Talk, talk, talk… and other wise words from healthcare entrepreneurs

“It won’t take any of your time, and it won’t cost you any money,” he was told.

Two of the biggest lies in the world made Stephen Abrams an entrepreneur. As a dentist, he knew there was a problem with the way tooth decay development was monitored and treated. Those early lies from his research partners quickly put him on the path toward a full-fledged startup, and it wasn’t long before Quantum Dental Technologies was up and running with a solution to the problem.

Abrams and co-panellists Jeff Ruby and Jessica Ching shared their motivation for pursuing entrepreneurship—and the lessons learned along the way—at last Wednesday’s Meet the Entrepreneurs event for life sciences and health-care companies.

Jeff Ruby, the founder, CEO and “Chief Newtopian” of Newtopia, an online health and wellness management platform, emphasized to the packed house that personal passion for the mission of the company is critical to making the commitment to long-term success.

These sentiments were echoed by Jessica Ching, the founder and CEO of Eve Medical, an early-stage medical device company that allows women to self-test for sexually transmitted infections (and winner of Entrepreneurship 101’s 2011 Up-Start! Competition). After Ching created Eve’s lead product as part of her OCAD University industrial design program thesis, it “didn’t feel right” to put it down when she knew how many people the product could help.

Last year, I wrote about how the featured entrepreneurs highlighted an appetite for risk as a key to entrepreneurial success. This year’s panellists highlighted practical advice including:

  • Talent is more important than money. As the founder, you must be creative in selling potential employees on joining your company. Since you don’t have money to spend on the talent that you need, you must sell the dream and spirit of the company in order to get the right people on board. It has to be long-run thinking, and it starts with the passion of the founder.
  • Talk, and talk often, to anyone who will listen:
  • Find early mentors and partners who will give you candid feedback… and don’t discount the support you’ll need from your life partners in order to keep it all together!
  • Talk to initial customers to make sure your product will have market traction. Use data and evidence of effectiveness to sell them on your product.
  • To attract that critical early money, educate early. Key stakeholders who you think will be involved later (investors, partners, manufacturers or even potential employees) should be kept engaged, interested and informed on your company from very early on, so that they are primed and informed on your company when the time comes for them to get involved.
  • Companies can’t be static! Constant innovation is necessary to stay abreast of trends and maintain the consumer base.

Watch the video for more tips on how to prioritize the demands of life as an entrepreneur, how to work with partners, how to deal with having to change behaviours of the customers and providers who will be buying your product, and more.

Click here for the full lecture.