Creating Breakthroughs in Entrepreneurship
Achieving a milestone is great, hitting a breakthrough? Even better. Grace Castillo-Soyao of Self Care Catalysts shares how to create those breakthroughs.
We, as entrepreneurs, measure our success based on milestones, both projected and achieved. They are our markers for accomplishments and incremental steps toward a desirable breakthrough. Each achievement brings visibility, recognition, customers, resources, and advocates and takes us a big step closer to a final breakthrough. Breakthroughs are outcomes formed within an environment that need proof of success.
Self Care Catalysts is a patient solutions, intelligence and analytics company that enables healthcare innovation. Our mission is to build innovative, patient-centered, and technology-driven self-care solutions that complement medical modalities that will enable patients to continue managing their care outside of the clinical setting, with or without the support of healthcare professionals.
In a complex industry such as health care, it is not enough to reach milestones; we needed a plan to reach a breakthrough. Here’s how we approached it:
1. Map a clear path to value creation and revenue generation early.
We targeted and built our solution for the healthcare industry. In such a crowded field, it’s always a challenge to stand out from a zoo of startups, legacy institutions, and emerging companies but we laid out a clear and specific direction to hit product and channel markers that were ambitious, yet achievable. We also fiercely built a closed loop and integrated product as a platform (PaaS) that is customizable for the healthcare industry, enabling our audience to build self care tools without the need to “code” and generate real world, real time behavior analytics. We were determined to build a health technology platform that could withstand the complication of healthcare with a purpose, centered around patients. In our company, value creation is not just a buzzword; it is “lived”. The ultimate proof for value creation is to get a customer to “buy-in” to the solution early in the process. It was critical for us to generate an early win so that we could direct our revenue generation efforts on customer channels where we had domain expertise.
2. Surround yourself with advocates who will help build your confidence.
In a world bursting with accelerator and mentor programs, it is critical to partner with those who will not only coach and help expand your network but also advocate for you. Springboard Enterprises, a women-focused accelerator and advising program helped build my self-confidence so much that I noticed my self-doubt start to disappear. I knew I was an entrepreneur at heart but Springboard Enterprises and MaRS, the biggest innovation and accelerator foundation in Canada, planted the seeds of confidence I needed and the courage for me to move forward with my vision. In 2 short years, we raised capital, hired a small team of passionate builders and started growing. My mentors and advocates ignited my ability to speak with authenticity, credibility and confidence by fostering critical opportunities.
3. Discover and harness talent, while building culture from the very beginning
Startups need people with strong work ethics and the ability to deliver accelerated results that are aligned with the company’s purpose. As a startup CEO, my goal was to search for people with skills and work experience that I believe can be further shaped in our company. I search for people who are raring to accomplish big things, take risks, and crave opportunities to actively co-create. They need to be willing to be at the forefront of a rapidly changing environment. Our culture demands a high tolerance for risks and uncertainty. Our staff must be leaders as well as supportive team members on projects. They cannot hesitate to act. We enable our staff to take ownership of product development and commercialization processes, provide opportunities to meet customers, solve big and small problems and commit to aggressive deliverables. We are continuously building a team that flourishes on accomplishments and fights for a purpose. Without a dream team, it’s hard to reach a dream breakthrough.
4. Drive product development and business strategy.
Digital health is becoming a zoo of solutions. It’s imperative to build a product that could withstand chaos and competition. While it took longer than anticipated for Self-Care to go to market, our entry was relatively smooth. We leveraged our intimate knowledge and experience in the healthcare industry to design our solutions and analytics platform. We also listened to our customers and put the power in their hands to help us narrow in on our focus. It takes insight, foresight, and gut instinct to navigate through the noise.
The secret sauce of a “breakthrough” is in the right alignment between two important stakeholders around one vision. One, the entrepreneur, with the goal of delightful product experience for customers and second, the investor, looking for healthy investment returns. The success of Self-Care Catalysts has come from working on that alignment in addition to looking beyond achievements and milestones to mark progress and toward the bigger picture of a breakthrough.
Grace Castillo-Soyao is the Founder & CEO of Self Care Catalysts Inc. Self Care Catalysts is a patient solutions, intelligence and analytics company that enables healthcare innovation. We are committed to advocating for patients and consumers when it comes to health care decisions. Our belief is that when patients are informed, respected, and engaged, they make better choices. Better choices mean better health outcomes.Our mission is to build innovative, patient-centered, and technology-driven self-care solutions that complement medical modalities that will enable patients to continue managing their care outside of the clinical setting, with or without the support of healthcare professionals.