tech entrepreneur, start-ups

Surgeon turned entrepreneur Stephanie Eltz shares her tips and advice on becoming a tech startup founder based on her experience launching Doctify, an award-winning review platform delivering trust and transparency across healthcare.

Have you been thinking about launching a startup but don’t know where to begin? I know the feeling.

I had my light-bulb moment while working as a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. It happened when I urgently needed to speak to a specialist about a mole I thought was cancerous. Despite working in the healthcare industry for many years, I found it challenging to source the right professional. At that moment, I realised just how beneficial a digital feedback platform would be to the industry.

I didn’t know much about entrepreneurship or running a business back then. But the idea of solving big problems in healthcare through its digital transformation inspired me to take a leap and launch Doctify, a healthcare review platform.

Here are my top tips and advice for anyone looking to become a successful tech entrepreneur based on the experience I have gained going from surgeon to the startup co-founder of Doctify.

Determine product-market fit

Starting and growing a business isn’t easy. It’s a challenge with many ups and downs. That’s why it’s essential to achieve the right product-market fit before committing yourself to a new adventure.

Before launching Doctify, my co-founder Suman Saha and I struggled to find the best care for ourselves and our families, despite working in the industry. This helped us to spot a gap in the market. We knew that there was a need for technology to be better utilised in healthcare in order to better connect doctors and patients, which motivated us to pursue our vision. Thanks to our experience in the industry, we knew that we were addressing a valid problem in healthcare and that Doctify was the right solution.

Getting the right product-market fit has allowed us to achieve our long term goals, grow our team and expand into five different markets.

Work closely with your clients

From the very beginning, we have maintained a dialogue with healthcare providers and patients. This has given us the ability to continue enhancing our platform in ways that are most valuable for our audience. It has also allowed us to keep our competitive edge.

It’s so important to take the time to connect with those who are using your product or service. Try to understand their pain points and find the right solutions before spending months or years developing something that isn’t valuable. User experience sessions, customer interviews or surveys are fantastic ways to engage your clients and identify their needs.

Don’t compromise your business strategy

When launching a business, it’s important to have a clear focus and work on what will bring you closer to your mission and vision. At the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to please everyone – your family and friends, pilot customers and angel investors. They may suggest ideas and different solutions, and you might feel that you need to change your product to make them happy.

At Doctify, we always knew we wanted to build greater trust and transparency in health and social care, and over the years, we have remained focused on ensuring that no patient is left unheard. Having this clear goal has enabled us to build a platform that has helped over 50 million patients make the right choices about their care.

Stop waiting for the right time

The “perfect time” doesn’t exist so be brave, take a leap and learn along the way. It’s easier said than done, but launching a tech startup is a never-ending learning experience, and with the right support network around you, you will quickly learn all about running a company.

When Suman and I decided to launch Doctify back in 2015, we were both NHS surgeons with no business background. We got involved in mentorship programmes for beginner entrepreneurs to learn more about transforming our vision into reality. We connected with like-minded people who continue to support us whenever we face a new challenge. Networking with other entrepreneurs and learning from their experiences will help you enhance your skills and grow both personally and professionally.

Build your team wisely

First-time entrepreneurs often think they need to recruit people with exceptional experience. And while this experience can be worthwhile, it can also be beneficial to hire people based on their potential, not their CV.

The startup world is different to the corporate one. It’s collaborative, innovative and focused on growth. Build up your team so that it is filled with people who are passionate about pushing your business forward.