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Fear is not an option for leaders of health-tech businesses

James Barsby

James Barsby, a Health-Business Mentor at Bristol Ventures, has supported business leaders across a range of backgrounds in getting their innovation ‘NHS ready’. He is one of the four business mentors offering free advice through the Swindon and Wiltshire Health and Life Science Innovation Hub.

Here, James shares his top tips for innovators and clinical entrepreneurs starting a healthcare focussed business. These words cover 15 years’ experience of working with companies varying in size, from one person to over 90,000 employees, where luck is not a factor in success.

Your business strategy should be as simple as the value proposition. Focusing on achieving clarity; knowing what you want to achieve, with whom and by when will save significant time and reduce the chance of you wasting money later down the line.

Keep the ownership and organisation’s structure simple. When there are not many people in the business, having clear responsibilities and delegation is critical.

Understand where the money is coming from. Certain customers will be more profitable than others, though researching the cost of acquiring and managing them often reduces their value. Walk away from anything that has a low-or-no margin, unless strategically important and has been agreed as a worthwhile compromise to pursue.

Invest in the right people. Attract individuals who share your passion to succeed. Acknowledge their future potential from the start; including through remuneration and other benefits. Do not compromise because you are under pressure to have help.

Start humble, have fun and be fearless – but know when to stop. Unfortunately, not all businesses are able to achieve their goals, particularly when it comes to the NHS market. Knowing when to stop developing a product, selling a service or even running the business entirely is just as important as knowing when to grow and invest in technology.

Running a business is lonely, even if you have 1,000 people around you. Ask advice from people who will challenge you and ask the difficult questions that make you uncomfortable. The majority of issues faced are the same whatever the firm’s size or experience of its leadership.

Would you like more advice to get your health business ready for investment, have your innovation appraised or simply talk through your current approach to winning work from the healthcare market?

The Swindon and Wiltshire Health and Life Science Innovation Hub is a programme of fully-funded business development resources for companies. Successful applicants can benefit from more free advice from Bristol Ventures through 1:1 meetings with a dedicated business mentor, in addition to a £20K match funded grant and much more.


Posted on February 22, 2019 by James Barsby, Health-Business Mentor, Bristol Ventures

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