025 – Bringing a Medical Invention to Market: Personality Traits Needed

Turning a medical invention idea into a real product takes some guts, grit, and a whole lot of determination.   Is this the right choice for you?  How far should you go?  These are common questions and today I dive in on some personality traits needed to withstand all of the rough waves.  Do you have an idea of your own?  I’d love to help you FOR FREE!  Become one of our beta testers in our new “Invention Idea to Profitable Product” program.  Visit imua-services.com/iipp or text the word “invention” to 44222 to sign up.

  • Why you need to be committed in order to take your product to market [3:13]
  • Why getting out of the way is sometimes the best decision [3:40]
  • Why learning to love the “no” is important [6:54]
  • Why your outside relationships are important to build [7:50]
  • Why you need to design your lifestyle [9:05]
  • The importance of finding your why [10:20]
  • Figuring out how to fund your product [11:40]
  • Do you have the desire and faith to keep moving forward? [13:40]


Key Takeaways:

  • You need to be committed
  • You need to be humble
  • You need to be resilient
  • You need to be grounded
  • You need to be realistic
  • You need to be driven
  • You need to be thrifty

Resources:
Text INVENTION to 44222
020 – How Being Naive Has Helped Me Get From Broken Ankle to Product Validation with Partha Unnava
Better Walk
022 – Still Movin’ Forward and Winning Medals With an Artificial Heart with Andrew Jones
Hearts at Large

Connect:
Host: Meghan Alonso
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Host Company: Imua Services
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All Podcasts:
iTunes: bitly.com/Inspire

Podcast Transcription:

Recorder: Are you ready to master the waves of medical device product development? Well wax up your surfboard because you are listening to inspired by Imua. Here is your medical device product development expert that Hawaiian hearted hostess who will help you hang ten. Meghan Alonso.

Meghan: E komo mai and aloha! You’re listening to inspired by Imua, where we help you master the waves of medical product development. Each week we interview guest that educate, guide and inspire to give you and your product the skills you need to hang ten. If this is your first time listening, Imua is spelled I-M-U-A. It’s a Hawaiian word, it means to advance forward with passion despite rough waves. There are plenty of those in medical product development but keep listening because we’ve got you covered. So have you ever had a great idea for a medical invention but you just don’t know where to start? You really want to turn it into a profitable product? Well I’ve got something coming this fall for you. I’m gonna launch a course that’s gonna show you exactly what you need to do to get you there and help you organize the plan for that. It’s coming soon but if you want to be updated on what’s going on with that and I actually am going to have a program where I invite people to go through this at no charge except in exchange for a feedback on how to make the program better. So I guess I should have said its beta launching this fall coz that’s what it really is. To get on the list just text the word INVENTION to 44222 again that’s the word INVENTION that’s what you’ll gonna put on the body of the text and you’ll gonna send that to the number 44222. So along those thin lines, I got questions about where do I even start? Maybe you’re a college student and you have this awesome idea or maybe you’re a doctor and you realize that there’s an unmet need in some device that could really help your patients out so much better than on what’s currently on the market. How do you get there? How do you even start? What do you do? So I’m gonna have a series of podcasts this being the first, I’ll sprinkle those in with my regular interview podcast but I figured I’ve start them off. We’ll start on you know your idea for medical invention and I’m gonna do a deep dive into the personality traits that it takes to move the product from idea to market. So let’s go ahead and dive in.

So the first one is you need to be committed. This is a huge undertaking. I’ve seen companies do this as quickly as a year but sometimes it takes a decade. It just depends on the complexity of your product maybe how tough it is to get to the market but just having that commitment to see it all the way through. You’re gonna eat, sleep, and breathe this product. It’s gonna be your baby. So are you committed to sing that course as long as it takes? That’s my number one.

So number two, you need to be humble. So you need to realize that this product is not about you, it’s about others you want to serve others, you want it on the market so it can change people’s lives. So sometimes it means you need to kinda get out of the way. I’ve seen this before where people don’t realize that they are their worst enemies, they’re slowing things down, they wanna control everything and sometimes you’re not the best person to control that. You need to delegate, you need to hand it off to someone else, outsource it, put it on hands of the experts that can really drive the product forward. So with this I don’t just mean getting outside help. If you need some outside engineering help just being open to realizing hey this expert have done this in thousand times they can do it better in fashion that I who’s never done it. I’m not just talking about that being head of the company. A lot of founders and inventors they start off as the CEO but very rarely can one person be the CEO and they first start and carry all the way through. Even post launch and having product on the market so I guess for example with this, yeah in the beginning you’re driving the product forward but when it comes to get organize and fund raising maybe you’re that shy more introverted person. You want someone that can really be the face of your company and that’s aggressive, going after people for investment, willing to put on the work, willing to knock down the doors, willing to palm the pavement every single week travelling across the country to make that happen. And then once you do get the money, you want someone with operational background, how you’ll gonna get this product from A – Z, what it’s gonna take to get you there. Some more of the product management operation style CEO. Then later once the product is launching, you probably want some of the sales marketing background. You really building up those channels and preparing for that launch, making a difference setting yourself a part from the competition. So as you can see it’s a very complex process all of this again verily verily you can one person fit the bill for all of these jobs. So be humble maybe taking a step aside being the CTO. I’ve seen that really work out on several situations and do what you can to make the products to the market and not to meet your particular needs and your ego really knockout with how you gonna get this product to market. What’s gonna be the best in the long run for you? That’s gonna be the best in the long run for you sometimes it’s just hard to see it.

So the next one, being resilient. So you’re gonna hear no. You’re gonna hear no all the time. No, I don’t want you to talk to me about my workflow. I don’t want an improvement on this product, I am good with what I have. No, I don’t wanna take your survey. No, I don’t wanna invest on your company. No, your product isn’t being cleared by FDA, you didn’t do this you didn’t do that. No, I don’t want to manufacture your product as your annual volume is too low. No, I don’t wanna buy your product. So do you really have the strength and resolve to push through with this? You need to make sure that you are resilient and you can get used to rejection.

Being grounded. So all of these hardwork going on, everything you’re doing, you absolutely have time for the other things that are important in your life. So it’s not all about work. What if you’re probably married, maybe you have kids, maybe you have some really important friends and family and church activities, a softball team that you’re on; whatever it is, you can’t let that fall to the wayside. People are in your life to support you and that support system is extremely important. So you don’t wanna ignore those relationships that’s gonna keep you happy, that’s gonna keep you healthy, it’s gonna keep you going through the years day after day, night after night. When you have other things to turn to, just give yourself a mental break, give yourself some recharging, and it’s gonna keep you inspired to do your work.

You need to be realistic. So moving a product to market is not an easy task. You got to think carefully about how do you want your life to look in the next five years? If you think, “Oh, yeah I want that house by the beach. I want my kids to be in this great school district. I want to be able to take a vacation to Hawaii once a year to a favourite spot.” Design your lifestyle around that. Maybe developing a product by yourself isn’t the best way to accomplish that. Maybe you can do this if you have a team or maybe it just isn’t just for you. So just taking inventory of what you want your future life to look like and then meet those activities that you’re doing now so they shape that in the future. Are you really want to be in tune with that? Sometimes people think about the prestige that goes along with things and they only see that. They don’t see the hardwork underneath that needs to be put in for that.

So being driven. You wanna be connected to what’s driving you to do this. I’ve talk about this before if you go back to episode 0, my first episode, where I talk about finding your WHY. So if you haven’t heard that, I’ll give a little put and you can go back to that later bit. Why do you wanna do this? What is your passion? Maybe an example would be, “Hey I want to develop this new IBS products because Ihave IBS, I suffer with it every day. I’m not happy with it.” The current technology I really know that I could make this better so that’s what I wanna do. Just being connected with that, just being reminded of it daily. I actually use a program called ‘If this then that’. You can Google that, it’s a website. So you can create they call them recipes so I set up a recipe where every morning at seven a.m., I have my why texted to me. It’s a daily reminder of why I do, what I do. It’s just nice to see that whether you do that, whether you have it posted on your mirror or your bathroom. Just something you can refer to daily to stay connected with that, and keep you moving forward.

So the next one is being thrifty. You might not like that word, it’s better than frugal. But hey you’re starting a company and you’ve got to realize what the product pays the company like this. You’re not gonna be generating revenue for a few years, so how are you gonna fund this? Are you self-funding it? Do you have angel investors, friends and family in the beginning before you get your VC funding? Even after you get your VC funding, you need to really watch that budget. Make smart decisions with your money. Spend it where it’s needed. Spend it in advancing the product. You don’t need that fancy office. You don’t need all these really nice furniture. You don’t need a nice car. You don’t need to go fly first class on business meeting or on a country when you’re trying to raise money. My last company we started on a but first of all we work at home and then we move up to I think it was a 150 maybe 200 square feet of an office that I shared. Then we move out of there into a building actually but we had plastic table and chairs for awhile. We didn’t have the money right up front to spend. We need to be careful. Our goal was to grow the company. It wasn’t to feel good and be comfortable.

So here’s where we get to the real meat of the podcast and I want you to really listen up here. So out of all these personality traits, let’s just go back and review them. So number one, be committed. Number two be humble. Number three be resilient. Number four be grounded. Number five be realistic. Number six be driven and number seven is be thrifty. So there’s actually one more that trumps all of these and that’s the greatest power of all. You’ve got to have the desire and faith to move forward. So I’ve got a few examples here on that. If you haven’t listen to the episode 20, that would be a good episode to follow on this one. My guest was Partha Unnava and this guy developed game changing crutches when he was in college. Well, he wasn’t in college he actually drop out of college and got into incubator program to advance his product forward. He had such strong desire, such strong faith. He knew this is what he is supposed to do. He was really inspired after breaking his ankle and having horrible experience with his regular crutches. He went out there and he did it. He didn’t let anything get his way. He just push forward the true spirit of Imua and just did it. The second example that I have, it’s actually in another podcast, episode 22 , my guest Andrew Jones or AJ. So AJ has, he has an artificial heart. In his early 20s he has a heart condition and he pushes through that. He’s body builder, he’s winning medals right now. What I am most proud of him for he started his own organ donation non profit. Why? Because number one he needs a heart. He needs someone to donate their heart. He needs those people to mark Yes I wanna be an organ donor. So he has the passion to do that. He has the passion to not want any other people to go through what he is going through. So he’s really making a change. So look at the US, look at what we did when we were gaining our independence. We were just this rag tag group of American soldiers fighting the British. How did we do that? Well, everybody have the heart, they have the desire, they have that will power. They don’t want to be defeated, they just worked. So you need some of that grip. Again, the desire and faith and it doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or not. You can get some good guidance out of the stories in the Bible. So think about the Apostle Paul, he was in jail, he was still able to proclaim his message, he was able to reach lots of people’s heart for Christ. He was still doing that today. Noah built an ark. He got all his animals on board. He wasn’t an architect; he knew nothing about a boat. I mean that’s just incredible. David fighting Goliath, how did that happen? He just knew what he had to do and he just did it. So the impossible was made possible through faith and desire. These people are ordinary people. There’s nothing extraordinary about that. They didn’t have the skill set. They didn’t go to school forever to gain the skill to do this. They just did it, and so can you. So, what passion do you have? What product idea do you have that can really save the world? What thing did you think of five years ago? Oh yeah, that would be great if I could do that. And you’re still thinking about that sometimes it’s kind of in the back of your mind but you haven’t really formulated a plan to do that. You haven’t really thought about the end goal it can get to reality. You haven’t pursue the steps to make that happen. Well that’s what my course this fall gonna be all about and again I would love to have you as a beta tester and really get that feedback from you. So text the word INVENTION to 44222 again just to be in that interest list get updates on what’s going on with that and maybe you’ll have the chance to be one of the first that goes through that to be a part of building that up so we can get more amazing medical devices in the market and more people doing what they need to do. So if you have any questions or any thoughts on that, you can always leave a comment on the show notes page that’s over at inspiredyimua.com the latest podcast episode will pop out. So you can check that out. You can actually tweet me too. It’s @meghanmalonso that’s my twitter handle. That’s M-E-G-H-A-N-M like Meghan A-L-O-N-S-O. I love to hear from you. So you already know what to do, I’ll catch you in the next episode. Until then, Imua!

Recorder: Mahalo for joining us. If you’re new to riding the waves of medical device product development, or if you’ve been in development for a while already, Inspired by Imua is here to surf with you. Want to be a master of the waves? Text hang ten that’s all one word H-A-N-G-T-E-N to 44222. We’ll send you the most common wipe outs companies make in product development so you can avoid them and reach master wave status. Again, that’s hang ten to 44222. We publish a new episode every Tuesday, so catch us at Inspiredbyimua.com. Imua!

About the Author

Meghan M. Alonso
Meghan M. Alonso, referred to by Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington as a medical device development expert, is known for her award winning medical device podcast, Inspired by Imua, the chapter she wrote in best selling book “Put a Shark in Your Tank, and her valuable connections in the medical industry. According to the Huffington Post, she helps clients navigate the complicated process of bringing their ideas to the marketplace. She’s a patriotic military wife, pet parent, founder and co-founder of 4 successful companies who thrives on guiding medical device and IVD companies through development and manufacturing. When she isn’t helping others, Meghan is hard at work on her MBA she is pursuing from Auburn University, staying active with her adorable husky Abby, crossfitting, enjoying great restaurants and fine wine with her husband, and soaking up the sun the nearest beach.

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