Every single clinic owner we’ve interviewed so far has a great story to tell. Each have their own passions, goals and dreams of how their ideal clinic should be. Some like to keep their business small, while some find their business expands beyond what they may have originally imagined.
That’s what’s happened to today’s featured clinic owner - a massive expansion. This is a big clinic, with a team of professional therapists and experienced business people. You’re about to learn some amazing gold nuggets that could change the way you do business.
Meet Krista Williams, Registered Physiotherapist from Parkway Physiotherapy + Performance Centre. Krista is co-owner of this ever growing clinic that boasts a team of 15+ and the clinic is currently in great need of more clinicians to meet patient demand. Besides being on the management team, Krista is also a practicing clinician qualified in multiple therapies, including physiotherapy, kinetics, acupuncture, and intramuscular stimulation.
In this amazing interview Krista shares:
- Why I decided to upgrade to 4300 SF and buy my commerical space
- Helpful tips on setting up agreements with partners
- Why having pizza meetings keeps our staff engaged
- And what it really takes to have a kickass business
Let’s dive into Krista’s interview now...
1) Talk about your practice
When deciding to open a clinic, I met up with three colleagues I’d previously worked with and we discussed the idea of providing excellence in diagnosis, treatment and customer service to South Islanders.We wanted to create a culture of collaboration and excellence. On the physiotherapy side of things, the four of us had advanced manual therapy skills. On the business side of things...one of my partners had previously owned a clinic so he was invaluable in the process. But, it was still lots of trial by fire.
I remember my first day at the clinic. We had all things physio set up - the beds, the gym equipment, the goniometers. We had a system in place to book a client...but no cash box to take their money!
We have come a long way since then. In addition to physiotherapy with an emphasis on manual and manipulative therapy, we provide massage therapy, kinesiology and naturopathy to our client base.
We provide 3D gait analysis for runners (first in BC). We’re able to provide comprehensive concussion management care. And now we are the first clinic attempting to understand the link between psychology and physiology through the introduction of EEG brain scans and neurobiofeedback. And as I write this we are in the transition of going paperless.
We currently have 3 partners, 6 physiotherapy associates, 3 massage therapy associates, a kinesiologist, a naturopath, 5 admin team members and a clinic manager. Our Christmas parties are getting larger each year!
We are outgrowing our space and have recently purchased a new commercial space. We are planning the move for Fall 2016.
Can you talk about your new space and what were the factors that made you decide that spot? How big is the new space?
The new space is fantastic!
It’s a new 2015 build and is approximately 4300 sq feet. It has 18 foot windows along the entire frontage of the clinic. These allow tons of light into the reception and gym space. The clinic is fully accessible and has great parking.
We have put in a second floor that has a mezzanine gym space as well as a few treatment rooms and staff areas. The second floor gym space is intended for more high performance trainings as well as a space to run classes.
Our motivation to move was the pending demolition of our current space as well as the fact that we were feeling cramped in our current location.
How did you come up with the name of your clinic?
We wanted to be able to identify the clinic with respect to our location (Parkway). And we wanted to distinguish ourselves from others (performance centre). This also speaks to our treatment of athletes and some of the programs we provide - running injury clinic, concussion program. Also, PPP alliterates.
What inspired you to own your clinic?
I am a big believer of the right time and right place. An opportunity presented itself to join in partnership at the beginning and I took it!
We wanted to create something special and clinic ownership was the only way to ensure that we could direct the foundation and evolution of the clinic into a place that we were excited to go to each day.
How long have you owned the clinic?
We started the clinic in September 2007 - we are entering our 10th year!
What made you decide to have a business partner versus being sole owner?
The original opportunity was with 3 other partners. While we have had some challenges over the years, that naturally come with partnership, the value each of my partners have brought to the growth and development of the clinic far surpasses any of the difficulties we’ve experienced.
What helpful advice would you give other clinic owners who may be considering having partners?
Put the time in initially to make sure you have a solid partnership agreement, which includes exit strategies. We had a solid agreement in place and it was very helpful when the time came for one partner to move on.
I truly believe a partnership adds strength, depth and diversity to a clinic. It allows for sharing of the workload, sharing the stress and sharing of the success.
What does your management team look like?
We have 3 partners and an office manager.
Through intensive coaching, we have come to appreciate and embrace our individual differences.
JR is an innovator and relationship person whose focus has been on mentorship, marketing and introduction of new services to the clinic.
I have the eye for detail and the discipline to maintain the clinic's course with the resources available. I oversee the finances of the clinic.
Brian is a steady and even-keeled individual who is rarely flustered; he manages the human resources side of the business and all things technological.
Janine is the office manager and the consummate professional who oversees the daily operations of the clinic, including the myriad of details that must be attended to each day.
What makes your clinics different compared to your local competitors? Your super power?
Our vision of excellence and the reputation that it creates. We strive for excellence in diagnosis, treatment and customer service. We want to be the "go to clinic" for our clients, for their family and friends, for the doctors and specialists referring patients for treatment, and for other clinicians to be a part of.
Our clinic's culture and even its physical space are built around collaboration - a client doesn't get just 1 therapist, they are getting 10. Parkway has been an innovator in our field, being the first to bring 3D gait analysis, the first to offer complete concussion care, and the first to offer EEG brain scans and neurofeedback.
2) What do you do to build culture at your clinic?
Our original design of the clinic was around the culture of collaboration we envisioned to create. The practice of physiotherapy can sometimes feel like a one person show even though you work with others. Much time gets spent in a room treating clients and the day can pass with lots of client interaction but very little interaction with colleagues.
We have a central charting stand up desk area that overlooks the gym space. Here we gather as clinicians during our day to chart but also to interact with each other. In the few moments we have between clients, or at the end of our day, we share ideas, collaborate and there is a lot of "guess what I just saw... have you ever seen… what do you think of..."
I see this as an important part of my day but also a real strength of our clinic. I tell clients that they don't just have one brain working on them...they have 10!
We also hold monthly meetings - with pizza!
This is our dedicated time to take care of administration things, to discuss upcoming events or issues. We really try to get our associate team's input before we make decisions that will affect them. We also try to add an education component to these meetings.
3) What is your biggest business accomplishment in the past year?
Parkway will have a permanent home with excellent access and parking for patients.
4) What is your biggest mistake and lessons learned in owning a clinic?
Lessons learned...in the early days as partners we all made decisions together. This was great for collaboration but very time consuming!
We learned that it was better if we have split roles and responsibilities in the clinic. Over the years we learned to trust and let each partner make decisions based on their area of learned expertise. We still collaborate and meet monthly but we have grown to trust each other and don't feel the need to consult each other for every small decision.We use the monthly meetings to keep each other up do date on the big picture and brainstorm for future directions.
5) What's something you've recently learned that you're really excited to implement?
I've recently learned about patient satisfaction scores, what they mean, and how easy it would be to gather this info. This fits with our goal of great customer service and would allow us to make changes and address client concerns right away.
6) If you had to spend $500 marketing this month to get new patients, how would you spend it?
We are currently looking at adding Facebook advertising to the mix.
7) Are you currently using Google Adwords? If not, what is stopping you?
Yes, we use Google Adwords.I was amazed that Google was getting crushed by Facebook until I realized that Google can learn what people have searched, and thus, charge advertising dollars based on popular search words - effective but not based on the individual and it is the individual we serve.
Facebook knows the behaviour and interests of its users, allowing us to reach far beyond keywords by understanding our patients in far more depth (education, income, age, gender, interests and hobbies, sports, etc).
Our Google Adwords and had 500 over the 5 months from the online campaign, with the average call of 2.3 minutes. I think I can assume that someone is booking an appointment with this length of a call.
8) What is stopping you from doubling your profit in the next 12 months?
We need more clinicians - we will have the space, move in is October 2016!
Currently we’re having difficulty getting new patients into appointments in a timely fashion. A great problem to have, but we really strive to provide excellent customer service and the wait is affecting this.
BUT, doubling our profits is a huge question that cannot be answered by a few more clinicians. We would actually need to bring in a new revenue stream that is not so space dependent as a clinician. For example, selling something additional to our existing caseload of clientele.
We currently have minimal product available - just tape and a few supplies. We initially had more braces but found it difficult with returns from the client as well as maintaining sufficient stock. Space to display was also an issue but at the new clinic location we will be able to consider adding product sales to help boost revenue as well.
9) What do you do to learn more about business and leadership?
A few years ago I worked with a MBA student at RRU to develop a business plan.
Most recently, I took the "Learn Lead, and Achieve” workshop at congress. This was a great workshop! A great networking opportunity. Tons of information, tools and ideas to follow up on.
I have already collaborated with, or asked advice from three people I met at the workshop. It's great to be able to use others as resources who have had the same experiences.
10) What is currently your biggest waste of time and how will you fix it?
I take care of all things to do with numbers in the clinic. I have learned to let go of a lot of my micro-management of this, but there is much more I could delegate. It is tough to take the time to set up the process so someone else can do it, and it’s hard to give up some control. But I do see the big benefit that it could bring.
11) What is your strategy do you have for work life balance?
Outside of my clinical hours I really spend as much time as I can with my family. I have 2 girls (4 years and 6 years old). I take care of most management work in the evenings after they’re in bed. That doesn’t leave much, if any, time for me to pursue other hobbies.
Right now I look at the business as not only my profession, but also my hobby. My youngest will be starting kindergarten in September, this will leave me with a day for management duties and I’m aiming to free up some evening time for myself...perhaps some new hobbies. :)
12) How many hours do you work each week?
I work 28 clinical hours (4 days) and 7+ hours management work as required.
13) What is your daily morning ritual that gets you energized to go to work?
My kids! I have two girls that are 6 and 4. They are my wake-up routine with snuggles and books!
14) Best advice for yourself in your 30s
Looking back...I would seek out and use mentors more in my learning.
Here are some great takeaways from Krista Williams' interview.
Try translating these insights toward your own life and practice:
- Striving for excellence and being innovative in business really sets you ahead of the competition
- Expanding your clinic is an exciting journey worth pursuing - dream big and go for it!
- Working in partnerships has many benefits for clinic owners, as long as you have things setup right from the beginning
- Putting team members into roles that utilize their strengths will propel your business forward at a rapid pace
- Look out for mentors who can help fast track your journey to success!
Did you learn something else equally as valuable?
Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to subscribe to the blog for the next amazing post in this clinic owner interview series.