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University of Houston research: When's the best time to start a business?

University of Houston's The Big Idea highlights the three things to consider when starting a business. Graphic byMiguel Tovar/University of Houston

Have you ever thought about opening your own business, but you didn’t know when to do it? Maybe you’ve heard the phrase: “the best time to start a business is today.” Is this actually good advice?

Yaro Starak, entrepreneur, blogger and podcaster, answers this question on his blog. Starak highlights three things aspiring entrepreneurs should do first when they decide to open a business.

What to do today:

1. Get prepared 

Starak believes there is some truth to the statement that starting a business today is the best time because it focuses on action and “to take action, means you need to be prepared to do so.”

He says that once you start your business you’ve, at least, taken a step towards being prepared because chances are, you’ll never have the right timing in the beginning. “By starting now, you begin the process of learning and putting in place resources that, in time, will lead you to be prepared for taking advantage of an opportunity when it presents itself,” Starak said.

2. Start building resources

“Whether you succeeded or failed, or pivot to something else, you’re always gaining experience, learning from mistakes, and building resources for your next project, whether they be financial (or capital), mental or skill-based resources,” Starak said. This is why today is the best day to start a business because everything that you do, once you get started, will contribute to you gathering the necessary resources and experiences that will help your business to excel.

3. Start building an audience

Starak believes that, just like the self-help books suggest, “the best asset to work on is yourself,” but that shouldn’t be all you focus on. “Even if you’re not sure if you intend to sell coaching, courses, write books or sell services or software or physical products, your audience is the door to taking advantage of all new opportunities… No attention, means no customers,” Starak said.

According to Starak, marketing and sales are the two most important skills to work on in order to be prepared to start a business. He suggests that aspiring business owners should learn how to use internet resources to post content in order to reach people and build their audience. Then they can use that content to advertise and sell.

What's the big idea?

Now is always the best time to start a new business because even if you’re not quite sure what it’s going to be yet, you can get yourself prepared, start building resources and start building an audience.

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This article originally appeared on the University of Houston's The Big Idea. Cory Thaxton, the author of this piece, is the communications coordinator for The Division of Research.

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Building Houston

 
 

Houston-based Melax Tech has developed multiple Natural language processing tools that are used by more than 650 health care and life science organizations. Photo via MelaxTech.com

Melax Tech Partners, a leader in natural language technology processing, announced a new partnership with the University of California at Irvine that will help researchers derive insights from the UCI Health Data Science Platform’s electronic health records system and improve patient care.

Melax will implement its signature text annotation tool LANN to pull information from clinical notes, and its CLAMP product to develop natural language processing customizations through the use of AI, according to a statement from the company.

“There has been a strong desire among UCI researchers to have the capability to analyze free-text clinical narrative data using cutting-edge NLP technologies," Kai Zheng, chief research information officer at UCI Health Affairs, says in a statement. "We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Melax Tech to deploy their AI-driven annotation and analytics tools to help our researchers advance their research agenda by leveraging the vast amount of free-text data that our health system has accumulated in the past two decades.”

Natural language processing, or NLP, allows organizations and healthcare groups to sift through and analyze massive amounts of data at a rapid rate through the use of machine learning and AI. Houston-based Melax Tech, founded in 2017, has developed multiple NLP tools that are used by more than 650 health care and life science organizations, according to its website.

In addition to the recent partnership with UC Irvine, Melax has also recently partnered with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the University of Western Pennsylvania on similar clinical projects.

Melax has also used its platforms to pull vital information from datasets relating to COVID-19, in both medical and social settings.

In March 2022, it was awarded a Phase 1 NIH Award, valued at $300,000, to develop informatics tools based on COVID-19 datasets with the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego. The tool aims to help researchers better understand vast amounts of virus-related data and connect findings with other similar results.

In August, Melax also received another $300,000 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop NLP-based algorithms that will "model, extract and synthesize vaccine misinformation from multiple popular social media sources," according to a statement. Melax will also develop a visualization that presents its findings on the misinformation into a compressible format.

"This is a very real topic affecting culture at present," Andre Pontin, CEO at Melax Tech, says in a statement. "And shows that we as a collective business and group of experts continue to be on the cutting-edge of science in the NLP and AI domain."

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