Three years ago, Vick Tipnes was an entrepreneur with 78 dollars to his name. It’s a far cry from the owner of a multi-million dollar company that he is now. Like most entrepreneurs, he started his business based off of an idea and quickly learned that neither great ideas or money alone beget truly successful businesses.
Tipnes says, “I’ve realized, over the last few years, that most entrepreneurs fail to gain success because they simply fail to execute, not because of limited access to cash. They let their fears rationalize excuses, which paralyzes them.”
Before he became the CEO of Blackstone Medical Services, the most important lesson he had to learn was that risk-taking was a key ingredient in bridging the gap between ideas and the final product. Understanding that execution and resisting excuses became one of the leading factors in his success as a business entrepreneur.
Here are some of the pivotal lessons I learned about transforming a concept into a business after shadowing Vick Tipnes for a day:
Know What You’re Creating
The rudimentary puzzle piece involved in creating a successful business is discovering a problem and finding a unique and simple solution. All business owners know that, in essence, their company is nonunique to the trade world of today— before Facebook, there was MySpace, before that it was Six Degrees. Facebook, like many other of today’s successful companies, took off and surpassed the others because it solved different solutions.
“As soon as I started my company I knew two things: I wanted to help people, and I wanted the net that I was attempting to cast to be massive,” said Tipnes. But how could these two personal desires translate into a business that solved a problem?
Tipnes’ previous experience in the healthcare space gave him an understanding of the market in terms of what it was that drew the attention of patients, medical practitioners, and insurance companies. His understanding of what problems they faced in their field gave him an advantage in developing the solutions that formed the foundation of his business.
It always starts with a problem.
Find A Beginning
Waiting to take the big leap of launching an idea until it is 100% perfect rarely ever works. Why? Because even if you have an idea that you think is solid and unparalleled, you’ll always be able to find something slightly imperfect, something you could do better. It’s critical that you learn that your product should always be evolving and developing solutions to problems it hadn’t initially realized. If Apple had just stuck to creating an alternate computer to the PC, we would never have seen iPhones, iPads, or Siri. What a disconnected world we would live in if Facebook had just stuck to a platform for Harvard undergrads.
As a big believer in the notion that “nothing will ever be perfect,” Tipnes quickly learned that the same was very true for the business he wanted to create. Too many entrepreneurs end up spinning their wheels on an idea and fail to put it on the fast track. Don’t wait for perfection; once you have a product or service that is well thought out and feasible, get to work.
Realizing that “think big” concepts didn’t apply in the initial phases of creating Blackstone Medical Services pushed Tipnes into getting it off the ground as soon as possible. By thinking objectively — not emotionally— and small, he could leave the broad ideas to later stages when the company was better prepared to expand.
Narrow your ideas when it comes to your business and start small. Failing to do so could quickly lead your company down the wrong path or cause it to burn out early.
Be Diligent About Goals
Once Tipnes knew the chief problem that Blackstone Medical Services was going to solve, he then had to understand who the key targets were. His goal was to provide a medical service, so having physicians and insurance companies familiar with who he was and how Blackstone Medical Services would offer them unbeatable solutions was key. In order to reach out to these potential customers, he prioritized hiring an all-star sales team. For consumer-facing businesses, the equivalent of this may be creating a social media marketing team or building off of your own network to expand your brand visibility.
Every level of business, whether it’s a startup or a company that is interested in maintaining its market share, must keep on track with financial goals. A strong financial focus and management of your company should be on where you allocate your earnings and being aware of when it is time to save or invest in growth.
TIpnes created an outline that worked out how many doctors Blackstone Medical Services’ sales team needed to reach out to on a daily basis for a 2 year period. By being diligent about meeting with the company’s sales team to make sure that targets were met on schedule, and instilling a sense of immediacy and attention to detail, Tipnes set a company culture that sales were of the utmost importance. To this day, Blackstone Medical Services’ is known for daily, not weekly or monthly, sales goals. Tipnes attributes Blackstone Medical Services’ recurring 95% growth year-over-year to this perseverance – and yours can too.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.