A while ago, I was into a Channel 4 programme called “Masters of Sex” following research work carried out by Dr William Masters and Mrs Johnson in 1950’s USA. The reason why this springs to mind when writing this blog is because Dr Masters went to a bank to ask for a loan to keep his newly opened business venture solvent. In short, he had transitioned from medicine to entrepreneurship (running his own clinic). The bank manager laughed in his face, saying that if Wall Street was run by doctors, it would collapse completely, as everyone knew that doctors knew absolutely nothing about business. Masters was granted the loan in the end but it was secured on every asset he held as collateral. The bank was not willing to take such a “high” risk.
It is true that operating as an entrepreneur involves a completely different mindset – gone is the highly regulated and structured world of a doctor to be replaced by something altogether less certain and secure. When training as a doctor, you do your studies, you get your experience, you continue taking more exams (ad infinitum) but at the end of the day, you have job security – after all, people will always need doctors. It can understandably be terrifying to take a leap into the unknown. We’re not just talking about doctors moving into a job in management consultancy for example (another highly structured, organised and hierarchical environment) but potential chaos, sleepless nights and financial insecurity.
I however firmly believe that doctors can make great entrepreneurs and here are some of the reasons why:
- Doctors are highly intelligent people – there are very few professions that have to study as hard as doctors. The decision to become a medic is usually not taken lightly.
- Doctors are used to dealing with uncertainty – in medicine as in life, you will often have to make a decision based on incomplete information because it’s a high pressured environment calling for quick decision making. This translates well to business, there’s a lot to be said for going with your gut instinct.
- Doctors know how to assess risk and weigh up cost v benefit quickly.
- Doctors know when to call it a day – a decision to switch off an ICU machine for example; when compared to killing off an idea early that just isn’t working for your business (let’s face it, you’ve had to make some really tough decisions in your professional life already!). So you can free up your time to focus on things that can really drive your business forward!
- Doctors are driven, motivated and passionate individuals – there’s no time for them to sit on their laurels and moan, they are out there making a difference every day. That same passion will carry you through the tough patches of running your own business.
- Doctors are focused – they set clear milestones and pursue them with dogged determination. Useful when directing your business…
- Doctors are by nature collaborative – “no man is an island” modern business and indeed medicine is founded on working together and making connections with people. This can help you and your business expand and develop.
Medic Footprints are running their second a full day Enterprising Doctors workshop in collaboration with YEHS in March 2016
This workshop is aimed at doctors interested in becoming entrepreneurs and will include talks from successful doctors who are running their own businesses, practical tips on setting up and running a business, and the opportunity to network.
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