How Shark Tank Makes You A Better Doctor

shark tank will make you a better doctorI like watching the business ideas pitched on Shark Tank. In this weekly show, aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their services and products to wealthy investors. Not only do I feel inspired by the entrepreneurs while watching their pitch, but I also learn about the thought processes of successful businessmen (women).

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“You’re dead to me.” 

Kevin O’Leary, one of the investors, has a demeaning quip whenever the potential investment opportunity is no longer viable to to him. It sounds horrible, but it is an effective approach to running a business.  You can’t take things personally in business. What are your goals? Do you plan to make friends or run a profitable endeavor? Don’t expect that you’d be able to run a successful business AND run a profitable business all the time? The last thing you want is to dwell on issues either out of your control or not in keeping with the plan.

This mentality also works in medicine. We are bombarded with information overload—an excessive number of clinical patients, excessive e-mails, and hiring/firing of staff. Prioritize and only sweat the details that you have control over. Even those issues under our direction need to be prioritized. I’m not a big fan of last-minute decision making, but trying to do everything at once is also a recipe for disaster.

Set your plan. Automate, and reassess frequently.

Learn to Hustle

Successful entrepreneurs hustle. They work out of a corner of their living room or build their businesses out of their garage. They eat and sleep their work. Some of them put their families’ livelihood on the line. As a doctor with a stable income, you probably don’t need to be so extreme, but hopefully you understand that there is a correlation between hard work and success.

You will be more productive in your work if you hustle. It may be more stressful, but remember that you are always compensated at a rate that is dictated by efficiency. I have seen plenty of Internists spend an extra 2-3 hours closing notes and following up lab work after they’ve signed out. This is mostly a problem with our healthcare system, but we still have to adapt. How can you function during your work day more efficiently so that you don’t have excess work to deal with after hours? Are you able to take a short lunch break? What about following up on labs in between patients and consults? If you are a dermatologist seeing fifty patients a day, can you get a scribe?

Hustle while you are at work. You might need to do it for a few years, but no matter how much you work, you probably still have a better lifestyle than you did while you were in training. After you hit your financial goals, you can cut back.

What characteristics of an entrepreneur do you mimic?

(Photo courtesy of Flickr).

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