Need some very broad business advice. (Long)
by Papa November (2013-07-23 10:22:07)
Edited on 2013-07-23 10:26:09
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I'll try to make this as concise as possible. I officially opened for business as an ART provider in mid-January of this year. In the 7 months or so since then, things have picked up steadily. I'm now consistently seeing what amounts to a full schedule. I could technically see more clients, but it would mean working pretty long days. I already do the occasional weekend appointment. I just raised my rates to where they belong, but only a few people are currently paying that rate. I'm grandfathering in my existing clientele through the end of the year, but dropping any additional discounts they were receiving. I'm told to expect a lull in growth as the market adjusts to my new rates.

If I continued doing things like I am, I could probably justify moving into a larger space and bringing in an additional therapists in 2-3 months. Perhaps another 6 months after that I could look to grow again. I think a realistic timeline to make a move into my ideal facility is about 12-18 months.

My ultimate vision is to have a facility with myself, 4-6 therapists underneath me doing ART, NKT, and massage, perhaps a physical therapist, and several trainers operating out of a modest but well-outfitted (CrossFit-esque) gym. The trainers will all need to be NKT certified, as it is a foundational element to my approach. The facility will be marketed as a comprehensive pain and performance solutions center, with full collaboration between therapists and trainers.

I have now been approached by two separate individuals, both trainers but with different specialties, about teaming up. I trust and respect both as professionals and as people. They bring some interesting resources to the table in the form of existing clientele, marketing, and possible connections to funding. If nothing else, they are simply someone to split rent with on a larger facility. Once owns a dance studio (which would move into the facility and be a great referral source), and the other was the manager of a high-end fitness club.

The appeal for me is basically two-fold: Primarily, it could allow me to accelerate my timeline simply by pooling financial resources. But it also has great potential for immediate access to pipelines of new clients. Everyone training in the facility would be referred to me when needed. My visibility would increase tremendously. In turn, I would refer to the trainers to handle the corrective exercise portion that is critical to the work I do.

My problem is I am at a bit of a loss for how to go about assessing the relative merits of growing slowly on my own or opening up a facility sooner with other partners. And if it does make sense to team up, I have no idea what sort of business structure makes sense. Do we just share rent and operate as independent entities under one roof? How much do I lose out on long term by having 1-2 relatively equal partners instead of growing at my own rate and bringing everyone in underneath me? Am I giving up too much of the pie? Does getting into this niche sooner rather than later make up for that? Are we equal business owners sharing the whole pie, or do we each simply run our own side of things?

These are the questions running through my mind. I know they are basically impossible for anyone else to answer. This post is less about seeking those specific answers and more about getting some guidance on how to answer them for myself. What sort of process will help me make these determinations? What other important considerations am I simply not aware of at this time? Is there an order of priority?

Thank you in advance for any insights, recommendations, or experiences you are willing to share.


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