What drove you to start your own business?
For as long as I can remember, I have always liked to lead and to innovate by finding new ways to drive solutions in the marketplace. This drive for innovation and success actually manifested itself even more during my years on Wall Street. I spent a number of years working on Wall Street, and actually ended up in the healthcare investment banking sector, working in Boston and New York City. There, I saw the inefficiencies in healthcare during the beginning of the paradigm shift in the managed care industry. However, I didn’t directly go into the healthcare side. Instead, I went into the workers’ compensation side, which inspired me to create my first business, One Call Medical.
In order to launch One Call Medical, I raised an initial round of $5 million. After 6 years, I raised another $12 million from a private equity firm. With this round of capital I was able to take One Call Medical to over $100 million in revenue. My clients at that time included large self-insured companies, insurance carriers, and TPAs across the US. One Call Medical was a pioneer in the workers’ compensation industry as one of the initial companies to introduce managed care solutions.
I then sold this company for $114 million in cash with $140 million in revenue. One Call Medical is now generating $3.3 billion in revenue, and is the largest workers’ compensation company in a $37 billion industry.
After the 5-year non-compete contract lapsed, I went on a roadshow to raise capital for my second company, NextImage Medical, as the next generation for diagnostic imaging. With an initial round of $5 million in private equity funding, I launched NextImage Medical. In the first year, I made one acquisition, and last year we made an additional acquisition of WorkWell Systems, Inc. This enabled us to launch our physical therapy network for workers’ compensation. In order to encompass all of our products and services, we rebranded to become WorkWell Prevention & Care, which is now a leader in prevention and early intervention solutions for mitigating on-the-job injuries in the workplace.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur?
I enjoy building and creating solutions, and seeing my ideas come to life. As an entrepreneur, I love to think of new ideas and ways to improve the services we provide to our clients. Therefore, when I see my ideas in action, and I see the benefits that they provide to the industry, I really feel a sense of accomplishment.
I also love tapping into the talents of great people and building successful teams. I love my employees and all of the strengths they bring to our company. I could not run my business effectively without the strong talents and skills within my workforce. Being an entrepreneur means getting to nurture and motivate the people you want to work with each day and giving them the tools that make it easier for them to do their jobs.
Who are the entrepreneurs you admire most right now?
Well, there are three that come to mind: Elon Musk, Tory Burch, and Steve Jobs.
Burch, because she started from zero and built a multi-billion dollar company. Musk, because of the way he used technology to drive innovation in every industry he touched. And Jobs, of course, because he was so forward thinking and creative, and he believed that he could do anything.
Each of these entrepreneurs was also able to build great teams of employees and to get them to embrace their mission in creative ways.
What’s the best and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur, as a woman?
I spent 10 years building my first company from ground zero—as a woman. It was tough, but I was able to get VC backing at a time when most women were not even getting institutional funding. In fact, many women, and even some men, are still challenged by raising capital for their businesses. In 1993, there were fewer women CEOs of companies, but I didn’t let that stop me from launching my own business.
When I think about the challenges of being a woman entrepreneur, I think about the fact that we as women are often multi-taskers, which means we sometimes try to do it all ourselves. Of course, when you try to do it all, you can face challenges with work/life balance. This is why it’s so important for women business owners to bring in good and talented people who can help to run key areas of their business.
Until you are able to build a strong team, there’s no winning. However, once you’re willing to pass the ball and have other key players on the team, you’ll create a winning solution that benefits the entire organization.
What’s the best advice you ever got, and from whom?
One of my early advisors for my first company told me, you can’t please everyone. Sometimes as women, we want to be people pleasers and want everyone to be happy all the time. But you have to be tough. Of course, there’s a good way to be tough and a bad way to be tough. If you do it the right way, your team members will see that they can’t always get their way, but they will still feel like you told them in a respectful way that leaves them wanting to be a part of the organization.
How can we help your business?
You can get the story out. That’s the main thing. “The best kept secret” is not a good thing for a business. People need to know about you. I’m always interested in getting the story out there, and, getting exposure. We need companies to know that WorkWell Prevention & Care has solutions in place to help them prevent injuries from happening in the first place. We also want them to be aware of the fact that we are able to provide onsite prevention services like physical therapy, wellness solutions, behavior health programs, stress management, and fitness programs. And, finally, we feel it’s important for organizations to know that we’re revolutionizing the workers’ compensation process by creating a paradigm shift in the industry to focus more on prevention and early intervention.
About Liz Griggs
Liz Griggs is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NextImage Medical, now WorkWell Prevention & Care through the acquisition of WorkWell in 2014. She oversees all aspects of the company’s leadership, strategic growth, and business-development initiatives.
Griggs is a thought leader in the workers’ compensation industry, with over 23 years of experience. She launched the workers’ compensation managed care industry in 1993 as the co-founder of One Call Medical, OCCM. Her visionary thinking and innovative approach has influenced how the industry views managed care today. Griggs continues to innovate by refocusing managed care on cost containment through prevention and wellness.
Griggs is a Dean’s Scholar graduate from the University of Delaware and the Owner/President Management (OPM) Program at the Harvard Business School.