This is a guest post by Eliott Noble-Holt
Very few people and companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. When I say “why,” I don’t mean making money — that’s a result. By “why” I mean what’s their purpose, cause or belief? Why do they go to work every morning? And why should anyone care?
I’m a product of two hard-working parents. Both were entrepreneurs who worked full-time jobs while also running their own business to support our family. My father was a pressman and started his printing business in the basement of our home when I was 5 years old. He also delivered newspapers every morning, arriving at the Tennessean by 2:30 a.m. to roll his papers for delivery. Many mornings I’d get up and go with him to help throw papers. After years of helping him on his paper route and then watching him take a 30-minute nap before going to his 8:00 to 5:00 job, his strong work ethic rubbed off on me.
From an early age, I joined my parents in the basement to print, cut, fold, jog, collate, staple and then count and rubber band a paper my father printed, The Bible Class. Twice a month my father and I delivered it to a team of older ladies who would ship the small booklets to Africa to spread the word. Later in life, I realized that this booklet was a simple metric in a short equation that would produce a strong-willed, honest, ethical businessman.
Another major part of the equation that resulted in my “why” was my mom’s position as a medical transcriptionist at an orthopedic practice over several years. She’d transcribe the information the doctor dictated that would go into the patient’s medical record and was eventually delivered to insurance companies and other requesting parties. She was a very loyal employee and took pride in always doing her best.
My mom picked me up from school every afternoon and took me back to work with her until she finished in the evening. I always tried to get my homework done before school was out so that when I got to mom’s workplace I could help filing charts, organizing and pulling charts for appointments.
Eventually the office manager put me on the payroll. I was so excited to be making $4.25 per hour! I felt needed, I was accountable for my job duties and I was making money.
Through high school, I was on a roll working my way up in other medical practices, making great grades and taking college prep classes. But five months before graduation, I walked into the house and found my father lifeless. He’d passed away from a sudden heart attack.
The wind went out of my sails. I became depressed, lethargic and apathetic about the future. Thankfully, my mom talked her administrator into giving me a job once I graduated, and I found myself back at the medical office where I’d originally started.
Determined to do my best, I successfully whipped the medical records department into shape. But I also found a glaring weakness in the department. We used an outside service (now my biggest competitor) to release our medical records, yet we repeatedly received complaints from those on the receiving end that the records were slow to arrive or never arrived at all. My entrepreneurial background kicked in and I asked the administrator if I could take over releasing the medical records myself. I knew that I could do a more efficient, reliable job than the current service provider.
When I started, I had $50 in my checking account — not much for trying to start a business. My mom and I came up with a plan for her to sign up for a $19.95 a month AOL account, for which she received a $500 gift card (I know — an unbelievable perk!). She gave me the gift card to buy my first copy machine. I used that copy machine until I could afford to purchase more equipment and hire staff. I put all my profit back into the business and have grown my company, MediCopy, debt-free with no investors for the last 22 years.
Who would have thought that I’d make a career out of delivering information — even though all the early signs pointed in that direction?
As a young person, I was influenced by great parents and mentors. I was taught about faith. I was taught not to take for granted what could be taken away in a heartbeat. I was taught that when you deliver information it should be in the most accurate and efficient way possible.
With technology, a lot has changed in delivery methods for health information. MediCopy now delivers millions of records to hundreds of thousands of physician practices, attorneys, insurance companies, government agencies and patients across the U.S. We’re proud to have been named among America’s Fastest-Growing Companies on the Inc. 5000 list eight times, and voted one of Nashville’s Best Places to Work.
As we continue to evolve as a company, I try to make sure we’re all on the same page and understand why we do what we do. My success in taking my business from a bare-bones startup to a robust nationally recognized enterprise comes down to manifesting the “why” instilled in me from my parents’ strong work ethic, entrepreneurial spirit and integrity in delivering a needed service in the best way possible. Knowing the “why” behind what I do allows me to honor my parents and mentors each and every day in the work we do.
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About the Guest Post Author:
Elliott Noble-Holt has devoted his life to the advancement of healthcare information management (HIM). He is the founder and CEO of MediCopy Services, Inc., based in Nashville, Tennessee, that currently provides HIM solutions to more than 4,000 healthcare facilities nationwide. MediCopy and Noble-Holt have received numerous accolades, including the Inc. 5000 “America’s Fastest-Growing Companies in the U.S.” eight times, and Nashville’s Most Admired CEO award. His new book, Bald Bearded Boss: Manifesting Who You’re Meant to Be (Advantage Media Group, Nov. 9, 2021), describes his inspirational story from tragedy to triumph. Learn more at baldbeardedboss.com.