We caught up with this year’s Strategic Growth Excellence Award honoree to see how the Greater Philadelphia business community has contributed to their success. Check out what Geoff Gross, Founder & CEO, Medical Guardian has to say as we highlight one of the excellent small businesses driving the Greater Philadelphia region. Join us as we honor this year’s winners at the 37th Annual Excellence Awards on Thursday, November 21.
Where did the idea for your business come from? Describe the moment that you decided to go into business for yourself.
I founded Medical Guardian when I was 25-years-old after my grandmother experienced several falls and needed help at home. My passion for the connected care, health care technology, and IoT industries is the basis for the mission of Medical Guardian — to empower customers to live a life without limits. With 14 years of experience in the personal emergency response systems industry, Medical Guardian empowers our customers through innovative products that offer protection at home and everywhere they go.
What is your business philosophy and how is it unique?
One of Medical Guardian’s five core values is “Innovation as our Motivation.” We challenge ourselves every day to improve our technology, products, and services to best serve our customers. Capitalizing on advancements in technology specific to the end-user is critical to designing and improving our products that best fit an older adult’s lifestyle and needs. Medical Guardian is breaking through the negative stigma often associated with the medical alert industry by introducing forward-thinking technology and needed services that extend customer and caregiver usage opportunities. This is just the beginning of what medical alert devices offer, as monitored medication management, analysis of health trends, biometric sensors, telemedicine, concierge service, and more are just a few of the many features to come. As a company and brand, we are breaking the mold and transforming the industry to provide a fresh and new perspective to senior health care where people feel confident, safer, and empowered to do more as they age. We’re committed to providing a life-enhancing service with additional revolutionary product features that help older adults age safer at an affordable price.
What is the biggest challenge in owning/running a business in the region? How do you deal with the challenges?
Medical Guardian is based in Center City Philadelphia and we house a large call center comprised of both sales and customer care agents. Many companies have moved operations to outside of city limits due to cost savings but Medical Guardian wants to keep our talent within Philadelphia while giving back to the local community. The city wage tax is probably the largest challenge to running a business in the city, particularly since it deters many prospective employees. We work hard to overcome that and retain our employees by focusing on a dynamic company culture.
How has the Greater Philadelphia business community impacted your success?
Medical Guardian has made great partnerships with local businesses and non-profit organizations within the Philadelphia region. We owe much of our success to the Philadelphia community — where we have started our business and continue operations to this day.
Others will be looking to you for advice about starting and/or operating a business here. What are your top 3 tips?
- Listen and take advice. We often get the best ideas to improve our company from feedback from our employees. One of our Medical Guardian 23 Fundamentals is to “Listen Generously” which we believe has a tremendous effect on improving and innovating our business.
- Differentiate your business. Many other companies offer medical alert systems but we put customers first, build meaningful relationships, and always persist forward. I have built and positioned Medical Guardian differently than our competitors in the market and it’s really benefited us. Through our first-of-its-kind innovations to our globally recognized Customer Care department, I’m more driven than ever to drive Medical Guardian to the top of our category.
- Product and service innovation — with a full suite of in-home and mobile products, Medical Guardian offers a solution for the need of every customer. In 2018, we introduced the Freedom Guardian, a first-of-its-kind medical alert smartwatch. Set to revolutionize the medical alert industry, the Freedom introduces new services and is well-equipped to broaden the prospective market.
What does it mean to you personally and/or to your business to be named an Excellence Award winner?
It is a huge honor for Medical Guardian to be recognized as an Excellence Award winner. We strive to do better for our employees, customers, and our business through innovation. Medical Guardian has been recognized as a top medical alert provider by over 15 independent third-party review sites but to be recognized for our business operations and strategic growth from the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia is a fantastic accomplishment right here in our hometown!
Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Compelling industry growth — the medical alert industry is at the confluence of the “aging tsunami,” caregiver shortage, technology explosion, health care transformation, and the desire by over 90% of seniors to age in place (in the comfort of their own homes). According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), 46 million people in United States are over the age of 65, projected to more than double to 98 million by 2060. With an empowering brand foundation built for the aging boomer population, Medical Guardian is perfectly positioned to benefit from this monumental growth and have one of the largest subscriber bases in our industry.
What is the first step in recognizing a strategic growth opportunity? How do you know when it’s time to act on that opportunity and to implement changes into your organization?
Although effective in creating awareness, a commercial for one of the early medical alert brands cast a stigma that older adults were helpless and frail, which turned many people off from medical alert devices, not wanting to be labeled as helpless or in need as they aged. Since the launch of Medical Guardian, we have worked really hard to combat this negative stigma and revolutionize the industry with innovation. For instance, Medical Guardian launched cellular products in 2010, mobile products in 2011, fall detection in 2013, activity monitoring in 2015, and was the first in the industry to launch a mobile application for caregivers.
In August 2018, Medical Guardian took its technology offerings to the next level by launching Freedom Guardian, a first-of-its-kind, all-in-one medical alert smartwatch. The Freedom is unlike any other medical alert device on the market, as it incorporates features that provide day-to-day support and value for users and their loved ones. Freedom Guardian is a wearable device, making it easy to blend in with everyday activities, ensuring connectivity, safety, and reliability. Its features were designed specifically with the senior in mind, including unlimited emergency/SOS calls, speech-to-text messaging, calendars and appointment reminders, local weather forecast, and more. Additionally, a caregiver or family member can easily and conveniently check on their loved ones directly through Freedom Guardian’s Companion Mobile app.
Through innovative Medical Guardian products, such as Freedom Guardian, older adults can now feel more empowered to live their lives on their own terms independently and in the comfort of their own homes. Since Freedom Guardian launched, our average customer’s onboarding age reduced from 80.5-years-old to mid-to-late 70s — protecting older adults sooner and longer.
Get your tickets to help celebrate Medical Guardian as this year’s Strategic Growth Excellence Award honoree.
Thursday, November 21
5:30 – 9:00 p.m.