Brian chats with Tristan Schukraft, president and CEO of MISTR, a telehealth platform that offers discrete access to medication that can help prevent HIV. On the episode, Tristan shares how he started MISTR to help his friends, which led to a business fueled by passion. He also discusses the importance of knowing your market, staying true to your mission, and questioning how to make the status quo better.
Mission-driven businesses make a positive impact on communities.
Like other guests on the podcast, Tristan defines a mission-driven business as one that has a higher purpose and makes a positive impact on the world. But he goes one step further by saying mission-driven businesses even more specifically make a positive impact on the communities they’re designed to serve.
“The mission of any business is like the guiding North star,” Tristan said. “All business decisions that are made all circle back to the mission. It’s really important for entrepreneurs to understand what the mission is and stay focused on that.”
For MISTR, that mission is to help increase access and adherence to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a once-daily medicine that helps prevent HIV. While PrEP is “a huge change in the fight against HIV,” the number of people using it to prevent new HIV infections was limited. Tristan created MISTR to try and help.
“It was not necessarily a business at first, but more that I wanted to help my friends get on PreEP and help eliminate HIV infections,” Tristan said. “When you’re focused on making money, it doesn’t work out. And when you’re so passionate about what you’re doing, everything kind of comes together.”
Know your audience.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you not only need to be passionate about your work and your mission but you also have to know the audience you’re serving. For instance, Tristan was invited to join the HIV Commission in Los Angeles, which was made up of passionate people who lived through the AIDS crisis. But to get more young people to use and adhere to PreP, the commission’s plan involved calling people and using data that was years out of date.
“I quickly realized if you want adherence and access to increase, you have to move this online,” Tristan said. “Who are you trying to target? Young people. Young people don’t answer the phone. Young people don’t have voicemail.”
Stay focused to find success.
Tristan is full of energy and ideas, and he’s always looking for opportunities. So his brother gave him advice that has stuck with him: To be really successful, you have to stay focused. Tristan applied his brother’s advice to launch his first successful company and still uses it to focus on his business initiatives today.
“You can’t be everything to everyone,” Tristan said. “You have to really understand your market and stay true to your market.”
Staying focused is also something that Tristan tells the marketing team of MISTR. The company speaks to its target community in a non-medical and very sex-positive way, which resonates with its customers.
‘You’re going to offend some people, but that’s okay, right?” Tristan said. “If you’re trying to please everybody, then you lose your authenticity.”
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About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast
Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.