Have you ever said, “I wish I could come up with an idea or concept so I can start my own company!” In my interactions with individuals in the industry I hear this comment often. Clinicians, sales types, engineers etc. I have heard this statement from all these folks.
In my role as the Host of Med Tech Gurus. I have had the pleasure of speaking to individuals who have successfully made this leap.
What I find interesting is that I have found many common traits in these individuals that are worth noting.
Sean Runnels, MD founder of Through The Cords, LLC and Mr. Dan Allen founder of Allen Medical and D.A. Surgical have both been guests on Med Tech Gurus. One of the first qualities both entrepreneurs mentioned is the need for passion. Passion to help patients, clinicians, and the healthcare system with quality outcomes.
Both gentlemen indicated that financial success is your driver you may have a difficult time. Not that financial success is an admirable goal, however it is the desire to improve patient care and deliver quality outcomes that matters the most. The challenges in launching a new technology are daunting, and the hours and commitment to launching a product correctly require nothing less than a full commitment and the passion to deliver.
The Need Be “IN” Your Business
Both Dr. Runnels and Mr. Allen describe how the products they developed came from being deeply involved in their business and the product they developed solved a nagging problem. The solution for both gentlemen came in a sentinel moment while they were doing other things.
It should be noted that this “flash” of inspiration was just the being and not the end point.
In both instances the product and subsequent company require years to get things properly developed, tested and launched. There were many challenges along the way.
In the case of Through The Cords, Dr. Runnels company, he discussed getting the right team together. Then he had to be with them every day. His background provided much of the clinical input. However, he relied on individuals who were experts in engineering, quality, and business to help round out the team.
Mr. Allan came from a slightly different approach. He had the design knowledge and could see the problem. However, he sought out the clinical expertise for continual improvement. Then he also had to seek how design and production people to provide their input into the development.
Patience IS Important
In the Medical Device world, it is very rare to have anything close to an overnight success. This is especially true in today’s healthcare environment. With the regulatory process, the formation of large health systems and GPOs the road to success has become even longer.
Both entrepreneurs noted that it is very important to have the right investors if you seek outside funding.
Dr. Runnels stressed that most venture capitalists have a 3-5-year attention span. He noted that it often takes 6-8 years for a product to start to make inroads. Mr. Allen validated this.
So, if you need outside investors to help fund your endeavor it is important that they are bought into the length of time it might take to develop the product strength to make a financial sound exit.
Don’t Underestimate the Sales Cycle
One of the other common themes from both entrepreneurs was the sales cycle and contracting. This process has become exceptionally long and complex. Back in the day the old saying was “If you build a better mouse trap, the world will beat a path to your door!” This is not true in Medical Devices any longer.
As noted by both gentlemen you need the right experts around you. Engineering, quality, and regulatory are often thought of as must haves.
That is only have the story. You also need a strong commercialization team. A team of seasoned professionals that help guide your company through the Group Purchasing and Large Health System contracting process.
That is where a team of specialist like those found at Excelerant Consulting is paramount to your success. Excelerant has the team with the right mix of experienced sales and contracting executives to help you through this p[art of the challenge on your way to success.
Tom is a 35 year veteran in the Med Tech space. Having personally worked with dozens of new technologies. It is Tom's passion to enhance patient outcome by bringing new concepts and technologies that will help clinical performance.