Monday, August 16, 2010;
Most weeks, entrepreneurs turn to our experts for advice. This week, we turn the tables and ask an entrepreneur for tips:
Greg Waldstreicher, co-founder of DoseSpot
I always knew I wanted to do some sort of entrepreneurial venture. I remember when I was in sixth or seventh grade, I would sign my name "Greg Waldstreicher, CEO of Sony Corp." I fell into the health-care realm, coming from a family with a lot of doctors. I didn't want to do the medicine side and decided to pursue health-care technology.
My company is called DoseSpot. It's an e-prescription system that allows medical doctors to connect directly with a patient's pharmacy. Our motto is "Click, click, prescribe" -- with a few clicks of a mouse, doctors can send their patients' medical and prescription information to pharmacies without having to write out illegible prescriptions. DoseSpot cuts out human error and saves doctors, pharmacies and patients time.
The medical community is converting to an electronic medical records system. Doctors can get $44,000 each to adopt these systems. The government is basically saying, "We'll pay for you to do this because that is how important it is to us."
The idea of electronic prescriptions is not new -- we didn't invent this process. We are targeting medical software companies that provide electronic medical records systems to doctors but lack the e-prescribing component. We can integrate our application into their existing systems and allow their clients to electronically prescribe medications.
I started my company in 2009 with a co-founder, Gideon Platt. We are both currently undergraduates -- I am finishing up an accounting degree at the University of Maryland. This past spring, we won the university's Business Plan Competition and I've been selected as a finalist in Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur of 2010 contest in the college entrepreneurs category.
We've gotten a great reception from the medical community and the university, and we're excited to continue to grow. I've learned many things so far, and I'd offer the following advice to fellow entrepreneurs:
Take advantage of available resources. We were able to start while in college -- something I'd strongly recommend to other students who know they want to be entrepreneurs. I am part of a program called Hinman CEOs that combines resources from the engineering and business programs at the University of Maryland. The resources available to you when you are in college are endless, so I definitely recommend taking advantage of them if given the opportunity. I know this isn't feasible for a lot of entrepreneurs, but there are a lot of other resources available. Many counties have incubators and start-up resources for entrepreneurs. I'd also recommend networking with people in the field you want to start up in or serve with your company.
Be persistent. If you have an idea, don't let it get lost in the mix. Fight to get your idea heard. When we started DoseSpot, not that many people knew about electronic medical records or e-prescriptions. Now that doctors have the $44,000 to spend on this new technology, more people have realized what a great thing we were presenting to them.
Adapt to an ever-changing market. Follow through with your vision for your company, but always be able to adapt to what the market wants. Your customers are your business. You have to always be able to listen to current and potential customers about their needs. We initially started off thinking we were going to sell DoseSpot as a program to individual doctors, but we realized they want integrated systems. They really wanted all of their record systems to speak to one another. So we said, "Forget the original stand-alone stuff for right now. Let's go with the integration model and adapt to the market and to what our potential clients really need now."
Social network. Use social networking to your advantage. It works, believe it or not. I used to be extremely opposed to Twitter, but one day I decided to try it for DoseSpot. I created our account and started following -- it's not friending, it's following -- electronic medical record companies that I thought didn't have e-prescribing applications. I was following about 30-40 companies. About an hour later, I got a call from a potential client! So now I've gone from hating Twitter to thinking I have to keep up with this -- it could lead to sales.
Have great customer service. Cater to your customers' needs and provide them with top-notch service. Our company really strives to provide great customer service and flexibility. We want to make it as easy as possible for each customer to use DoseSpot. You can't treat every customer the same -- give each one the individual attention he or she needs.