Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Arun Nijhawan, Founder of Menda Health, located in Atlanta, GA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Our mission is to reverse chronic pain for 100M people suffering in the US.
Most of these patients bounce around the medical system looking for answers. This drives up costs, and in America, the economic cost of chronic pain is higher than heart disease and cancer.
We work directly with patients, or large health plans, to treat neck and back pain, widespread pain, migraines, abdominal pain, and other conditions. The Menda Pain Recovery Program (PRP) delivers 3X more benefit than usual care through virtual behavioral therapy and digital rehabilitation tools.
Tell us about yourself
I started Menda, alongside two amazing partners, after suffering from debilitating back pain that rendered me nearly immobile for five years. Doctors told me that I would have to manage it for the rest of my life. This was false. Leading pain researchers know differently - pain can be reversed for the majority of people suffering through lifestyle and behavioral changes.
I was lucky to find these scientific studies and get my life back. My motivation is fueled by the drive to make an impact and the powerful recovery stories of our members. Entrepreneurship is filled with struggle. I lean on this inner purpose in moments of self-doubt.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We had a patient who came into Menda with 20 migraine days a month. After ten weeks, she had 0. It's these stories that are our biggest accomplishments, and I will remember them forever. On the business side, I'm really proud that I took a leap of faith and started Menda.
I quit my high-paying tech job and didn't take a salary for two years. We've raised money from leading healthcare executives and are working to integrate our product into large health systems across the country.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is to deal with doubt and bad moments. As a business owner, you have a lot of passion and excitement but also get easily attached to making a big difference. Along the way, a deal might fall through, or a patient might fail to respond to treatment - these create doubt about ongoing success. For me, a learning process is not personalizing these experiences but reinstilling faith in our ability to complete our mission.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I teach entrepreneurship to high school students. What often scares people (myself included) is the worry that it won't succeed, so they have trouble starting. The first thing I share is how to redefine success.
It's not about money or fame, but rather asking oneself, "Whom (your customer) do you wish to help?" Whose life will you make better? By focusing our energy on the person we wish to help, our doubts and fears lessen.
- Secondly, starting a company is like asking someone on a date or jumping off a bridge. No one can give you an instruction manual. You have to take a leap of faith and just do it.
- Lastly, I would say that the idea you have is likely a good one! Go to the market and begin speaking to people about it. Along the way, you need to be open to making small pivots based on the lessons you learn from the market and your customers.
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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