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Getting Started with Entrepreneurship

Career Paths
Entrepreneurship
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Becoming an entrepreneur is a viable choice for the life sciences PhD or MD that enjoys the excitement of a small, growing company and the energy to see your ideas through to completion. If you think you have a patentable idea, start networking with others and put a team together. If you don’t have a great idea but are still enticed by the idea of a start-up, you can get into business with others who have ideas and help them make a viable plan. If you’re not afraid of risk, you’ll feel right at home as an up and coming entrepreneur.

If you feel somewhat unsure of going on your own, try joining a newly- developing team with others who share your passion for small business. New ventures are continually forming under the aegis of the many Venture Capital Partnerships who have specialities in the life sciences and medicine. Try going on the Internet and typing "Venture Capital" and your specialty in Google. Alternatively, you can access databases for venture capital partnerships. These databases can be found through your career center or the libraries at your local business school. In addition, you’ll need to use all your resources in networking (see Networking) to find out where the jobs are located. You’ll need to be outgoing and learn how to position yourself as a key team member for a startup team. Everyone on the team has to be an important contributor at the beginning of a company’s life.

If you join an established or newly founded group, you’ll bring your expertise in the life sciences and your ability to work with a team. You’ll learn the "business" of start-up companies and you’ll need to be prepared to learn more than you’ll earn at the outset. All entrepreneurships begin with an idea and a group of talented people who turn the idea into a marketable business. Being a part of that is valuable education for your future as an entrepreneur. You can also take your IP (intellectual property) and start your own business. As the "lead entrepreneur," it will be your job to find talented people who’ll work with you on your project. You need to make the decision early in the process if your IP is just an idea or technology, or if it is an actual business that can generate revenue. Start early with a business plan that, if done correctly, will tell you where your IP will take itself. If you see "revenue" after creating a business plan, you’ll be able to go forward. With any new venture, you’ll need to surround yourself with quality advisors and a team you can trust. You’ll need great legal assistance and you will need to expect that very little in the way of revenue will come out of your project for quite some time.

In fact, you may never reach a point where the business is truly profitable. If you feel energized by the idea of starting a new business and have an idea you think is marketable, prepare yourself to seek out a team, make an honest business plan and attempt to make your idea salesworthy and marketable.

Christine Traxler, MD practiced medicine for fifteen years in rural Minnesota before turning her love of writing into a career. As a medical writer, she has worked on projects designed to make medicine simplified for the popular audience. She has two daughters and resides in Minneapolis.
Copyright Christine Traxler, MD
Published with permission

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