We Started A $3.6M/Year Medical Equipment Business [From India]

Published: November 11th, 2021
Healthsols Facili...
from Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
started December 2020
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello everyone! My name is Bharath M and I’m the founder of Healthsols Facilitators Pvt Ltd. We started the company 6 months ago to create better quality healthcare services at affordable prices.

We primarily supply medical equipment and surgical items of all brands with lower prices to B2B such as hospitals, clinics, diagnostics, or individual doctors. Also, we provide online consultations, nursing services at home, lab sample collection at home, Ayurveda services, and medical equipment to rent or buy.

In the early days, we used to generate very little revenue & sometimes we have ended up with zero revenue. But within 3 months slowly order flow & revenue generation started & also recruited 18 employees in 11 cities.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I was born and brought up in a small town called Suryapet which is located nearly 100 km from Hyderabad, Telangana, India. I finished high school and two in my native place and then completed my graduation from Nalanda college of pharmacy, Nalgonda in 2012. I was a below-average student and not at all active in any college activities. Till my final year, I was having 2 or 3 backlogs, but cleared all in my final year and received a regular degree.

From my school days, I’m more interested in technical things rather than regular studies. I used to go for computer training very happily instead of going to school. In college also, I used to get some good marks in C++, HTML programs rather than core subjects.

I started my career as a pharmacist in a reputed hospital called cloud nine and worked for one year, got bored of the job, then tried to get into java related jobs but I wasn't able to find any opportunities due to my science background. I decided to change my profession from a pharmacist, so I changed many jobs. I worked as a store manager, E-commerce operations manager, content editor, procurement manager, etc. At last, I settled in the sales manager role where I used to meet new people and got handsome pay.

When I joined a company where I used to work as a General Manager, I initiated ideas for my new business. The company started as a healthcare service facilitator but ended up making more money from customers, doctors, vendors, etc. for their advertisements on the websites. They failed in that business but my two ex-colleagues and I had solutions for that and started a very small business in the name of HealthSols Facilitators with around 3000 INR investment. We were doing very good sales. We used to supply surgical and medical equipment for small diagnostics and small clinics at affordable prices with good quality. We felt that this is a good idea and we can do wonders with this.

As we started our firm as a partnership firm, we were not that big and not too small. All three of us used to roam the entire Bengaluru to get revenue through known doctors, surgical vendors, and small retail shops.

At that time we used to get regular income which was sufficient for us and sometimes more. Then we decided to recruit 2 or 3 people to help us. But the idea was very bad as the employees didn’t understand our sales strategies and they did zero sales for 4 months.

A huge loss was in front of us, we were sunk at that time and removed all employees, and decided to start fresh again. Then we registered our company as PVT LTD in December 2020 and did root level research on strategies to be followed for sales and about getting a customer base permanently, we have taken help from some of our old bosses, colleagues, and friends.

In April 2021 we kick-started our sales and it was a very happy moment. The beginning was very good and we were getting continuous orders with some reputed diagnostics and hospitals. We changed some strategies and our services, have tied up with reputed organizations and also we recruited around 16 employees pan India. We are having good revenue and orders in our hands and also we planned a vaccination drive recently with the association of cloud nine groups of hospitals pan India.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

We are resellers of surgical and medical equipment, our customers are hospitals, diagnostic centers, and clinics. As we are giving at very lower prices compared to others, we are getting the orders and it’s our secret how we get at those prices and we don’t compromise on quality and time.

We also provide online consultations, Homecare services like nursing at home, physiotherapy at home, a doctor at home and phlebotomist at home, and also Ayurveda services. We have our unique

Offers as every individual will get three consecutive consultations absolutely free and patients will get a free second opinion too. They get some good discounts on every piece of equipment or item they purchase from us.

As I worked in IVF sales and diagnostic sales, I know the pain people are going through for babies and their dangerous diseases. They are ready to spend the money but they don’t get an exact idea how they should start the treatment and which doctor will suit them. I have seen some people who pay the entire amount at a clinic and leave in the middle of treatment because they don’t like the hospital, clinic, or doctors. Some people don’t know the exact idea of finances like how much they may spend on that treatment and what all the things will be covered in that.

So, we came up with a solution for those as we provide 3 consultations freely. They can come to the doctor and get an idea about their problem and they get a free second opinion so that they can compare the hospital to hospital and doctor to doctor. Patients will get a dedicated Relationship Officer who will be taking care of them right from the appointment till they finish their treatment.

They will get financial counseling where they will get an idea of money they spend and an idea about their treatment and how the hospital or clinic will spend that amount for their treatment.

Nowadays, in India maximum number of people are using home care services as we are in a pandemic because of covid-19. We started these with a good cause as they get lower prices and the staff is qualified with experience. We also treated some covid patients at their homes and also provided some medical equipment at the lowest prices in the pandemic.

We started this with a very good cause and our investment was also very less, it was around 30,000 INR. We used to work for around 12 to 15 hours daily and used to roam a minimum of 8 hours daily to acquire a customer base.

Now we are planning to start a manufacturing unit for N95 masks, PPE kits, and some small medical devices like SPO2 probes, etc.

The first early days

Describe the process of launching the business.

We launched our business in December 2020 officially. It took around 8 months to launch it. In these eight months, we researched the online market for healthcare services, products, and vendors/manufacturers for our business. At last, after launching our business, we were getting many inquiries but not a single sale.

The First Office

It took four months to get our first sale since our incorporation and it was for a known diagnostic centre, later they became our regular customer for surgical supplies. Then in two or three days, we have started supplying more than 10 clinics and diagnostics in Bengaluru.

We have created our own website before the launch itself but it was very basic. We have sent the template to many of our friends & colleagues for their feedback. They have responded quickly and suggested some changes, designs, etc.

The entire website was designed by ourselves and blogs, photos, photos everything was handled by three partners. After many changes and edits, we have got the final version in the month of June, 2020 and we are using this version as of now. In two or three months, we are planning to release our android and IOS app.

The First Copy of Website

Present Version

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

At first, we were campaigning on social media platforms to get traffic to our site but it was not at all going well because it was in pandemic time. People were not coming outside to buy any item or to consult doctors. So, we changed this and started online consultations with the first consultation free and flat discounts on medical equipment & surgical items. From these campaigns, we got medium traffic but not huge so, we again changed our strategy and published three consultations free and this time we shared with our friends and family, known doctors, some WhatsApp groups, etc. immediately after some days we got good traffic to our website and started getting online orders too.

We were doing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube campaigns and we used to create video ads on our own.

We learned to make quick decisions that will make a profit for the company.

We have registered with amazon recently to sell globally and we are still working on it.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are doing great as of now and we have the confidence that will be growing in the future without any back step. We have done a lot of research for manufacturers who can give us the lowest prices and at the same time, we have a huge customer base throughout India who believes in our quality and lowest prices.

We have a plan to start manufacturing units for surgical items and small medical equipment on our own which will be of the best quality and very low costs. But this will be connected to huge amounts of money so, we are in discussions with some angel investors who liked our idea, business, etc, and soon expecting this idea to launch on the ground.

We are getting our sales through our website and direct customers. As I already said we have registered with amazon but have not yet started our sales through that.

Our short-term goal is to establish a manufacturing unit in two cities to create employment and to make quality medical devices and surgical items affordable for everyone.

Our long-term goal is to spread globally and to establish an NGO which will help child labor, roadside animals that need treatment or food, etc. Actually, this is our final dream to achieve. For this we need so much money and network, working very hard to achieve it.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

We learned a lot on this journey. Particularly about big orders, team management, time management, and transport management because of our huge loss which we got because of some vendor issues and transport issues.

We have made some good quick decisions, like partnering with some famous hospitals for vaccination drives and investing some money quickly in some goods and we made a good profit out of it. We learned to make quick decisions that will make a profit for the company.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use our own website, sometimes social media campaigns and amazon for business and mainly we keep our relations with our previous customers very strong so that we will get regular business and also referrals from them too.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Frankly, I don’t read many business books. I always get inspiration from my previous bosses like Dr. Kishore Kumar from Cloudnine group of hospitals, Mr. Phuneesh Murthy from iGate Technologies, and Mr. Naresh Malhotra from family pharma & clinics.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?

The main thing that I want advice to startup entrepreneurs is not to give any promise to customers about the delivery time or product price. Generally, all will do this mistake because of fear of losing the customer but that customer may do business for once some time they may cancel our business deal if anything goes wrong. So, inform the customer if there is any delay in delivering the item and any price change.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are recruiting sales managers and franchise heads pan India

Sales managers are responsible for sales in their particular city, they have to meet the diagnostic centers, hospitals, clinics, and individual doctors and explain to them about our products, quality, and prices. Franchise heads will be responsible for franchisee sales in their states where we give them our branding and products to sell. Both are full-time jobs.

Candidates can send their resumes at [email protected] (with subject line ‘sales manager post’ or ‘franchise head post’).

Where can we go to learn more?

Contact us at +91 80745 19603 or mail us at [email protected]