Imagine if you could reach the moon with a piece of paper. Alex Bellos writes in The Grapes of Math that this is possible. Theoretically. Assuming the average width of a letter size paper is 0.1mm in thickness, with each fold, it’s width doubles. It takes only 42 folds for it to reach the height needed to touch the moon from earth. Of course, while it’s not possible physically to fold a sheet more than seven times, it does raise an interesting question. What would it take to fold that paper 42 times?

 

Now, you may be asking, what does this have to do with scaling my business? Answer: Everything!

Business leaders often tell us that they want to scale their business quickly. Yet, to minimize risk, many want to avoid the traditional reimbursement path. This model is feasible if your innovation doesn’t impact the physician-to-patient treatment interaction. However, if it does, it is important to ensure the key stakeholders are ready to accept and support your product. In other words, consider how you are going to fold that paper 42 times.

Let’s take fitness trackers. Consumers have shown that they are more than willing to pay out-of-pocket for the full cost of these products—in fact, the Gartner Group suggested 2016 would realize sales of nearly $29 billion in this category.

However, if your device is specifically designed to help a person manage a diagnosed health condition, then your product falls into a category in which these same consumers consider themselves patients. As patients, they expect their health insurance provider to pay the costs for the innovation. So, if private or public insurers are ready to pay, great. If not, lining up the payers may seem harder than folding a piece of paper 42 times. But, here is the good news: it is more possible than theoretical.

Now, tell us how you want to scale your business. We’ll help with the folding.