for entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, because these founders have to navigate a unique set of obstacles and challenges.
For one, they must decode a patchwork of legal regulations and import/export difficulties due to the fact that cannabis remains illegal at the federal level (and is still illegal in many states). There are also financial barriers for startups in the industry, because lenders may be restricted from investing in cannabis-related ventures.
Finally, they must deal with the market volatility that results from a quickly evolving space. For example, as the industry grows, tobacco and alcohol companies will be ready to move in on the cannabis space and make competition more difficult.
Ryan and Connor founded Cultivated Synergy to serve as a hub for cannabis industry professionals to access industry knowledge and tools. As a coworking space, Cultivated Synergy offers many plans for members, from drop-in memberships to private desks. Cultivated Synergy also serves as an event space, hosting both industry-related events and private events on site.
By sharing industry knowledge and best practices, Cultivated Synergy hopes to keep their members competitive nationally and internationally.
Embracing Innovative Business Tools
MedRX Partners, Therapy Space, and Cultivated Synergy are all bold businesses dedicated to serving their local communities, but they have something else in common, too: They all use The Receptionist for iPad to check visitors into their offices.
MedRX Partners and Therapy Space both place a particularly high value on privacy for their visitors. The iPad-based system allows visitors to check in quietly, and there’s no chance of someone sneaking a glimpse at a paper check-in log. Practitioners are notified via SMS message or chat message when their clients arrive.
Cultivated Synergy’s event visitors often have to sign waivers and agreements before they enter due to legal regulations of the cannabis industry. The Receptionist for iPad makes this process simple and paper-free, and keeps legal records securely online for employees to access at any time.Digital check-in means that waivers and legal agreement are kept securely online for employees to access at any time. Click To Tweet
If you’re interested in trying The Receptionist for iPad for yourself, you can try the full version for free for two weeks. Start your free trial here.
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