Episode 266

Scaling Your PT Clinic in Year Two and Beyond in a Gym Setting

In this episode, we talk about scaling your PT clinic in year two and beyond in a gym setting.

[00:00:00] Hello, my friend in today’s episode, you’re getting part three of a three part series of an interview that Pita Pui did with the, with the physical therapist at Kresge Sports Performance, Andrew Millett, uh, in the first episode, you can go back and listen to it already released. They talked about things to think about before introducing a PT into your gym.

In the second episode, again, already out. You can hear their tips for thriving in the first year of developing a PT clinic at a gym. And in today’s episode, they’re talking about year two and beyond. They’re talking about how to thrive long term as a physical therapy practice inside a gym setting. It’s a great conversation.

They really kind of don’t pull any punches or maybe the phrases they pull all the punches. I’m not sure, but they’re very candid and they share all their tips and experience about how to build a really great PT clinic that both, um, that both is fantastic for the physical therapist. And great for the gym.

It’s you, as you can hear from their conversation, it’s a real win win setup. So, uh, I hope you enjoy this email series, big shout out to Pete [00:01:00] and Andrew for doing it. And thanks to you all for listening. So enjoy this third and final installment of the interview. Happy listening.

Welcome to the business for unicorns podcast, where we help gym owners unleash the full potential of their business. I’m your host, Michael Keeler. Join me each week for actionable advice. expert insights and the inside scoop on what it really takes to level up your gym. Get ready to unlock your potential and become a real unicorn in the fitness industry.

Let’s begin.

Welcome back to the Business for Unicorns podcast. As I have said before, I’m not Michael Keeler. However, hello, fitness business nerds. Welcome to the party. We are here for our third installment of a three part series, a conversation with my friend and colleague, Andrew Millet, [00:02:00] owner of Moomstrong Physical Therapy.

My name is Pete Dupuis. I’m a regular here on the podcast, typically in the guest chair, but I have flipped the script. I am interviewing this time around trying to First two iterations of this conversation, we talked in episode one about the boxes that need to be checked before pulling the trigger on launching a partnership and collaboration of this nature.

Second episode, we talked about how to survive year one, which is a pretty significant hurdle. We shared a lot of insights, both from the perspective of the gym owner. And the perspective of the aspiring or new physical therapy clinic owner. And I would strongly encourage that you go back and listen to them in that order as the information builds from one to the next.

And we’re back today for a third one where we’re going to talk about how you scale this thing. So Andrew mentioned in earlier episodes that he’s been doing this for six years out of our space. You could contend that it’s more than a decade in the making as we’ve been laying a foundation for this over the [00:03:00] years.

But today we’re going to talk about how you go. From instead of from zero to one from one to one plus, and I’ve watched your business grow in scope in staff size in footprint in my own space, and it’s constantly changing. And I think that we have, uh, Combination of ideas for why that worked, how that can be replicated in other people’s operations.

And we’re each going to give you three of our own pieces of advice on this topic. Mind being from the gym side, yours from the PT side. You want to lead us off on this final time? Yes. Go first. Absolutely. Thank you. I would think my first one, looking back, look for that hire or that next employee before you need it.

Short story, I was burning the candle at both ends, timing my last cup of coffee to get me to the end of the day, which was 9 30 at night. So One thing I always look at other business owners is when you’re at about 80 percent [00:04:00] capacity for a caseload, that’s the metric we like to look at to see. All right, it’s time to bring on the next PT or administrative help.

Don’t rush this one. Cause I really liked this metric when you’ve shared it with me in the past. You didn’t stop at 80 percent and you explained it to me. What is the duration of time that you need to sustain 80 percent to feel comfortable pulling the trigger on that? I would say three months of consistent 80 percent capacity.

And that can be then bring on administrative staff part time or full time to handle. The list of things you don’t need to do, like they’re important, but calling clients back scheduling the stuff that someone, you can pay somebody else to do it’s looking back. I wore too many hats and I know that’s what we have to do from an entrepreneur standpoint early on, but it got to a point where I was wearing all the hats all the time and should have delegated sooner.

So from an administrative standpoint, hiring somebody. And then once you’re at 80 percent capacity, continued after those three months, looking to bring on the [00:05:00] next employee that you see to be a part of your community to help grow that mission and that vision, can you elaborate a little bit on how you go about that?

Because that might be. My most common piece of feedback to members of Unicorn Society, that being that you need to be looking for the next coach before you need the next coach, but I do tend to struggle with answering the question, okay, where do I look because I’m spoiled in the I am part of the oversight team for an established internship program that generates its leads year over year.

I would say we’ve taken students on their internships from the beginning, so I think that has been a huge help whether they end up working for us or not. Just having our network expand through our students and who they know. So we’re in the position to hire somebody. We can reach out to our student network to see if they know of anybody, if they’re interested, or send it to the alumni group at their respective universities or colleges.

Social media, everyone’s on it. I think putting up job [00:06:00] posting, if that’s, if you’re in that position to hire or reaching out to your network on social media of, hey, do you know any good physical therapists? work with athletes in the area or around or see who follows you and have a conversation over direct message.

I’ve utilized the coaching staff here. Hey, do you know of any physical therapists that would be a great fit here? I highly respect and value the opinion of the team here. And I want to, they know the culture of CSP as well as move strong and they’re going to help vet the next person as well. So I think utilizing the coaching staff as well as.

Yourself, Pete, the business owners, and then your network, your, sorry, your network and your network is your net worth. And I know that’s cliche to say, but. Anytime I’m looking to hire somebody, I reach out to as many people as I can look in my phone or from people I’ve interacted with in the past to see, even though that interview maybe didn’t work out, they might have somebody who might be a good fit.

I like that. And for the gym owners out there who are struggling with this hire, there was a [00:07:00] good piece of advice buried in there from Andrew, which is, if you work with adjacent service professionals like PTs, independent of your space, They’re a good place to go because like he said, he’ll come to us saying, do you know any physical therapists in your network, even though you’re strength coaches, PTs that we go to as well, know plenty of strength coaches.

They know coaches at facilities that are not your own, that are feeding them business. And they just might know strength coaches who are less than satisfied with their current situation. So look there for alternative talent as well as you try and spread the biggest net for this. All right, your next piece of advice.

I learned this the hard way after having two employees leave and yeah, it’s. When you are by yourself as a business owner, you only got to worry about you. When you bring on a team and administrative team or other staff, physical therapists and clinicians, like [00:08:00] you really got to improve your communication and leadership game.

And I know we’ve talked about this in the past of anyone who says they can teach leadership, don’t run away. A lot of it’s through trial and error, Nick’s cuts and scratches throughout the process and just being well read from people who’ve done it. And just learning a lot of the mistakes that go along with it.

Like I’ve screwed up many times trying to lead my team and prior team members. And I’ve had to really work on my communication skills and. It’s been, it’s, I will not change those mistakes because they were learning lessons and I’ve grown as a business owner from them, but I think learning how to lead a team and towards that common mission and vision and how to communicate that to them and communicate when times are going well, but also communicate when people aren’t doing what they need to be doing.

Yeah. I think we need to all accept the fact that we’re going to fall in our face with this initially. I don’t personally know anyone who graduated college with a, we’ll say, a [00:09:00] degree in leadership per se. I know you can take courses on it, but I just, there’s no one in my network who thrives in this. And you need to fail to learn these lessons.

There’s a lot of learning things the hard way, but that being important, because like you. I’ve did not get into this because I was like, Hey, I’m starting a business so that I can be a one man HR department, but it doesn’t mean I can abdicate my responsibilities and handling that piece. So I’d say, study it, have conversations about it.

Look for podcasts on the topic. One of the biggest moments of imposter syndrome in my career was when I got to stand in front of your colleagues at PT biz and deliver a lecture down in San Antonio recently, where they asked me to speak on my experiences in leadership. And I had to step in front of the room and say, just so you know, I think anyone who declares themselves an expert on leadership is full of shit.

And so, uh, I want to put that out there first and foremost, that. There, there’s got to be a degree in humility coming from the people who are teaching you on the [00:10:00] topic for it to be credible in my eyes, but it’s absolutely worth chasing, finding that person and learning from them. And I think to anyone who talks about leadership from a humility standpoint, it’s mostly just sharing where they screwed up and what didn’t go well.

You’re going to learn more from your mistakes than you are your wins. Exactly. All right, give me one more piece of advice for scaling beyond year two, three, four, five. This is a couple of different parts to it. I think one thing or multiple things that have worked really well with Krusty Sports Forms and Move Strong PT is that I, and I respected your time and space, but utilizing both of us as valuable resources for each other when running a business and how to interact with each other on a business standpoint.

Multiple times, have you listened to this podcast or have you read this article or have you heard about this concept, whether you come into me with that or I come into you with it and just trying to make each other better from a entrepreneur standpoint, because back to the original point, if the gym’s [00:11:00] successful, we’re successful and vice versa.

So I think that’s been really helpful. And I have business mentors outside of the gym that I lean on for advice, but also having a fellow business owner in the trenches has been super helpful and. Along those same lines, just open and honest communication and radical candor with the gym owner and from the gym owner, the PT has been really important and we can be respectful of each other, but being honest about what we need and finding a common ground where it can be a winning situation.

Totally agree. And this kind of comes back to checking those boxes in year one that we discussed in episode one. If you are considering going into a professional dynamic with someone who you can’t tell whether or not they are bettering themselves in any capacity, you don’t know if they like to read, you don’t know if they attend events, you don’t know if they listen to podcasts, that might be the red flag that tells you to run away.

Because I don’t remember how far it dates back, but if you look in my iTunes, My list [00:12:00] of shared episodes is like 50 percent from you and 50 percent from Mark Fisher over the years. And wouldn’t you know it, these are people that I’ve chosen to go into business with. So you want to find people who are aligned with your learning style and hungry for that piece.

It just makes it that much better. All right, I got three pieces of advice from the perspective of the gym owner, and they’re quick hitters here, but that’s okay because we do try and keep these episodes brief. My advice, if you want to scale really quickly, I would right out of the gate have collaborative pricing strategies.

So if there are move strong clients who are referred to CSP, they are offered a discounted assessment. It’s just. Out of the gate. We want there to be as little friction as possible to move business back and forth. So it should be easy for the admin out front in either capacity to explain where discounts exist or where modified pricing strategies exist with the other party.

And so that piece has been pretty easy to [00:13:00] facilitate. It makes for a compelling angle, I would imagine, for the PTs to make it feel. attainable for somebody coming out of a treatment protocol and jumping into the gym. And honestly, with you being a cash based PT, it’s there can be sticker shock for people who work with you.

And we are comparatively more affordable. So when I slap a discount on top of an assessment with people who are coming out of already mentally and literally committing to that type of a spend, it’s a very easy close and it’s helped us a lot. And it’s helped, I think, scale both because if we can keep one of your clients here.

They’re likely to work with you again in the future for more of a maintenance standpoint. All right, my second piece of advice on this front, I would suggest joining continuing ed strategies. So if you have a weekly staff in service, you sure as shit should invite the PT clinic staff members to any or all of them.

You should invite them to lecture at them. If they’re interested, you should invite them to challenge [00:14:00] ideas. If we are presenting and there should be a constant thought sharing process before the two teams or between the two teams. So as to ensure we’re all singing the same songs and delivering a relatively consistent philosophical approach to how we do things.

Am I putting words in your mouth or are we on the same page on this one? No, I agree. And I could always do a better job attending more in services and staff meetings, but I think from a formal standpoint in service, providing in services. Attending in services, giving a lens, a PT lens that you look through and perspective and feedback during these in services, super valuable for both parties.

And I think on an informal basis, like we’ll have coaches come in and shadow a PT session, or me, the athlete and the coach will be collaborating on the training floor of how to adjust programming so that the athlete gets the most benefit and they feel like they’re taken care of. So. And I think it starts with that and that builds that trust in that relationship.

Yeah. I think the primary takeaway here is that the better we understand each other’s operations, the easier it is to [00:15:00] make compelling pitches to our clients to consider the other. So lead facilitation is just accelerated if we are all in the exact same mindset. Yes. All right. My final suggestion is top of mind for me.

I’m suggesting co branded events. We are currently pitching a, we’re calling it a high school combine, but it’s basically a testing day, entering an off season for our athlete population. And we’re helping them lay down some metrics using some tech in our space that otherwise doesn’t exist cumulatively in other places.

someone might have a force plate, but they probably don’t have a proteus or they might have timing gates, but they’ve never seen force plates. And we’ve got a lot of pretty cool resources between our two operations that we can share. And in this case, we’re co branding an event and slapping logos on both of them and making sure that each of us get exposure to a lot of different athletes.

And if you can. Make sure that your efforts are unified, so you can share lists, you can share [00:16:00] work, you can share output, and you can all show up to help each other thrive. Yeah, I think that’s, it’s been huge to like, get this going and It’s at the end of the day, one, we’re trying to help each other from a business standpoint, personal standpoint, but also like healthy athlete in front of us where, you know, from a PT perspective, if an athlete’s been dealing with a cranky low back, it’s not so bad that they want to come in, but we can have this interaction at an event like this that can start the conversation before it becomes like so severe where they have to miss playing time.

All right, so let me wrap this third episode right here. I’m going to recap my notes on your three pieces of advice for a PT clinic owner, entering a gym space and scaling beyond that first year. First, identify your next coach before you need it. That one’s huge. I can’t say this enough. Always be looking for talent.

My colleague, Mark Fisher used to refer to this as building the bench when I first met him and he was doing informational interviews for jobs that he didn’t have to offer, and I thought that was brilliant. Second one from Andrew, improve your [00:17:00] leadership game. This one’s for. All of us, regardless of industry, small business is an exercise in humbling us on our management leadership game.

And we’ve been kicked in the teeth. The question is, did we or did we not learn from it? And I’d like to think the two of us have. Third piece of advice, look at your partnership for advice shares. So don’t go into business with somebody who isn’t interested in getting better at the same level that you are.

My three piece of advice here. I suggested a collaborative pricing strategy. So minimize the friction for sharing leads from a pricing standpoint. I suggested joining your continuing education efforts between the two teams. And lastly, I would encourage you to consider co branding events and these lead generation initiatives that the two businesses might be able to share their resources on that has helped us scale both sides of this equation.

All right, we’re gonna leave it there. That’s three consecutive episodes talking. I’m bringing a PT clinic into a gym like Cressy Sports [00:18:00] Performance. If this is something that spoke to you, you can email me, Pete at Business for Unicorns. You can suggest that I bring Andrew back on. You can suggest that we dive deeper into this as I feel like we almost barely scratched the surface.

But we have plenty of ideas on this front. Andrew, how can people get in touch with you if they need to or ping you with relentless questions for your wisdom? Absolutely. Thank you again for having me. I can be reached at Andrew Millett, P. T. Andrew M. I. L. E. T. P. T. at gmail. com. Movestrongphysicaltherapy. com, as well as on Instagram at Movestrongphysicaltherapy.

All right, that’ll do it. Keeler, I’m coming for your job. See ya.