Tell us about your business.
I am CEO and co-owner of a three-pronged healthcare business committed to promoting optimal, healthy aging for women and men. Our business units spin from the hub of our medical practice providing personalized medical care for close to ten thousand patients a year via a combination of hormone testing and balancing, nutritional and weight loss counseling and in-house diagnostic lab testing. We also have an on-site compounding pharmacy individualizing prescriptions for our patients based on our lab work analysis of their hormone level and micronutrient deficiencies. The third prong is a bricks and mortar retail store and, also website presence, offering physician-only grade vitamins and nutraceuticals.
Our target customers are women over 35 and men over 40 years of age.
Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?
For me being a business owner means stepping fully and confidently into the role of being the primary steward over top line revenue and bottom line margin. No margin, no mission. Meaning that unless we run a good business, our medical professionals will not have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of our patients. Also I will have no opportunity to grow the skill sets and confidence of my employees.
I believe I did not “become” an entrepreneur, I was born one. It took me awhile to really acknowledge that, for whatever reason, I have this innate God-given ability to see and grasp emerging trends. For instance when I first began fifteen years ago to add in the above described ancillary services into the medical practices the company I was then VP of owned, I was labeled “crazy”, too “way-out there.” But I persevered based on patient response and demand proving my concept had traction. Now over a decade later, my ahead-of-its time strategy was the cover story of April 2013 Physician Practice Magazine: Grow Your Revenue.
Interestingly enough, in college my friends kidded me for putting my cup of yogurt in the freezer until it was semi-frozen. Then along came TCBY. And a decade later, I was laughed out of several venture capitalists offices when I can to them with a business plan for a start-up that today would closely resemble PetCo. “A business in pet products and care?” they said. “That’s never going to happen.”
What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?
First, my grandfather who was an orphan, then a farmer then a postman before going on to open and own a chain of Chevrolet-Cadillac dealerships in NW FL. He taught me the importance of understanding that all businesses are in the business of servicing their customers first and foremost. He also taught me the importance of analyzing and using financial data.
Second, I am a member of Women’s President Organization. I journey once a month to a different state to meet with sixteen other women who essentially function as my ad-hoc board of directors. They hold my feet to the fire particularly with regard to the truism that you can’t work on your business if you are constantly working in it.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?
I probably should cite my books or some revenue growth accomplishments (like creating in a nine-month turn around, a 16 percent revenue growth trend for a $362M company previously stagnant and declining; or growing this current biz from 1.6M revenue to 5M in five years) but the truth is that I take greatest pride in having mentored a young black medical assistant who told me at her first review with me that I was the first person who ever told her she was smart. She is now a Clinical Care Coordinator overseeing five staff medical assistants.
What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?
Be transparent with your financials to all stakeholders, including employees. And, in times of crises or turmoil have more small huddle meetings to keep everyone informed. And, this one comes from my clinical training in adult neurological processing, when you feel most “stuck” or “scared” tap into your right brain. Stop trying to figure it all out and do something out of the ordinary like draw, sing, dance or hula-hoop. As you relax and engage new neural pathways, irregular thinking will often stimulate out-of-the-box strategies or, just as importantly, illuminate necessary endings.
What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?
Event marketing, e.g. my speaking, and then word-of-mouth of our patients based on their experience and successes.
What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?
Big or small, it is just a number of zeros behind that dollar sign. Follow the numbers. Then hire great. One great person will do the work of three good ones.
Are there any resources or tools you’d like to share with other small business owners that have helped you run your business? If yes, please describe (and include links if available).
Dr. Henry Cloud’s books: www.drcloud.com
Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)? If so, please tell us about it.
1. I just returned from a two-week trip to Italy where I only had to log on and dial in to address one critical issue the whole time I was gone. Even a year ago, I would have been connected all the time to technology like a life support problem solving generator for our business. The fact that I did not need to was evidence that I now have in place a hand-picked team of critical thinkers who don’t need me to do their jobs for them.
2. I just released my sixth book: The Fountain of Truth: How to Outsmart Hype, False Hope and Heredity to Recalibrate Your Age. It’s a game-changing paradigm-shifter for how anyone over 40 should approach aging.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Hang out with my girlfriends, hike with my husband, travel, drink wine and watch old movie favorites again and again.
What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?
As I previously stated, I am now at a place with this business where I have a great team in place for day-to-day operations so I have the freedom and privilege to function more like a Chairman of the Board, thereby freeing my time up for something new. I plan on finding that next healthcare company struggling to define or re-define itself in today’s tumultuous healthcare industry upheaval and do what I do best: stabilize, strategize, re-energize, reinvent and grow exponentially.
You want to write a book on – Book title: Hot Women: The Change Our World’s Been Waiting For!
Theme: Why healthy women over 40 making their own money are our planet’s most powerful fuel for positive and sustainable change, particularly in narrowing the health-wealth connection gap.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Current studies show that the average person will have up to seven different career roles in their lifetime. I think it is great we now have the opportunity to live out our lessons, make money and a difference and have more fun as we go. Instead of grieving the economy or the market, I think about the fact that I have another chance to dream big and this time not get so distracted!
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?