With over 20 years of experience as a leading mental health practitioner and entrepreneur, Dr. Alfred J. Amado, NCSP, strongly believes that everyone deserves guidance that fosters growth and development in their mental health, while empowering them to achieve resilience. The youngest son of immigrant parents from Cuba, and the only of his brothers and sisters to graduate from college, Dr. Amado founded BES in August 2008, days before the 2008 financial crisis. Originally starting the company off his retirement savings from his tenure track academic position at the University of Maryland, Dr. Amado ran the company from his basement apartment for the first few years, working tirelessly to provide better mental and behavioral health services to ALL children and families. After relentlessly believing in himself, Dr. Amado has now grown BES into a 50 person staff of psychologists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, social-workers, and behavioral analysts, across 10 states.
A Licensed Psychologist in Maryland and Washington DC, Dr. Amado and his culturally diverse team provide comprehensive services that serve the entire child and nurture his/her development. A graduate of Texas A&M University with a doctoral degree specializing in child-clinical psychology and at-risk populations, Dr. Amado completed his fellowships at John Hopkins University, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the University of Miami. His expertise has led him to serve as an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellow in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, where he has influenced policies regarding juvenile justice, child abuse prevention and student support services, as well as providing counsel on the impact of immigration enforcement. Prior to working in Congress, he served as a faculty member and researcher at the University of Maryland’s College of Education.
Where did the idea for BES come from?
I was trained to be a child psychologist, and landed a position as an American Psychological Association Congressional Fellow in the U.S House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor. There is where I learned about the interactions between research and policy, and it felt there was a missing piece to the puzzle.
It was actual service – how policy and research impact the actual practice of psychology.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up around 6 a.m. to exercise and then briefly look at emails. Afterwards, I make sure to focus on any family responsibilities until about 8:30 a.m. For work, I try to assign each department a different day so that I can meet with all of the department heads, and then I’m able to focus an entire day on that department’s needs. I close my email and communications in the morning, mid-day, and end of day to reduce distractions and transitions.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I reserve two hours a week for uninterrupted reflection time. When I get an idea that I want to bring to fruition, I will present it to my team to navigate the pros and cons. Then collect required data so we can decide how feasible it is.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Telehealth for both meeting and therapy because it allows for more engaged time without the downtime of travel.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Finding the discipline to put away the phone and computer in meetings and refraining from multitasking.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Work on your patience. I’ve learned you can’t control everything and certainly not others. The only thing you have control over is yourself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Exercise to reduce stress.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
At the beginning of the week, reflect to identify the key things you want to accomplish and then write out the steps needed to accomplish them.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I’m still working to improve is hiring too young of employees and not giving them the necessary mentorship for success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create a franchise of behavioral health clinics, where everything is operationalized like at McDonalds, where the franchise owner only needs to turn the key and follow the operations manual.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Dinner with my family at Maggiano’s Little Italy. The food was so delicious that we took two entrees home for the next night’s dinner.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
LinkedIn because it helps me expand my network while reducing the cost of recruitment.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Duct Tape Marketing because it really simplifies the enigma of marketing for a small business.
What is your favorite quote?
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu
- Work on your business, not in it.
- Time spent up front is essential in saving time later.
- Delegating is the key to growing, but don’t delegate without effectively communicating what you want or preparing your staff for success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.