I am so excited to introduce today’s guest poster: Connor Massimo!
Connor Massimo is a great friend of mine, and one of my husband’s best childhood friends.
But that’s only a small reason for why he is so great…
Connor is an entrepreneur and also a Registered Physiotherapist, MScPT, FCAMPT, which means he:
- Has a Master’s of Science in Physiotherapy (MScPT)
- Is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists (FCAMPT) aka. Physio Badass!
His fellowship with the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Physiotherapists is a very highly renowned designation to hold; and as most physios know, it is one of the most challenging and intensive courses to complete.
On top of that, Connor opened his own physio clinic, Pulse Physiotherapy in November 2014 with his business partner Adam Summers.
When they first started it was only Connor and Adam with one part-time employee. They have since grown their staff to 12, including 5 physios and 4 RMTs!
Pulse Physio prides themselves in offering one-on-one treatment in private rooms, where they take the time needed to get to the root of a client’s issue and provide effective, evidence-based treatment.
They are excited to grow into their new clinic space (~ 5,000 sq. feet) this fall and expand the services they provide to include things like Pilates, yoga, and strength & conditioning.
Since opening his clinic a little over 3 years ago, Connor has already achieved remarkable success and along the way he has learned some very valuable lessons in entrepreneurship that he has graciously shared with us today.
Top 5 Tips For Aspiring Entrepreneurs – By Connor Massimo, Co-founder of Pulse Physiotherapy
This story begins the way many of my stories do… sitting with friends around a campfire in Northern Ontario listening to early 2000s hip-hop. If Ja Rule doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, then who will? On a beautiful late summer’s night in 2013, my good friend Adam and I hashed out the earliest visions of Pulse Physiotherapy over a few adult beverages and some off-key sing-alongs. Fast forward almost five years… I am living out my dream. Adam and I own and operate a successful physiotherapy clinic and we absolutely love what we do! However, our path from that night at the campfire to where we are today hasn’t always been easy. We have had lots of ups and downs along the way, which have taught us many important lessons about living the life of an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. However, if you are currently on the fence and thinking it may be the life for you, then read along! My goal for this post is share my TOP 5 TIPS to help someone starting out in the scary world of business. These are not textbook tips from someone with an MBA… simply lessons that two young, naive guys with zero prior business experience have picked up over our first five years running our clinic. These are things that I wish we had known before we started and I’m excited to be sharing them with you today. I truly love being an entrepreneur and I’m hopeful that this post might help nudge someone who is currently on the fence to take the leap!
Tip #1: Fuel Your Passion
In my opinion, if you are starting out in the world of business, it is essential that you pursue an idea that really excites and inspires you. For me, this was easy. I was already working as a physiotherapist and loving what I did. I loved helping people prevent and recover from injury. I loved working with the public and meeting new and interesting people everyday. I loved the challenge of clinical reasoning and troubleshooting my way through complex cases. I loved promoting physical activity and empowering people to enjoy exercise as much as I do. I loved it all! And yet, something was missing…
It wasn’t until I ventured into the life of entrepreneurship that I found my true calling. Now, I get to combine everything that I loved about being a physiotherapist with my new love: running a business. I love the logistical challenges of planning a renovation. I love having the opportunity to help select an amazing staff that makes going to work fun. I love learning the ins and outs of marketing and strategic business planning. These aren’t necessarily things that have come easily to me, but the challenge makes me love them that much more. My whole point of Tip #1 is that if you aren’t currently doing something that you love, try something different. I know that’s easier said than done, but I truly believe it is worth the risk.
When you do find that thing that you absolutely LOVE, hold on tight and run with it!
Tip #2: Make A Plan
I’m going to shoot straight with you on this one… business planning isn’t fun. There, I said it. It involves a lot of monotonous market research and number crunching that can end up being quite mind-numbing. It’s not all bad, though. The excitement of planning your new venture can actually be quite inspiring. Also, business planning can mean different things to different people. Planning for a new lifestyle blog won’t look anything like planning to open a new restaurant. Nevertheless, one thing that any successful business shares in common: they all started with a plan!
I also think it is important to get your plan down on paper. Now, for a start-up like ours, this was essential. We were headed to the bank asking for a significant loan and they weren’t about to shell out a bunch of cash to two young guys with a less-than-stellar looking business plan. The plan took a lot of blood, sweat and tears and the better part of six months for Adam and I to create. By the end, we had something that we were confident in and proud of. It was an actionable plan that allowed us to start putting things into motion once our financing was approved. It wasn’t all that fun to create, but let me tell you, it made the first year of running a business so much smoother and less stressful.
The other nice part about formalizing a business plan on paper is that you have something concrete to refer back to in the future. Adam and I often look back at that original plan. We shake our heads at how wrong some of our predictions were and marvel at how accurate some of the others were. It’s nice to have that snapshot in time. It ensures that we never allow our ever-evolving plans for the future of our business to stray too far from our original vision that we had for the company. It allows us to stay true to ourselves.
No inspiring anecdotes to end this one… just make a plan!
Tip #3: Get Social
Being that there is a very good chance you landed on this blog post via your social media platform of choice, I feel like I am preaching to the choir with this one. However, I do think it is still worth noting how absolutely essential it is for a start-up company of any sort to have a strong social media strategy and presence. My reasoning for this is twofold. One, it’s cheap. Two, it works! Young companies can reach a very large audience at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing avenues (radio, TV, print, etc). Again, I’m sure this isn’t news to you… it also wasn’t news to me either. Yet, I am still shocked on regular basis by how wide-reaching our social media messages are. The number of clients that end up at our clinic simply because they liked one Instagram video we posted 6 weeks ago continues to blow my mind. Spend 30-60 minutes on your company’s social media accounts each day and you too will reap the rewards. It’s time well-spent!
Getting social doesn’t just mean having a social media presence, though. I also strongly encourage you to get out there and meet people! I want to share a quote from a friend and business mentor of mine Neil Morton, who runs a successful media company called @ptbo_canada. The quote goes a little something like this: “NETWORK YOUR FACE OFF!” It’s simple advice, yet something that Adam and I have found to be extremely helpful in gaining recognition for our new clinic within our community. When you are trying to grow a start-up company, you have to go to everything: charity dinners, workshops, business planning sessions, local sporting events and concerts, the dog park, etc, etc, etc. The more times you show your face in your community, the more people who get the chance to put a face to a name. We have found that people truly love to support new businesses.
If you can force yourself to break out of your shell and network your face off, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the number of new customers, clients, readers, followers, etc. you will gain!
“Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards.” – Tina Fey
Tip #4: Ducks Fly Together
Yes, as in the Mighty Ducks. Tip #4 is all about the importance of surrounding yourself with like-minded people who are going to support you and help build you up. In my case, this was finding the right business partner to start a clinic with. For me, the choice was easy. Adam and I are friends, we are both physiotherapists, we have very similar philosophies for how we think a clinic should run, and our friends and family would tell you that we’re both pretty laid-back, easy going guys. People always tell me that having a business partner is like having another spouse… I disagree. Adam rarely comments on my receding hairline. Although, that’s likely because he’s completely bald…
Anyway, it’s also very helpful that we have the endless support of our families on this crazy adventure. Even though Adam and I officially run the clinic, it’s really a family-owned business. Without the love and support of the ones closest to you, the highs wouldn’t be so amazing and the lows would be pretty lonely. Surround yourself with folks who have your back!
If you’re looking for a business accountant or lawyer, choose someone that a close family member or friend uses. When hiring new staff, pick people who you would want to spend time with on a non-work day. When you make business collaborations, work with companies that have similar philosophies to yours in order to stay true to your brand and clientele. Most importantly, understand that negative people are out there… learn how to spot them early and keep your distance!
“They know that if they mess with one duck, they gotta deal with the whole flock.” – Coach Gordon Bombay (Mighty Ducks)
Tip #5: Take The Leap!
There is never a “right” time to start a new business.
When Adam and I opened the clinic in 2014, I was 27 years-old. My wife and I were newly married, we were new home-owners, we had just brought home our first puppy, and I was buried in student debt. My point isn’t to say that I was being ridiculous to think that opening a new business at that time was a good idea. Although, looking back at it now, I’m not really sure it was ideal timing. That’s right… that was my point: there is never going to be an ideal time! If I had waited until I was out of debt to take on more debt and start a new company, I would still be working for somebody else. Everyone is in debt, get over it! Take some short-term risks and reap the long-term rewards.
There is no doubt that opening a business is scary. It’s a risk. Taking a risk is inherently scary. Adam and I left full-time, secure jobs that we liked. We had no idea how long it would take us to build up a clientele at the new clinic. We had our business plans, but thats all they were: plans. Projections, rough estimates, educated guesses really… What if we were wrong? What if no one wanted to come see us at the new clinic? What would we do for money? How would we keep up with our mortgage and student loan payments? How would we support our families? These are all the types of questions that you ask yourself when you are starting out with a new business venture. However, what we quickly discovered is that if you do it right, the rest will work itself out and fall into place. Do it right? Be in it for the right reasons, work with caring people, understand that it takes effort and dedication, stay committed to your end-goals! Do it right and you will quickly discover that you made a decision that will significantly improve your quality of life!
So, go ahead, take the leap! You’ll be happy you did!
I would just like to thank Jessica for the opportunity to write this guest blog post. The work she is doing with the @thehealthysweetpotato blog and her online Pilates venture are truly inspiring. She’s helping people feel empowered to live a healthy and active lifestyle and she’s loving what she does. Thanks for having me Jess!
Thank you so much Connor. You are truly an inspiration to me and the community. You are really paving the way for new entrepreneurs to follow in your footsteps and I cannot wait to see how your business continues to grow over the next few years. <3
If you would like to learn more about Connor and Pulse Physiotherapy, I’ve included links on how to find him below. And make sure to give them a follow on social media!!
Website: Pulse Physiotherapy
Until next time,