For the first birthdays of my four grandkids, there have been party hats and “smash” cakes. But what does a small team of entrepreneurs do on the first anniversary of founding their firm? They take stock and plan for year two.
David Muntz, Russ Rudish and I launched StarBridge Advisors in October of 2016. So how does a health IT advisory firm measure success after year one?
Number of clients – We have already assisted 12 healthcare provider organizations with some repeat engagements and have national reach.
Revenue – Any first-year projections can be a crapshoot but you need to start somewhere. We may have been overly optimistic but we are well on our way with our client base and pipeline.
Size of our team – In addition to our three principals, we now have almost 20 advisors on our team available for interim management, leadership support and consulting. Their IT leadership experience includes serving as CIO, CTO, CISO, CMIO or CNIO in healthcare organizations.
Channel partners – We work closely with several larger consulting firms who offer services that we don’t. We partner with Healthcare IT Leaders, a leading staffing firm and Rudish Executive Search, which specializes in healthcare. And we are working with a few start-up technology vendors who are bringing to market new and novel solutions for healthcare providers.
Referrals – Our principals combined have over 90 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Our relationships are a key component of growing a new business and getting known in the market.
Name and brand recognition – A year ago we had decided on a name and incorporated, but had yet to figure out our branding. That was some fun work at first; by January we launched our website and social media presence.
Website and social media traffic – This takes deliberate, intentional work as any start-up knows. Posting new and fresh content that your customers value takes time. We reached that important 1000 followers mark on our LinkedIn page a few months ago â€“ that mark that says to others we’re for real and worth following.
Smooth operations – Establishing basic administrative and financial functions and processes is critical so you can focus on serving your clients. Getting your first client proposal out the door seems like a big deal until you have repeatable processes.
Having fun – My husband whose home office is next to mine often says I laugh too much on our weekly calls; he knows I enjoy working with David and Russ.
Work life balance – Starting a new business takes time and hard work. It is much more than you expected in year one. But we call the shots and take time off if we need to. So, I’ve been able to spend time with my grandkids and do some travelling even though it’s been a busy year. When I was full-time, a “work” call while on vacation was about operational issues; now it’s about keeping a prospective deal moving along or answering a client question.
My grown daughters ask me if I’m working too hard. They know I wanted to work 3/4 time over the course of the year when I left the permanent CIO work world. They know I wanted to have more flexibility and spend more time with them and their kids. But they now understand that I do my best to balance my new work commitments with their requests for babysitting. They know I’m happy, having fun, and having a great year one!