Turning Urgency Into Currency
Schedulist is tackling a problem that's already out of control--with a little help from some friends.
Together with Entrepreneur Media, The Idea Village is pleased to introduce you to a few of the entrepreneurial characters who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. Because we believe it's these crazy ones who can--and who will.
Chris Laibe, founder of New Orleans-based startup Schedulist.com, isn't afraid to tackle a daunting challenge--even one with a $60 billion annual price tag. As he set out to develop a more intuitive scheduling tool, Laibe discovered that the platform could meet a much greater need. The healthcare industry is facing a systemic workforce crisis as demand for healthcare outpaces the supply of nurses. Recognizing the urgency of this predicament, Laibe's team specifically designed Schedulist as a web-based scheduling system wrapped in a full-scale retention suite, enabling hospitals to reverse this grim trend and hang on to critical employees, thus paving the way to industry-wide change.
With the product enjoying great response from beta customers, Schedulist is attracting investor interest and moving rapidly to its public launch. Laibe attributes a great deal of the startup's success thus far to its incubation in a dynamic environment. The company's location is far different from your typical corporate office--Schedulist is a member of Launch Pad, a collaborative space for entrepreneurs in downtown New Orleans. Sharing overhead and thereby defraying costs, entrepreneurs building new companies work side by side.
Thanks to a vibrant community of innovative and creative thinkers navigating the entrepreneurial waters together, Schedulist has thrived from the input of fresh ideas and different angles. Problems are solved and ideas are tested and iterated much faster than if the business was cloistered in its own office. As Laibe puts it, "I've never encountered an environment where others, without any material stake in the business, are so eager to see you succeed. I stick my head out the door and say 'Hey, have you ever tried this?' Someone usually has."
Laibe also stresses the importance of soliciting input from the end users of a product in development. "Schedulist was purely driven by the needs that we were hearing from nurses, hospital and healthcare management, and IT departments," he explains. "The nurses were asking for the key ingredient of any healthy work environment: a better way to maintain balance in their lives and interact with coworkers."
At the same time, Schedulist incorporated the tools that IT departments and healthcare managers were asking for, like easy integration with existing systems and mechanisms to obtain staff feedback. "We've restricted ourselves to industry standard building blocks and very simple, intuitive screens," says Thomas Buschbach, Schedulist's senior architect.
Sometimes the urgency of a problem sparks the fire that solves it. If you can learn to live with the fact that some things were needed yesterday, you might just spark a course for change. Laibe set out to correct an inefficient scheduling process only to transform the course of an entire industry. If you love what you do, there's no room for failure--just bumps in the road through which you must bulldoze. Laibe offers the following advice to help you budding entrepreneurs hurdle a few of those daunting potholes:
- Know Your Mission: Make sure you know whose problem you are trying to solve and listen to them.
- Persistence: As Winston Churchill put it when coaching young people on the three keys to a successful life, "Never give up. Never give up. Never give up."
- Atmosphere: Surround yourself with creative, colorful people, even if they don't work for you. If you haven't tried something, one of them probably has.
- Hire Talent: Product is important, but people make or break your business.
- Urgency: Learn to live with the fact that, most of the time, something needed to be finished yesterday.
The Idea Village was founded in 2000 with a mission to identify, support and retain entrepreneurial talent in New Orleans by providing business resources to high-impact ventures. To date, The Idea Village has supported over 255 New Orleans entrepreneurs through the allocation of over $2.2 million in capital, engagement of more than 600 professional service providers and MBA students and provision of 38,000 hours of business consulting services.
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