Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in medical software development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dan Prince, Founder, and CEO of illumisoft, located in Kansas City, MO, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We partner with healthcare professionals to create custom healthcare solutions so they ultimately can positively improve their patients' journies. Our goal is to help make a difference by delivering next-level care through our solutions. The services that illumisoft provides are described as software development services. People hire us to help them build solutions that they then take over and manage going forward. Often, they have an internal development team, but they don't have the necessary experience to architect modern solutions using modern technology. Their hopes are that if I provide a codebase, I can teach their developers how to maintain it. In my experience with supporting entrepreneurial efforts in this area, I would say the three main steps that you need to take to build a strong community of users and subscribers would include building a strong brand that aligns with your intended audience, making sure that your software is easy to use and easy to understand, and being consistent in never taking advantage of your subscriber base by marketing to them and upselling to them ad nauseum.

At illumisoft, we know the healthcare and medical fields inside and out. Our deep experience in the healthcare space gives us unique insight into what solutions will drive each organization forward, allowing us to deliver successful industry-specific strategies. Our team works to deliver results quickly and to bring every element of our client's ideas to life. Each member of our team values hard work, intelligence, and a drive to be the best that we can be for our clients. At illumisoft, our mission is to provide the healthcare industry with a technology partner that helps them to make the technology changes necessary to provide the best healthcare results possible. Our vision is to make technology work out of healthcare work.

Tell us about yourself

I got my start very early in life thanks to having entrepreneurial parents who were early adopters of computers for their deposition service back in the mid-seventies. This allowed me to learn about computer architecture and coding at an early age. Playing with computers back then was like a game to me. I played on the computer much as I played on my Atari. I didn't imagine that it would turn into a life-long interest or a career. In my 20s, I worked in construction, and it wasn't until I was a father of 4 with all the bills that accompany four children that I decided to get a college degree. I worked part-time, and my wife watched the kids while I went to school full time for four years to earn the piece of paper that would begin my journey into professional technology development. In early 2014, I was given the opportunity to help someone that was in dire need, the CEO of an early startup by the name of Unidoor Enterprises, who had hired a technology agency to produce a prototype of a software system. After several months without any evidence of progress, he wanted me to help him determine if he should continue that relationship. He wanted me to do an assessment, and of course, he wanted to pay me for my time. My initial response was to turn him down. I didn't need another job; I had a good job already as a software development manager over several teams at Epiq Systems in Kansas City. But over the next several weeks, he contacted me several more times, asking and then finally pleading with me to help him. I finally gave in and agreed, agreeing to help him, but I wasn't going to charge him because I didn't want the hassle of billing and taxes.

I just wanted to give him a quick favor and then go on with my life. After a preliminary audit of the agency situation, I determined that they would not be able to provide the system. I reported the same back to the Unidoor CEO with regret about the situation. When I saw hopelessness in his eyes because the owner had invested a lot of money, and the lack of software was keeping them from moving forward. If the CEO couldn't deliver on his part, it would be a huge issue for the entire company. So, again, I gave in and told him I would see what I could do. Within a month, I had hired a handful of developers and was busily creating the software for Unidoor. So this was the start of illumisoft and as a business leader in general. I just want to build something that inspires my sons to build their own businesses and, hopefully, along the way, set an example about being centered around helping others.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

As of today, we have done about 42 projects worth over $10M, which is a huge accomplishment itself. Our projects have helped 30 different clients and changed the lives of 100's of thousands of children and families of children with diabetes and other diseases. We have had ZERO failed projects, although we were not able to complete one due to a shrinking budget and cost overruns. Lastly, we have 100% 5-star reviews.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

When I first started out in business, I knew very little about anything that I needed to know about. For example, I didn't know anything about contract management, resource management, taxes, or accounting. I did know a bit about building a highly capable team. I knew how to speak potential clients' language and how to understand what they wanted and needed. So, I was able to acquire several well-paying projects all around the same time. Accordingly, I then hired teams of people to complete those projects.

As the projects proceeded, I spent a lot of time focused on the quality of the teams' interactions and the quality of their results. But what I didn't spend a lot of time on was making sure that new projects were being won. So, when my existing projects ended, all about the same time, I had zero work for my teams to continue to work on. I look back, and I think it's funny now that I was so naive. But at the time, it didn't feel funny at all. I had to let go of about 17 people all at once, including two of my sons! It really was not fun at all. At the time, I thought it was one of the worst days of my life. In retrospect, I'm happy it happened because I learned a lot of valuable lessons through the experience. I learned about process management and how not having processes in place prevented me from seeing the writing on the wall. I learned about estimating project completion dates and matching those with accounting numbers. I learned about team management and resource management.

There were a lot of benefits to that experience as well. One benefit was that I was able to get rid of the bad hires that I had made. I had been slightly afraid to let go of those people because I had allowed them to become the people that had the most knowledge on their projects, and losing them would have been very bad for their projects, and I was also worried they would have some form of retribution to my company. But, with the projects ending, they were no longer critical. I learned that if I had let them go when I learned that they were problematic, I would have been a lot better off than I was keeping them around until the end of the project.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I actually have five that I believe are all vital to cover.

  1. Listen and then listen some more. Listen to what the market is telling you, listen to your team, and listen to your instincts, gut, and experience.
  2. Use the systems, tools, and frameworks that can help you lead.
  3. Communicate and then communicate some more. During uncertain times people want more information, so often, these may be daily check-ins with your team and your clients.
  4. Revisit plans, goals, strategies, and values. Often when we are going through challenging times, when we reflect on these areas, it can help us reset or, in some cases, adjust our strategy.
  5. Keep a sense of humor. Yes, overcoming difficult situations is stressful, but sometimes a little levity helps us get through these moments.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

The next big change in healthcare is over-abundant remote health. The word telehealth is already antiquated. We're not doing anything over the telephone. We have smart devices, internet-enabled devices, and cellular devices galore. All of this allows us to communicate electronically far more than any telephone would ever allow us to do. We have now provided so many different solutions that integrate smart technology into medical research studies or remote health solutions that we consider ourselves experts in integrating wearables and other remote health devices to the point that we have started our own remote health company called 1SRCE. We haven't officially released our product yet, but we are accepting advisory board members and doing demos for people now.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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