For a highly successful startup you need the vision, the passion, the organization, the team and the compassion.
Startups have such a glamorous reputation. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Uber, and Airbnb once started as scrappy startups with huge dreams and huge obstacles.
Yet we of course know that most startups don’t end up as success stories. What does a founder or a founding team need to know to create a highly successful startup?
In this series, called “Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup” we are talking to experienced and successful founders and business leaders who can share stories from their experience about what it takes to create a highly successful startup.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Shiner.
Jeremy Shiner, founder and president of MedPay Compliance Consultants, the only payment processing company that does not process for a single restaurant or retailer and is exclusively dedicated to healthcare. Jeremy founded the company after being the top salesperson in the nation and partnering with more new clients in one single year than any other representative at his past company. After establishing the company amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Jeremy has grown the company to over 200 clients in six months, returning a profit since day one.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Thanks for having me! I’ve been around the healthcare industry my entire life, witnessing my father build the largest healthcare payment processor in the country. After I graduated from the Catholic University of America, I joined forces with him and his team, won the Highest Rookie Sales award in my first year, was the top salesperson in the nation in less than three years and received two consecutive Representative of the Year awards, among others.
After four years, I launched my own organization, MedPay Compliance Consultants, where we deliver customized, white-glove solutions, expertise and quality of service dedicated to healthcare professionals.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
When I realized I could go from using the strategies and tools I was taught to help myself and clients, to now teaching others how to find success in those some ways, I saw we could touch a lot more private doctors’ offices and create a lot more prosperity for both our clients and sales partners.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
My father, Frank; he was in this business as well and started Rectangle Health. I learned a lot working with them and from him, that I’ve now been able to add my own spin to and build off of.
One funny thing that happened when he was giving a speech at a company event, he said, “no kid grows up and wants to be in the bank card processing industry,” and I sort of meekly raised my hand, at this point being the top salesperson in the company, and said, “well I kind of did.” This is just a funny little quip, but there’s a lot of truth to it. I was able to grow up and see the success and how much, from a business and consulting point of view, we were able to help private doctors’ offices, so they could focus on their patients, while also running the office and finances efficiently.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Exclusivity. The fact that we’re able to hone in and focus on just the needs of doctors’ offices really sets us apart. Our knowledge of their pain points and being able to apply compliant tools and technologies to address them, is what makes us different.
We recently had a client tell us that with our program, they were able to reduce billing costs and accounts receivable balances by literally tens of thousands of dollars in a short period of time. They told us that this bottom-line savings has propelled them forward after the severe financial setbacks brought on by COVID.
This is why we’re in the business. Without the excellent healthcare that privately-owned doctors’ offices deliver to patients, America is a sicker and less happy place. We’re here as an ancillary to support doctors’ offices and American health and prosperity.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I think the two are inextricably linked. Sure, you can have financial success without goodness, but you can’t have holistic success without goodness. Fighting for something that you think is good as an individual and as a company creates a certain passion that is undeniable. Success is just a byproduct of this.
I think our ability to provide feasible forms of patient financing to ensure doctors get paid by every patient, makes treatment possible for a larger patient-based and makes the business side of things sustainable for the doctors. We’re just here as a support being so they can continue to do the good they’ve committed their lives to.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
I hate to talk about myself in this light, but fearlessness, open-mindedness and tenacity. These are things that any individual can achieve and are not unique to me but are the most important characteristics for a successful individual. Everyone has unique traits and idiosyncrasies, but these three are ubiquitous among highly successful individuals, and it’s so important to realize it’s in everyone’s control to decide to be these things and turn them into characteristics when continuously practiced.
I won’t bore you with an example of all three, but we can take the pandemic as a litmus test. We started this company during COVID, and as the top national salesperson at my previous company, I saw that the opportunity costs were lessened by the shutdowns. When many people would have taken the safe route or thought this would be the worst time to start a business, I saw it as the perfect opportunity.
When I say be fearless, I don’t mean be reckless. I mean don’t be afraid of situations or to take risks. No new accomplishment is made without stepping outside of the comfort zone. When I say be open-minded, I mean when everyone is going one way, be brave enough to be open to new ideas and avenues and creating outside of the sandbox you’re used to. Envision a path that others might not understand and might fight you on. Every business owner has known great failures — everyone in business has known great failures. Tenacity is being able to get up every single day and look our problems from the day before, squarely in the eyes, without the slightest aversion to facing them again.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
I can honestly say I have no regrets. I know that may sound a bit cliché, but there are no mistakes if you learn from them. If I followed bad advice, I could say I don’t remember a specific instance because I take full accountability for following it, and responsibility for learning from it. In this way, mistakes become great advantages for the future.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When we first got off the ground it was the height of COVID, and we were calling to get appointments with doctors’ offices, and time after time we kept hearing, “we’re not seeing anyone; we’re not making appointments; we’re not making changes right now,” so even remote appointments weren’t viable. This gave potential clients a built-in excuse to not deal with this or want to learn more. This was a time of great turmoil and uncertainty.
We were forced to adapt and understand the psychology of what was leading to these tendencies, and in doing so we were able to come up with an answer to use our technologies, skillset and knowledge to alleviate those justifiable fears and anxieties, rather than add to them in any way.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard? What strategies or techniques did you use to help overcome those challenges?
Drive was never an issue; I love what I do and I’m a problem solver by nature. The question was how to get past the challenges. We were able to see new needs in the market, such as contactless payments, telemedicine, card-on-file protection and compliance, and lean into these needs to use them to our advantage.
The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. Can you share a few ideas or stories from your experience about how to successfully ride the emotional highs & lows of being a founder”?
This was an easy one. With a background in sales, highs and lows are standard operating procedure. As a founder, you are the leader of your organization. You have a responsibility to respond to things tin a way that will comfort others and lead them in a direction that you believe is best for them and the company as a whole.
To reference the above example, I was able to rally my salespeople around the idea, as other organizations vacated the time-tested, in-person sales methodology, we still stood proudly. When other companies hid behind COVID and used it as an excuse for a dip in numbers, we used it as a reason to increase our sales and help clients navigate this troubling time as consultants, professionals and purveyors of new technologies.
Let’s imagine that a young founder comes to you and asks your advice about whether venture capital or bootstrapping is best for them? What would you advise them? Can you kindly share a few things a founder should look at to determine if fundraising or bootstrapping is the right choice?
I would say that if you can self-fun, do so, because it gives you a unique level of control to pursue your vision. Of course, that isn’t always viable, and I understand and empathize with that totally. I was blessed to have an extremely successful sales career before I launched this venture and was able to self-fund. This put the organization and my employees in a very favorable position where we have full control over our own destinies. That being said, venture capital firms do an amazing job of boosting businesses that otherwise may have not ever been launched or able to grow that quickly. This is something I would be open to in the future as we continue to grow, but it is not our current path.
As far as advice, I would take it on a case-by-case basis, and whatever that individual needs to do to make their vision a reality, seize the opportunity sooner rather than later.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Many startups are not successful, and some are very successful. From your experience or perspective, what are the main factors that distinguish successful startups from unsuccessful ones? What are your “Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup”? If you can, please share a story or an example for each.
A successful startup always starts with the “why” — why you do what you do. If founders begin with the why and then figure out the “how” and the “what,” they then have the makings of purpose-driven organizations. If you start with the “what,” which might be making money, or prestige or success, you have virtually no chance of achieving it.
For a highly successful startup you need the vision, the passion, the organization, the team and the compassion. The vision really makes up an organization’s “why;” why they do what they do. The passion is derived from the “why,” it’s what gives you the belief that you can truly make a difference. Organization is crucial. A vision and passion without an organized effort will not yield any sustainable results. Things need to be structured according to your plan. The team is what helps carry out the “why.” A CEO is nothing without a great team. Only through a focused team can a dream become a reality. Lastly, without compassion, you lose the “why,” you lose the team, you lose the clients and the organization crumbles. Our humanity is the essence of all successful business interactions. Without humanity there is no long-term success.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Spreading themselves too thin. I don’t mean financially. I mean that success-driven individuals tend to see opportunities and jump at them. This can dilute the original vison. You’ll receive a million offers for business ventures and investments within our outside of your business, and you have to ask yourself the important questions — does this align with our “why,” and does it align with our overarching goal.
Startup founders often work extremely long hours and it’s easy to burn the candle at both ends. What would you recommend to founders about how to best take care of their physical and mental wellness when starting a company?
You know yourself better than anyone else. For me personally, I wake up extremely early, I workout to clear my head and start my day off in a focused and positive place. I do work very long hours, but my work phone is off by 9:00 p.m. and I’m in bed by 9:30 p.m. at the latest. I know I’m a morning person, and my hours of prime productivity are between 5:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. That being said, giving yourself small breaks within your day, if needed, is important for sustainability. I encourage all my employees who skip lunch to take lunch; if they clear their heads, they’ll be more productive throughout the day and able to be more consistent through their days, weeks and years.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
The first thing that pops into my mind to give it a catchy name, is the Passion Project. If we could assist every individual in finding something he or she is passionate about, truly loves, truly feels excited about, this would change his or her life, which would change the lives of those he or she touches, which would change the world. As human beings, there is literally nothing more important than feeling fulfilled by what we do day in and day out, whatever that may be.
We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I’ve met with and learned from a lot of great businessmen, and being that I have a background in football, I’d really love to have lunch with Tom Brady. I feel that although it’s a totally different realm than business, being a champion has certain universal attributes as we spoke about earlier.
Tom Brady’s story really resonates with me, as he was drafted so late and overlooked by so many but has had so much success. He epitomizes the tenacity and hard-work I really admire. I would love to pick his brain to understand what makes him tick.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
They can keep up with us at www.medpaycc.com and our LinkedIn and Facebook, and keep an eye for an exciting launch from us in the coming months. We feel this launch will even further our ability to assist private offices to give and patients to receive the care they need.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!