Starting A Business Involves Taking Risks With UroMed’s Owner Bert Burns

Editor’s Note: Burns: “People in wheelchairs are much like soldiers who have been in war together; we’ve all experienced drama, rehabilitation, pain and suffering. That’s why we know how to relate to one another, and we understand the problems and the needs of others like us. We also know how to fight discouragement, depression, failure and situations that seem to be impossible. We’ve learned to overcome, and all these character traits are critical to business.” Part 3 of a 5 part series.

I was 35 years old when we started UroMed. My wife, Joy, was very supportive. Having a supportive spouse is a tremendous advantage if you’re planning to start your own business. For me, having someone who believed in me while I tried to grow the business was great. The first year I was in business, I didn’t take a salary. My wife was working and paying for all of our living expenses. I don’t know if I could have started UroMedwithout Joy.

Joy has supported Bert since day one!

Joy has supported Bert since day one!

Another advantage we had was that our first four employees who joined UroMed believed in our dream for the company. They came from another medical supply company.  I told them, “Although we can’t pay you what you’re making at the other company, if we’re still in business a year from now, I’ll pay you what you’re making now and maybe a little more. Our company just doesn’t have that kind of money right now.” Well, these people believed enough in me, my partner and UroMed. Another key ingredient in starting your own company is to find loyal, dedicated people who believe in you and the business.

Working with loyal, dedicated people will make your business soar!

Working with loyal, dedicated people will make your business soar!

Our company started off with four people in wheelchairs and two able bodied people, all with big dreams for the future. Three of those six people made up our sales force. We had one person in charge of customer service and another in charge of billing and documentation. My partner was in charge of the warehouse, the inventory and paying bills.

However, everyone doesn’t have the dream of being an entrepreneur, and everyone’s not a risk taker, which is a critical ingredient when starting a business. I grew up with a father who started and ran several successful businesses. I came from a background that included watching my dad start businesses and grow businesses. If you have the dream of owning your own business, there’s only one way to find out if you can do it, and that’s to give it a try. People in wheelchairs have overcome a lot physically and mentally. For instance, a friend of my dad’s said to him when we realized I would be in a wheelchair, “If Bert can overcome this, then there will be no stopping him. He can do anything.” If you can overcome the challenges that we face, then starting a business is just one more challenge.I think the bottom line for starting your own business is to pick a business where your wheelchaircan be an advantage to you. Then, learn all you can about the type of business you want to start and possibly work for someone for 1 or 2 years to get hands on experience and to learn what’s required to be successful.

Join LASCI and be a part of a wonderful community!

Join LASCI and be a part of a wonderful community!

More Resources:  Visit Life After Spinal Cord Injury – .
For more information about job postings for people with disabilities, visit: ; ; and , a foundation that trains, mentors and places people with spinal cord injuries and others with impaired mobility, including American military veterans, in successful careers in the financial services industry. A free 14 week training program begins in March at the fully wheelchair accessible campus of the Rutgers Business School in Newark, New Jersey.

Next: How Scott Rains Became An Accessibility Consultant 

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-841-1233.

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