In this ongoing series, we are sharing advice, tips and insights from real entrepreneurs who are out there doing business battle on a daily basis. (Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.)
Who are you and what’s your business?
My name is Yale Badik. I founded a film finance and production company in 2015 and have been involved in producing movies like Blade Runner 2049. But the pandemic significantly impacted the film industry, making it difficult to produce new projects. So I decided to go in a totally new direction and launch Kure, a Santa Monica-based ketamine clinic that provides a unique approach to behavioral health treatment by combining modern Western medicine with Eastern techniques.
What inspired you to create this business?
My head of production at my film company, Deanna Felker, has been interested and involved in Eastern wisdom for years. She had recently undergone Ketamine treatment when she approached me with her idea. She was amazed by how effective it was for her and knew so many people who had had similar experiences. She also noticed that current clinics weren’t providing adequate post-treatment care. She saw an opportunity to open a clinic that focused on a holistic approach and provided extensive post-care.
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Witnessing the pandemic’s effects on children’s mental health was an “aha moment” for me. As a father of two young kids, I watched everything change and unravel, catalyzed predominantly by the dramatic decrease in regular socialization and schooling. Coupled with the uncertainty the adults they looked up to were feeling, much of their joy was replaced with fear of the unknown. So, I started looking into alternative therapies that could help improve people’s mental and physical health and discovered ketamine’s benefits, which only reinforced what Deanna had shared with me.
What makes your business different from other ketamine clinics?
We investigated the experiences of people undergoing ketamine therapy to find out where the holes were in existing offerings. We uncovered a severe lack of safety, quality protocols and comfort and, therefore, an opportunity to improve upon all of the above. As we expanded our research, it didn’t vary much from clinic to clinic or even state to state. Because ketamine is widely accepted as safe, we noticed that other clinics cut costs by eliminating emergency equipment. We also noticed that clinics either neglected client comfort altogether or went above and beyond to make their location more of a “destination” with lavish office space and high-end furnishings, putting little focus or financing on individualized service and hiring exceptional medical staff. With the help of our financial partners and Dr. Steve Yun, we ultimately turned our dream into a reality.
What was your biggest business challenge and how did you pivot to overcome it?
The biggest challenge we faced was at the beginning when we were discussing our go-to-market strategy. The industry was totally new to me. I had to shift my knowledge of how to market a form of entertainment consumers seek out for enjoyment to a product many may not be aware of. If they are, they seek it out while dealing with a certain level of stress, anxiety and concern. Luckily, after a little trial and error, I realized my work in the film industry translated well. Going from an international marketing approach to a local grassroots one that relied on community and word of mouth meant a somewhat different path, but the rules of the game were still the same.
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What advice would you give entrepreneurs looking for funding?
Practice patience. If you don’t have patience, you’ll jump too soon and make a mistake on whom you’re getting into business with, or you’ll get aggravated that things aren’t moving as quickly as you hoped. It is important to take the time to sharpen your intuition and identify financial partners who are not just good people but who are fully aligned with your mission. And don’t fall prematurely in love with your timeline or idea. You must also be open to criticism and feedback. You are entering into a financial relationship, and relationships are about sacrifice and compromise.
What does the word “entrepreneur” mean to you?
I’m sure there may be some perfect formula or answer to this question, but I don’t pretend to know it! That said, being an entrepreneur combines bravery, audacity, confidence, incredible work ethic, and trust in your intuition. These attributes apply to you as an entrepreneur and those around you. A mentor once told me the best path to success was to “do the same, but different.” I remember that when approaching a new concept. It is also important to remember no matter what industry you work in or whom you work for; there is an entrepreneur at the top. So, the ultimate question becomes: Are you going to be that entrepreneur or will you just work for that person? Don’t let someone else answer that for you.
What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don’t?
Many entrepreneurs think they need a 130-page business plan before moving forward with an idea. But the most successful entrepreneurs have great ideas and can effectively communicate them. First, you need to get people to fall in love with your vision and believe in you. I’ve witnessed so many people become paralyzed when they have a great idea because they think they have to have an extensive business plan first. The risk is wasting time and someone else capitalizing on your idea. Just go for it. If the idea is good enough and the right people are interested in not just your idea but you, the rest will fall into place.
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