With assistance from the Iowa Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Community College in developing a business plan, creating financial projections, and understanding and implementing QuickBooks, Peggy Hirte was able to set up her new family medical practice in West Point, Iowa.
Peggy Hirte grew up in West Point, Iowa, but lived most of her younger life in Arizona. She returned to Iowa, met her husband and then graduated from the nursing program at Southeastern Community College. She worked a couple of years for Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa before earning her nurse practitioner degree from Penn State University. Peggy currently lives in Wever with her husband and three of her four children.
Peggy attended a Smart Start class in 2010 presented by the Southeastern Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Fort Madison. She knew she was going to be unemployed for the first time in her life because the private practice firm she had worked for since September 2001 was closing. Peggy praised the Smart Start class she took saying, “The instructor was positive and gave a lot of good information about opening a small business. I was inspired. I knew I wanted to open a practice, I just didn’t know where.”
Peggy then set up a one-on-one appointment with SBDC Regional Director Janine Clover on the first day of her unemployment, to begin work on her proposed business. The two worked on a business plan for a family medical practice, location yet to be determined. They roughly sketched out financial projections, but without a location it was hard to determine all of the operating costs.
Peggy received a call from two businessmen in West Point right after her SBDC appointment. They had space in a building they owned that was once occupied by another medical firm. They offered the space to her, acknowledging that there was a need for a general medical practice in West Point. They also offered three months of free rent, which made Peggy very happy. The pieces of the puzzle were falling into place.
After working with the SBDC in a few more sessions, and with a location for the practice identified, the business plan and financial projections were completed for Hometown Medical Care. The next step was to secure financing. Peggy was in need of equipment to furnish her newly acquired space and as luck would have it, financing was not needed to purchase the necessary equipment. She found out Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa had an exam table they wanted to get rid of and they actually gave it to her. Wait chairs came from Peggy’s home, later replaced by a purchase from a closing medical practice. Former patients got word of the new medical center’s opening and helped by donating time and materials. One of Peggy’s employees worked two months without pay to help get the medical practice on its feet.
Peggy gratefully acknowledged all of these contributions saying, “I have been truly blessed to have received the support and help from family, friends, former patients, and resources from the community”. She also praised the assistance she received from the SBDC adding, “Attending the Smart Start class gave me encouragement and made me realize that having a small business is a lot of work. The SBDC furthered helped me with my business plan and financial projections to give me the encouragement to move forward with my business idea”.
Hometown Medical Care officially began accepting patients November 1, 2010. As a registered nurse practitioner, Peggy is able to take a patient’s medical history, evaluate and diagnose their condition, order tests, prescribe medication, and if need arises, admit a patient to a hospital. Peggy specializes in women’s health, helping with hormone imbalances using bio-identical hormone replacement treatments, and assisting with family planning. She also performs routine physicals and treats patients who have colds, flu, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
Peggy brings twelve years of experience to her new business. Hometown Medical Care has one part-time and two full-time employees. Many of Peggy’s former patients are being helped by her new clinic, which includes patients from all over southeast Iowa and as far away as Florida.
For more information on this thriving new medical care business, call 319-837-6115.