Entrepreneurship – Indianapolis Business Journal

In IBJ’s Thought Leadership Roundtable, the founders of Freedom Healthworks and Sondhi Solutions draw on their own startup experiences to share tips on everything from tolerating uncertainty to offering health benefits to hiring your first team.

What is the best advice you would give to someone starting their first business?

Christopher Habig: Don’t be afraid to make a decision. The fear of uncertainty and the addiction to a “steady” paycheck hold so many people back. Don’t let uncertainty discourage you. If all the answers were already there, you wouldn’t even have a business idea. Make the decision to talk to people about your idea, decide how to bring it to life, decide if you’re all in, decide that you’re in charge of your future. There are so many instances where a decision needs to be made when you don’t have all the facts or information you want. If it’s the wrong decision, learn from it. Don’t let mistakes repeat themselves.

Jason Sondhi: Use your network to tell everyone your story, your vision and your goal. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to give you advice and help you succeed.

What are some of the biggest barriers to starting your own business?

Christopher Habig: Health insurance. So many entrepreneurs think they need outrageously expensive health insurance because they’re afraid of the rare “what if” scenarios. This fear prevents people from leaving and fully embracing their startups and small businesses because they believe they need to be employed in order to receive health care.

Here’s a quick message: Health insurance is not the same as health care. Health care takes place between a person and their doctor or medical provider. We don’t call our health insurance company when we’re sick, we call a doctor. There are so many affordable health care (yes, actual care) options that are suitable for young businesses. For example, through health insurance alternatives, a business can get a basic care membership, a dentist membership, an optometry membership, and a disaster insurance plan (they would only be responsible for the first $1,000 in bills) for $300/month/person. This is the power of purchasing medical services directly.

Are risk and uncertainty the same? If not, what’s the difference?

Jason Sondhi: Risk and uncertainty are different. They have parallels, but their basic cores are different. Uncertainty is part of business because we cannot predict the future. Who could have predicted the last two years? Core values, a great product or service, and sound business processes are required to combat uncertainty.

Risk means putting something at risk. Time, money, opportunity, etc. However, you accept risk because you believe it is the right thing to do or can lead to a positive and lucrative outcome. Risks are known and calculated, but uncertainty will always rear its ugly head.

Christopher Habig: They are very different. Risk means knowing absolutely what could happen and assessing the potential reward. Risk does not play a role in company formation or strategy. This is where the uncertainty comes into play. Nothing is certain in business. They can fail, stagnate or grow. They are influenced by micro events and macro trends. Risk is similar to betting the odds on a specific outcome. There are no reliable odds that predict your business success. The uncertainty comes because you build and experiment. You probably won’t know what will work, but if you find it, go all out.

What do you think of working full time while trying to start a new business?

Christopher Habig: Of course everyone has a different situation. But having one foot in and one foot out isn’t fair to yourself or your loved ones. Side jobs are everywhere. There is an emphasis on the “Hustle” part. Sending it in during your 9-5 while dreaming of your idea or new venture is no way to waste your precious time. Time is the one thing we will never get back, so do something you are passionate about and love.

Jason Sondhi: This is a difficult task and depends on what kind of endeavor you are throwing yourself into. If you are starting a services-based business, can you fulfill your current work commitments while also devoting time to the new business, managing your team and meeting customer expectations? Will you have time to actually focus on the business, or will you just do what you can with the time you have? However, if you’re developing a product, yes, it’s possible to burn it from both ends to make progress before going full-time. But that’s the key. There has to come a time when business becomes your full-time focus. If you don’t focus on it daily until you scale, your success rate will drop tremendously.

What tips do you have for someone just starting to hire their own team?

Jason Sondhi: it’s gonna be tough You have to convince people to take a risk for you while trying to put together a type of compensation that is competitive but recognizes that the employee is new to you and your company. My biggest advice is to sell your vision and add some structure to your compensation. Consult your network and do your own research because as you grow you need consistency and the ability to have the right parameters for hiring and restructuring as you grow. You will have positions that are appropriate when the company starts, but will change or become obsolete as the company evolves. Finally, develop basic values ​​for your organization at an early stage and use them for decisions. These core values ​​will help you define resources and build and lead a team.

Christopher Habig: Adjust slowly, fire quickly. Don’t try to make it work with an early shot you collide with because of large or small objects. You want to hire someone who has skills and drive you don’t have, but that person needs to be committed to what you want to achieve. Skills can change and evolve, but motivations, drives and values ​​rarely change. Make sure they match yours and your company’s.

Employee benefits are mentioned in most job interviews. They should be able to say “yes” when they ask if you provide them, but remember that your health insurance plan doesn’t have to bankrupt the company.

What are the best options for a new full-time entrepreneur to secure individual and/or family health insurance?

Christopher Habig: Don’t get health insurance. The notion that a high deductible health plan is a great idea is rubbish. Most Americans can’t afford their deductibles, so why pay the premiums at all? If a catastrophic event occurs, make sure you and your employees have a plan that is affordable and won’t bankrupt them to pay the deductible.

The best plans for this come from healthshares. They work for the vast majority of people. You’re only responsible for $1,000 if something bad happens. That’s far more accessible than a typical health insurance deductible of thousands of dollars or more. Get in the habit of asking doctors how much their services cost. Pay with cash. Join a membership-based primary care practice for less than $100/month. Provide your employees with an on-call doctor so they can be cared for when needed. Provide a safety net that doesn’t bankrupt your employees and they will love you for it!

Is Indianapolis a Good Place to Start a Business? Why or why not?

Jason Sondhi: Indy is a good place to start a business, but we must remain focused on making it a great place to start a business. What makes Indy good is our people, easy access to resources, and relatively low cost of living and expenses. We must continue to develop young talent and remove barriers for the men and women trying to start and grow their businesses. I urge our companies and young leaders to make time for one another and to reconnect like we were before the pandemic. Here’s a quote from the book Startup Communities that our community should embrace: “Helping entrepreneurs succeed should always be our focus.”

Christopher Habig: The startup world here is second to none. Find someone to talk to about your ideas, and they’re almost always willing to meet up for a cup of coffee. People will give you real feedback, which is incredibly important. You need to be challenged with your ideas, make sure you haven’t overlooked anything, and make sure your strategy is sound.

Having experts and leaders who are accessible is so valuable because the ideas and innovations that come out of this field are affecting major issues across the state, country, and around the world. We’re not trying to build a better Facebook. Indiana companies solve real-world problems in exciting ways.

What is a hard lesson you have learned in your career?

Christopher Habig: Firing people is tough, but it’s almost always too late. One bad apple on a small team can create an incredibly toxic environment, and when you’re the leader, people look at you. Office politics is an awkward part of business that entrepreneurs usually don’t want to deal with. Treat your employees right and always stay in touch with the company’s feelings. If you spot a problem, get the facts and solve it quickly.

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