Dr. Miguel Cunha is the founding surgeon and owner of Gotham Footcare an organization made up of six highly trained surgeons servicing patients in New York City with locations in midtown, on Fifth Avenue and downtown in the Woolworth Building. In a short period of time he has developed one of the most vibrant practices and surgical centers in the region. Gotham Footcare focuses on all aspects of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery including non-surgical and surgical treatments of all conditions affecting the lower extremity ranging from dermatological issues to sports medicine related injuries as well as biomechanical issues causing pain and suffering such as bunions, hammer toes, and neuromas. The surgeons at Gotham Footcare also specialize in the cosmetic surgery of the foot and ankle. At Gotham Footcare, Dr. Cunha and his team are committed to the delivery of excellent clinical outcomes and leading-edge care in a professional, comfortable, and compassionate environment, all hallmarks of his elite business.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
My vision to offer patients an experience that they could not receive anywhere else is what inspired me to start Gotham Footcare. I wanted to offer my patients the most exceptional results and compassionate care with the most cutting-edge technology. I also wanted to captivate my patients with a vibe and company culture in a beautiful spa like setting that cannot be found anywhere else.
How does your company generate revenue?
My company generates revenue by providing any and all healthcare services as it pertains to the foot and ankle. Services range from conservative treatments involving dermatological and musculoskeletal conditions including physical therapy to elective and non-elective surgical management of painful conditions affecting the lower extremity. Reimbursement for these services come from patient insurance plans or out of pocket directly from the patient.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
When I first established Gotham Footcare, I subleased office space and worked for a year to accumulate enough income and credit so that I could open my own office a year later at which point my business became profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work?
If so, how did you handle that? I had many doubts when I started my company. Before creating Gotham Footcare, I had faced a great deal of hardship and disappointment. I worked at two companies very briefly after residency. Things didn’t work out and subsequently I became unemployed for several months thereafter. I immediately looked for opportunities throughout New York City but I desperately could not find any available at the time. I was the only source of income for my family as my wife stayed at home to care for our newborn son. Our savings began depleting and my wife and I began feeling a great deal of stress and anxiety. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of frustration knowing that I had spent my entire life working towards becoming a foot doctor only to become an unemployed foot doctor with nothing but debt and student loans. To make matters worse, during this time I was rear ended in a hit and run car accident which subsequently left me suffering from severe back pain. I went to physical therapy for months thereafter and eventually had back surgery. I felt like I had hit rock bottom but I had to take care of my family and God only gives his toughest challenges to his toughest people. So I decided to take a risk and open up a business. I initially doubted if I would succeed but I kept reminding myself of a quote that I really like by Christopher Columbus, “You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” I knew that I had to take the risk in order to find out how far I could really go. Thank God I took this risk because I never imagined how much Gotham Footcare would grow.
How did you get your first customer?
I started my company back in 2012 in Manhattan when corporate health and wellness events were popular across the city. Numerous corporations across Manhattan have annual health and wellness fairs that deliver events for corporate employees, onsite, over an extended lunch period. The purpose of these fairs is to help a company increase its productivity and ROI by providing employees with information and access to the services they need to be healthy and fit. Employees that are healthy are happy, engaged, and loyal to the company that cares for them. I obtained my first patients by participating in health fairs across the city at organizations and companies such as the United Nations, Nasdaq, Major League Baseball, Time Inc, Conde Nast, Sony, Colgate, Loreal, Canon, and Fox to name a few.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I am open to and make myself available to any media outlets that contact me to publish my medical opinion and expertise. Numerous patients often present to my office after having read my commentary in magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Men’s Health, Shape Magazine, NBC Better, Today, Health, Reader’s Digest to name a few.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
The toughest decision that I have had to make in the last few months was to decline an offer by a large private equity firm to purchase my practice for a large sum of money. I love Gotham Footcare; I created her; She’s my baby. I want to continue nourishing Gotham Footcare and watch her grow to her full potential. I want to expand Gotham Footcare and make her a brand.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Being passionate, persistent, and overall a perfectionist is what makes me successful. I am intense in every sense of the word and my philosophy is to do everything I do in life with passion, purpose, and progressiveness. I love living life to the fullest and when God gives me lemons I make lemon sorbet. I believe in giving meaning to every moment good or bad in my life, and I enjoy creating memories that I may reflect on in the future. I have a saying, “Live the present moment, so that in the future you can reminisce about the past. These qualities are what make not only successful but also allow me to enjoy life to the fullest.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
The most satisfying moment in business was the moment I began operating on high profile patients from across the globe from cities such as London, Paris, Dubai, Istanbul, and Rio de Janeiro. I also find it highly amusing when I bump into my patients when I am away vacationing in Europe.
What does the future hold for your business?
I plan on expanding Gotham Footcare to other parts of the city, something I am very excited about doing.
What business books have inspired you?
None. My inspiration for business comes not from a book about business or even passion for business but rather my passion to help others and to connect with people.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
A recent purchase that has helped with my business is the Clearanail, a new device used in Europe for the treatment of fungal nail infections. Clearanail involves painlessly drilling very precise 0.4 mm holes into the plate of an infected nail, allowing topical antifungal medications to directly penetrate the nail bed underneath the nail plate. This technology is highly effective in treating nail fungus also known as onychomycosis. Traditional over-the-counter treatments are not effective because topical medications cannot penetrate the nail plate and address the source of fungal organisms growing underneath the nail. Laser treatments for nail fungus do not always work and are far less effective than micro drilling tiny holes into the nail plate which takes less than five seconds to perform. Clearanail has helped my business significantly as It has allowed me to effectively treat patients suffering from fungal nails by fully eradicating the infection and promoting the growth of healthy looking nails in a short period of time. Visible results are guaranteed within two weeks. Clearanail has helped me cure every single patient suffering from nail fungus which has only led to happy patients which is good for business. Happy patients make me happy.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Architectural development in New York that combines old with new such as the High Line, or retail that sells experiences not just products. Some examples include the Samsung Retail Store, Starbucks Roastery, and Restoration Hardware, all three stores in the Meatpacking District. I believe that selling experiences makes a product unforgettable, unique, and authentic. When patients come into Gotham Footcare, I want to offer that same element of experience not just service. I want that experience to provide the most compassionate care and exceptional results in a state of the art facility with the most cutting edge technology. I want the patient experience to resonate long term with the patient. I want to captivate each patient in every aspect once they walk in the front door from the aesthetic and the vibe of the office, to the music playing in the background, and most importantly, the culture and personalities of Gotham Footcare.