BioXcellerator CEO on 3 Ways to Harness the Power of Innovation to Make a Real Difference
Eric Stoffers, founder and CEO of BioXcellerator, shares the best ways to allow innovation to shine without becoming overwhelmed by the process.
Originally published on Entrepreneur.com
Whether they’ve already started a business or aspire to do so, entrepreneurs often focus on creating “the next big thing.” Yet when faced with obstacles such as lack of resources, planning, know-how – you name it – most don’t follow through to reach their lofty goals. But that doesn’t have to be your future.
Take it from Eric Stoffers, founder and CEO of BioXcellerator, a global leader in stem cell therapy. Today, with more than 60 scientists, physicians, researchers, and patient support staff, BioXcellerator is pushing the envelope in advanced stem cell therapy for orthopedic and sports injuries, autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases, anti-aging, and spine and disc conditions.
“BioXcellerator is dedicated to alleviating pain and suffering, giving new hope to those who suffer from autoimmune and degenerative diseases and improving people’s health, immunity, longevity, and overall quality of life,” Stoffers says.
To Stoffers, innovation in business comes down to these core tenets:
Consistent never-ending improvement. Stoffers points out that innovation doesn’t need to result in a never-before-seen product or service, but an ongoing process of improvement, change and iteration over many years can indeed revolutionize products and technologies that already exist.
Innovation extends beyond products and services. “An organization can be innovative at marketing, supply chain management, production processes, and plenty of other aspects of business, so companies must strive for constant strategic innovation,” he explains.
Long-term thinking and staying ahead of the curve. Your vision for what your company, technology and market will be like 10 years from now is far more important than what you see today. “Meeting current needs keeps you competitive today, but if you have a knack for seeing what demand will be like a decade from now, you have a real competitive advantage,” Stoffers says.
With this in mind, here are Stoffers’ three tips for how entrepreneurs can harness innovation to make a real difference in the world.
1. Start small, work fast, and have a plan for what comes next.
Many entrepreneurs get caught up in “thinking big,” so they get lost in the weeds trying to make something truly innovative. Stoffers suggests focusing on a bold vision that can take shape over several years, but starting with a product or service you can ship relatively quickly.
“In business schools, they speak of shipping a ‘minimum viable product,’ one that does the job well, but also can be designed, executed, and shipped quickly,” he explains. “The objective is to ship a quality product that’s valuable to your audience, yet avoid getting bogged down trying to appeal to all people and adding dozens of features to the first version of your product that slows down your ability to ship it.”
At BioXcellerator, Stoffers’ mission has always been to alleviate suffering and improve the quality of lives of people through the best stem cell therapies. But he and his team started small, focusing first on a specific group – athletes who needed healing from sports and orthopedic injuries and to alleviate chronic pain. So they first designed their messaging, treatments, and patient experience specifically for athletes.
Once they gained traction serving pro and amateur athletes, BioXcellerator expanded into treating spine and disc disorders, autoimmune diseases, TBI and CTE, to name just a few. “Starting small, focusing on a specific group of people and limiting the range of treatments we offered made it possible for us to ‘ship’ our product and make our services available more quickly,” Stoffers says.
2. Make sure your mission matters.
Growing a successful business is hard. A compelling mission that matters to you — one that gets you and your employees excited to get up early and work late every day – will help you continue when things get tough. “Your mission should align to your vision of how the world could be better five to 10 years from now and the pride you’d take in working hard to turn that vision into reality,” Stoffers says.
Whether your mission is to improve people’s health, make lives easier, or even to explore space, make sure it is communicated clearly to employees and customers alike. At BioXcellerator, Stoffers’ mission to “alleviate suffering and improve quality of life worldwide through advanced cellular therapies” is one he and his team “really get excited about,” he says.
3. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
There’s no need to administer IQ tests at every job interview. The point is to hire the best, smartest people possible. Assemble a team you can feel confident in delegating more responsibility to and those who share your passion for the company’s mission.
“Even with a great product or service, you’re not likely to be successful in the long term without the help of talented and motivated people,” Stoffers says. “People design products. People sell products. People support customers. Even automated support systems are designed by people.”
So, whether you’re hiring a programmer, engineer, marketer, salesperson, or scientist, make sure they share your vision and goals, have talent and motivation, and give them all the resources they need to succeed. “Then get out of the way and let them do their best work,” Stoffers says.
Hiring the best is just the first step. What can be even more challenging is retaining key people. “I make sure that everyone in my company knows that I appreciate their contribution and their value in achieving our mission,” Stoffers says. “I also make sure they’re well compensated because the loss of anyone who’s great at their job is the loss of a key asset for your company. When it comes to recruiting or retaining key people, if need be, roll out the red carpet.”
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