Entrepreneur

Plum Health at TechTown Detroit

This week, I was invited to speak at TechTown Detroit's Retail Boot Camp, and as a proud alum of the program, of course I said "yes!"

If you're unfamiliar, Retail Boot Camp is about training young entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills to start or grow a small business in Detroit. Some successful graduates of the program include House of Pure VinParamita SoundTribalfare, Mama Coo’s BoutiqueThird Wave Music and 2015 Hatch Detroit winner Live Cycle Delight.

The students had 45 minutes to ask me anything about my business and about what it takes to be a successful business in Detroit. I participate in events like this because small businesses are the backbone of a successful economy. I'm a life long resident of Southeast Michigan and I want to see Detroit and its surrounding communities thrive. Part of having thriving communities and growing economies is having a robust start-up/entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

Below are some photos from the session! Thanks for reading,

- Dr. Paul Thomas, MD with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health on Jibs Podcast

This week Plum Health DPC was featured on Jibs Podcast, hosted by Jibran Ahmed. On the podcast he will be interviewing movers and shakers in the Detroit community and discussing topics that can move the city forward. 

From Jibran: "I'm hoping to create a platform that showcases the entrepreneurs, creatives, and hustlers that are moving Detroit forward. In order to make Detroit the city of the future, it's important to share with the world that this city embodies gusto, grit, and innovation."

During our conversation we talked about Plum Health and it's origin story. We also talk about why it's important for business people to build relationships in the community and how those early relationships can translate into a prosperous business.

We dove into the difference between Direct Primary Care and traditional or fee-for-service medical practice and discussed why more doctors aren't practicing in the DPC model of care. We also highlight the many community resources in the Detroit ecosystem that enable businesses in the City and region to thrive. 

Thanks for reading and watching!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Detroit Startup Week 2017

Detroit Startup Week 2017 will begin on Monday May 22nd!!! It's going to be a great week of stories, panels, and information sessions about starting businesses, large and small. It will also provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to network and learn from eachother. 

This year, I was selected to give a presentation about starting a business in one of Detroit's neighborhoods, Southwest Detroit. I'll be sharing some of my experiences and I hope you can come out to the session, the link is here.

From their press release: "Startup businesses of every type and stage are invited to over 100 completely free events that are designed to support startup growth and build a stronger business ecosystem in Detroit."

In the session, I will be talking about how we started Plum Health, some of the mistakes that we've made, some of the experiences that we've had, and some of the support systems in Detroit that has allowed us to be successful.

If you're contemplating starting a neighborhood professional service in the City of Detroit or elsewhere, I hope that my session will be extremely helpful for you.

Thanks so much for reading, and I look forward to seeing you at the Masonic Temple next week!

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health Direct Primary Care

Book Review for Designing Your Life

This week, I read "Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. These two Stanford professors discuss the course that they teach on lifestyle design and guide you through the process that they have used for thousands of their students.

I enjoyed this read and they had some crucial take aways, both for individuals and larger groups. 

In the Chapter 3, the authors write "Work is fun when you're actually leaning into your strengths and you are deeply engaged and energized by what you are doing". I feel this in the core of my being and this sentiment has been a driving force behind my decision to pursue my current career. 

If you don't know about me, I left the high-speed churn of fee-for-service medicine for more meaningful and fulfilling relationship-based medicine. Plum Health is a membership model for healthcare and I routinely spend about 1 hour with each of my patients, especially during their first visit. 

As this is a new business (as of November 2016), I still work at an urgent care two days each week to pay my bills and keep my business finances separate from my personal finances. When I'm working at the urgent care, I feel drained of energy with a mental fog. It's hard for me to "lean in" to this type of work environment where patients are shuffled in and out of the office as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon to have 40 - 50 patient interactions each day at the urgent care.

Compared to my work with Plum Health, where my visits last an hour and I have roughly 2 - 5 visits per day, I am able to fully engage with my patients and lean in to the work. I leave this environment energized after learning more about the people that I take care of. I also experience joy from time to time when the care that I deliver is especially meaningful or beneficial for the people in my clinic. 

In Chapter 11, the authors discuss the importance of working and collaborating with others. They state, "We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because 'we' is always stronger than 'I'". They go on to relate the following: "Life design is intrinsically a communal effort. When you are way finding a step or two at a time to build, not solve, your way forward, the process has to rely on the contribution and participation of others."

This passage reminded me of the environment that I experienced while taking the Build Institute's course entitled "Co-Starters". It was awesome working in a collaborative setting, with a group of entrepreneurs working through similar but different problems. I learned a great deal from these classmates and it helped me to clarify several parts of my Life Design.  

Later in Chapter 11, the authors discuss the importance of a community, and they define a community in this way: "community is more than just sharing resources or hanging out now and then, it's showing up and investing in the ongoing creation of one another's lives". It must have kindred purpose, and the best communities have a shared goal or mission. These groups should also meet regularly, so that an ongoing conversation can be held among members.

I see the TechTown, Build Institute, and Bamboo organizations facilitating a healthy community environment for small businesses and entrepreneurship in Detroit. Being a part of these organizations and attending the different programming put on by these groups has definitely added value to my life and the development of my business. 

Thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book or the topics discussed in the book. Again, the book is called "Designing Your Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

- Dr. Paul Thomas with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health at Bamboo Detroit

This week, we held office hours at Bamboo Detroit, on Washington Boulevard in the Central Business District of Detroit. If you follow us, you know that we've spent time at WeWork Detroit and are looking to engage with PonyRide in the future. 

So far, we've found that the majority of our customers are small business owners or folks that are responsible for their own health care expenditures. Once these entrepreneurs know about us and what we do, they are excited about our brand and what we have to offer. 

That's why it's so important for us to go out into the community and meet entrepreneurs where they're at! So many times, we get so caught up in our work that we don't take the time to take care of ourselves. With Plum Health, we work on your schedule, not the other way around. And, as an entrepreneur myself, I know the hustle and work ethic that it takes to be successful, and it's easier for me to relate with my members who are entrepreneurs and vice-versa.

Strategy aside, Bamboo Detroit is an excellent co-working space in the Central Business District (CBD) in Detroit. They have offices, hot desks, and great amenities for growing entrepreneurs. They invited me over for an office hours type session, and this gave me an opportunity to answer any questions their entrepreneurs had about health and wellness. I had a few moments to spare, so I shot this video - enjoy!

Thanks so much for reading and watching!

- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC

Plum Health at DNewTech

Plum Health was invited to pitch at the March 1st DNewTech event. We were one of four small businesses to pitch our idea at the DNewTech event, which brought together roughly 35 people from the small business community in Downtown Detroit. There were some great ideas shared, which are outlined below.

First to take the stage was Sidney Coleman, Co-founder of Aradie, A Technology And Design Company, which began in late 2016. They aim to tackle the social media echo chamber. This can cause some real problems, including a loss of empathy, misinformation, and a loss of constructive debate. Their solution is Pective, a collaborative information platform that can allow people to contribute different perspectives on a specific topic. 

Second was Sean Carroll, the Co-founder of Enbiologics, which is Advancing Healthier, Intuitive Burn And Wound Care. Sean talked about his product, HoneyCure, which reduces healing time and drug use like oral antibiotics. Currently, it's approved for veterinary medicine, but they are working on approval for human medical uses. 

Then, I was able to give our pitch for Plum Health, which is Delivering Affordable, Accessible Health Care Services in Detroit. Mostly, I focus on telling the story of the business and why it's useful in this economy and in this environment. Throughout the pitch, I try to address the frequently asked questions

Finally, Doron York the Co-founder of SidePitch took the stage. He is connecting tech entrepreneurs and startups with investors and corporate ventures worldwide. They created a Venture Management System and entrepreneurs can start a "Pitchfolio". They have a unique offer until August 31st, where Michigan-based start-ups can pitch for free.  

Erin Grant with the Detroit Development Fund, a private, non-profit fund, spoke before the event began. The Detroit Development Fund (DDF) provides small business loans in and around Detroit. They look to loan to small businesses that have been in business for the last 1 year and have generated $100,000 in revenue, but their parameters can be flexible on a case-by-case basis. 

DDF have been funding small businesses since 2003 and they have 100 active loans currently. They seek to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. Their minimum loan amount is $50,000 and they can continue to loan up to $500,000 throughout the life of the business. Their goal is for business to become self-sufficient or to receive a more traditional loan.

Loan terms are typically 5 - 7 years and interest rates are roughly 7%. The key attributes of a business owner receiving the loan is their integrity and preparedness. The process of funding takes about 6 - 8 weeks, and there is a significant amount of vetting involved. 

Thanks for reading!

- Paul Thomas, MD