I confess to having serious soft spot for senior housing entrepreneurs. In particular my biggest soft spot is for those entrepreneurs who have created the next great product, service, gadget or program for seniors.

I confess to having serious soft spot for senior housing entrepreneurs. While this soft spot includes early stage developers, I do know that, in the current market,, if you have enough capital it is relatively easy to be successful because you can hire all the expertise you need to make a go of it. My bigger soft spot is for those entrepreneurs who have created the next great product, service, gadget or program for seniors.  You will see them at any industry trade show and they are easy to spot.. They all look like little puppy dogs, wagging their tails hoping someone… anyone… will come pet them/talk to them.  I hope you don’t see this as a demeaning description because, in truth, that describes me when it comes to Senior Housing Forum.  They/we/I will talk to anyone and everyone. . .talk your ear off if given the opportunity There is a dark side of course, which is that if you look around at trade shows, every year you will find some of these ventures missing, on one hand sad for them, their dreams and their investors, but also it is also fantastic that opportunities to try exist. A few days ago I spent some time talking to John Reinhart, the CEO of InnovateLTC about innovation for seniors.  Our discussion included the senior innovation ecosystem and  InnovateLTC’s role in that innovation.   Part two of this article will talk more specifically about how InnovateLTC is moving our industry forward including their premier LTCLINKTank competition  

Laying the Foundation

These senior living entrepreneurial ideas tend to fall into 4 categories:

  1.  Terrible Ideas –  At any given trade show, if you take the time to check out all the new ventures, you will find a small number with terrible ideas.  These are ideas that are just stupid.  These ideas usually come from people who are not in the industry or who have a poor understanding of seniors and senior operators.
  2. Cool but Terrible – These are almost always technology ventures.  Often they are sophisticated, fun software, or hardware somethings.  The problem with them is that the developer has not really thought through the process of what execution might look like in real life.  They have not asked questions like:  What would it be like to actually use this in a senior community?  How will it communicate with other systems in the community?  So many of these ideas increase work levels, or increase liability and do nothing to benefit seniors.
  3. Me, Too –  To often I see ideas that are just “Me, too’s”.  Sometimes they provide enough additional benefit; they will replace the old thing to become the standard.  Other times, they may have some incremental improvements, but are not really good enough to do an adequate job of differentiation in the market place.
  4. Great Potential –  In some cases those with great potential are great at execution and turn into thriving businesses.  Others have great potential but struggle to execute in one or more of the following areas:
  • They don’t have a good enough understanding of how buyers and/or users approach the problem being solved.
  • The pricing strategy is wrong.
  • They don’t have an effective vehicle for getting in front of potential buyers.
  • They are un-teachable (read arrogant), meaning they are unwilling to listen to experts and to make the changes necessary to be successful.

Those with great potential are exciting and I am not the only one that thinks so.    InnovateLTC also loves these ventures and has created an amazing platform to overcome the fragmentation and changing tides in the industry for all but those who are too arrogant to be helped.  The second part of this article will talk about how InnovateLTC helps young companies with great potential ideas and turn them into real viable companies. What is the best idea you have seen promoted? What is the worst idea you have seen promoted?   Steve Moran