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About Philippa Kennealy

 

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Tuesday
Oct032006

Is your glass half full, or half empty?

10-03-06waterglass.jpgThe inaugural (trumpets are sounding!!) October 2006 issue of The Entrepreneurial MD Newsletter focuses on an attitude that can make or break a potential physician entrepreneur:

How can I take the optimistic but realistic approach to starting a new business, when I feel overwhelmed by all I see that I'd have to do to make that change?

Here are some hints from the article as to how you can approach a scary but exciting possible new venture (read more by clicking on the article link above):

1. Understand what it means to be a dynamic optimist versus a passive one: - Turn your positive thoughts into behaviors that help you attain your goals in career, finances, spirituality, health and leadership. Don't just sit and hope for the best.

2. Become aware of your attitude: - Look at how you selectively focus on events. Do you tend to imagine the worst case scenarios? Or do you tend to see the learning opportunities in your mistakes and even failures?

3. Examine your internal conversation then change what you tell yourself: - Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Are you your own harshest critic ("you dumb idiot!!")? Or have you learned how to treat yourself decently and with humor and compassion ("oops - silly me. I don't plan to do that again")?

4. Do something pleasurable to distract yourself from bad events: - It's hard to focus on an uncomfortable sensation when you are enjoying something in the moment. Think of how you try to distract your patients from experiencing a painful procedure by engaging them in conversation about the latest movie they saw or book they read. Most patients enjoy your attention and interest in their lives sufficiently that the discomfort is somewhat relieved. 
Figure out what brings you quick pleasure or relief, and engage in that activity or thought, to prevent yourself from ruminating and escalating your negative feelings. 

5. Figure out your "explanatory style": - Learn how to pay attention to the ways you explain unpleasant or discomforting thoughts and experiences to yourself. The better the match between your explanation and reality, the freer you are to seize opportunities and live a more rewarding life. Reality is seldom as bad as our imaginations would have us believe! 

Take a short quiz to discover whether you are more of an optimist or a pessimist.

What's your attitude? How does it hurt or help?

Saturday
Sep302006

Angel Investors love healthcare

quick news tidbits.jpgOne of the toughest questions aspiring physician entrepreneurs ask is "where can I get the money to start my business/support me while I develop my idea/open my new practice?"
This is a biggie - right?

An article in yesterday's USAToday.com, entitled "Attracting 'Angels' to your Business" helps shed a small glimmer of light on one possible solution.

Columnist Rhonda Adams writes:

Pop quiz: If you try to raise money from investors, what's your chance of success?


Well, if you're approaching those individuals known as "angel" investors, the answer is a surprisingly high 12%. That's the result of a study just released by the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire. During the first half of 2006, one out of every eight businesses that pitched to angel investors received funding.

While you may not think 12% is great odds, compare that with trying to raise money from venture capitalists (who receive hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals for every one they fund) or getting money from your brother-in-law.

The term "angel investor" covers a broad range of funders — all the way from a sophisticated financier who invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in a cutting-edge new technology, to your rich Uncle Bob who invests $25,000 to help you get your mobile dog grooming business off the ground.

What all these angels have in common is that they're investing their own money in entrepreneurial businesses — usually start-ups. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, invest other people's money, typically millions of dollars, and, increasingly, invest in later-stage companies.

Adams ends the article by asking another question:

OK, so here's another question: If you want to raise money from angel investors, what's the best industry to be in?

Here's a hint: Think of all those rich doctors.

You got it: health care. Health care services and equipment received more than one out of every four angel dollars (27%). And don't think that's just for new drugs and cutting-edge health technology. Some of those dollars certainly must have ended up in more mundane small health-related companies, such as physical therapy practices

Software was the next-best-funded industry by angels, getting about 18% of the pie, with retail, media, biotech, and information technology each receiving about 10%.

What does this mean for you? If you're trying to launch an entrepreneurial business — one that has significant growth potential — it's going to be easier to find a deep-pocketed investor to pitch your business plan to for financing.

Just remember, angels invested in only 12% of the new ventures they saw. So even if you have a truly great idea, expect to pitch to at least eight investors before you find your own personal angel.

I grimaced at the visual of "all those rich doctors", as it smacked of a prevailing envious and no longer always realistic attitude towards physicians that has made our lives much less enjoyable in recent years.

Nevertheless, I was heartened to know that, as physician entrepreneurs, we are in a position to ask our colleagues to invest in our business and get a reasonable rate of response.

It does behoove us to make sure that what we have to offer in exchange for that investment, is a well thought-out, sound and viable business plan and a road map for responsible execution!

Thursday
Sep282006

One of my most effective personal management tools is...

iPod.jpg....MY iPOD!

I am often asked how I have learned about marketing, coaching, creating a blog and a website, running a business - the disparate collection of things I now know - and I realized it's time to share my secret weapon.

I treated myself to an iPod at the end of last year!

"Now how's that been helpful to you?", you may wonder. Well, I detest being locked into sitting at my computer to listen to the hundreds of hours of teleclasses I have attended and downloaded onto my desktop. I tend to distract myself with web-surfing, shopping and deleting e-mail (I am not allowed to go to bed until I have 30 or less e-mails in my Inbox!!) - and I quickly lose concentration.

As soon as I figured my iPod out, and dowloaded iTunes onto my computer, I began transferring all these hours of classes onto the iPod. I have also discovered that many of my plan-to-read-someday-when I-have-the-time books are available for download in the iTunes audiobook store.

Forget the music (which I did download as well in the break between Christmas and New Year)! My huge prize is the cache of classes and books - other people's wisdom - that I have in my purse.

At this point I have over 3 days worth (more than 72 hours) of classes and business e-books I can carry around at all times. This means several things to me:

  1. I am never bored
  2. I no longer have to carry books or magazines to entertain myself while I wait for an appointment
  3. My drives and commutes are easy as I just carry on learning, ignoring the appalling LA freeway traffic
  4. I am more motivated to take a walk in the neighborhood or on the treadmill for exercise, as I am doing my equivalent of reading at the same time
  5. If I miss a class, most teleclass hosts will now send a link to a downloadable class recording so that I don't feel left behind
  6. I can listen to the really good stuff over and over
  7. I love learning, and it is easier than ever before, even for a busy mom with a full-time job!!!

What is the one tool you can't live without in your professional life?

Monday
Sep252006

The Snow White that wasn't....

9-25-06responsive service.jpgI love bidding on e-Bay - it brings out the thrill of the chase in me and permits me to exercise my bared-teeth hunter instincts in quite civilized ways. I can even feel my heart thumping at times, while I am calculating when to place my bid seconds before the auction ends.

As my almost 4-year old daughter is obsessed with enacting the Disney princess roles, I was excited to bid successfully on a Snow White costume for her size. It arrived several days later and I stashed it away. I was saving it as one of her rewards in our "five gold stars for desireable behavior" reward system, so you can imagine her and my disappointment when we pulled out the costume as her reward and discovered that it was way too small. 

I e-mailed the seller, and promptly received this reply on a weekend day:

Dear Philippa

I am so sorry you're not happy with the costume. I have a daughter that is almost 2 and very small, still wearing 12-18 months so I know how the size they say something is doesn't always matter. I just wrote what the package said the size was and I never opened it. I don't want you to be unhappy or her not to have a dress so you can just send it back and I will refund your money because unfortunately I don't have any other sizes.  Again I am very sorry and hope your daughter finds a dress you are both happy with and I hope this has not upset her. I will send her a little gift. Thank you....

I was delighted. Not just a pleased customer - a really delighted one. All because:

  1. She addressed me by my name, not just "hi"
  2. She apologized right away
  3. She made no excuses to justify the "error" - just offered a simple explanation
  4. She used a "story-telling" technique, however brief, that I could relate to about her own daughter and her struggles with the sizing of clothes for kids
  5. She expressed her empathy for feelings I and my daughter might have had even though I had not expressed such feelings in my e-mail - I had been quite factual
  6. She offered a token of her caring by way of a small gift for my daughter to offer some form of remedy
  7. She repeated her apology
  8. She used simple language that rang with sincerity

Will I do business again with her should the opportunity arise? You bet I will! And I will send others to her online store, given a chance.

What small steps could you be taking to delight your patients, clients or customers in response to their grumbles about your services, or product?

Friday
Sep222006

Peering into the Crystal Ball to discover the future of my business

9-22-06leadingtheway.jpgI started a coaching practice almost 5 years ago, and it was only in my second year of operation that I became comfortable calling it a business. Shifting that mental model required a lot of work and quite a few "aha's".

This week, I had another "aha" that propelled me deeper into entrepreneurship, and I thought I'd share it with you.

On Monday, I had a conversation with my business coach about taking my business to the next level. Coincidentally, I attended a professional networking group meeting the next day and heard a presentation by a business attorney on the topic of preparing your business for sale.

As I am far from that stage of business development, my mind began to wander until I heard him ask the question: "What are the assets of your company that would be attractive enough to a buyer to leverage them and add value to their own business?

This question overlapped with that of my coach: "What program do you intend to offer your clients that they will find valuable enough to want to buy from you?"

It struck me yet again that no-one can purchase my brain power or intellectual property while it resides in my head or as a series of coversations between me and my clients. That gets sold in real-time and is not an enduring or transferrable asset of the company.

However, a proven reproducible Program or System that guides physicians from business neophyte to an accomplished entrepreneur with a growing thriving business is a real transferrable asset.

So......I am putting myself out there and committing to making that my next Big Hairy Audacious Goal. To create such a program. And I will be listening very closely to all you aspiring physician entrepreneurs, to discover what your needs are and how my program can best respond to them.

Please let me know what your biggest questions are about starting or growing your business, and how such a program could be useful to you!