We are so pleased to welcome Diamond Fernandes, who has recently joined EO Calgary from the GROW By EO-YYC program.
Learn more about Diamond:
Describe your business:
The Heart Fit Clinic is a private cardiac rehabilitation and heart attack and stroke prevention clinic. We see three types of patients in our clinic: those who are looking to be proactive, those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or abnormal cholesterol and they are taking alternative steps to help their health, and people with established disease. Generally, the healthcare system uses generic calculations to find out what someone’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke might be – and these tend to look for advanced stages of disease, which does not need to be present for a heart attack to occur. Seeing this gap in the healthcare system, we help people live happier, healthier, and longer.
Can you describe the growth of your business?
I started my clinic in 2007, and we were treading along until I met a fellow EO member who told me about the program. At the time, I was nowhere near qualifying, but he also told me about GROW, and I decided to make it my goal to get into that program first. I made this goal about a decade into running my business, and during that time, I wanted to quit because I had not completed my business plan – which I did not end up completing until 2014. Around that time, I also got accepted into the GROW program, which was a significant accomplishment. I stayed in the GROW program for about four years and joined EO this year. We have grown about 7x from where we started, and I am proud to have a clinic in Calgary, Edmonton, and one coming shortly to Vancouver. Although I have achieved growth, I am nowhere near where I want to be; however, I want to look back each year and say that it was better than the year before and proud of what I have accomplished.
What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?
I am most proud that I am not a physician; however, I have been able to take my clinic to the level it is at today. I have received a lot of push back from old colleagues, believing I should not be doing this because I am not a doctor; however, I think I know as much, if not more than a family physician when it comes to cardiac disease. I am not a cardiologist, but in terms of my training and all the extra education I do have, I know as much as a cardiologist does, I may not be as specialized in terms of the premise behind how to perform specific medical procedures. I am also proud of my ability to provide patients with an integrative approach.
What is one of the greatest challenges that you have faced and overcome as an entrepreneur?
Pushback from physicians and the medical community. Despite this pushback, I am very confident in the work that we do because we see results. We also get a lot of pushback from people who may not be able to afford our services, so I wrote a book to provide clients with an option to start with that as it is a low-cost option.
What is your mindset when it comes to running your business?
I am not sure if I have a specific mindset. I educate myself a lot outside of my specialty, and I think that is important. It is also important to remember that you will have up and down days, and keeping your mindset positive is essential. Take away all of the noise so you can get to where you want to be.
Starting in GROW before joining EO, what are the specific aspects of that program that helped you to grow and scale your business?
Being around a community of business owners has been very valuable. In this program, I went to every event and spoke to successful people to gain successful nuggets of information to help my business. The learning days and the EO panels and events have also helped me grow my business.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to start and run their own business?
Join GROW by EO-YYC or EO, and set goals. There will be a grind and struggle, but you will be successful if you are willing to go through it. Surround yourself and educate yourself as much as you can.