Asheville | Hector Romero | www.sanescohealth.com
The SBTDC is a great program with a fantastic vision for helping small businesses succeed.
TELL US ABOUT SANESCO HEALTH
For over a decade, Sanesco has specialized in integrative and functional medicine, employing philosophies from both allopathic and alternative medicine to identify the underlying causes of symptoms and conditions related to neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances. Imbalances of the HPA (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal) Axis can result in the manifestation of a wide array of chronic symptoms and conditions, such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, depression, metabolic syndrome, addictions, and weight gain.
At Sanesco, we arm licensed healthcare practitioners with the tools to assess and correct neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances, ultimately improving patient lives through a more personalized, patient-centered approach to healthcare.
We have developed a non-invasive laboratory panel to test patients’ neurotransmitter levels through a single urine sample, and our extensive knowledge and expertise is used in training clinicians to interpret these values for clinical application. Our laboratory reports include much more than lab numbers and graphs – we develop a personalized report for each patient, including recommendations for nutritional therapy formulas.
YOU’RE NOT A DOCTOR, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THIS FIELD?
In the early 70s, I was working in pharmaceuticals, and one of my five boys was diagnosed with ADHD. I wanted a solution beyond just treating the symptoms. I focused my research and energy to explore available options, but it wasn’t until 17 years later that I met a German scientist who developed the first-ever urinary marker for Serotonin. Until then, neurotransmitters were only measured through cerebral spinal fluid. I knew that this test could have vast clinical applications and it would be revolutionary in furthering the knowledge and understanding of the HPA axis. It was at this time that the clinical model of assessing and addressing neurotransmitters was developed, and I took it to the professional market with my business partner. After two successful years, I decided to separate from the initial partnership and Sanesco was born.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ENTREPRENEURS FACING THEIR OWN CHALLENGES?
Surround yourself with the best people and be passionate about what you do. If you only care about money, you will run away from challenges. If you have the passion and the right people, you will find a solution.
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE WORKING WITH THE SBTDC?
The SBTDC is a great program with a fantastic vision for helping small businesses succeed. We have a wonderful relationship with our mentor and advisor, Annice Brown. She always keeps us in mind and regularly informs us about opportunities or partnerships that could positively impact and grow our business. Annice has connected us with local healthcare professionals, key opinion leaders in integrative healthcare, and the Self-Help Credit Union. She has been a critical advocate for Sanesco.
HAVE YOU SEEN A DIFFERENCE IN THE SUCCESS OF YOUR BUSINESS?
We cannot attribute an exact figure or number to show how working with the SBTDC has impacted our growth, aside from saying, “the experience has been priceless.” In addition to pairing us with key partners, Annice has played a role in problem-solving, strategic planning, marketing, consulting, and more. She opened the door to work with student interns at Western Carolina University, who have provided our team with insights related to marketing plans, SBIR grants, and insurance reimbursement forecasting.
We’ve also worked with the PTAC Program to learn more about government procurement, and we are currently exploring opportunities to work with the VA to help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The International Business Development Program referred us to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, North Carolina Economic Development Partnership, and Export-Import Bank; all of which have been instrumental to develop and grow our export initiatives. With their assistance, we have secured Step Grant funding to translate our website, gained valuable information at the DISCOVER event and Export 201 educational roadshows, received market research reports, and introductions to meet potential partners in Canada.
We also completed a Website Review and Assessment facilitated by the SBTDC to improve search engine optimization, and monitor website analytics and performance.
HOW MUCH GROWTH HAVE YOU SEEN?
This year, we will have a 10% growth in employees in order to support our growing business. We’ve hired five people already, and we plan to hire about six more over the next 12 months. In the first quarter, sales are up by 15% compared to last year, and we’ve expanded into two new countries.
While we still remain focused on gaining market share domestically, growing internationally is next. We’ve started working with a distributor from New Zealand and Australia and continue to learn about exporting, gaining firsthand experience as that distributorship grows.
It is important to keep the integrity, the branding, and the vision of Sanesco consistent, while trusting our name to someone else. We’re finding ways to achieve this by locating the right partners and training their team to represent us in their country.
Now we’re looking into India, and we don’t plan to stop there.
This story was originally published in the SBTDC 2014-2015 Annual Report. Click Here to view the report.
More Success Stories
I was searching online and stumbled upon the SBTDC’s website, and I got really excited reading through the services available. The website is fantastic with resources for finding funding options and starting a business. I was able to download an outline for a business plan, which felt kind of like cheating because I just had to fill in my own information. Then, I met with Pieter Swanepoel and Whitney Hildebran. They sat down and walked me through my financials and marketing strategies to get this going. Since Pieter is a very successful businessman himself, he gives insightful feedback when I need someone to bounce my ideas off of.
Applying for an SBA loan was a stressful process. My counselors have given me the support, the heads up, and the understanding for why things are done this way. They have been my backbone, a support group, someone to vent to and positive reinforcement. And the thing of it is, I didn’t have to pay for anything.
Now we just accomplished one of my biggest goals, which was to open up the option for a 401K plan for the employees. I am so excited about that.