Dr. Michele Kehrer wanted to launch a new leading edge physical therapy clinic to facilitate rapid recovery of neurological dizziness and balance disorders, as well as musculoskeletal disorders. When planning to open her clinic, Michele quickly realized that while she understood the art and science of vestibular treatment, she didn’t know the business side of launching her practice, such as business planning, budgeting and cash flow projections, sales, marketing, management and financing. Michele contacted her local SCORE office for guidance and start-up help.
“LifeStyle Physical Therapy and Balance Center has achieved its financial goals in the first seven months of operations. The response from patients, neurologists and orthopedists has been excellent,” Michele says. “More than 90 percent of the clinics patients experienced a marked decrease of symptoms within 4-8 weeks.”
Michele first met Elliot Shear, a Chicago SCORE mentor in February 2006. First, Elliot helped her clarify and refine a business plan to obtain start-up financing. Elliot explained all the parts of the business plan that a bank would require to provide financing for the start-up working capital and acquiring the sophisticated equipment Michele needed for her clinic. He also provided a lead to a banking affiliation at Fifth Third Bank, which eventually provided her line of credit.
As the counseling continued, Michele worked with Elliot in developing a marketing plan that would influence medical practitioners to refer their patients to Lifestyle. The plan included inviting prospective patients to the clinic for a free review of methodology and state of the art equipment. To arrange a visit, potential patients could call the clinic or visit the Web site.
Michele continues to enjoy a mentoring relationship with SCORE “This would have been remarkable as a paid source,” she says, “but it was a dream come true to know that there are business professionals who want to give part of their successes back to the public by sharing their expertise for free.”