Andrew (Andy) Simon, Partner at Simon Associates Management Consultants, member of the SAMC consulting staff, serial entrepreneur and expert start-up business consultant, has recently been published in Becker's Hospital Review. Andrew's article, "Sometimes You are Ahead of the Curve: 4 Lessons From a Failed Price Transparency Venture," examines why a groundbreaking, timely start-up idea ultimately failed. He also gives practical advice on how others can avoid similar roadblocks in their own entrepreneurial endeavors.
Andy writes: "I recently read an interesting article in the Health & Wellness section of The Boston Globe entitled, 'Comparison Shopping for Medical Procedures.' The article talks about how patients can find out about the cost of medical procedures as they shop, which is tied into a new state law in Massachusetts. Reading that made me smile, because at Simon Associates we were working on something somewhat similar three years ago."
At that time, SAMC helped launch a service offering called Pricecare.com. The concept seemed sound: Consumers went online to find out about a procedure, and the website displayed the cost of that procedure. The idea was rational and current with the changing nature of medical care today, in which people use the internet to make informed decisions.
But it failed! Why? Not enough healthcare institutions signed up to participate in the program. Disappointingly, the thinking was so radical that they could not embrace this type of change. Plus, they claimed they did not have cost data that allowed them to set bundled pricing.
So what did Andy learn?
1. You need to find a leader in the field.
2. The project was underfunded.
3. Changing behavior is difficult, both for the 'buyer and seller.'
4. Marketing doesn't come naturally to many providers.
For entrepreneurs striving to make a go of their great idea, Andrew has this advice: If you truly believe you are right, keep charging ahead but make sure you're not going it alone. Also, recognize that significant commitment and resources are required — the reason most ventures eventually succeed is because people have both an absolute belief in what they are doing as well as the funding to carry their ideas through.
To read Andrew Simon's article in its entirety in Becker's Hospital Review, click here.
Andrew L. Simon is a partner and member of the Simon Associates Management Consultants professional consulting staff. He specializes in working with startups and early stage companies, as well as in helping established companies open up new markets. Mr. Simon joined SAMC in 2011 after building Questar Assessment Inc. from a startup in 1994 to a highly successful competitor in the K-12 educational assessment space.