Case management consulting covers a wide variety of career, social, and personal needs. This diversity means that someone with a specific niche expertise has the opportunity to become an independent case manager. Knowing how to start a case management business begins by identifying the needs of the community and comparing them to your own. From there, you’ll be able to determine how you’ll be able to provide needed supports.
Once you have identified the need, then you’ll be able to follow these additional steps to have a potentially profitable business opportunity.
1. Develop a Strong Business Plan.
This step is skipped the most often when starting this type of business, but it is the most important step of all. By identifying the services that will be sold, growth goals for the business, and potential market opportunities, more resources can be utilized when capital funding is required. A formal business plan is necessary for any loan that might be needed.
2. Your Education Level Matters.
Here’s a simple question to ask yourself: if given the choice of having a case manager with a bachelor’s degree or with a master’s degree, which one would you choose? People tend to gravitate toward those who have the most niche expertise and when you’re first getting started, education is proof of expertise. Work experience can substitute for the education, but expect to prove at least 5 years of case management experience for every additional degree level.
3. Figure Out Your Business Structure.
How are you going to bill your clients that need help? Many independent case managers will charge on an hourly basis because of how they render services. Not only will there be personal meetings with the clients, but time is going to be spent securing resources, talking with other businesses, writing letters, and other related tasks as well. Keep track of your hours, make sure your business structure is understood in advance, and you’ll be able to get down to business.
4. Know What Your State Will Allow.
Some jurisdictions won’t allow independent case managers in certain areas. This is usually the case when it comes to vocational rehabilitation, child and family services, and elder care. That’s because there are government employees at the state level who have been contracted for these services. Your niche is more to provide private needs before an official report is filed by a state agency. Get your licenses in order, secure the permits you’ll need for your business, and then you’ll be ready to take your first clients.
5. Setup Your Office.
Case management has three areas of focus when it comes to the office space that is required.
- There needs to be a private meeting room so that confidential information can be securely passed between your client and yourself.
- There must be an effective working space so that case notes can be entered as efficiently as phone calls or copies can be made.
- There must be a way for the office to be portable as well, such as through a laptop, so your time isn’t wasted during travel times or trips out into the community.
Communicating with clients is also a top priority. As an independent case manager, you’ll likely have people calling you 24/7. Make sure that you set aside a specific time that is your own so that you don’t get burnt out running your new case management business.
6. Market Yourself To The Community.
There are a number of ways you can help to make your services become a top priority in your community. The most effective way is to marketing your services directly to your client base. Becoming involved in professional activities, sponsoring community events, or speaking at local meetings about what you do can also provide several quality leads.
7. Plan To Make Less Money For Awhile.
Many people who get into independent case management are used to working a full-time schedule of at least 40 hours per week. That’s the equivalent of working over 2,000 hours over the course of a year. For a case management business in its first 5 years, working full-time often means billing out about 1,200 hours while still working 40+ hours per week. That’s about a 50% drop in income and that can be shocking if unexpected. Working for yourself also means not having employer-sponsored health care, paid vacation days, and other perks.
Knowing how to start a case management business involves a lot of changes, but given enough time, can be extremely profitable as well. Follow these steps, put your skills to work, and you’ll create a great business that helps people every day.
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