Ans: I am the CEO of a Swiss startup, which develops a compensatory visual training for people with hemianopsia. In 2016 I founded this company and we since have followed the philosophy of producing easy-to-use, modern and patient-oriented software. Currently we are located in Bern, the beautiful capital of Switzerland.
Q 2. Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: In 2005 I finished my apprenticeship in information technology in Switzerland. Later I did my Bachelor in Occupational Therapy, but never gave up my interest for IT. In 2016 I started with my own company GURTNER IT SOLUTIONS, because I felt that there is a need for patient-oriented software. Since 2017 I started with my Master in Health Science in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Q 3. What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: It all started when I was working as an occupational therapist in 2013. I had a patient suffering from a stroke and homonymous hemianopsia. I looked for some existing software for the treatment, but they were all either too expensive, outdated or not too interesting. Therefore, I decided to develop a client-oriented software for people with hemianopsia based on literature and studies.
Q 4. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: 1. Follow our initial idea, even if you think your idea already exists! I heard of many people, who had great ideas, but did not started a business because they said it was already on the market. In my opinion you can always improve and do better than others.
2. Connect with others! Share your ideas with friends & family to get some feedback.
3. Look for free tools. As a starting business with limited financial resources you can save a lot of money by using free web tools, which you can find by using your favorite search engine.
Q 5. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: 1. Commitment. You will only succeed if you work hard and give 120%.
2. Connection. Build up a strong network of partners, friends and entrepreneurs. If you have no real social possibilities, it’s much harder.
3. Patients. Do achieve your goals you have to be patients. In a fast moving world, we tend to want everything as fast as possible. But sometimes simple things like an email conversation can take time and needs multiple attempts.
Q 6. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: Since I also study and work I do a lot on the weekends and in the evening. Normally its 2-4 hours per day.
Q 7. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: Definitely it’s my skill mix from IT and occupational therapy. I could not have developed a software for patients with just knowledge in IT.
Q 8. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: Since I have a web-based training, I try to focus a lot on SEO (search engine optimization), so people can find me. The other aspect is personal connections, like talking about my software the colleagues or giving presentations in hospitals.
Q 9. Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: I do not have any investors, so I am completely independent.
Q 10. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: That’s a tricky question and since my business is only on the market for 2 years I can’t really answer this one. But I guess its again hard work and true commitment.
Q 11. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: In 10 years I would like to have achieved some of those goals: Finishing the ongoing study, helping more patients with hemianopsia from around the world and the reimburse the costs by the health insurance.
Q 12. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: All of the small startups with cool & innovative ideas, who follow their dream and never give up.
Q 13. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: I currently have no employees, but I can highly recommend the exchange your ideas and problems with friends, colleagues and even with your family.
Q 14. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: I do both. Sometimes I introduce and test new features and keep them alive for a longer time (e.g. 6 month) and decide then. Sometimes I changes ideas and concepts within minutes, because I like the new idea much more.
Q 15. What motivates you?
Ans: Not the money It’s more like a personal challenge to build up something. Of course, my main source of motivation is the create software, which can help and change the life of others.
Q 16. What are your ideals?
Ans: Honesty, humbleness and diligence.
Q 17. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: A lot of ideas I get when I talk to health professionals, patients and even from friends and family.
Q 18. How do you define success?
Ans: That depends on your goals. I don’t need to focus so much on sales, so I define success more on personal aspects. If I had a nice talk with a customer or if I get positive feedback. Even negative feedback is a form of success since it’s a possibility to change and improve.
Q 19. How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: Very important are personal meetings. If you know your customers only digitally it’s harder to keep the relationship alive.
Q 20. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: Definitely that’s independency. You can do whatever you think it’s best and makes sense. Also, the flexible working hours are a big advantage for my situation. In general, it’s just a very different situation, compared to being employed. For my business I give all of my heart, energy and effort. For an employee many maybe wouldn’t do that, as long as the get their money
Q 21. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: There are many minor and major events in the history of my business. In the first your I had to give and do a lot to get known. Then at one point it’s quite satisfying if you don’t always have to give, but you start to get. Not necessarily moneywise, but also if, in my case health professionals approach you themselves without any previous direct contact.
Q 22. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: Answered in this question: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Q 23. What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: Since it’s still a one man show, I can basically work the way I like to. I try to keep a good life-balance. I like to work, but I also need to have a break and I think that’s what many entrepreneurs are underestimating, since having a break is not only healthy, but can also give your ideas for your business or it gives you time to reflect on ongoing things.
Q 24. In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q 25. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I have to say that I’m quite happy with my career. In the beginning I did not like my work in IT, so could have directly started with occupational therapy. But then I maybe would not have started my current business. So I think everything happens for a reason and builds up your personality.
Q 26. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans: To be honest, I’m lucky to have a supportive family. Since in my case I can work a lot from my home, so my family has the hear a lot about my business Even though they are supportive, I think there is a limit and again you have to think about your life balance. Work is not everything.
Q 27. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: I generally not an anxious person. Sometimes I have stressful situations, which I try to resolve by talking a step back, getting some fresh air and simply breathing.
Q 28. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: In IT it’s simple. You can work from anywhere at any time. So working and living is strongly connected and since I love Bern, that’s also the place where I work.
Q 29. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: No, not a general I think. One formula would be brave enough to even get started, since I hear from many people, who have great ideas, but for various reasons just don’t start.
Q 30. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: According to some online web test I seem to have some visual similarity with Elvis (which I personally doubt), but if I would talk to him, it would be of course about music, especially about his impression of the revolution that was going on that time.
Q 31. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans: It’s my brother, who always had a very special kind of thinking and a way to see things, which is very unique.
Q 32. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans: Demian by Herman Hesse
Q 33. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: Trusting the wrong people.
Q 34. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans: There are many different tools, which can prevent mistakes, like courses or taking advice from others. But sometimes the only way to prevent mistakes is just by learning from them. I personally think mistakes are not a bad thing. Actually I believe it’s a very good way to change and improve, so of course I try to prevent mistakes, but as they happened I don’t feel bad, but motivated to change and improve.
Q 35. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans: I love the snow, so ski touring and snow shoeing are my favorites in winter. Also yoga helps me to get new energy on a mental and physical level. Playing guitars, listening to music and going to concerts is also important for me.
Q 36. What makes you happy?
Ans: To fool around with my beloved.
Q 37. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: Probably I’m a bit less involved in social interaction. Apart from that I can’t think of other sacrifices.
Q 38. If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Ans: More funny/childish question, to provoke some smiles:
Favorite spice girl?
Why are you so serious?
Company : Saccadic-training.com
Contact : Beat Gurtner
Address : Depotstrasse 26
City : Bern
State : Switzerland
Zip : 3012
Phone : 0041 79 652 61 07
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org