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How to avoid common pitfalls with your startup: 5 ways to stay on the path to success

5 Secrets to keeping your startup on the path to success

Now that it’s been 7 yrs. since we founded House Calls Mobile ® it is time to pass on some of the wisdom we have learned over time. They say that the typical startup doesn't last past the 3-4 yr. mark. We have made it past that mark and feel that there are some common pit falls that we can help future startup owners avoid.

A little history first about House Calls Mobile ®. House Calls Mobile is the 'virtual' medical visit featuring the 'virtual stethoscope/otoscope'. We started telemedicine before telemedicine was even a thing back in 2017. Pre-pandemic no one even knew what a video visit was and no one would dream of doing a video visit with their doctor. Now everyone does "zoom" calls with their doctor. Video has become mainstream from work to leisure and now even with medical care.

I read once that sometimes successful entrepreneurs don't necessarily build a new thing, but they predict a new trend and find a way to support that trend. For example, Radio Shack helped support the computer trend with peripherals. At House Calls Mobile® we are helping support the telemedicine trend with the 'virtual stethoscope/otoscope'. The House Calls Mobile ® 'virtual stethoscope/otoscope' is a medical device that plugs into your smartphone or tablet and works like a regular stethoscope (doctors’ tool that listens to heart and lungs) and otoscope (doctors’ tool that looks into ears/mouth) to enable your doctor to complete a medical exam 'virtually' during a telemedicine office visit.

We are nearing the final stages of our R & D development phase for our telemedicine medical device. We are working on FDA approval which is a long process of submitting our device for safety testing, then submitting that safety testing paperwork to the FDA. This is a long journey, a marathon, not a race.

We want more people to succeed in the startup world so I want to offer some tips for success.

Tip #1 - Don't give up!

I was speaking with a friend who told me that her startup is becoming financially too difficult for her to keep going and that her lease on her business is eating up all of her money. I told her that sometimes a startup needs this phase in its development. This makes the entrepreneur start changing up their business model to become more 'lean' and the business becomes stronger from it. Not giving in to failure is the most important thing for a successful startup.

Tip #2 - Learn to pivot

Pivoting is an important part of a startup's development. It's important as an entrepreneur to know when to pivot. If you don't pivot sometimes your startup will be left in the dust as it is either irrelevant or not moving with the times. When I first came up with my telemedicine startup, I didn't have a medical device. People would ask me "What makes your startup special or different from the volumes of other similar 'telemedicine' providers out there?". That was an important pivot for our company: Moving from just telemedicine visits to supporting telemedicine with peripherals. Now we provide the complete telemedicine package including everything from seeing a provider to having a "virtual' physical exam.

Tip #3 - Make it personal

You have to love what you're doing with all of your heart. A startup comes with lots of stress, time loss and money loss. If you don't love what you're doing, you'll never last. You have to talk about this product or business all the time to everyone. You'll get sick of it if you don't love it. I view my startup like my child. I try and nurture it and love it and hope someday it will grow up to be a productive part of our society.

Tip #4 - Don't get outside funding until you're ready

It seems like everywhere you look now days you see stories of the next Silicon Valley startup that got the next billion dollar valuation and is on their latest stage of funding. You hear of "unicorn" startups that skyrocket to success. It sounds sexy and you want the fast track to success. Don't let this craze get you. Some of the most successful business founders who exit'ed their company were businesses like 'Crate and Barrel'. The founder used their own capital to fund their business and used the 'Crates' and 'Barrels' that their product was shipped in to decorate their retail store. They took out business loans and didn't use "investors' to fund their company. They ended up having all of the equity of their business when they retired from their company decades later.

Tip #5 - Make an exit strategy

Every business should have an exit strategy, it doesn't matter who you are. Start your beginning by knowing what your end looks like. Every business owner has a beginning and an end. Your end may come in any number of different forms. Your exit might be selling your business to a larger business and becoming a new brand or maybe its selling your business to someone else to carry the torch on in your name once you retire. Its good to know how you want to end your startup journey so that you can effectively plan the journey and road ahead.

Don’t Forget to have FUN!

Part of journaling my startup journey is to be able to look back on this journey and see all of the steps along my startup road and be able to stop and 'smell the roses' along the way. Enjoy what you are doing, enjoy the products or services you are providing to the world around you! Don't forget to have FUN!

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