Influencers & Profiles

Diary of an entrepreneur: How Jason Smith took Back In Motion from a carport practice to a 65-location physiotherapy franchise

Kirsten Robb /

Name: Jason Smith

Company: Back in Motion Health Group

Based: Melbourne

When he started Back In Motion Health Group out of the carport of his home, Jason Smith wasn’t your typical entrepreneur. In fact, he says he didn’t have a commercial bone in his body.

“I was a reluctant business owner,” says Smith.

“I worked all my way through secondary school and university with one ambition, and that was to become a medical missionary.”

But coming back from travelling overseas at just 24, Smith says he saw opportunities in the limited focus of Australian mainstream heath care.

“I thought the medical model was really reactive,” says Smith. “We were just fixing people when they were broken.”

As he developed his own personal philosophy of a preventive health care model, Smith found himself clashing with mainstream healthcare culture and quickly out of work as a physiotherapist.

“Out of necessity I had to treat clients from the carport at home,” he says.

But his patients responded to this new philosophy of care. Suddenly he was in the carport six days a week, working from 5am until 10pm at night.

“My wife said, do it properly or stop it,” says Smith.

And do it properly he did.

After renting a more formal practice for a few years, one of Smith’s physiotherapists on staff approached him about becoming a partner. It seemed like a better idea for Smith to help his colleague start his own business by franchising the company.

Although the idea of franchising a medical practice was met with shock and awe in the industry, Smith wasn’t worried about being cast as “the black sheep” of physio.

“To me, it was drop dead obvious it would work,” he says.

It did. Back in Motion Health Group is now worth more than $30 million and is a franchise network with 65 locations across Australia.

Smith – still as passionate as ever about his vision for healthcare – is planning to open at least 35 more stores, one in every state and territory. He tells SmartCompany about how he learnt to get a proper night sleep and why he still keeps his own physio licence.

Mornings

Smith is usually up at about 6am, doing about half an hour of exercise before his day begins.

He’s a very healthy guy – making sure he’ll eat a mixture of protein, plant food and omega three for breakfast.

“I truly believe in health and our whole philosophy,” says Smith, who is an advocate of ‘metabolic precision’ when it comes to fuelling his body for the day. He’ll eat another four or five meals throughout the day, in keeping with this belief.

If he doesn’t have a breakfast meeting, Smith’s mornings also involve his four children, all under the age of ten, and the general chaos of brushing hair, making breakfast and doing the school run.

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Kirsten Robb

Kirsten Robb is a former journalist at SmartCompany. Previously, she worked at News Corp as a property reporter for Leader Newspapers and the Herald Sun, and holds a Masters of Journalism at Melbourne University.

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