Our client Dr Adam Meredith recently started his 4th small business – Migraine Stopper. We spoke to Adam to find out more about his new business and his tips for small business owners looking to expand.
Can you tell us about the 4 businesses that you run?
I have 3 separate companies and four businesses – two chiropractic centres, a Dexa Scan/Metabolic testing business and the Migraine Stopper, a company that makes a medical device that turns off migraines.
My first practice opened in North Sydney in 2001 and then I opened another 3 Chiropractic Practices, sold two of them and currently run two Chiropractic Centres. About six years ago I opened my Dexa Scan business and during that time spent the last 3 years in R&D inventing a medical device, that went live in February this year. I do not do any technical work in my businesses; I work on them not in them.
It’s amazing to have 1 successful business. How do you manage four?
So, a business can be broken down to 3 working segments. The technical work, staff & admin and marketing (I count finance separately and leave that to experts like Imagine Accounting!). So, you just need the right people and the right systems and procedures to look after these three aspects. And then you need a great big common goal, to tie it all together. Without this common goal – forget it!
The people in my two Chiropractic Centres and the people in the Dexa business know exactly why they are there and what their purpose is. I think most business owners make the mistake of being the “critical piece” or the primary person, in one or all of these 3 working segments. They can’t trust or don’t develop the cashflow to put people in these roles. As a result, they are trapped, tired and overly busy. If you want to do one of the segments that’s great, but I find many business owners have set it up so they are forced to be in all 3 segments, and that the business cannot physically and financially operate without them working in the segments.
What inspired you to start your 4th business?
My patients inspired me. Migraines are a truly horrible condition. And unless you have them or live with someone who does, you cannot understand the misery they cause. 5 years ago, I came across a small published case study, where air was being put into the ear canals of migraine sufferers and that was turning off their migraines. I immediately tried it on my patients and it worked really well. I just thought that someone would build a device from this knowledge and help millions of people. Two years passed and nothing was being done with this information. I could not believe it. So, I took it upon myself to change that and to help those that suffer with migraines. That lead to me inventing the Migraine Stopper.
Any tips for a small business owner looking to expand?
Be very, very, very clear on why you want to expand. Then look at your business model and see the smartest way to do this (to achieve the very clear goal that you have). I believe most business owners do need experts to do this. If you have been in business for around 10 years or so I believe you would know more about your business than any expert. Then once you have decided on the smartest way to expand, look at your staff. Your staff are your diamonds. They have so much knowledge and are often passionate for your business. And then give them a path for their personal/business growth that parallels your growth plans. Meet with them regularly, listen to their ideas, put those ideas into systems and test things until you find what works.
How do Imagine Accounting help you?
Imagine Accounting was the first firm that I actually respected. I had had 4 accounting firms before I found them, and I found them all wanting. Imagine have a no BS, can do approach to my business and actually fully understood my goals. I have a somewhat complicated tax structure with several trusts, companies and trading businesses. My accountant can draw the structure of my business off the top of his head. I know this because I make him do it! My level of confidence is sky high with Imagine Accounting and I always get quick polite, intelligent advice and service. In a sentence – they look after my finances and they do it extraordinarily well.
What is the biggest challenge for a small business owner?
To remember that the business is their slave and they are the master and not the other way around. Small business owners forget why they started their business and what their goals were in the beginning. Always remember the function of your business is to deliver you the life you want.
Career highlight so far?
That’s a hard one. Let me say “all of it”!
Any plans to start a 5th business?
I never say never.
What’s the best way for someone to buy your new device?
Go to our website www.themigrainestopper.com and buy it! It’s a one-off purchase and it turns off your migraines!