So have an off day today from work, so I packed it full of things to do to get my idea/first start up off of the ground. I originally started this blog to keep people in the loop and let people see how I overcome each obstacle on my way to starting my first startup as a doctor. There aren’t many documented journeys out there of entrepreneurs, just lots of talk from entrepreneurs who are already successful. However, after listening to the Elon Musks of the world I’m always left wondering: “how did they get there in the first place?!”.
7.00am – Got up and got ready
9.30am – After a bit of getting lost, finally found the Starbucks for my first meeting. I met with the Chair of one the CCGs (clinical commissions group) in Leeds.
Was a great meeting. He was a super nice guy and really enthusiastic. He is quite the entrepreneur himself having set up and sold several of his own companies. More importantly from my point of view he is heavily involved in the tech scene in healthcare in the UK and really has a lot of contacts. He gave me the contacts of a few people who I may need to connect with. He also advised on some meet ups I should get to. Also gave me a lot of pointers on what type of market research I still need to do.
We also had an informal chat about a few things. It’s always so much better to try and truly connect with people rather than collecting business cards.
So all in all a really productive meeting.
11am – Meeting with software developer. Again, a really great meeting that was super productive. It’s always interesting explaining healthcare problems and solutions to people who are not involved in healthcare. I think it’s actually a really great way to see if your idea actually works. A lot of people get so caught up in their own little niche that it blinds them to how to actually solve the problem. I hope I have not done this, as the business I’m starting up seems to really resonate with people who are involved in healthcare and also people in the general public.
I have to say it was really refreshing to meet with someone who is non-medical and understands terms like “Minimum viable product” and “pivoting”. Usually when you use these terms with fellow clinicians you get that super scared look. Doctors do not like to fail even if it means learning from it. Whereas, startups need to fail and validate their idea and continually pivot to be successful.
12.30pm – meeting with software developer finished. I drive down to Asda and pick up lots of doughnuts and cookies for my next task for the day – market research.
1.15pm – traffic was super annoying today in Leeds!! I was meant to arrive at one of the medical practices in Leeds I had previously worked in at 1pm but end up running late! I hate when I’m late!! Anyways, the reason I booked to spend time with this practice was to meet with the reception staff and also the IT staff to pick their minds and see what they thought of my idea and how we could implement it i.e. market research.
It was really interesting speaking with all the different people at the practice, because in England, not only are we workers in the healthcare system, but it’s a healthcare system we all use. So everyone has insight into what they want from the healthcare system.
There were some people who said my idea sucked and some people who liked certain aspects of the ideas.
When doing market research I feel that as a lot of successful entrepreneurs often say: “stay attached to solving the problem. Do not stay attached to the solution you have come up with”. I think this is amazing advice because otherwise your confidence and beliefs in your product cloud your judgement. I found it really interesting to ask the people why they thought the idea would not work.
Essentially it boiled down to this: the DATA doesn’t currently exist. Basically, I have assumptions building my product that I want to test by building a minimum viable product. Then we can look at the data to see if my assumptions are correct. If the assumptions are incorrect we can pivot. The people who did not like my idea, do not have the data to explain why they think it would not work, however, I do not have the data to argue that my product does work. The only way to find out is by building it, releasing into the world and seeing.
What the market research was good for though, was that it made me think of possible other solutions to the problem and what assumptions (there are two at present) that I really need to get data on.
4.30pm – Drove home and spent time with my girlfriend and went out for dinner. Came back home and answered several emails.
Luckily I’m working 4pm to 12am tomorrow, so can stay up a little late and do a bit more reading around my product and problem that I am trying to solve.
I’m working 12pm to 12am Saturday and Sunday in my regular job and have booked to go to another practice on Monday to get some more data and market research from another practice. I also plan on meeting with a tech health innovator who has already successfully launched products for the NHS. So part two of this series will likely be up Monday.