Sep 14, 2023

The 4 Pillars of Starting a Successful Private Therapy Practice

How Kristen Hudon went from new grad to thriving multi-disciplinary clinic owner

Starting your own practice takes courage and confidence. Developing it into a thriving business requires a vision. Now imagine having that at just 20 years old. Seems improbable, right? Well not for Kristen Hudon, owner of Body Waves Massage Therapy and one of Juvonno’s longest-tenured clients. 

Kristen’s journey has given real meaning to our catchphrase “Clinic Software that grows with you”. From being a bright-eyed RMT graduate to the owner of a thriving health business with 10+ staff, Juvonno has been running alongside her, supporting new business processes and simplifying existing ones. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Kristen to learn her secrets to growing her health practice from a budding start-up to minted business:

Pillar #1: Find Your Unique Selling Proposition

How are you going to stand out?

Your brand is more than just a name or a logo, it’s the experience you offer and the impression you leave. One of the keys to building a successful brand is establishing a Unique Selling Proposition or USP for short.  That is a specific benefit that helps you stand out from your competition. 

From the start, Kristen made the client experience her top priority. In addition to providing quality massage therapy, her unique selling proposition continues to be about providing her clients with an escape from everyday life. “We base our entire business around client service. So from the moment you walk into the door, it's a look, it's a feel, it's an escape”. 

When you walk into Body Waves, you’re greeted with a friendly smile, warm colours, contemporary decor, and an almost spa-like atmosphere. This theme is carried throughout all aspects of her business from her clinic’s decor to the website to social media, to create a cohesive brand. 

“It is not only enough to state what your brand stands for, what is important is to do that consistently and repeatedly so that your brand endures.” – Vani Kola, CEO of Kalaari Capital

Consistency is key. Every aspect of your brand should not only complement your USP but remain consistent across all platforms. Your business should have a personality that clients become familiar with through your brand’s aesthetic, its voice, and the energy of the people you hire. They should all reflect the vision you have for your brand.

“Business has been great, my therapists are ALL FANTASTIC humans which makes work not feel like work.”

Kristen’s USP has also helped to guide important business decisions. When her clinic began growing, instead of expanding into other modalities like Physiotherapy or Chiropractic Medicine, she remained focused on her USP of providing her clients with an escape. Body Waves continued to only offer Massage Therapy and parallel therapies (such as Talk Therapy) to reinforce their brand identity. 

So ask yourself a simple question, what will make your clinic better than your competition long term? 

Pillar #2: Location, Location, Location

Finding the right place to start and grow your business

Choosing the right location is critical to any business’s success. Your private therapy practice is no different. A few primary factors to consider when selecting a location are ample interior space and on-site parking for staff and patients. However, these considerations only scratch the surface of what a great location has to offer. 

Healthcare Entrepreneur, Rick Lau compiled the following list of criteria to consider when deciding on a clinic location:

  1. Local Competition: Don’t situate your clinic too close to another one as it adds an unnecessary challenge to your profitability.
  2. Household Income: You don’t need to focus on high-income areas, focus more on your ideal client and where they tend to live.
  3. Nearby Medical Clinics: If you open your clinic close to another clinic (or business) that offers products and services complimentary to yours, you can build a referral partnership.
  4. Look for Certain Neighboring Businesses: Nearby businesses are a good indicator of the demographic living in the area. Rick said, “I personally like areas that have a Starbucks, grocery store, and liquor store nearby.”  
  5. Busy Roads and Intersections: Having your business seen by somebody in their everyday life increases the likelihood that you’ll be top of mind when it comes time to seek out the services you offer.
  6. Free Parking: It may not seem like it, but free parking is a big deal.
  7. Big Signage: According to Rick, if you combine great signage with a location in a high-traffic area, it can lead to 2-3 new referrals every week.
  8. Expanding Communities: Your client base will continually grow over time so pay attention to your population and demographic data. 

In Kristen’s case, the population of La Salle was only 1400 people but growing steadily when she started Body Waves. At the time, she reached out to a real estate developer to inquire about the projects they had been working on. They shared their insight into the population projection and growth within La Salle and the surrounding areas in the coming years. La Salle also happened to be just a 20-minute drive from the South end of Winnipeg, a city of over 600,000 back then. While owning a clinic in a small town was difficult at first, she knew what her potential future client base in the area could look like.

As of today, the population of La Salle is just over 2500 people and Body Waves has a client base of 2700 people. They’ve successfully gathered most of La Salle and surrounding communities as loyal customers. Even more impressive, nearly a quarter of that client base is from Winnipeg (a stat Kristen herself pulled using Juvonno’s Patient Insight report) and makes the drive out of the city just to see Kristen and her amazing team. Her research paid off and Body Waves continues to grow.

While you may find a spot that you think is perfect to house your health business, how do you know it’s the best location to Grow your business? To put it simply—do your research.

Pillar #3: Know When to Grow

Be ready to hire and know the right time to do so

You’ve built your brand identity, started your clinic in a great location, and built a solid patient base. Things seem to be trending in the right direction. But, how do you know when it’s time to grow your team? 

Two obvious signs that it’s time to hire:

Sign #1: You’re turning away new patients

If your schedule is full and you can’t accept new patients, it’s time to hire another practitioner. While a lighter caseload may affect your bottom line in the short term, having multiple practitioners treating patients will allow you to accept new patients which in turn will boost your practice’s profitability.

In the case of Body Waves, Kristen’s goal was to keep up with the growing need for appointments by hiring the right number of therapists while keeping them busy. The challenge is making sure that new therapists are almost fully booked while still having availability for new clients.

Couple this delicate balancing act with the fact that she was still doing her own paperwork (literally) and it became clear that it was time to grow. Ultimately she decided to hire one additional therapist to start and, within a year, had to hire a second to keep up with demand. From there, she hired 2 additional administrators to handle pulling files and direct billing (all done on paper at this point). In just 4 short years, Body Waves went from a solo practitioner renting a room to a fully staffed small practice. 

Sign #2 You don’t have time for your tasks as a clinic owner (like daily financials or marketing): 

If you’re too busy treating patients to work on business development, your clinic's growth will stunt. Think of your business like a patient, if you stopped treating them, any progress that they made would be for not. Being a practicing clinic owner is a constant balancing act between patient care and business growth.

Ideally, your EMR system should have reports you can run to help monitor your finances and the overall health of your business. In Juvonno, for example, reports such as the Clinic Summary Report give you a snapshot of Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) you can track regularly. Monitoring these KPIs will allow you to make decisions on when and where to grow your team.

In Kristen’s case, she needed a solution for the mountains of insurance paperwork and the filing cabinets full of patient files. Enter Juvonno’s own Terry Davison.

“I went to a conference and met Terry back in 2010, we were growing quickly and everything at that time, back in the day, was on paper. He was promoting Juvonno and I clicked with him. The process was seamless, he sat down and helped coach me and showed me how to put all our paper on the computer.”

By streamlining their scheduling process and eliminating the paperwork associated with direct billing, Kristen freed up time to focus on the continued growth of her clinic. Fast forward to today, after an expansion that more than doubled their space, Body Waves now employs 6 RMTs, a full-time administrator, and recently added a Neurofeedback Brain Training practitioner to their superstar roster. 

To sum it all up, Kristen offered up some final words of wisdom for those looking to start their own private practice.

“If I could give anyone advice if you’re starting a clinic, it’s to get into the software (Juvonno) right away. It was very important to do so and it was the only way we were able to grow this business into what it is today.”

Pillar #4: Embrace Technology

Use the tools at your disposal

Imagine trying to light a fire without a match or lighter. While it’s possible to do so, it would be much more efficient if you just struck that match. The same can be said for embracing technology in your practice. Using the right EMR software is not only the match to help ignite your clinic's growth but also the kindling to help accelerate that growth.

When you’re first starting out, standard EMR features such as Scheduling, Charting, and Invoicing may be more than enough for you. As you grow, you may realize that you need more in-depth reporting or an Integrated marketing tool to help monitor and maintain growth. Finding software that can do it all and grow along with you is crucial to your success as a clinic owner.

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist and efficiency aficionado, Kristen wanted nothing but the best for her rapidly expanding clinic. She needed an EMR software that could not only keep up with her clinic’s ever-growing needs but also have built-in tools to assist in furthering that growth. Scheduling, Patient lookup, and Direct Billing all changed her day-to-day, but what features did she use to maintain and grow her client base.

“With JComm, I noticed that clients we haven't seen in a long time, are reaching out and booking appointments and I'm sure it's from the different campaigns that we have set up where Juvonno will send out an email to clients that haven't been in three months, for example, or you could set those parameters. You set it up and you forget about it, it does it for you. It's easy, take a couple hours and get it done and you never have to touch it again. Easy marketing. 

That along with the reports. I'm running reports for everything. Anything you need to look up, Juvonno has it all. The Comprehensive Sales Report is my favourite thing in Juvonno.”

If you’re looking for a partner to help grow your business every step of the way, look no further. Juvonno was designed to help private practices scale their operations and offers tools for every stage of your clinic’s growth.

If you’re ready to start your own journey as a clinic owner, we’re here for you! Fill out the form below and find out how you can get 3 months of Juvonno Lite for free!

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