Anna Davies used her education and experience as a sports therapist to launch her own business and she hasn't looked back since. She shared her story with BQ...
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Therapists on the High Street is a brand new Sports Therapy and Wellness Walk-In Clinic. Based within the town centre of Reading, it creates a completely new private practice concept.
Therapists on the High Streets main aim is to create affordable, accessible and convenient Sports Therapy for everyone.
The clinic offers, initial consultations, postural assessments, sports injury assessments, sports massage, deep tissue massage, dry needling acupuncture, maintenance care, prehab and rehabilitation programmes. We also offer yoga and pilates classes.
What did you do before you started this business?
Before starting Therapists on the High Street, I graduated from University with a BSc Hons Sports Therapy Degree.
Once I graduated I had a number of different roles within sports therapy, I worked at the University of Bedfordshire within the Sports Therapy Department, tutoring at Sports Therapy UK on weekend courses.
I was a pitchside Sports Therapist for Reading Rugby Club. I also worked at a private Physiotherapy and Chiropractic Clinic.
What inspired you to start up?
My Dad. He had his own business for last 13 years before selling and semi-retiring. I have always felt I wanted to explore business and start something for myself while benefitting others.
I was never fully satisfied in my previous roles and always looked at the person at the top and asked myself ‘how did they get there?’ ‘I could do that.’
How would you describe your business to a novice?
Sports Therapy is one of fastest growing professions. It is an essential healthcare for everyone. Sporting and non-sporting persons can benefit.
Sports therapy and wellness care is a holistic healthcare, which helps to assess and correct any postural misalignments.
The corrections are done through sports or deep tissue massage. There are lots of additional techniques used within the field, such as rehabilitation exercises, stretching, acupuncture, k-taping and cupping.
Any form of stress. Sporting, home life or work related can cause a build-up of tension, sports therapy techniques help to reduce and ease these tensions.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I was heavily advised in the beginning of my journey to ensure I have a good network around me and to build up some valuable mentors.
I like to take advice from my Dad and two external business mentors for any business and financial related issues. I also have a number of well-trusted friends within the industry who I like to discuss and call upon for any sports therapy related issues.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
I can only agree, finance is one of the biggest questions and barriers in starting.
However as my Business idea was a year in the making and I am young still living at home, I was able to save and fall back on savings I intended to spend on other things.
For the remaining funds needed, I was able to get two shareholders and take out a small business loan from the bank.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement so far is being able to employ 8 staff to be a part of Therapists on the High Street.
To be able to give those 8 people roles within the business and particularly giving the trainee therapists a massive opportunity at starting within the field.
Also within our first 3 weeks of being open, we were able to see our 100th client!
How do you differentiate your business from others?
I believe the whole concept that therapists on the high street are built is completely unique and different from other private physio/sports therapy clinics.
We are based on the high street, we offer a staggered (hairdressing similar) pricelist with different therapists, trainees, graduates and seniors and we encourage walk-ins.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
The first 8 weeks of business haven’t been as glamorous as everyone things running your own business is! It has been quite stressful at times and is tiring, ensuring all the hours are covered, all the paperwork is done and everyone is going to get paid.
However, it’s this buzz that I love and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else!
As the boss, you can only expect from your staff what you would do yourself. You must motivate and always be the person you would want someone to be if they were leading you.
Where do you see your business in 5 years’ time?
My goal for the Business is to ensure this clinic is successful and then open another 3 or 4 clinics in other towns and high streets. Once there is a few open and running successful, I would then like to be able to franchise the brand out.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Go for it! Make your dream into a reality and take the risk, you won’t regret it.
Ensure you have done your research thoroughly and have planned every detail, it may take time but it will make it a lot easier.
Ensure you have a good network of contacts and support around you.
Why did you enter the BQ Emerging Entrepreneur Awards?
I heard of the BQ Awards at a networking event and when I researched into BQ I really liked their message and how supportive and inspiring they are to entrepreneurs.
What would it mean to you to win an award?
It would be an honour to be able to say that I and the business were able to collect the award.
For the hard work and new business concept to be recognised. It would give the whole team a massive motivation and reward for all their determination.
It would just be amazing for the clinic and staff to be recognised.
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