Let’s Talk Businesses with Serial Entrepreneur Dr. Scharmaine Lawson
“Finding the right team can really take your business ideas to another level.”
The story of Advanced Clinical Consultants sounds like a modern-day Noah’s Ark. The number of patients your team serviced exponentially increased to 500 after Hurricane Katrina. How does an NP entrepreneur who may not see the immediate results of a new business prepare for the growth?
Noah’s Ark is right! It was an overwhelming experience for my housecall practice. Anyone who encounters exponential growth in a short period of time needs a great team to assist with the volume. There is no way one person can handle growth alone. I would say that’s the pivotal answer! For starters, find your team. Finding the right team can really take your business ideas to another level. Please put emphasis on the word, “right” because the wrong team can plummet your sales and kill your dream. Dream teams don’t come cheap. You must be prepared to pay them before you (the CEO) get paid. If you are not prepared to do this, then entrepreneurship may not be something you are ready for. It’s probably the most sacrificial job you will ever love.
What sets you apart from the others?
The mission of Nola The Nurse is to educate as many children as possible about the role of the advanced practice nurse. We will assist in this path of APN learning by providing workshops, books, interactive learning, and toys to enhance the experience. What acutely sets me apart from other authors is our 6-foot Nola the Nurse™ mascot that travels with me on the school trips. The kids love her and have fun interactive with Nola while listening to her heart with a real stethoscope.
What are you most proud of as the owner?
One of the proudest moments for me was my appearance on Harry, Harry Connick Jr’s talk show. It was the first time my company received national exposure. Harry is a favorite N’awlins homeboy, and for him to invite me to provide a few hundred books as giveaways increased my book sales, and gave my independent publishing book housing the credibility we needed.
What types of services or products do you offer?
Advanced Clinical Consultants is my housecall practice. I only offer VIP services and the Housecalls course. The Housecalls course is where I offer an intensive one-day course on the nuts and bolts of how-to start your Housecalls practice and sustain it. I offer The Housecall course online and in book-form Housecalls 101: The only book you will ever need to start your practice. The live course is eight hours of intensive learning. Nola The Nurse is published through my publishing company, A DrNurse Publishing House. We have three books in the Nola The Nurse series with their matching coloring books, seven activity books that teach children about writing and math, a plush Nola The Nurse doll, and so much more!
What was the biggest challenge you faced with launching your business?
The biggest challenge I faced with the housecall business was the inability to practice at my fullest scope of practice. This limits my ability to provide the necessary documentation when patients are being admitted to a nursing home or in need of physical therapy. These documents cannot be signed by NPs. In order to work around these barriers, I consistently lean on my collaborative physicians to sign the paperwork. It is a big problem. Also, if you can get any billing and coding training that would be extremely helpful. If you’re adventurous, get an MBA, but it is not necessary. The billing and coding class is a must have.
At NP Student, we understand that many lessons are revealed as one takes risks to start a business. What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your business?
If I only knew then that a line of credit would be helpful.
Opinions expressed by NPSM contributors are their own.