About 15 months ago my partner and I started a business we knew nothing business exists in a highly regulated industry in which we had no experience and in which we (personally) lacked the professional licenses demanded by nearly every government known to our business, success often comes as a result of referrals from other professionals within the industry.Professionals who we didn’t know and who didn’t seem too interested in knowing us.
Nevertheless, 15 months later Revita Rehab,a specialized physical and rehabilitation therapy clinic, is still open for business. Through a lot of hard more a little bit of luck. And an unwillingness to cry “uncle,” we’ve kept the lights on and are now moving quickly into the next phase,our third, of this start-up. Over the next few posts I want to share our journey. If only to remind myself of where we’ve perhaps to help anyone reading this to hang onto their own start-up dreams.
First some background. I’ve been consulting for a long time and am living proof of the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach. And those who really can’t do but are too inept to teach, consult.”Several years into it, I took a detour from the world of independents to the more structured world of public accounting. Although they may not be willing to admit it, I worked for a time at Moss Adams, a fine (and fairly large) company filled with CPAs and governed by a non-sensical need to measure “billable hours” to validate success. It’s a goofy system that no one seemed to like including both clients (why am I always charged for these phone calls) and professionals (I know that my clients hate it when I charge them for being on the phone).I became “unfunded” – which had the same effect of being laid off, and went back on my own.
In all this time I worked with engineers, architects, law firms, financial advisors, manufacturers, contractors, retailers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers (okay … I’m stretching things a bit) but never anyone in the medical experience there was limited to a twice yearly visit to my dentist (who always seems to find things to fix that cost right at the amount of my insurance coverage) and a rare visit to get a physical (where my doctor didn’t even buy me a drink before … ).
My partner, Steve, had even less experience than me. He was however a lot more enthusiastic. And he still is. Which is sort of like having a happy paddler in front of the canoe when closing in on a know you’re going to die, but dang, before you do you’ll have the time of your life! Steve keeps me excited about what we are doing. I keep him grounded.
In August of 2009 we looked at a company needing some money to had been in business for 20 years and asked us to help them raise a half-a-million should have been a warning, right? Why does a 20 year old business need private equity investments to grow when the costs are at least two times more than debt? We met with the CEO and looked over the business plan through eyes clouded over with the promise of making a bazillion (or more) for our efforts,we asked for the rights to develop therapy clinics using the company’s recently patented equipment.I’ll talk about that next when I cover Phase 1:The Big Idea.