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The 5 mistakes to avoid when starting a CNA School.

If you are new to entrepreneurship, you are destined to make a mistake. Mistakes can be costly, time-consuming, or even steal your confidence. I have personally learned from every mistake I have made along the way and each mistake has undoubtedly made me a better businesswoman. Many other “businessmen” will tell you the same. We all wished we had someone along our journey to help us learn the easier way. When it comes to CNA school start-up you no longer have to wish. That is why The Secret Cocktail was born.

In helping to consult start CNA school startup with over 50 schools all over the nation, start my own CNA school and work to help those who are already in business grow their school, I have seen a lot. Here I will highlight The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a CNA School.

1. Investing money to start a CNA school and have no idea what all is required. CNA Schools are regulated by the Federal Government. Anytime something is regulated by the government there are always specific requirements that have to be met. Although CNA schools can be pretty much owned by anybody, every CNA school MUST have a Program Coordinator as this is a Federal requirement.

  • You have to have a program coordinator must be an RN with at least 2 years of experience and one of those years must be in a nursing home. Some states may add on additional requirements but this is the Federal standard.
  • You have to have a location that accommodates the number of students you plan to have per class in both the lab and classroom. There are no square footage requirements. And speaking of location the lab MUST have a hand-washing station within close proximity. I recommend it being directly in the lab to avoid any confusion.
  • There are many other requirements but we will stop here. The rest are state-specific. If you would like to learn more about your state’s specific requirements, please see the following link HERE.

2. Forgetting to do the math! Do not get so caught up in the process of getting started or being a “school owner” that you forget to do the math. You know, the profit vs cost math. You have to know how many students you need every month to pay for the overall operation and to bring home the bacon. Some months you may want to run a special and you never want to undercut yourself. If I asked you how many students you need to enroll per month to break even, you should be able to answer immediately! If not, my suggestion to you is the following:

  • During your planning phase, be sure to calculate how much each student will actually cost your business (books, uniforms, lab supplies, etc.)
  • Also calculate how much money you will make off of every student based on your tuition and estimated student enrollment. Always add a little extra for the student that may drop out of the program, the month of decreased enrollment, the month you offer a sale on your courses, etc.
  • Calculate your company overhead costs and be sure to subtract that from the income you plan to make. These costs include rent, staff, internet, website, etc.
  • Basically, you need to complete a business plan! If you are going into the business of starting a CNA school without a business plan, you are planning to fail. I don’t want that for you. If you need assistance with a business plan, check out our self-paced online business plan that is tailored specifically to CNA schools HERE.

3. Scared to invest in marketing! If you are starting a business then you have to let go of the fear of investing in marketing. Your business will not thrive if people do not know you exist. How do they know you exist? By meeting them where they are online and offline.

  • Do not be afraid to invest funds to make eye-catching brochures that will be posted at local community spaces, with referral partners or handed out at community events. People need to know you exist and learn about what you offer. Even if they don’t need it, who knows, they may refer somebody that does.
  • Find a digital marketer you can trust and invest in online ads. You are customers are on Google, Facebook, and Instagram and if you are not there, they do not know you exist. Placing an ad in front of them that is eye-catching alerts them to what you can offer. Please note that research shows on average it takes at least 5 touches to a customer, regarding your brand, before they even recognize that you exist and about 3 more before they consider you for business. So in other words, one ad in front of them is not going to do it!
  • If you decide to work with me on this venture, I have many reliable contacts that I can refer you to when that time comes. No worries, I got you covered.

4. Being cheap with website development! You cannot afford to be cheap with website development. You need someone who will develop your website professionally and optimize it for SEO. SEO is search engine optimization. In other words, when people search words on Google, will your business pop up? If you spent $500 on your website, I can guarantee you it will not! What is the point of having a website if people cannot find it? The largest search engine in the world is google and many of your potential students are running there to find you. Make sure your website will meet them there every time.

5. Thinking you can do it all by yourself. Yes, there are stories of CNA school owners who have made it through the beginning phase as a one-man show but I would not recommend it. You are starting a brick and mortar business. Without help you will be the:

  • Janitor
  • Marketer
  • Instructor/ Teacher
  • Program Director
  • Owner
  • Recruiter
  • Secretary
  • Etc.

I highly recommend finding a partner or someone who can at least learn the basics of the business just in case you have a down moment when you can’t. If you don’t find a partner these are the people I HIGHLY recommend you hire to help.

  • A Secretary: If potential students are calling or stopping by and no one is answering the phone or meeting them at the door because you are teaching or at your 1st job, then that student is lost and will enroll somewhere else. Please, please, please, hire a secretary.
  • A backup Instructor: If you get the flu, are in a motor vehicle accident, or have to have emergency surgery, who will pick up where you left off at? It is best to have a backup instructor just in case and as a matter of fact, many states require this in order for you to get approval.

I hope these these 5 mistakes help you make an educated decision along your journey. Starting a CNA School is hard work but you can do it! Just take your time and get it done right. If you would like help along the way, just let us know. Check out our services tab HERE or email is at and we can help you learn about the different options we have.

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