What do you mean by “Investment”?
Steve Jobs believed people needed personal computers in their homes. He identified a target market, and the rest is history.
Bill gates saw that there was this emerging market of consumer personal computers and created a software platform to make productivity simpler for this new market of consumer. And again, the rest is history.
Every major company has started by identifying a problem in a given community, building a product or service to remedy that problem and then launching. Part of that process is raising capital. If you watch Shark Tank on ABC (Highly recommended) you will here terms like “seed round”, “Series A, B or C”. These refer to fundraising rounds in which new companies pitch their idea to investors who in turn provide funds, in exchange for equity, so that the company can accomplish its goals.
The key here is the equity. Investors want to give their money in exchange for equity in the company with the hope of that equity eventually being more valuable then the intial investment, thus them turning a profit. This is why investors are very careful with what they invest in. They only want to invest in a company they can feel as confident in as possible (even Apple wasn’t a 100% sure thing and had its doubters, ask co-founder Ron Wayne).
To date, Venture Capitalists have not really seen the special needs community as a market of people who need quality business to provide quality services. This is in large part because for as long as can be remembered, it has been a market almost solely dependent upon public dollars and charities. Money in these forms, especially in today’s federal climate, are becoming more and more limited, and not only that, the public dollar is becoming less and less valuable. Meaning, what the public dollar is paying for is dramatically decreasing in quality.
In turn, services funded by public dollars are forced to be less and less innovative to the point where we are now, where recipients of the public dollar are full aware that what they get in return is not sufficient, and even if they do get quality people, families know it won’t be long until they lose that person because a quality person can only afford to live on $12.50 an hour for so long.
Professionals in this space to take an entrepreneurial mindset and create companies that serve this community with dedicated, top quality service, and venture capital needs to see it can return on investment. Currently, most companies are funded through public dollars and insurance. This perpetuates the problem of lower quality workers because of an inability to pay competitive wages, and also having these private companies be beholden to all public regulations that can often stymie innovation and creativity.
I am one such entrepreneur. Leveraging my experience in the Special Education space, I identified what I consider to be a major problem: a Lack of true and meaningful physical education, coupled with alarmingly high numbers of individuals with special needs who are in poor health. So I built a company to fix that problem. BioKinetiX is not state or any other type of government, funded. It is 100% private. And as of this posting, 100% self sufficient and cash flow positive. We have no debt and at this point, no venture capital investment. My co-founder Glenn and I have carefully and methodically built a company, not just that provides quality services, but one we can prove can return on investment to equity shareholders. This has allowed for extremely high quality in the multitude of services we provide and why all of our students and their families feel as if they are getting exactly what they expect, which is meaningful results.
How does Private Investment actually help?
What companies like mine can do with investment capital is use it to scale, or grow at a sustainable rate. For example, I personally can only work with X amount of students. Once my time is maxed out, if I don’t have quality staff working for me, I have to start turning people away. As an entrepreneur, that’s the last thing I want to do. We have created a company I think can help millions of people around the world. I want to reach them, not limit the amount of people will help.
Private investment allows me to pay staff competitive wages so that we can get quality people and make sure the drop off from me to some one else is little to none. For example, I generate revenue from what clients pay me. I in turn take that revenue and pay for the expenses that come along with the running a business. To cover my expenses, and turn a profit for reinvestment, I have to charge a certain amount. So to pay staff competitively, I need to either charge more (Clients obviously won’t like that) for profits stay the same, or pay staff less, thus risking quality.
Having outside investment allows us to leave prices where they are, pay staff competitively and generate profits to return investment. For service businesses (businesses that don’t produce a tangible product) scaling is the major challenge to effective growth, growth being necessary to reach the maximum amount of people.
We have created a model that can and should be replicated through out the special needs community for various types of services, and I am committed to helping people achieve it. I cannot tell you what it was like for me to speak at a Town Hall and listen to the countless families essentially begging for help because the current system is failing them. It was heart breaking, but also reaffirming that passion like mine is well placed.
Together we can change the direction of people’s lives. I’m committed, are you?