By: Dr. Hilda Ashio Titiloye
The principles that guide a medical entrepreneur are not much different from those that guide other entrepreneurs. No matter the sector of medical science, there is mostly very little room for mistakes. Seeing as we are mostly dealing directly with human health and lives, we have to thread very carefully. There are many medical areas where entrepreneurs can arise from, i.e., pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, laboratory sciences, clinical sciences, etc. The principles below might not apply to every medical entrepreneur but in my own experience, in clinical medicine, these have guided my entrepreneurial journey.
Find a mentor, can be a virtual mentor. Research them
There is hardly anything that will be completely new. However there will be new and improved ways of doing things that you can capitalize on as an entrepreneur. It will do you well to find someone already doing what you intend to do. It will be best to work for them in an apprenticeship-like role and learn not only structures but also learn from their mistakes. This is especially important if you are going to work in clinical medicine. If you cannot find a mentor to directly work for, google one up – this will be your virtual mentor. Correspond with them if you have the opportunity. If not, research them, and research their works. Having someone to model your work after will make things much easier and faster for you.
Find a niche
Get adequate training. Back everything up with science always. We are scientists! Medicine is wide, with many fields, sub-fields and sub-sub fields. Find an area that is easy for you to work in and have a natural flair for, carve a niche and master it. You will also need passion to fuel your medical entrepreneurial journey and this passion will mostly come form what you enjoy doing which will come easily to you. Once you find your niche, run with it. Get adequate training, research it, tweak it, make it your own, add value to it and ensure it is fully backed by science. Entrepreneurial training will also be very helpful. One can build their entrepreneurial skills on the go while on the job, but much less mistakes are made if there is an entrepreneurial foundation already laid.
Ensure full and up to date registration with professional bodies.
Every field of medicine has a professional body regulating it. You will need to ensure that you are properly registered not only with your specific regulatory body but with the healthcare management bodies in your state. You will need to register as a business and pay taxes as required of you and your business. Get required licenses and adequate insurance.
Write a business plan. Know your market. Know your numbers
Being a medical entrepreneur means you are either for profit or social change. While many successful people have started businesses without a business plan, I always advise that one is written. This will help you launch your venture more seamlessly and give you a road map for growth, succession and an exit strategy. We should aim to build businesses that will outlive us. Getting basic entrepreneurial training before starting your journey will help tremendously in this area.
One cannot underestimate the power of constant self development and keeping up with new trends and technology. Listen to your customers/clients/patients. Go for update courses, conferences, rub minds with the greats and people who are doing well in your chosen area. Whatever you do, keep moving, keep improving and keep adding value. If an entrepreneur in any sector doesn’t move with the times, the times will leave him/her behind (remember Nokia story).
Give back, pass on the baton, be a mentor too
This is a critical part of success. Giving back to community and those coming behind you. This is not only good for God and for Country but also good for your soul as an entrepreneur. Teaching others and offering your time, energy and resources will give you a satisfaction and feeling that no amount of money can give. Changing the world will come from not only your revolutionary product and/or service but from the number of lives you touch. Pass it forward, set off that cascade that will change the world.
Dr. Hilda Ashio Titiloye is the Clinic Director/Founder, SKIN 101, an Aesthetic & Anti-aging Medical Clinic located in Abuja.