What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given as an entrepreneur?
Interestingly, I did not have experienced mentors, although I desperately wanted them. Early on in my career, I found myself employed in positions where problems and needs arose that were not being addressed by the person in charge. When I proposed solutions and carried them out, on occasion I ended up managing my former boss which was awkward. To fill the “advice” gap I read a lots of self-help books on business and related topics but could not find books on entrepreneurship in science and medicine, I eventually went back to business school for an MBA. After a couple decades in the biotechnology industry, I wanted to fill the educational gap to help others after me, so I wrote two books, “The Business of Bioscience: What Goes Into Making a Biotech Product” and “Biotechnology Entrepreneurship: Starting, Managing and Leading Biotech Companies”.
Where do you come up with the inspiration for your ideas?
Two ways. One, through being curious and interacting with many people in different industries or sectors of science, engineering, medicine and business, and asking what they do, but listening for problems that need to be solved. Secondly, through learning how successful products work in any industry. Because our mind works by association, you would be surprised the number of new applications you can find for existing technology by just understanding how things work.
Do you have a routine before your pitch to investors?
Just one, and that is finding out the backgrounds of people in the audience. When you understand what is important to them, and are able to explain what you are doing in the language of those listening, you will relate better to them and find those that are truly interested in your enterprise and mission.
What is the biggest mistake that you have ever made as an entrepreneur?
Not realizing early on in my journey that you cannot do everything, and about the greater impact that a diverse team of individuals have when they are all working towards the same goal. I share this with young entrepreneurs: “At some point in your career, your success will no longer be determined by what you do alone, but rather, by what you do with, and through the help of others”