This Healthcare Startup Grew to 450 Employees in 5 Years. Its Founder Has 3 Key Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs.
It's about more than coming up with a good product or service, says the founder and co-CEO of PatientPop.
PatientPop believes in people, process and technology. Utilizing all three of these facets, the company empowers small healthcare practices grow, focusing on helping these providers succeed by improving the overall patient experience. After talking with the company’s founder and current co-CEO Travis Schneider, it’s clear what the company's vision for the future is. Here's how the company plans to adapt and disrupt the healthcare industry.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What does your company do?
PatientPop helps healthcare providers adapt to the drastic shift in how people choose doctors and medical care today. Patients no longer rely solely on word-of-mouth. The majority now look online before selecting a doctor, similar to the way they manage other shopping experiences.
We help providers thrive in this environment with a technology solution that promotes practices online and offers digital conveniences to meet patient demand. With our all-in-one solution, healthcare providers can easily communicate with patients beyond the first visit, which allows both sides to maintain a beneficial relationship.
What differentiates you from your competitors?
We pioneered the category of practice growth: applying technology to activities that drive patient acquisition and retention. The difference is that we aim to enhance each touchpoint across the entire patient journey, from the first time a person searches for care online to the communication they receive after an office visit.
Many other companies deliver point solutions that don’t consider all the factors that impact practice growth. They may build a website or focus on SEO but lack a holistic approach to keeping a medical practice thriving. Some practices end up buying multiple solutions as they go along, resulting in higher costs and more to manage without a unified look at performance metrics.
How important is your company culture?
It’s extremely important. The values we share as individuals and team mebers support the pursuit of our entire mission. When building our teams, we look for a culture fit; we weave that into all aspects of how we identify, assess and select candidates, and we aim to help them grow in their careers. Our customers, the practices we work with, want to know and understand who we are as well because we’re partnering with them on a vital part of their business.
We’ve grown from a few employees in 2014 to more than 450 today, so it’s been rapid. We’ve maintained our culture throughout, helping employees thrive personally and professionally even as we keep scaling.
How do you define success?
A company’s success has to be defined by the success and joy of its customers. When the people whose lives you’re trying to improve with your solution express satisfaction — and, in our case, achieve their business goals — you’re successful. That can only happen if you have the right people dedicated to serving those customers: skilled, curious, motivated, confident, collaborative people. When you have teams like that working to help your customers thrive, your revenue and profit should follow.
What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?
There’s so much I can say here; in our time running three successful companies, we’ve learned dozens of best practices in how to start a business. The first piece of advice is to give yourself the greatest possible opportunities by making wise choices about the problem you’re looking to solve. It should be a widespread, must-solve problem in the largest industry possible. You don’t want to try selling a billion-dollar idea to a million-dollar industry. Focus on the problem first, then make sure your target customers can afford the solution and that it’s simple enough to scale.
Next, get out there and validate three things: your market demand, the first workable version of the solution and your sales model. You have to take the time to do this carefully and diligently. Otherwise, you could find yourself expending too many resources on a concept that simply doesn’t work.
Finally, here’s some advice specifically focused on your initial sales vetting. First, don’t sell your own idea. Prospective customers will react differently to a CEO or company owner, so get sales reps involved from the start. Second, don’t send just one sales rep out into the field. If you do and that person doesn’t deliver, you’ll never know whether the failure is in the solution or with the salesperson. With PatientPop, we had the good fortune to employ two salespeople to get us started — the first fell flat, while the second became one of the highest-grossing performers in company history. If we had relied only on the first sales rep, we may have assumed the product was the problem, and we would have been wrong.