As physiotherapists, we are often working at the coal face of healthcare in both the private and public sectors.
This gives us a unique opportunity to recognise and deeply understand various business, patient experience and clinical problems that we face on a daily basis.
This leads on to the entrepreneurial physiotherapists to strive to develop solutions, generally out of frustration for the problem.
Entrepreneurism, resourcefulness and innovation are often evident in the DNA of successful physiotherapists.
With the democratisation of technology, the national embracement of innovation and startups, and local availability of government grants and venture capital financing, it is a great time to consider working on a startup you are passionate about – which may eventually pay the bills and more!
“Entrepreneurism, resourcefulness and innovation are often evident in the DNA of successful physiotherapists”.
So you have an idea that you think could change the world which you have jotted down on a scrap piece of paper.
Before, you go off and build a solution that could cost you thousands of dollars to get a proof of concept up, it’s best to take a step back and start off with clearly defining the problem and ask yourself what exactly do you want to get out of the project.
Once you have clearly identified and validated a real problem or gap in the market, then the solution becomes significantly clearer.
Some general questions to consider include:
- What do you ultimately want to gain from the venture, if it is successful
- Is this a non-for-profit venture?
- Is it for profit with a purpose?
- As the majority of startups generally fail due to a variety of reasons, what is your risk appetite?
- How much time, money and energy are you willing to invest?
- Are you re-inventing the wheel?
- Have you looked at the alternative solutions in the market?
- Do you have market competition?
- Do you have a scalable business model?
- Do you have the right team and expertise?
- Would it be easier if you joined forces with another startup that has progressed further than you?
As a starting point, it is best to talk to as many people as you can from diverse backgrounds to validate your idea and vision.
However, it needs to be emphasized that the ideal people to speak to assuming that you have access to them are your potential target customers or users.
Sketch up your solution or use software to mockup your solution to gather as much feedback as you can get. There is no need at an early stage to engage app developers to build a prototype solution or ‘minimum viable product’ until you establish a proof of concept and prove a business model.
Rather than attempting to “boil the ocean”, it is often advised by startup experts to start off with a micro-niche and strive to create a solution that a relative small group of users “love”, rather than say a relative large group of users “like”.
“As a starting point, it is best to talk to as many people as you can from diverse backgrounds to validate your idea and vision”.
An interesting report to take note published this year by Research2Guidance surveyed 2,400 mobile health app stakeholders. The average cost of development for a mobile health app from conception to launch is approximately USD 425,000.
If you are considering becoming a startup entrepreneur, the following are some general tips to help you take action:
- Join general startup and digital health networking groups from platforms such as Eventbrite and Meetup.com.
- You could consider learning about startup entrepreneurship from participating in a free online course from e-learning platforms such as Coursera or edX.
- Keep up to date with startup news from media sources including StartupSmart and Startup Daily locally, and TechCrunch and Wired internationally.
- If you already have an idea or have gained some traction, consider joining a program with often provided you with expert support, mentoring, networks and financing. There are several high quality general startup programs available including Startmate, muru D, CSIRO ON and BlueChilli. There are also university based accelerators to consider including Melbourne Accelerator Program and SPARK Deakin.
- Health specific incubator and accelerator programs to note are HCF Catalyst Slingshot, Pfizer Healthcare Hub, ANDHealth, The Actuator, Melbourne Health Accelerator and GP Accelerate.
(First published in Australian Physiotherapy Association’s InMotion July 2018 Issue)