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Why you should celebrate the small victories

Christina Hernandez Sherwood, eMed Editor, MedCity News

For the life science textile company PurThread Technologies, landing an exclusive deal to embed Eastman Kodak's antimicrobial agent into textiles was a major victory that deserved celebrating. But PurThread president and CEO Lisa T. Grimes has made sure the company also lauded smaller achievements along the way.

When the company successfully developed a cream color for its yarn -- no easy feat when the yarn is embedded with an antimicrobial agent -- the team went out to dinner to celebrate. The team also surprised Grimes with her favorite dessert, carrot cake, after another accomplishment.

Such minor feats are often overlooked in the high-stress environment of a healthcare startup, Grimes said. But celebrating them with something as simple as a bottle of hot sauce adds some fun to the journey, she said. "It doesn't have to be a week at a spa," Grimes said. "We're trying to take the time to appreciate our hard work."

Here are other entrepreneurial insights from Grimes:

Cater to healthcare customers -- Because of the highly regulated nature of hospitals and other healthcare centers, Grimes said, companies have to be data driven when it comes to studying and testing their products. "You've got to have patience because it is going to take some time," she said. "They want to know if what you're asking them to do is really going to make a difference."

Find a new twist to secure a major partnership -- PurThread found a unique avenue in which to use Kodak's longtime antimicrobial agent, Grimes said. But the PurThread team only approached Kodak, she said, after developing the idea and testing the hypothesis to prove their methods. "We were able to prove what we were doing," Grimes said, "and we had the relationships in place to manufacture what we said we could."

Maintain a laser-like focus -- Your team might initially be walking in lock step when it comes to your idea and mission, Grimes said. But after discussions with an investor, a potential customer, a consultant and a new hire, she said, suddenly you have four other avenues down which you could travel. "Before you know it," Grimes said, "you're spreading yourself too thin." Remember that your company has limited resources -- both in terms of human capital and financial capital -- so it's important to keep focused on your plan to achieve your mission.

Photo by Karen_O'D

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