Q. Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans : -Avecina Medical is an urgent care center with multiple offices in the Greater Jacksonville area. We focus on treating patients with their urgent medical needs. Most patients have difficulty seeing their primary care physicians the same day and costs of ERs are prohibitive and this is where Avecina Medical shines. We are open 7 days a week including holidays with extended hours for easy access.
Q. 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 : – I have been a resident of Jacksonville since the age of 13. I was a double major in college with focus in biology and history with ultimate goal of going to medical school. I attended Ross University School of Medicine and received my MD and subsequently completed my residency at University of Florida with focus in Internal Medicine. After the completion of the residency, I was asked to stay at UF as an assistant professor of medicine in 2003. I was also national speaker for Pfizer from 2003-2005 and subsequently started Avecina Medical in 2005 and left University of Florida to focus on the urgent care practice. We grown from one to now five offices in Jacksonville over the last 16years and being recognized as the best urgent care facility in Jacksonville.
Q. 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 : I wanted to be able to deliver an excellent patient experience and the only way to do that was to take ownership and start things from scratch. Many patients either do not have a primary care physician, or when they do, they have a very difficult time making timely appointments to be seen. I believe the need for urgent care is paramount and this could not be demonstrated more than during the pandemic when most primary care offices closed down and ERs were overwhelmed.
Q. What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans : -Research ad nauseum whatever area of business segment you are trying to enter
-Focus on the ultimate goal and don’t get distracted
-You have to be able to take some risks
Q. What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : -being able to multitask
-be resilient and not afraid to fail
Q. How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans : 8-10
Q. To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans : My resilience and not take a no for an answer
Q. How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans : Avecina is marketed via many different avenues from digital, PR, traditional marketing such as radio and TV and social media. The best type of marketing are types that have a human touch story that is able to connect with the audience.
Q. 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 : The funds needed to start our first office came from personal savings as down payment and business loan from our bank. We do not have any outside investors.
Q. What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans : Do not let past success allow you to take your foot off the pedal and relax. Continue to work and polish the existing ideas that are working and remove the ones that are not and continue to improve all aspects of the business.
Q. Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans : We hope to have expanded to at least 20 offices in the next 5-10 years and beyond Jacksonville to other surrounding markets.
Q. Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans : Amazon- It started as an idea literally in a garage and despite all the naysayers, Jeff Bezos continued to work and develop the business through many years of heavy losses in revenue and decades later it has become part of the fabric of America.
Q. How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans : Importance is not even the proper word. Having good employees is paramount. The greatest businesses have fallen due to poor employees. I would say it is one of the top three factors in having a successful business operation.
Q. How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans : It is very difficult to answer this without having a specific example. If the idea is thoroughly researched and vetted, a minimum of 12 month effort is needed before deciding to give up.
Q. What motivates you?
Ans : My family’s wellbeing and security and planning their future.
Q. How do you generate new ideas?
Ans : By being vigilant and understanding our business, looking at the competition near and far and finding unique ways to move upwards within the business space we operate.
Q. How do you define success?
Ans : Success to me is being to not only achieve but to far exceed the goal you initially set to meet.
Q. How do you build a successful customer base?
Too many business owners worry about the bottom line. You must first make sure you have happy and satisfied customers/clients and if that is your initial and ultimate goal the customer base becomes easy to build and grow.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans : My favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur is being in control of majority of the processes. If something goes wrong, there is no one else to blame. I like being able to control my own destiny.
Q. What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans : When Avecina Medical was choses as Best Urgent Care in Jacksonville for the first time. This has happened many more times.
Q. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans : When you work for someone else, you are helping them achieve their dreams instead of your own.
Q. 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 : Avecina’s culture is based on teamwork. In order for patients to have an excellent in office experience, the entire office staff have to work together collectively to make sure this happens day after day.
Q. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans : Nothing. It is easy to look back at your failures and play the “woulda-coulda” game in your mind. But every failure has taught us something new and without them we may not be where we are today.
Q. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Ans : It is a pendulum that swings in both directions. There are times that I have been so busy focusing on the business that it has taken time away from my family. But as the business has matured and stabilized, it has allowed me to take more time away from work and spend that with family.
Q. What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans : Being complacent and letting others pass by is my biggest fear and I manage it by working on that fear day in and day out.
Q. How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans : Trade secret 😊
Q. Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : Not a set or specific formula but there is no question that most successful entrepreneurs share similar stories of how they became successful. It is all about drive, focus, aggressiveness, resilience and knowing that failure is part of the journey.
Q. If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans : Thomas Edison. One of greatest inventors of all time would make an amazing story.
Q. Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Ans : My parents
Q. What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Ans : The Prince- Niccolò Machiavelli
Q. What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans : Listening to people that have not achieved anything themselves and trying to tell you how to proceed with life or business
Q. How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Ans : Mistakes are bound to happen. It is part of life and business. Having systems and processes in place will help reduce and mitigate these issues. When mistakes happen, honesty is the best policy to control damage. You would be surprised how much more the party affected by the mistake will understand if you are just honest.
Q. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans : Sports and Cars take up my free time
Q. What makes you happy?
Ans : Spending time with family and loved ones and having a successful business
Q. What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans : Like most successful entrepreneurs, there were years of working 80+ hour weeks including weekends, taking no pay and making less than my lowest paid employee.