Week 2 – Getting By With a Little Help From My Friends
Hope all is going well. It’s been a crazy few weeks, both on the personal and business fronts. Just when you think COVID is going to go quietly into the night (or at least subside), Omicron rears its ugly head. We have been seeing more people getting it and even had it hit our family. It forced Tina and me to isolate for a few days to make sure we protected our group. We were lucky that we did not contract the virus. Thank goodness for the vaccines because the people who have been infected have been able to recover without having to go to the hospital. Some people question why are vaccinated people getting the virus? The vaccines are not built to prevent you from getting sick, but rather made to prevent you from getting seriously ill (think flu and shingles vaccines). That being said, the current vaccines have been so effective, more than they could have possibly imagined. With this variant being so transmissible, our team has reverted back to wearing masks in our space. It adds another layer of protection for us, even though the team is fully vaccinated and boostered. It has also affected many of the groups we are doing business with, with many going back to remote work because of the high levels of infection. I am hopeful, that similar to other countries, Omicron will peak soon and begin to fade out. It will also provide some level of exposure to a lot of the population. While it is not as virulent (deadly), it can be to those who are unvaccinated so it is no joke. We all need to do our part to get rid of this virus around the world so we can get back to a more normal life. Our personal and business lives depend on it.
I am sure when you read the title of this week’s blog (and if you are older like me), you began singing the classic Beatles song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C58ttB2-Qg). It’s a great tune (Tina does not agree with me since she’s not a Beatles fan but that’s a story for another time). The reason this song comes to mind is that, as I mentioned in our last blog, we have begun looking for strategic partners to work with us as we expand the business. Strategic partners, for those of you not familiar with this term, is a way of saying that we are looking for a partner that is interested in either developing similar types of products or is looking at our technology to enhance their current or future product line. A strategic partnership can involve financial investment from one partner to another or both companies can share different aspects of their technology to form a single product or application. Since our technology has broad applications from medical devices and benchtop research tools to consumer products, you can imagine that we can have multiple potential strategic partners for all of the different areas we are working in. This broadness can sometimes pose a problem for some companies when they are evaluating the opportunity as they can have a hard time wrapping their head around all of the uses or worry that we are not focused. Our challenge, which we gladly accept, is to show that each application is unique in itself and that our team, that is uber-organized, has been able to effectively develop multiple programs over the past 18 years. For me, I see all of the success we’ve had as fully de-risking the technology, proving that our Bio-Spun™ platform is really what we say it is. It is like being a Swiss army knife. Our technology can do many different things all packaged into one holding device, which is BioSurfaces.
I think the biggest challenge can be finding the right people to contact in different companies. This can be a daunting task that can take a while and many times end up as a dead end. There are a few ways to approach this process. One way is through personal connections. I have been fortunate to have met many people over my 32+ year career. Some of these interactions have led to friendships or long-standing acquaintances. For me, working through my connections has been an effective way to network for research as well as the business. I have used this process to make many of the connections that BioSurfaces has now or to generate new leads. These past few weeks have had me focused on reaching out to some long-time connections to either get advice or to gain contacts. I am grateful, humbled and thankful when someone that I may have not spoken with in many years will reach right back out. I never take that for granted as I know many friends who undertake the same process and hear crickets. As we continue to expand the company, these connections are extremely helpful. Another approach we tend to take is through LinkedIn. This tends to be less successful as many times you are reaching out in a cold fashion. I am probably in the minority but I will connect with most people related in my space and if they reach out, I will let them know if I can or cannot help them. Can’t say this happens too often when I take this route.
We are excited about the opportunities around us. Getting from the opportunity to a partnership, however, takes patience, persistence and openness. Finding these qualities in a potential partner are very hard to find. Sadly, in the business world, it seems that overstating what you can do is a common practice so many companies get burned, which then makes the partner skeptical to start, even if you are starting from a position of complete transparency. The other challenge is getting the partner to really see the vision and how it can be beneficial to them. It is going to take that much more to put a deal over the top but I have faith that the groups we are working with and continue to add to the discussions will result in one or more partnerships. So many people believe in what we are doing (and we do too) that we cannot yield to any headwinds. We will push through to get to where we are going.
We’ll see you back here on February 4th.