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How An Unlikely Pair Created a Unique New Business An enterprising couple share their best tips for business success.

Courtesy of the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Central Ohio
Eric Goulder and Barbara McClatchie, founders of the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Central Ohio

Sometimes the road to success is one you'd least expect, combining features or services you may never have dreamed would work together. The founders of an Ohio-based healthcare business figured this out for themselves and changed the game when it came to their entrepreneurial opportunities.

This summer, Barbara McClatchie, a dentist, and her husband, Eric Goulder, a cardiologist, opened their business, the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center of Central Ohio. PNC Business Banking customers, McClatchie and Goulder's practice is based on the BaleDoneen Method, which combines periodontal, or gum care, and cardiology as a way to pinpoint early stages of heart disease.

Turns out, their combined experience, seemingly unrelated, made a perfect fit after all. We spoke with McClatchie and Goulder about the lessons they learned while planning and starting their business. Here's what they had to say.

Write down your vision.

For years, Goulder and McClatchie each practiced traditional cardiology and dentistry. But nearly six years ago when McClatchie learned about the link between gum bacteria and incidences of heart disease, she became fascinated with the connection. McClatchie convinced her husband, a full-time practicing cardiologist, to go along with her to a BaleDoneen workshop on the topic. For years since, they were excited by the prospect of bringing their two specializations together toward preventative care. But it wasn't until they envisioned a concrete end goal that they actually made progress.

That realization started a year ago, at a coaching meeting where Goulder and McClatchie were asked to imagine where they saw themselves in the future. "One of the exercises was to write down where you want to be a year from now," Goulder says. "We said: 'A year from now we are going to have this practice up and running.'" With their doors opening this summer, they remained true to their word.

Surround yourself with like-minded people to maintain momentum.

The pair's non-traditional practice was met with resistance from a lot of people either unfamiliar with the method or highly skeptical of it. But McClatchie and Goulder held fast to the principle that often the best ideas are those met with criticism. For Goulder and McClatchie, making sure they were around people who believed in what they were doing became crucial. "When people want to shut you down and tell you it's not a good idea, you want to surround yourself with like-minded people," she says. "That keeps you focused, charged up and ready for the fight. You just have to stay your course."

You can do this in a range of ways—either having a strong team around you daily or by seeking opportunities to commune with others who share your vision. For Goulder and McClatchie that comes in the form of attending meetings across the country three to four times a year filled with others also interested in the BaleDoneen Method.

Find new ways to get your message out.

McClatchie and Goulder now face the task of spreading the word about their business and getting new clients. That means they have to think beyond traditional marketing strategies.

In November, they plan to host Brad Bale and Amy Doneen—founders of this combined method of preventative care—at their center for a study club. They also plan on doing a television and a radio spot with them on local networks to help educate people in the area about the connection between gum and heart health. "We are trying to figure out how to take a new concept and get it out there," McClatchie says.

Nurture your existing relationships.

Starting a company from scratch can be incredibly challenging if you don't have well-established allies on your side. While Goulder and McClatchie were embarking on the first combined heart and dental health clinic of its kind, they nonetheless already had long-term established relationships that helped turn their idea into a reality.

For example, McClatchie who had used PNC as the bank for her traditional dental practice for years, was more easily able to get out a loan for her new business given the relationship she'd developed with the bank over time. "Based on our solid historic financials and business plan, PNC was able to approve us," she says.

For regular insights on the top challenges business owners are facing today, follow our PNC Business Banking Showcase Page on LinkedIn.

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