Stretching for a big goal

The Physio Co is growing by 90% year-on-year, employs 27 workers, has 60 sites within Victoria and turns over $1.25 million each year. So what keeps managing director Tristan White awake at night? The 29-year-old is worried about whether he is employing the right people to take the business further.

“Can I involve the right people to make sure we continue to grow? I’ve got the vision, but can I personally employ and engage the right people to take us to the next level?”

White says the one thing that has helped him most within the business has been understanding what he can and cannot do.

“The most important thing I’ve learned over the past 18 months is having the right people doing the right things. I’ve engaged an operations manager and he does a fantastic job of maintaining quality.”

“We need to ensure we’ve got the managers in our business that will drive us forward. I’ve driven from nothing to 27 people, but we need the right experienced managers to take us to the next level. I’m responsible for the business, but I need to involve people that can take on specialist roles.”

The Physio Co provides aged care facilities and nursing homes with physiotherapy treatment services. The business recorded over $1.25 million in revenue last year and provides over 40,000 consultations a year.

Massive growth

The company is experiencing 90% year-on-year growth, but White says the business is capable of doing more. He expects 35% yearly growth for the next decade, and wants to see the business give over two million consultations per year.

While Tristan maintains that his goals “are going to take a hell of a lot of work”, he says he is confident the business will be able to maintain high growth rates.

“Firstly, we’ve got a great model. Physiotherapy for elderly people will be in demand for a long time to come. Our target market is growing really quickly, and in 10 years our market will be 50% bigger.”

“The second is that the model that we’re using is based upon government support for the aging population. The services we provide to aged care facilities are offset, and the individual consultations which we provide are user-paid. There is a lot of Medicare funding available, and that will provide us significant support for quite a while.”

Finding a niche

There are several other physiotherapy firms operating in the Melbourne area, but White maintains his business can take on any competition due to its focus on a niche market.

White says while several private practices only visit aged care facilities when they can schedule time, The Physio Co’s sole purpose is providing services to the elderly in these faculties. “We don’t do anything else”.

“There are a couple of others operating with a similar model, but the majority of our competitors remain the private practices in the local area which may have arrangements with aged care facilities. The problem is that the practices get really busy and the aged care home can be neglected. But for us, these facilities are our sole focus.”

“We have contracted services with the facilities and our job is to go onsite and provide assessment. The idea behind this is to meet the accreditation requirements and secondly, the exercise plan. This is [about] maintaining independence, keeping them moving for as long as we can.”

Challenges

The business began when White left another private practice, feeling disillusioned with the level of service offered by the company. While he enjoyed the work, he felt that there needed to be a company that focused solely on aged care.

But he says starting the company with just himself was hard, and having no business training made it even harder.

“The challenges right from the start was that it was just me and I needed to get the runs on the board as a service provider. I needed to give myself as someone who people were talking about and as an employer.”

“I honestly put everything into it. Leveraging from that one site, I was able to secure a service agreement with the other site. That it was, I went from one home to a series of homes and that was really when it took off.”

White has transformed his one-man business into an impressive consultation practice, and places a great amount of emphasis on his employees enjoying the workplace. He was pleasantly surprised to find The Physio Co on the Great Place to Work Institute’s Best Places to Work list.

“Bringing the team together is the biggest thing I enjoy and [employing] more people,” he says.

“I really am very passionate about the business and employing people who love to work here. I have big goals, but I think if I can create the business we have now from scratch, then surely we can go further from the base we’ve established.”

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