Keep your eye on remaining a purpose-driven company.
Keep sight of your mission.
In today’s competitive business landscape, the race for profits often takes center stage. However, there are some leaders who also prioritize a mission-driven purpose. They use their business to make a positive social impact and recognize that success isn’t only about making money. In this interview series, we are talking with some of these distinct leaders and I had the pleasure of interviewing Lawrence Margolis CEO & Co-Founder of PersonalRX.
After a personal experience underpinned the need for home-delivery pharmacy care and medication prescribed and administered safely, Lawrence Margolis left behind 20 years on Wall Street to start PersonalRX. As founder and CEO of PersonalRX, Margolis is a committed financial leader with extensive experience developing institutional business and client growth while successfully streamlining reporting and business functionality through the identification and application of emerging technology. His wealth of experience in executive leadership has helped him build PersonalRX into a company that is seeing hyper-growth, while directly supporting professional caregiver organizations and their caregiving staff who impact a patient’s quality of life, allowing more Americans the opportunity to comfortably age in place.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us your “Origin Story”? Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
I grew up in what would be considered an upper middle-class family in the suburbs. Dad was an attorney, other relatives were attorneys, and one was a Judge. Mom was a classic homemaker, a great chef, and always around for us kids and supportive. Looking back, my parents created a foundation to excel. I always believed that I would be successful in whichever direction I wanted to take. Over the years, my father’s clients became his business partners in many automotive businesses. Despite being young, I was very present, listening in to his meetings and phone calls. I learned a ton. Meanwhile, Mom grew her interior design practice and was a success in her own right. Most importantly, I got the entrepreneurial spirit, setting my future path.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
The transition from a ‘lifestyle’ vision for the business to an ‘investible’ business venture. It happened when I searched for a better dot com name vs. the dot net name we used. As a passive investor, the business started with an investment into the pharmacy, wherein we would take care of camp kids and boarding schools. The name was GroupRx [gourprx.net]. What turned out to be one of the dividing lines between me and my partners was the purchase of the PersonalRX.com domain. This was a defining moment when the brand came together with the ultimate focus for the business, the transition to a much larger business opportunity, and a shift from seasonal to a year-round business. The name and the brand provided a backdrop to the current brand ad obsession with filling the needs of older adults and providing a profound level of customer service. I can point to that domain purchase and the key moment in the company’s history.
We often learn the most from our mistakes. Can you share one that you made that turned out to be one of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned?
It’s often said that you should make mistakes often and fast to learn and move ahead. Suffice it to say I have made many along the way. My most profound mistake was partnering with the wrong investors and partners. Sometimes, you begin down a path that feels right, and the excitement for a quick investment and perceived value of accelerated growth is off base. I am not suggesting that going alone is always a good thing. I am suggesting that proper diligence and tremendous focus should rule the day. Stay the course, be principled, and be a little more than ‘choosy’ — question everything and early on learn to say ‘no thank you.’
As a successful leader, it’s clear that you uphold strong core values. I’m curious what are the most important principles you firmly stand by and refuse to compromise on. Can you share a few of them and explain why they hold such significance for you in your work and life?
What inspired you to start a purpose-driven business rather than a traditional for-profit enterprise? Can you share a personal story or experience that led you to prioritize social impact in your business?
Having gone through a traumatic family experience of a medication error, understanding the fundamental need to have medication specifically, and healthcare in general, delivered compliantly was evident. As our company moves forward, and I review patient comments in our Google reviews and through constant quality assurance surveys, prioritizing our purpose demonstrates great rewards and accolades. Not only are we rewarded with increased revenue and traction, but at the same time, we make a difference and improve lives.
Can you help articulate a few of the benefits of leading a purpose-driven business rather than a standard “plain vanilla” business?
In our case, we see the positive effects on our patients and caregivers. They are happier, healthier, and less stressed as our team handles critical details for them. We allow caregivers (both professional and familial) to provide caregiving and not have to waste time at the pharmacy or on the phone with prescribers tracking down medication orders.
Our Medication reconciliation applications provide a complete review of ALL patient medications.
Our services go a step further to improving patient care than the typical pharmacy dispensing one medication at a time.
How has your company’s mission or purpose affected its overall success? Can you explain the methods or metrics you use to evaluate the impact of this purpose-driven strategy on your organization?
We survey our patients often. The Quality Assurance team operates independently of the rest of our staff, reporting to our Director of Training, our President and COO, and me. A review of these surveys and comments directly affects our patient care and keeps our staff on track. On weekends, I review some calls from our after-hours support team. I look for trends and potential issues in the process. Of course, we want to fix issues that arise. However, I am more concerned with how to prevent them from happening. These practices always keep our patients and their caregivers first on our list.
Can you share a pivotal moment when you realized that leading your purpose-driven company was actually making a significant impact? Can you share a specific example or story that deeply resonated with you personally?
I was watching a patient video review. The patient was in their bed, not mobile, and appreciative of the services we provide. We played this for our entire staff. You can see how profoundly we have affected someone’s care. It continues to resonate.
Have you ever faced a situation where your commitment to your purpose and creating a positive social impact clashed with the profitability in your business? Have you ever been challenged by anyone on your team or have to make a tough decision that had a significant impact on finances? If so, how did you address and reconcile this conflict?
There is no conflict. There can be no conflict. Patient care comes first. Period. It always wins out. It might come as an additional shipment or a hand delivery. In the case of a critical medication change, we dispense the entire supply of packets again at our cost so the patient doesn’t have to make manual changes in medication packed during the cycle. This practice is entirely inefficient for our team and profits and yet critically important to patient safety and service.
What are your “Top 5 Things You Need To Know I Order To Create A Highly Successful Purpose-Driven Business.”
1 . Have a path to profitability. You must make a profit, regardless of your purpose, or else you will not be around to assist your customers. In our case, we focus on patients who require extra support — those who take multiple medications. We cannot make a profit by delivering one medication at a time.
2 . At the core, provide a profound level of service. Going the extra mile for a customer. In our case, it could be as simple as sending a hand-signed birthday card. I am amazed at the appreciation we receive for remembering birthdays, especially milestones for older patients who may be lonely.
3 . Keep your eye on remaining a purpose-driven company. Keep sight of your mission.
4 . Culture. Everyone must be aligned with the mission and understand how we affect lives. This starts with recruiting the right staff and training — constant training to align our staff.
5 . Love what you do and do it well. Share the triumphs with staff and discuss issues immediately. Live your business, live the culture, and pretend you are in your patient’s shoes. How would you feel about your service? Be obsessive about what you do.
I’m interested in how you instill a strong sense of connection with your team. How do you nurture a culture where everyone feels connected to your mission? Could you share an example or story that showcases how your purpose has positively influenced or motivated people on your team to contribute?
Monthly team meetings and town hall conversations. I think having everyone together to discuss our appreciation for how hard the team works, company news, and focus on patient success go a long way. We share our 5-star reviews and congratulate individual team members. I think it is more important to maintain this approach and comradery as our company grows.
Imagine we’re sitting down together two years from now, looking back at your company’s last 24 months. What specific accomplishments would have to happen for you to be happy with your progress?
We will be servicing over 30,000 patients per month and continuing to grow. While at the same time, providing the patient satisfaction and quality of service we provide today. Maintaining the highest standards of quality and service at scale makes me happy. Improving the lives of our patients and their caregivers makes us very happy.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I believe that there is an opportunity to treat people with respect and dignity and make a profit at the same time.. This is not a profound movement per se. It’s more of going back to the basics. If I could influence anything, it would be in how a company can create a culture of success based on how happy its customers are and making a difference. I would add that fostering a culture of profound service by the entire team and providing a culture to excel and share the rewards from their efforts. Not just the economic rewards.
How can our readers further follow your work or your company online?
Thank you so much for sharing all of these insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
About the Interviewer: Chad Silverstein is an accomplished entrepreneur and visionary leader. He started his first company, Choice Recovery, Inc., while attending Ohio State University and grew it to become an industry outlier before selling the business after 25 successful years. With the launch of his second venture, [re]start, a career development platform, Chad aimed to help people find meaningful career opportunities. Under his leadership, his team was recognized as a “Top Workplace” award winner for over a decade, twice being ranked the #1 small and medium-sized business to work for in Central Ohio. Chad sold [re]start in 2023, enabling him to focus on building an online community of high-performing leaders and continuing to make a positive impact in people’s lives..