In this captivating interview with ValiantCEO Magazine, Beth Tofel, President of FootprintID, shares the personal story that sparked the creation of her innovative company.
From a safari trip gone awry to a chance meeting with her co-founder, Beth explains how her own experiences led her to identify a gap in the market and develop a solution that could potentially save lives.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Beth Tofel: In 2010, I was planning a safari trip and two weeks before, my daughter had to have an emergency appendectomy. During that time, I kept thinking about what would have happened if that occurred while we were abroad. In an emergency situation, I wanted to make sure my daughter would have the best medical care possible.
It was a crazy revelation for me in hindsight that, combined with the incidents from above, helped me realize what I needed to do moving forward and that I really needed to create this product for other people going through the same things.
The combination of things happening and meeting people by chance, like my talented co-founder and business partner Jason Hubert, have led to FootprintID becoming what it is today. My personal pain points helped me understand that there was actually a void in the market that could help people.
Through the relationships I’ve made both personally and professionally, I was able to both identify the gap and work with a trusted partner – and his 25 years of technology experience – to help develop the product to fill it. Living the experience of having health challenges and crises in my family showed me that people really need to be able to have a portable health record that could potentially save their life.
Today, I’m working through health issues with my family and I’ve been using my own product in real time to help solve those challenges and help us navigate the situation.
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffett, how would you describe your company, services, or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Beth Tofel: I think rather than talk about my company, I would want to understand how he handles obstacles and how he pivoted in ways that maintained the integrity of what his business goals are in any situation. It’s easy to want to talk about yourself, but I would be more interested in asking him about himself. I mean if I’ve got one shot for a few minutes with Warren, I’d want to get all of the insights I could.
Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. When you’re in the highs of it, it’s great, but I would seek his insights about handling the challenges and obstacles that meet an entrepreneur during their mission and endeavors.
My personal view is that I can tell anyone about what we do, but when you experience it for yourself, it’s more impactful. In that case, I might ask him what he would do if he was injured or ill abroad and couldn’t provide necessary medical information to the local doctors. When you drop someone into the middle of that scenario, it immediately shows them the need for a personal portable health record like FootprintID.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Beth Tofel: The advice I wish I had received is:
- However long you think something is going to take, plan for it to take twice as long.
- While it’s not easy to do, you can’t take things personally in terms of business. It’s business, not personal.
- What the best is way to walk the line between tenacity, patience, and frustration.
Now one piece of advice that WAS given to me that I want to share for others:
Your urgency is not the next person’s urgency. If you can step back and look at where you fit into a prospect’s overall plan, it will help you set your expectations properly in terms of timeline or attention to your particular product or service.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Beth Tofel: I would say that while we’re primarily a B2B(2C) organization, because of the huge surge in social media and the impact digital platforms have on people’s decision making, we’re planning to incorporate a campaign direct to consumers. This has been driven simply by demand – the consumer demand for a personal portable health record has skyrocketed. Because of the pandemic, people are more health conscious and health literate than ever, and they’re demanding a product like ours.
We’ve also seen a huge increase in pet adoptions, so we’ve put focus on resources in developing our sister product, PawprintID.
From an operations standpoint, remote work and Zoom (and virtual meetings) have given us the opportunity to hire and work with the best talent who fits within our culture, mission, vision, and values, as opposed to having to rely on those who might be within our immediate vicinity. By removing geographic restrictions, we’ve drastically improved our overall company because we’re bringing on global experts rather than solely relying on hiring local talent.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Beth Tofel: I couldn’t have said it better, and this topic is my one real soapbox. Business IS all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth – for yourself and for others.
The biggest challenge I see right now is within outreach. Finding the right internal contact, channel, means of communication, and balance of outreach to get new business is something that is challenging for a lot of companies. People sometimes forget that the most important thing is building a relationship, because people do business with people who they like and trust.
Part of the obstacle is that we’re all overwhelmed and laser focused on our own particular responsibilities, so it’s becoming more and more difficult to cut through the noise within marketing alone.
2020, 2021, 2022 threw a lot of curve balls into businesses on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past years, how can businesses thrive in 2023? What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share?
Beth Tofel: What’s interesting for us is that the pandemic really validated the need for our product and solidified our business positioning. While I obviously would never want something like that to ever happen again, the pandemic really did have a positive impact on our business.
It ties into the balance you have to create with patience and urgency that I was talking about earlier, because just like 2020, 2021, and 2022 had their own curve balls, so 2023 will be no different. What I’ve learned in this experience is how better to deal with those curve balls once they come.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Beth Tofel: I would love a crystal ball! Do you have one? Do you know where I can get one?
On a serious note, honestly I think I already have the superpower that I want – the ability to help people have better health outcomes and save their lives. That’s pretty darn compelling; success for me is now being able to help as many people as possible. I want to get our platform available to as many people as possible – it’s why we choose the B2B model and are now venturing into including the B2C space.
Expansion for us really means that we get to help more people and potentially save more lives. If I can know that what I created can save at least one person’s life, I will feel like a success.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Beth Tofel for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Beth Tofel or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.