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Doctor.com founder on why you should hire from the competition

Christina Hernandez Sherwood, eMed Editor, MedCity News

Doctor.com is a network connecting patients and physicians across the web. The platform allows patients to search – free of charge – for a doctor who meets their specific needs.

With about 8,000 providers connected to the Doctor.com network, the five-year-old website is used by more than a million patients each month. The website’s founder and president, Andrei Zimiles, shared insights on slow fundraising, hiring from the competition, and impressing at every presentation.

Stick to your mission by prioritizing – With so many potential partnerships and opportunities for Doctor.com, Zimiles said it’s tough to determine where to focus the company’s energy next. “The challenge everyday is not what to do next, but what not to do next,” he said. “We can’t do 50 different partnerships at the same time.” In considering where they wanted Doctor.com to go in the future, Zimiles said the team settled on the No. 1 priority of building a wide network. Projects that didn’t help build the website’s network were pushed aside. 

Don’t rush to fundraise – Before launching a fundraising mission, Zimiles advised, figure out the company’s business model on a small scale and determine how it will grow. That way, he said, you won’t be depleting capital as you consider the company’s direction. And when it’s time to raise money and build sustainable cash flow, Zimiles added, you’ll know how to budget for scaling up your business. “We probably waited much longer than most companies to raise the money,” he said. “But we have a very clear path.”

Hire from the competition – One of the best decisions by the Doctor.com team, Zimiles said, was to hire their director of sales away from a top competitor. “If you’re facing competition like that,” he said, “the No. 1 thing you can do is get an insider that understands all the successes and decisions that business has made and bring them into the fold.”

Impress with every presentation – Don’t miss a chance to overwhelmingly impress at every opportunity, Zimiles said. At Doctor.com, presentations are never thrown together at the last minute, he said, adding that an extra day or two of work on good design is worth the effort. “Every PowerPoint or one-sheet we send someone we’re trying to do business with, we assume it’s going to be passed around,” Zimiles said. “We go above and beyond with our presentation materials.”

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