Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Ashim Kumar, Board Certified Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist of Western Fertility, located in California, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a fertility clinic. We are a little unique in that we offer both egg donation and surrogacy in-house. We do everything fertility-related, from diagnostic tests to treatment options such as ovulation induction, retrieval, insemination, IVF, PGTA (which is genetic testing of the embryo), and frozen embryo transfer. Our customers are a 60/40 mix of national and international patients. We have patients from all over the world, including Europe, Australia, and Asia, and they come here for their fertility treatment. Often, it is for the better success rates that we can offer. Other times it is for services that are not legal in their countries, such as egg donation or surrogacy.
Tell us about yourself
I came into doing fertility because I wanted to be a part of people’s lives as they achieve something positive, and this field allows me to do that. I started this business because the previous clinic I was part of that I spent decades in was a very high-stress, negative environment. I started this clinic to create a positive environment for both staff and patients to work in and in their quest to achieve their families, respectively.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Happy customers and happy staff. It’s really that simple. I think that when we focus on not just a great outcome but also a great experience, and we are nurturing towards each other, we can create a sense of community and achieve that utopia we desire where we feel nurtured and supported in our endeavors, both as a staff member and as a patient.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is keeping everybody happy all the time. The staff turnover can be significant; there are all kinds of things that can come up, from the COVID pandemic to staff members getting pregnant and having children. It’s understandable, we’re all going to have our ups and downs and times when we need help, but it does put a strain on the rest of the staff when people are out. It’s all about keeping everybody motivated and focused and telling them that we’re going to come together to keep things running smoothly.
The other hard thing is managing expectations. I think everybody wants to be successful all the time, every time, and although we try our hardest, this is not always realistic. I think that as a business owner, it’s hard to keep everybody happy all the time.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Define your niche. What makes you special? What sets you aside from all the other businesses that are offering the same product? It could be as simple as offering amazing service. I was listening to a speech by Warren Buffet where he was talking about Enterprise Rent-a-Car. They succeeded against these behemoths just by offering excellent service every time. I see that in other businesses that I gravitate to: They focus on the customer experience. And that’s something that can set you apart, even if you’re selling the exact same product.
- Create an environment where people want to do their best. This is often done by leading by example and, from the top down, setting expectations. Google did a project on what makes groups work, Project Aristotle. We took that to heart when we started, and that’s really helped us achieve a work culture that works for all of us, where we can feel respected and nurtured and do our best.
- Approach change on a positive reinforcement basis rather than a negative reinforcement one. What you can achieve through a compliment, you can never do through criticism. I think we’re all fragile from the COVID crisis. Any time somebody says something negative about us, our walls come up. But when somebody compliments us, our walls come down, and we can take that experience in and enact change accordingly.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Love is love, abortion is healthcare, and if you are seeking fertility treatment, do not hesitate to give us a call.