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Can you trust a stranger with your startup success?

Ryan Amin

Anthony Stedillie, Founder of CompassMD, ran into many obstacles during his entrepreneurial journey to create an online system that actively matches cancer patients with the right doctors for their individual needs. One of Stedillie's biggest obstacles came at the start of CompassMD when deciding on a founding team.

"Working with your friend is more difficult than people think," said Stedillie. "Bring in someone who is an expert and not a friend. Business with friends and family is tricky."

Even though Stedillie advises not working with friends, he suggested strategies for those who do have a co-founding relationship with a friend or family member.

"Be honest and upfront from the beginning," he said. "Be honest with what the concerns are from a founder perspective because everything is really give and take. It is really hard to be honest with a friend because you are trying to protect your business."

Some entrepreneurs choose a friend for their co-founding team because they value the trust factor, but Stedillie said he can trust a stranger who is an expert because of the way business operations work.

"When it is a legal contraction that binds a co-founder to live up to their end of the bargain, it is more compelling for a business relationship," said Stedillie.

Other entrepreneurial insights:

Be mutually beneficial - Originally the focus for CompassMD was to give patients a better experience, but Stedillie realized that doctors can also benefit from the system. Expanding the focus to include doctors using the system allowed for a more widespread use of CompassMD. "Complexities in the healthcare field create opportunities for ideas to improve different relationships," he said. CompassMD's goal is to improve the overall patient experience and doctors' and hospitals' satisfaction ratings.

Ask questions - "At a minimum there are usually four different relationships you are dealing with for every issue or situation, whether it be payers, doctors, hospitals, patients, etc." said Stedillie. "Ask questions to fully understand different perspectives of each group."

[Photo by - Janetmck]

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