Entrepreneurship in Healthcare



Let’s Get Down to Business

When you start a company, it’s your life. Day in and day out, constantly running through your mind; different things to change or little tweaks that seem so significant. Starting off, entrepreneurship begins with an idea and starts with the ability to be willing to take many risks. Sometimes you can think of it as the saying ‘You’ll never know until you try’. There’s a meaning behind this phrase. People who have a vision for what they are pursuing can have the ability to see through those risk factors and know that it’s worth trying, even if you fail.

There’s a difference between a calculated risk and a gamble. A gamble in business is a risky decision that you take in the hope of gaining money, success, or an advantage. A gamble isn’t smart but a calculated risk can pay off. An entrepreneur should understand their business and market forces are likely to change. “In my experience, you pave the way as you need it. In the big businesses they’re already paved.” Doug McMaught said. As I was thinking about the meaning of what he said, to me this means recognizing in a smaller business you have to figure out marketing, investing and almost all aspects of it on your own. In a new business, it’s smarter to work on smaller things at a time, like HR, finance, advertising, etc. “The big businesses already have those things figured out but when you’re doing it on your own for the first time it’s a different story.” He added. The business matures as you see success and you want to build and create value, either with employees, shareholders or investors. Doug said, “I can tell you, it’s gratifying to know you’re creating something that cascades value to those around you. As a healthy business grows it broadens the value, which should be very gratifying.” 

Dr. McNaught uses their office’s new imagery tool that takes 3D photos and models of the patient’s teeth to directly send over to Invisalign, which can create molds, retainers and fully scan the patient’s mouth. (Taken by Josie Redetzke)

My understanding of value in business broadened after hearing Dr. McNaught say this. Money is the most common way people can determine value, like how much something is worth, or what it lacks. Building value with your customers, business partners, banks and such can grow your company’s value in all aspects. Another thing that’s vital to know about building a business is accumulating the money to start it up and keep it running. “A great way to raise money when you’re starting a business is talking to your family and friends. You go to them and present your business plan, and even though you will probably get a ton of no’s, there might be a lucky yes in there.” Doug said. Leveraging your network is usually the best way to go over time. Having people you know invest can be a whole different story than going to an institutional investor, private equity firms or a bank. A smaller business loses more money and ownership when they go to a private equity firm or an offsite investor because they’re taking part of your company. “But one crucial thing to remember is that the end goal of building a business is to sell it in the end. Therefore, accumulating investors is great for when you’re ready to sell it in the end.” Doug said. Regarding competition in the early business years, you need to create or understand your unique selling proposition. This has to be compelling enough to have people choose you. Some examples that are easy to make you stand out are price, quality, brand positioning and how you communicate with your customers. Doug ended our conversation with telling me how to “always leverage your past contacts, asking for help when you need it. The people who invest in your ideas are investing in you, and when you finally decide to let go of the company, you should be happy with what you’ve created and proud of what you’ve done.”


Q&A With your Dentist’s Experience

Q: How have your priorities changed since you started? 

A: “Well when we first started it, all of the focus was around the business. We’d think about it almost constantly, even off the work clock. Then, skipping forward to now, as I’m getting ready to leave, my mentality is that I really want to be able to step back and enjoy my family. As you gain employees and such, you begin to take a step back. You also have a bit of a broader perspective, where you need to think about more family and friends. ‘Stop and smell the roses’, as my old business partner would say. 

Q: Where was your headspace in the beginning?

By Josie Redetzke

A: In the beginning the business is your soul focus. You end up making sacrifices in all aspects of your life. This can be super challenging because you have a home life to attend to too.” 

Q: What’s the difference between working for a company versus owning one in the same field?

“I think one of the biggest differences between owning a company and working for one is that when working for one, there is always an on and off switch when you go home. When owning one, there’s really never an off switch. You have duties to shareholders, investors, stakeholders and your ventors. You also have responsibilities to feed families who work for you. Then again as an employee, you have many responsibilities but you’re not always the face of the company when different things happen.”


The Good, The Bad and The Business

The good, the bad and the business. Facing challenges everyday and going through rough patches is a way to indirectly expand your way of thinking, make you more strong headed and even grow the business. Rough patches are typically tied to money.

Dr. McNaught uses his well known professional skills to perform a procedure that drills a hole into the patient’s tooth to replace with a small metal post. (Taken by Josie Redetzke)

Ability to accumulate it, then use it. “This might sound cliche but it’s true, you have to get through all of the no’s to get a yes. There’s a lot of no’s in starting a business, but you have to keep going and get that yes, there’s a yes in everything.” Perseverance and persistence. Very little in this world can take the place of persistence. This is something that takes patience because it can be very easy to give up after a few no’s. Maintaining perspective and a healthy balance of work  and outside of work life is very challenging and is something that needs to be taken seriously. One struggle of business is oftentimes you don’t get a paycheck because you have employees which you sacrifice your own income for. “Knowing going into it that you’ll likely have to learn merchandising, finance, logistics, customer service, how to deal with banks and investors, marketing products, and learning how a business works that way. Well of course that only if you’re like me and went to dentistry school where they don’t teach you business!” Dr. McNaught laughed.