Have A Solid Business Plan
Devin MillerThe Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Have A Solid Business Plan
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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well you know having a really solid like business plan and knowing your competition so doing a thorough like competitive analysis and uh figuring out a good business model having strong advisors having a good team i think absolutely number one uh those are all really helpful um be it's not just an idea like it has to be very well thought of before you actually go and um spend years and hours of your life into it yeah [Music] everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as a founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast heidi safieri and uh heidi um just as a quick intro graduated uh i think college if i remember right at 16 years old and jean corbin if i'm wrong and then moved to uh moved to canada from iran i got into competitive swimming and uh study i think uh kinesiology i had to take a second to remember how to pronounce it but the kinesiology um graduated and worked for a private healthcare provider for a while and then mom was going through cancer a couple times and found out about that and wanted a way to solve the problem of kind of how you're providing care and then how that system goes so went back to school and around 2015 and then uh started consulting with the healthcare startup um copenhagen decided she would do her own thing so with that uh welcome on the podcast heidi thank you thanks for having me absolutely so i just condensed what would is a much longer journey into a very uh short 30 seconds so let's unpack that a bit so tell us a little bit about how your journey got started in iran and graduated from high school and how you and how things got going from there yeah for sure so i moved um to canada in 1996 with my family after graduating high school and um sat in first year college here um you know at 17. so that was challenging starting a you know different language first year university and um my background was in swimming so automatically i was interested to learn more about the human body so that's why i went into kinesiology and ended up doing a masters in cardiac rehab worked in private health care for 15 years in cardiac rehab and on the personal side during this time a few years after we moved to canada my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer following by thyroid cancer a couple of years later and it was hard you know finding navigating the health care system because she needed different different services and initially i thought it's just because you know my parents are not good in english and you know all the burden is on me and it's just hard navigating the system but later when i started working in healthcare myself i realized it wasn't just us um it's challenging for everybody it's not really clear where to start especially when it comes to the holistic health services a lot of people are not sure who exactly does what where to start because we were getting a lot of people who were coming to us saying um do you know where i can find um you know a certain thing and we would spend so much time on google or you know asking around and which was not a very good search um to put it short so so i always wanted to solve this issue um i didn't know where to serve myself i went back to school at 2000. let me just yeah dive in really quick there because you've been i think you've been working for 15 years is that right or how long have you been out of school working uh around that time so i worked as a clinician for 15 years and when i was doing my mba i was still working and um and it was it was a executive mba um global and we got to do different residencies across north and south america ended up as part of my project launching a digital technology platform in mexico city and then after that um i'm just just diving just because i had a question on that because you know so you were a clinician worked for 15 years now when you went to get the mb and then you were doing as you mentioned you're doing the mba while you were still doing they're doing a full-time job and when you went to get the mba was that hey i want to shift gears i want to start working in the healthcare startups and that was the intent or is it just hey i'd like to have a bit more business background or another degree so i can get a promotion or kind of what started you on the journey of getting the mba before you before you delve into the startups well just just to expand my knowledge on the business side right because as a clinician i had no idea right and because it was an executive program uh day the way it worked you know there was a group of people from different industries and they formed the groups based on your industry so as a result of you know me being in healthcare for that long i was given a project um to work with a bunch of other people in my team that were coming from technology business background and me from health background to real to work with a real um you know consulting project which was a health technology startup um so that experience i was like oh i can i can do this you know i can i can create something like this and solve this gap that i've seen all these years um so after that i got involved with startups uh more consulting projects no let me just dive in maybe with one more question so you're doing the executive mba so usually that's nights or weekends and you're doing your full-time job you got involved you know doing a bit of consulting with the healthcare startups as you're doing the mba you know at what point or kind of what was the trigger to say hey i'm going to jump over to this full-timer i'm no longer going to be a clinician or what was that transition was it just one day said i'm done i'm switching careers and i'm i'm all out or is it hey i've got my mba and i'm graduating i got an opportunity they made an offer or kind of how did you make that transition from doing clinician you know i get that they're all related in the healthcare industry but how did you make that transition or that decision yeah for sure so after i graduated in the same clinic that i was working i i my role switched um to a like another role business until i was doing business intelligence for them and um a year well and then at the beginning of covid a couple of years ago right before covet it was acquired by a big corporation and um and that's when my career ended as a clinician so i was kind of it was it was the perfect timing for me to say okay this is this chapter is closed um and now it's time to to start this on my own and it was right at the beginning of covid uh so it was perfect timing so that's when prompt health started so i say okay this is perfect timing so one or one is backing up just a little bit and i get to the perfect timing with coba to make that transition but when you so you got the mba if i understand went back to school got that started consulting with healthcare startups were you still a clinician at the time or you made that a full-time gig no i so when i finished my mba my my role switched i was working in business intelligence in the same clinic and then when the clinic got acquired um my i got packaged out basically it did so my job ended there and um so i was basically that was that was what it was perfect timing so now you say okay that's wrapping up now when you got into it was it how did you you know there's a difference when you're working for someone else and even if you're getting an mba doing a big consulting versus hey i'm going to start a whole new business and i'm going to get that up and running build a platform and do all that so as you're diving into that you know how did you do how did you decide that that's what you're going to focus on or that's what you're going to do or and how did you kind of get that ball kicked off of it may be perfect timing but you still have to figure out a whole bunch of how to get a platform up and running so how did that kind of transition go for you oh god so starting from well you know the idea was there and i was working on the idea and you know making a business plan around it for a while um and i think the ideation stage takes a while and figuring out the right business model and um initially i i had a family member who was a technology expert and he i started the project with him to make me like a prototype and soon i learned this is not a one person job and i need a whole team so um i outsourced the pro uh project uh to um offshore and um to make like a my initial prototype and um i had to build out like you know an algorithm and start like surveying people and getting feedback and um you know create content and all that all that to give to the technology team that was offshore and that took several months and that took of course uh more than was expected so it was initially supposed to be three months and you know ended up being eight months and uh it was very very challenging working with offshore teams so um i got like grant through government i was able to hire someone in house and took over the project gave it to this guy and we started you know making it better and improving it and then i got more grants and i hired some interns um to help me on the business and marketing side and once we started getting some traction with social media and we already had our minimum viable product that's when i raised fund and so i i went for my first round and i had you know advisors that knew me and um from both health and business background um and that's when i was able to you know get more people on the technology side and build like that both the tech team and the business team and keep making the product better and better um and the technology side itself i can write a whole book on it and it will be a comic book because it was very very challenging as a non-tech founder uh to build a a technology company and and this is this is why you know interesting to have this conversation with you because i know you how you start with a lot of startups you talk with a lot of startups and um people don't know the challenges behind the scene and everybody are like oh we'll go start a startup it's um it's always easier when there's a co-founder involved or um you know and i was the only founder so that was one of the challenges um yeah um so now that you you say you so you make the leap you know you go into getting into the startup doing the you know your own thing you have the least educational you know background and you have the experience in the medical industry you need to take the leap at cobid start out as a one-person show so to speak and they're building that so now kind of bringing us up to where where you're at today so is it out in the market and you're bringing out customers or is it launch is it beta um you know how is it gone kind of give us a bit of an update as to where what the status is today yeah for sure so uh we officially launched that in october and uh of last year so it's now just over a year into it um and um you know prompt is about connecting uh people to all kinds of health and wellness services based on individualized needs and enabling providers to promote themselves in a better way because the market is very fragmented and so so as we built that and we started you know uh being more active on social media and i have to say i knew nothing about social media xero so i started um you know learning about all kinds of platforms last year and um and you know living through covet that was kind of the only way um to to market yourself um and what we learned over the past year was that a lot of these health and wellness providers are either not on social media or if they are they're not super active there's very selected number of them that are active and then the people that are super active are not necessarily expert health providers um and so i'm you know the number of times i was in clubhouse rooms or things i see on tiktok people giving mental health advice and where we have counselors and psychologists not necessarily doing that i was like okay wait a second we need to make this easier so uh so these guys actually do it so we started having those conversations did a survey from the providers on our platform and um um and um did some focus groups and i i i had we also have a podcast um at prom top where i interviewed um 65 health professionals um and i did a number of live ig so i talked to over 100 health experts and i asked every single one of them do you think it's clear do people know about your services and where to start and they mostly said no and i said and then so on the survey we said okay if um what's the barrier in you not you know giving more uh knowledge on social and the biggest barrier was time uh because as we know like you know video is not for everyone and it's you know one of the main things that people are uh creating um social media so we said okay if we create uh easier tools on this platform that we've already created so we make it easier for the health professionals to create content that would be helpful so over the past six months we were which brings us to now which is the rollout of prompt health 2.0 which is our new version we added content creation features to to prompt help so it looks very similar to twitter or linkedin um where you can you know um provide where the providers can provide knowledge in a form of like text or blog or event um and um you know basically get to talk about their niche or specialty um and um when they when the clients are you know looking for something they get to learn directly from these guys that are already part of a vetted trusted platform and when the need arises they can connect with them um so we made it easier we just rolled it out we're actually you know just and now you know talking about it on different platforms uh this this week um and um we're hoping that more and more health um you know providers uh from across north america join us um to um to talk about their specialty and their niche so people can learn from them as opposed to having to randomly search for it on google or hear from friends or um you know places that are not necessarily by expert people no that makes that makes perfect sense so well awesome well that's kind of a fun walk through and catches up to where you guys are at today and a little bit even where you guys are headed so um definitely uh it sounds like a fun journey so with that uh now go ahead and uh transition over to the uh two questions i always ask for the enemies podcast so with that the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made what'd you learn from it the worst business decision was uh to work with the offshore team it was it was terrible um and um and also like if i could have a co-founder from scra like from day one i would have it's kind of too late for it now you can't go like after like a year and a half into a business um it's kind of too late so the the burden on a solo founder um of you know working 16 hours a day catches up to you um yeah and so what i learned from it is surround yourself with a really strong team that you can trust um from the beginning and instead of trying to do everything by yourself um and uh i have very strong advisors which is very helpful um but yeah awesome well i definitely uh think that that uh is something to learn from and in having that you know there is a temptation with offshoring that hey it's going to be less expensive maybe it'll get done quicker and it'll be a great uh you know great experience sometimes it's true and you can't find those teams but a lot of times it's harder to manage you have more of a language barrier you can you know you know you're not located in the same area and so it does provide those um you know additional layers of work and difficulty and sometimes it doesn't work out as well so definitely makes sense that that's a lesson learned so with that now the second question i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what'd be the one piece of advice you'd give them um well you know having a really solid like business plan and knowing your competition so doing a thorough like competitive analysis and uh figuring out a good business model having strong advisors having a good team i think absolutely number one uh those are all really helpful um be it's not just an idea like it has to be very well thought of before you actually go and um spend years and hours of your life into it yeah no i think that that's difficult i mean it's interesting because a lot of times you think oh i have to go to loan or well you know i don't have the time to find an advisor who's going to want to help me or who's going to lend a hand and i think that more often than not you'll find a lot of people that are willing to give you their feedback or be a sounding board or give you advice or help out or you can find a founder or co-founder or someone else but there's a myriad of different ways to get that that mentorship that a lot of times that makes it so that you're able to get that much farther along that much quicker and not make as many mistakes so i definitely think that's a great piece of advice yeah and also like strategic advisors right so um if there are if there are people in your industry um and that know your industry really well they understand what you're trying to solve i think that's one way of approaching it and then the other way having advisors that on on things that you know you're not good at and you need high hand holding um so like you know for me coming from health care having someone from healthcare was really good but also having someone from finance strategy like that that was really helpful um and then later on i was able to find an expert in technology as well so just like having a well-rounded team is really important absolutely couldn't agree more so with that as we as we wrap up the episode of people want to reach out to you they want to be in a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you connect up with you or find out more yes for sure so our um our website uh is about the name of the company is prompt help prompt health.ca or prompt.co and it's also in the app store prompt health it's open in canada right now but we'll open it in u.s soon and um we are also on every social media platform we're very active on instagram um i'm on linkedin and um clubhouse um everywhere youtube you name it we're everywhere yeah so it's easy to yeah well i definitely encourage people to reach out to connect if you can use their services definitely do so and otherwise you can make a new best friend so you know in any all the cases thank you for coming on the podcast now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we'd love to have you um feel free to go to inventiveguest.guest.com and apply to be on the show a couple more things make sure to as a listener make sure to like subscribe and share because we want to make sure that everybody finds out about all of our awesome episodes and last but not least you need help with patents trademarks or anything else through business feel free to go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat well thank you again heidi for coming on it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you so much thanks for having me this was great absolutely [Music] you