Case Study #16: A registered dietitian (RD) has a follow-up appointment with a client who is on a we...
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Essential entrepreneurial skills

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  • Case Study #16: A registered dietitian (RD) has a follow-up appointment with a client who is on a weight loss diet. This client failed to come to the last two meetings. The RD decides to call the client to remind her about the appointment. When the answering machine comes on, the RD leaves a message for the client. The RD reminds the client about the appointment, states the importance of a weight check, and asks the client to call back to confirm the meeting.

Essential entrepreneurial skills

  • Decision making

  • Delegation

  • Support your workers (and your colleagues)

  • Communication

  • Controlling to plan

  • Planning

  • Goal-setting

    • Specific

    • Measurable

    • Time-limited

Essential entrepreneurial skills

  • Decision making

    • Define the problem

    • Gather information

    • Analyze the info

    • Develop options

    • Choose and implement

    • Monitor and evaluate

Private Practice as an RD

  • Aptitude

  • Personal characteristics

  • Pros/cons

  • Nitty-gritty

Personal characteristics


  • Need 3 to 5 years to turn a profit?

Nitty-gritty considerations

  • Business structure

    • Sole proprietorship (70% in the US)

    • Partnerships

    • Corporations

    • S Corporations

    • LLC

Nitty-gritty considerations

  • Business structure

  • Tax structure; self-employment taxes (6.2% Social Security; 1.45% Medicare) times two because you pay both halves

  • Benefits

  • Insurance:

    • Malpractice!!

    • Health

Nitty-gritty considerations

  • HIPAA regulations

  • Need for licensure/seller's permit/permit to run a home business

  • Business/office expenses

  • NOTE: You cannot discuss fees with other RDs—potential violation of anti-trust laws

Possible clientele


  • Litt, A.S. and F.B. Mitchell (2004) American Dietetic Association Guide to Private Practice, American Dietetic Association.

  • King, K. (2010) The Entrepreneurial Nutritionist,4th ed., Helm Publishing, Lake Dallas, TX.

Develop a business plan

  • Case Study #20: A consultant registered dietitian (RD) has a worksite wellness account. Her usual programming includes group classes on basic nutrition, nutrition for those with diabetes, heart-healthy eating, and coping with food allergies. She also provides personal coaching to the company’s employees. She is approached by an employee who is training for marathons and has specific interests in sports nutrition, nutrition during training and pre-/post-event. Although the RD is comfortable with the role of exercise and nutrition in basic health and general needs, competitive athletics is not an area of expertise.

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