Recently we spoke with Darrin Yee, CEO at Envision Sport Physical Therapy & Pilates, and Bren Schader, the Director of Sales and Marketing, about how they grew the business. Darrin and Bren went from patients of the clinic to the people running and growing it. Keep reading to learn more about their story and their advice for other business owners.
How did the business get started?
Bren: We’ve been in business for 13 years. The company was created under the name South County Physical Therapy and Pilates, but was changed to Envision Sport about three years ago after Darrin and his business partner, Melissa Walls, took over as owners. Our clinic is unique in that we offer both physical therapy and Pilates to our community.
I began as patients of the clinic, both doing physical therapy for different knee injuries. As time went on, Darrin started working at then South County under the owner learning the in’s and out’s of the business. When the previous owners moved to a new state in 2013, Darrin and Melissa decided to purchase the business. I came onboard in 2016 to oversee the clinic’s marketing.
Darrin: I started in 2005 when the company was only five people and there’s been a tremendous amount of growth since that time. We are now a staff of 25 employees and nine independent contractors. We’re also projected to reach 50% revenue growth this year. We plan to continue being different, change people’s perception of what physical therapy and Pilates is, and find ways to address the community's physical needs.
What you do think has enabled your business success?
Darrin: Our staff. Our business is service oriented and we have incredible staff that work hard, and have great rapport with our clients. As a result, we have a lot of patients that are repeat customers and they bring us new business through word of mouth referrals.
How do you foster great staff?
Darrin: Hire the right personnel and they will have rapport with other staff members. For example, our General Manager Laura is very relatable and her door is always open. Other staff members know they can talk to her about anything, including conflicts, which creates a supportive work environment.
What successful marketing strategies have you used at the business?
Bren: Perkville has been big for us this year. We have wanted a rewards program for our Pilates clients for awhile, but didn’t have the time to manage it on our own. Perkville has been helpful because it’s automated. The program automatically monitors our referrals, which lets us know if what we’re doing internally is successful.
We also introduce packages that resonate with our clients, run specials on Groupon, and provide new clients with a very personal experience. If we don’t see a new client for a while, we’ll reach out to them by phone or email to make sure they’re okay. Our marketing strategy is very relationship based.
What is the most popular perk that you give away in the program?
Darrin: Our clients like the free classes, but really anything that’s free is a popular choice.
What software would you recommend to other business owners?
Bren: We use Hootsuite for social media which allows us schedule out posts ahead of time. It makes social media management easy for a small business. We use Constant Contact for email marketing. Their platform is intuitive so it’s not necessary to know the particulars of the software. We’re on MINDBODY for class and appointment scheduling.
Do you have any words of advice for other business owners?
Darrin: I’d say be humble. Businesses owners should realize they will make mistakes and so will employees because nobody is perfect. It’s important to be humble and don’t get down on those mistakes. Instead, use them as an opportunity to grow, lead, and get better.
Bren: Also, businesses owners will face obstacles. Don’t get discouraged. Good things will happen if you put in the hard work to overcome the obstacles.