How to build your NP practice with Dequindra Blakely
Meet Dequindra Blakely, CEO of FNP Consulting and owner of Restoration Health LLC in Detroit, Michigan. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner with 25 years of experience in numerous practice settings. As a consultant, she provides coaching for NPs who want to start their own practice. She also offers professional development training, practice start-up services, and ongoing support that is tailored to the needs and budget of her clients.
Ms. Blakely was inspired to start a consulting business when she saw an opportunity to have control over her life and a chance to empower aspiring NP entrepreneurs in the industry. NPs are not adequately trained on how to start our own practice in school, which makes the business side of healthcare a lot more daunting than it needs to be. She states, “Because of the lack of knowledge [in starting a practice], I have witnessed new nurse practitioners fall prey to predatory employment practices.” This is when she began to fully understand business, and her career development began.
She is most proud of building her business from the ground up which allows her to provide step-by-step knowledge on how to start a business to clients. In addition, she offers various courses on her website, including billing for wellness and preventative services. “Every day… as a business owner is different, which can be a challenge as a new entrepreneur. However, it’s exactly what keeps me spirited, grounded, and vigilant.”
Dequindra emphasizes the importance of growth projection and planning as part of their business plans. Planning is an important aspect of running a business throughout its existence. Growth projection will allow you to determine whether your business is moving in the right direction. When creating a business plan, attention to detail is crucial: the processes, workflows, and even the other companies and people involved. Creating such a comprehensive and detailed plan will ensure that you do not stall coming out of the gate; there is nothing more frustrating as a business owner than getting bottlenecked by the very process that you came up with. “Being a part of a network of NP providers and a coach/mentor that has traveled the path have also been priceless to my growth as an entrepreneur. Every NP entrepreneur needs a mentor, that’s the best way to know which makes to avoid in your own journey. Plus, a mentor is like your own personal therapist that you can open up to.” You can find your mentor by simply looking around you. Is there an entrepreneur that you would love to shadow or emulate? Keep in mind that a mentor is not about how long someone has been in business– you should strive to find a mentor that will provide you with the most well-rounded experience.
The biggest challenge she faced when she first ventured out was convincing clients to come to her business. Dequindra used digital marketing and social media to propel her forward and draw more people in. In addition, she also volunteered at community events, which really helped to get the brand out there. “But most of all, good old word of mouth marketing from my established network of healthcare providers is what gave me the jump start we needed.”
Like many business owners, there are many things one would do differently with the knowledge they have today. Dequindra states “If I only knew at the beginning of my NP program that everything I needed to know would have to be based on some clinical guideline, then my entire NP program would have been a lot more bearable. If I had crafted all my research papers, exams, and discussion board responses based on this nugget of wisdom, then my performance would have been a lot better.” As a nurse practitioner, it is also very hard to stay agile especially in the wake of challenges. She also talks about the importance of flexibility, which signals to your superiors and clients that they can count on you no matter what. It is this flexibility that is also needed to weather the challenges that come with running a business. You must continue to push forward, take action, and most of all recall the core of why the work matters. That’s the drive that you will need to keep pushing.