Established business models are no longer working in today’s rapidly changing landscape, and these challenges are not isolated to any one industry. The quest for solutions infiltrates all sectors with a focus on technology and innovation. Business leaders are realizing that innovation is not merely an option, but a fundamental element for success.
The process of innovation is a lot like finding a path through the woods — there are a lot of options to reach your destination. While anyone can have an “aha” moment, most solutions result from winding paths. Innovators are not afraid of failure but see it as a path to success. Further, today’s innovators seem to care equally about enhancing the customer experience as they do about driving revenue– and developing new products and services drives 43% of those efforts.
That’s exactly what Dr. Spencer J. Malkin, a serial life sciences entrepreneur, and founder of SKNV, did. He realized that skincare prescription medicines are unaffordable, unattainable, and contain many ingredients your skin doesn’t need. Through research, surveys, and interviews, Dr. Malkin innovated and discovered a way to bring customized prescription skin care to dermatologists who want to better serve their patients.
By delivering a solution that allows doctors to prescribe customized medicines, SKNV enables complete flexibility for patients to receive the exact medical solution recommended by their dermatologist. This critical relationship between the doctor and patient is unencumbered by the coverage limitations of big insurance or the one-size-fits-all medicines delivered by pharmaceutical companies – where the best outcomes are possible. Recently raising a $35,000,000 round from AccelMed in November 2022, Dr. Malkin’s brand is a market leader as an FDA-Registered 503B Outsourcing Facility for customized medications dispensed directly from dermatology practices.
Here are four tips Dr. Malkin shared to help business leaders innovate:
1. Remember that human connection is irreplaceable. Whether you’re working in wellness or technology, nothing can replace the interaction between two people. A recent study found that when workers were exposed to robotization on the job, they experienced 15% more mental health days related to stress, depression, and emotional problems. Maintaining human relationships is an integral part of SKNV’s brand.
2. Technology systems must be leveraged on an ongoing basis. Advances in telehealth grew exponentially during the pandemic. Direct-to-consumer services gained popularity out of convenience and necessity. Many companies shifted toward subscription services. Subscription retail services grew 11.6%, and 54% of online shoppers reported having subscription box services.
While the human touch is irreplaceable, businesses will also need to continue finding ways to use technology as a tool. SKNV uses digital health solutions to allow doctors to keep pace with technology while maintaining the high standards for their patient care.
A lot of this success has to do with continuing to work on your systems well after they’re established. Dr. Malkin recommends you maintain flexibility in your thinking and approach while remaining laser-focused on finding a solution. After all, adaptability is non-negotiable. In many industries, you’re not only challenged with changes in the economy and customer ebb and flow but by emerging legislation. Leaders need to respond to changes within their industries as nimbly as possible.
3. Business is a marathon, not a sprint. Turning a business concept into an overnight phenomenon is the exception, not the rule. Most experts agree it takes two to three years for most businesses to turn a profit … and that greatly depends on the business. Jeff Bezos, at the helm of Amazon, didn’t turn a profit for the first 10 years. SKNV bootstrapped its products and services before turning to an investor in 2022. When a well-run, aggressively growing business is looking for investors, it’ll have multiple opportunities. Dr. Malkin emphasizes it is more important to choose the right investor, one that shares your vision.
4. Product innovation is a long-lasting process. The internet provides an unlimited library of information for consumers, which is why it’s more important than ever for businesses to be authentic. This is important in all industries, particularly skincare, which comes under fire often for fillers or inactive ingredients. Innovation must consider quality, differentiation, and cost. There are three stages of product innovation:
A. New product innovation. Radical or disruptive products become game-changes and cause a market shift. They are much harder to get “right.” Every year 30,000 new products are introduced. Of those, 95% fail.
B. Incremental product changes. The most lucrative type of innovation is incremental changes. It improves product enjoyment in an already successful market.
C. New product features. New features improve existing products to increase frequency and adoption while maintaining original usability and function.
Whether you’re developing a product or a service, innovation is necessary to survive in the consumer space.
In the case of SKNV, Dr. Malkin and his team eliminated or optimized inactive ingredients while maximizing active ingredients with proven results. They produce more than 90 different medicines, each designed to target different skin conditions with different formulations of active ingredients. Dermatologists can prescribe SKNV products to their patients based on their skin condition and type. The products are then fulfilled online and delivered directly to the consumer’s door, similar to subscription boxes from competitors. The business model incorporates the doctor-patient relationship with the convenience of subscription services.
Innovation is a vital component of a successful business. These tips provide a framework for growth as the economy shifts. Innovation, at its core, is about maintaining integrity and leadership.