Three Companies, One Discipline
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Primary business: Maker of software for pharmaceutical marketing
Secondary businesses: Producers of software to facilitate medical reimbursement and handle sales follow-up
Juggling MO: Using mental discipline and technology
Visitors to 3780 Burns Road in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., will find three adjacent office suites. In suite number five is a company called Medi-MAP Inc. Number seven contains MAP Systems Inc. Next door, in number eight, is Marketing Advertising Promotions Inc. That would be unremarkable, except that all three companies were started by the same man, John Litwinka.
In 1991, Litwinka started Marketing Advertising Promotions (#439), a maker of software that allows pharmaceutical companies to churn out customized follow-up letters to doctors. The business grew to 35 employees, but, Litwinka says, "I started getting bored." So last fall he started Medi-MAP, which automates the process of medical reimbursement for doctors. Still bored in April, Litwinka started MAP Systems, which makes software to help nonmedical businesses--for example, car dealerships--follow up on sales leads.
He also tries to take 40 days of vacation a year, living mostly in Florida, although Marketing Advertising Promotions is based in Fairfield, N.J. How does the 46-year-old Litwinka manage to run on so many tracks at once? Technology, in part, including a SkyPager, two mobile phones, and 800 numbers that he has set up for each of his companies specifically so that he may call any of them from a pay phone without fumbling with phone cards.
But he also describes a fierce mental discipline that helped him land companies he once ran on the Inc. 500 list in 1988 and 1990. He "encourages" employees to ask him questions that have only two possible answers--a "yes" or a "no," an "A" or a "B." "They use my time better," Litwinka explains. "They get to the point." And he claims he's honed his cogitative methods so that even a PTA meeting at the school of his seven-year-old son can be productive. "I can be thinking while I'm sitting there listening," he says, "solving a client's problem."