I recently wrote a blog post about 5 skills that I feel health business owners require that don’t get taught at Uni. The 5 points basically revolved around sales and marketing, and were born from the fact that as health professionals, we are not always great at marketing ourselves and getting our message out into the world.
In response, I received an interesting comment on social media from a health professional stating that she hated the thought of patients getting ‘pitched’ or ‘sold’ to by a health service. This made me realize how misunderstood the entrepreneurial world can be by the greater health community.
We are all led to become health professionals due to a desire to help people. The more people we are able to reach and help, the more satisfaction we can derive from our work. This core motivation is the same across all aspects of the health industry. The exact pathway to achieve this reach may vary, depending on whether we work in academia, a public health system or in private practice.
Academics have to constantly apply for grants, carry out studies and present their research at conferences to enable their knowledge to reach more people.
Public health facilities have to constantly advocate for increased funding and leverage their limited time and resources to reach more people.
Health entrepreneurs have to constantly advertise and promote their services and products in order to stay in business and reach more people.
The term ‘entrepreneur’ is defined as ‘a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with initiative and risk’. There is nothing negative within this definition, yet why does a negative sentiment towards entrepreneurs pop up at times?
Before the internet spawned a generation of trendy tech entrepreneurs, the term had somehow become associated with money hungry men in suits using pushy sales tactics. Although this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth, sadly it has stuck for some.
As health entrepreneurs, we pitch, market and sell our services. If we didn’t do this, consumers would never hear about innovations that could improve their life, or new services that could improve access to care.
Being an entrepreneur is hard, really hard. If we didn’t have a really big and clear ‘why’: – To Help More People – we would not have the motivation to push past the inevitable resistance, blocks and challenges of working with ‘initiative and risk’.
Brilliant, smart and passionate health professionals should not be ashamed to promote their skills to the world. The most successful health professionals are those whose content solves genuine problems within the population, whose products help people to better manage their own health, and whose services leave patients feeling educated, relieved and empowered.
This has been, and will continue to be, my goal as a health entrepreneur.
What is yours?