When Dr. Richard T. Schlosberg and his partner opened their private practice, ABCD Pediatrics, in the early ’90s, they knew they had to differentiate themselves in the market and create a brand identity that set their business apart. “The first thing you have to do is not be comfortable where you are,” Dr. Schlosberg explains.
“If you're comfortable with what's going on and [you’re] confident in your success where you stand right now, you're already behind. You have to keep an eye on your competitors, and how do you have an edge? It requires thinking, planning, and implementation.”
For ABCD Pediatrics, that game-changing edge came from embracing technology. They were early adopters of a fully-electronic health record for their patients, and “probably one of the first practices in San Antonio to actually box up the paper charts and use a computer.” This move toward innovation allowed them to expand and flourish in new locations around town, from Schertz to Boerne to Bulverde.
“As a primary care physician, the impact I have personally on the lives of so many children trumps any other success,” Dr. Schlosberg explains. “...and when I see a patient go off to college and the family reminds me I saw them in the nursery when they were born, it is incredibly special.”
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW:
Read below for more highlights from Dr. Schlosberg’s informative conversation with our Marketing Director Angelica Palm.
Appreciating The Importance Of Business Know-How
“I think a lot of entrepreneurs don't really understand that [the entrepreneurial DNA is] there until they're pretty deep into it. In medicine, I felt that most physicians were pretty good business leaders, could make good decisions for their practices, could grow. And the more our practice grew and the more involved I was with the business side, the more I realized most physicians aren't business people. They are medical practitioners. They take care of sick people. As our organization grew, I was trying to identify other leaders in my organization to do some of the business and most don't. Most are wired for healing… not for running a business, not for growing a business, not for strategic business planning. I've learned that in the medical world, those people are few and far between, and I was fortunate that my partner and I were able to grow our practice pretty solidly over the 21 years we've been working together.”
Seizing The Moment For Your Big Idea
“...because I was in a relatively small microcosm of primary care, it's hard to break out of that and be successful, but the first thing I had was nothing to lose. I had student loan debt, I had no assets, I had some good ideas, I had a few hard-working and loyal employees, I had a good partner, I had a strong administrator. And we said, ‘It's okay to borrow a lot of money and buy land and build a building’ and it was a little bit of a field of dreams. If we build it, I'm sure they will come and luckily the patients came and luckily, our business plan took off and we grew very quickly and very well.
But the advice...in terms of when to stick your neck out there is when you're ready, when you've got a great idea, when you've got a great business plan and you have excitement with the people working with you. The winning success is not about the individual, it's about the team that is behind that individual’s plan. Because it takes a team and it takes the synergy of that group to be successful and probably a little bit of overconfidence and a little bit of risk is healthy. If you have too much fear of not succeeding, you'll never go anywhere.”
Trusting Your Financial Partners
“I didn't have too much experience with the finances because I was a few hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt, and in the 90s, lenders were willing to lend with very little down, so I lucked out. It's a little more regulated these days, as it should be. I think the banking relationship for our practice, with The Bank of San Antonio, has been that growth of our practice has paralleled growth of the bank. And what your needs are early on are very different than what our needs are now. Much like our philosophy of forward thinking, embracing technology, and trying to stay competitive among our peers, The Bank of San Antonio did the same thing as they would roll out new processes, new services. The growth of technology and banking services, for us, has been helpful, and I'm a believer — to change and listen to what the banking team gives us.”
San Antonio Business Heroes
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