Always be proactive in learning the most up-to-date information.
Dr. Alireza Minagar is a neurologist currently on staff at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Dr. Minagar is a specialist in neurology, with a focus on Multiple Sclerosis. He was born and raised in Iran, graduating from Tehran University Medical School before moving to New York in 1995. Following an internship at Mount Vernon Hospital and New York University Hospital, Dr. Minagar completed his residency in neurology at the University of Miami. He also completed a fellowship in neuroimmunology while in Florida.
Dr. Minagar was drawn to neurology from the start of his medical education. A firm believer in always learning, he found success in research when he and his partner were able to identify early markers for inflammatory neurologic disorders. His role as an educator allows him to share his knowledge with new physicians. He leads by example, constantly researching new medical advancements and implementing them in his own practice.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
When I entered medical school, I already had a particular interest in neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. This interest led to a more focused education in all areas of neurology and neuroscience. At one point, I assisted in a lab that was studying neuroinflammation and I was especially intrigued by it. Through this introduction to this very specific area of neurology, I found myself drawn to learning about neurological inflammatory diseases of the brain and spinal cord, including Multiple Sclerosis.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start early every morning, normally starting with online literature. I always want to be up to date on current research and trends regarding my patients. I make time every day to do this. I start seeing patients in the office around 8 am and will meet with them throughout the day. I finish there around 5 or 6 at night. There are many days that I am on call for the hospital also, so those days tend to go later. My days are productive because I am always doing something, whether it’s seeing patients or reviewing charts. It’s always a full workday.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I constantly receive news about new developments in the world of neuroscience. I am very open-minded to new concepts and new treatments. I will explore them and try to apply them to my practice when I feel they will benefit my patients. Advancements in medicine are constant and I feel it is important to stay on top of newly emerging protocols. Anything that may help is worth looking into.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am always excited by new developments in medications for neurological disorders. The FDA is constantly researching and updating their approvals for specific diseases. That is one of the things I make sure I follow when I am researching online each day. When there is a positive result, I want to be one of the first to know about it and I want to be able to implement it when I can.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am a doctor, but I also have an MBA. I am familiar with how the business and the economic world works. They understand that the medical world also has an economic side. As physicians, we have to familiarize ourselves with the business side works and find the proper balance between profitability and world-class care. We cannot compromise our values in patient care, but we do need to ensure we are covering our costs as well.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to always be proactive in learning the most up-to-date information. Be open to new innovations and understand the economics of the medical world. It is a difficult economy and having that knowledge will only help you to be a better physician.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
In 2001, I was working in a lab and one of the doctors discovered microparticles were acting like indicators in inflammatory diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. At the time, many in the field doubted our research. They felt there were defects in our hypothesis and were challenging our findings. It took some time, but we were able to show the inflammatory markers were being released from their parent cell and were excellent indicators for chronic and acute inflammation. We were able to correlate these findings with MRI findings, as well as lab results. With the additional research and support, many in our field now use this as a standard of care.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Again, always stay on top of research. I follow pharmaceutical companies to see what new medications are in development. I follow their development through the FDA guidelines. I also watch their stocks because that is always a good indicator as to where they are with their product and how effective it may be.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I strategize my time as effectively as possible. I economize time to be the most valuable. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that I have used my time in such a way that I can help patients, as well as make a profit.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I have had is in another market altogether. I work with Forex, which is market currency and is very unpredictable. I have made and lost money in that field. Many markets are more predictable, but don’t have the profitability that this can when you are successful with it. Navigating those challenges has been tough at times.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One idea I would recommend is to look into medical supplies and how they are being imported. For example, in the world of wound care, think of how many people suffer from diseases that can cause chronic bedsores. The care of these take many different supplies. At the moment, the supplies are made mostly internationally and imported in. Also, when you go to the emergency room, you notice the boxes of examination gloves in each room. Again, these are primarily imported supplies. Imagine if someone took the time to research how to bring these supplies to the U.S. and become a distributor. I think that is an area that could potentially create great profit, especially if you are able to export to other countries.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I purchase a lot of books on various economic and medical subjects. They focus on how to increase your profitability through education and implementation. The best investment you can make is on yourself, improving your own skills and knowledge. I believe in constant education. There is no such thing as learning too much.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use a software called Ultimate Marketing that you can rent from particular companies and you can use it for economic trading.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Human Handedness is one that I have edited. The book explores the human ability to think and process languages. It looks into how all our neurologic processes separate us from the animal kingdom.
What is your favorite quote?
“Those who do not learn from the mistakes of history are doomed to repeat them”. Even in daily life, we should learn from our mistakes. You can’t expect different results if you continuously make the same mistake. Use it as a learning experience and change.
• Strategize your time as effectively as possible.
• Always stay on top of research.
• Always be proactive in learning the most up-to-date information.
• Be open to new innovations.
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.