Was this business your vision/passion, or did you kind of ‘fall’ into it? It had been a desire of mine to start my own clinic and health club for many years, even prior to attending PT school. I have been involved in strength training and athletics for many years and really saw the benefit to the lives of many people. I was fortunate to work with my current business partners who also had wanted to start a business. In addition, the time was right as the American Physical Therapy Association was really encouraging physical therapy practitioners to own independent practices.
How many employees do you have: There are seven employees. I have two business partners who are also physical therapists. They are Steve Churchill and Jay Fischer. We also have four additional employees who keep our facility running smoothly, manage accounts and do billing.
What has been your biggest challenge: The biggest challenge has been the competition between larger medical providers and making our business known to the general public. We educate the public to their right to receive medical attention at the facility of their choice.
When did you realize you finally ‘made it’? I think there were a number of areas which gave us encouraging signs that we were going to ‘make it’. The first is beating the statistic that only 10% of new businesses survive the first five years. Since then, we have been able to purchase the building we were renting. In addition, we recently have added a satellite clinic.
What is the vision for the future of your business? From a quality standpoint, I envision the continued deliverance of quality physical therapy services utilizing physical therapy techniques which are unique to the local area. I have recently attended the Advanced Primal Reflex Release course and am able to deliver manual therapy techniques which are highly effective and which no one in the area is doing. My business partners are highly specialized in the treatment of jaw pain and utilize special skills for this as well. In addition, we are very successful in the treatment of the neck and back and I anticipate we will continue to do so. In addition, I would like to see us expand to the point of hiring additional staff.
What makes your business different/unique? We are unique in that the staff has attended a number of educational courses which allow them to provide PT services not available at other facilities. In addition, patients always see the same physical therapist for each session. In general, we provide a lot of manual therapy techniques and quality time spent with each patient.
We also have the best support staff. Becky Dillmann is our office manager. She and the team keep our office and gym running smoothly. They have a great attitude and laughter can often be heard all over the building.
What business idea do you which you had thought of? I am currently looking into ways to provide physical therapy related information to the masses utilizing social media. This has not been an area that we have focused on in the past.
What is the most fun you have at work? What do you most enjoy? The most fun is the receiving the appreciation from patients, who did not think they were going to be able to get help, but then receive relief of pain and improved motion based on the techniques provided. It is a real humbling experience to have someone overcome with emotion based on something you have done. It makes this job rewarding.
I am a person who is constantly changing and trying new things, I enjoy many aspects of my job. I am involved in patient care, marketing, as well as taking care of bill paying and payroll. These activities give me the variety I need to suit my individual personality. We recently established a satellite clinic which has allowed me the opportunity to set another facility as I would like. It allows me to be creative in this regard.
What do you wish you had known before you opened the doors? The best advice I have for someone else wishing to open their own business is to be well networked. This can be done through individuals or specific networking groups. The best advertising is word-of-mouth, so the more people who know who you are and are willing to talk about your business the better you are able to let others know about your services.
What is your proudest moment as a business owner? The proudest moment is when I hear patient’s tell others about the quality of service they receive at our facility and that they are willing to travel for hours or go out of network just to receive the care that we are able to deliver.
What advice can you give to someone who wants to start a business? Pick something you for which you have a passion not a career due to the amount of money you will make. When you are happy with what you are doing, your customer can sense the difference.
AIM Physical Therapy is located at 2945 N. 11th Street in Bismarck, east of Century High School.