We are turning 1!
That’s right, we’re soon approaching the first anniversary of Balanced Bodies being a fully functioning business – and what a year it’s been! In a time when businesses of all sizes have struggled, I have been amazed and so incredibly grateful for the support of my local community and loyal customers who have been there through it all.
Starting your own small business is no mean feat (as most small business owners will tell you) but it still amazes me that I get to do something I love every single day. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been plenty of challenges, teething, and obstacles (a little thing called COVID), but, as we come up to our first birthday, I am filled to the brim with joy and appreciation for every single learning, success, and challenge that we’ve encountered as a business.
So, as a birthday treat, I thought I’d share my Balanced Bodies story for all those budding entrepreneurs, beloved supporters and those who are just curious about what goes on behind the scenes:
How did Balanced Bodies begin?
Well, it all stemmed from knowing exactly how hard it is to live with pain. At age 11, I hurt my back and it took years of treatments and tens of thousands of pounds to find something that could help. It was only in my 20s and early 30s when I began to see the connection between strength and lessening the pain that I discovered what effective rehabilitation looked like.
At the time I was working in recruitment, but I decided I wanted to help people with their pain, so I started a journey that took me to 3 different countries and returning to university to retrain.
Throughout my studies, I was shocked at the lack of recognition and opportunities available for Graduate Sports Therapists – which was a real driver for Balanced Bodies. I knew I wanted to create a space for people to come and learn how to bring a stop to their pain but also for other Sports Therapy students to develop their skills in a safe, supportive environment.
I wanted to do things differently with Balanced Bodies and the clinic – so I did! My focus was on exercise therapy as it had made such an impact in my own life and I wanted to help others free themselves from pain. I also had plans to study for a Masters and PHd – but alas COVID.
What were the biggest challenges at the beginning?
Getting the clinic opened in the first place. In the months before my clinic opened, I was working part time for the NHS, redeployed to help out in hospitals as part of the first COVID wave. This was a shell shock and at times incredibly challenging. In addition, my beloved Grandad was taken seriously ill and I was the nominated family member to visit him, which saw me making 3 – 4 trips per week down to Somerset. And around this I had to work on a business plan, find premises, buy equipment and all the other trappings of setting up a new clinic.
Within a few months of opening, we had not 1 but 2 lock downs. The second one mandated me to close for in-person consults which was highly stressful, but I adapted. I became an expert at virtual consults for 1-2-1 rehab and my client base thrived!
How did you learn what the right things to do were?
Client feedback. When I look at all the reviews and I hear the feedback from my clients I know that I am on the right path. Sure, it has been an incredibly steep learning curve. Not only in terms of rehab knowledge, but also in terms of running a business. But my clinic has grown month on month. I was able to go fully self-employed by November last year, which is rare. I am getting clients recommending others to come and work with me because they have learned that my way of doing things i.e. not using manual therapy and massage therapy as quick fixes, but taking the time and care to put the effort into helping them strengthen up the right parts, really has made a massive difference.
Also, I have a fab support network of colleagues and mentors around me to help. This is both from a therapy perspective and business perspective!
What motivates you?
Fear of failure. Both for my clients and myself. I want everyone to have the very best experience as I am a big believer in treating others the way I would like to be treated myself. My mantra is rapidly becoming Educate, Enable, Empower and it really encapsulates everything I do. Everyone deserves to be heard and treated as an individual. So, I don’t just work with an injured knee, I treat the person behind it…
Is there any advice you’d give people wanting to start their own small business?
Go for it, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey. At times I have been so focused on the end goal that I stopped enjoying the ride. Keep picking up the phone. Keep talking to people. Make sure you believe in what you are doing. And don’t compromise on your beliefs.
What does the future of Balanced Bodies look like?
I’m really excited about the future of Balanced Bodies! However, one thing I have learnt is that I can’t do it all by myself. Collaboration is key for small businesses because it allows you to continue playing to your strengths even as a growing business.
If you’re an avid follower, you’ll hear things! I hope to grow the team further this year, recruiting another GST, an Exercise Instructor and bringing in some Sports Therapy students to shadow me both in the clinic and at local rugby matches with Alton Rugby Football Club!
In the past few months, I’ve embarked on a new collaboration that is set to bring a big (and very exciting) change to Balanced Bodies…
Our NEW app by Cariboo Digital
I’ve been so excited to share this news with you! It’s been a few months in the works, but our new app, which will integrate my 1-2-1 rehab bookings with my classes to make it easier for clients, is live and ready for you to use (yay!).
For anyone in business, you’ll know that smooth processes are everything – and while our booking system worked, it was producing a lot of back-end admin. I wanted to make the process as smooth as possible for my clients and for my business, and Cariboo has done both!
Working with Cariboo was a total dream – they truly took the time to fully understand the challenges we were facing as a business, our goals for growth and, most importantly, our clients. Lots of the people we see are often in pain, suffering from an injury or are reaching out for help, which means the booking process needs to be slick, smooth, and easy to use.
The great thing about Cariboo is that they truly believe in collaboration – they want their clients to be as involved as possible so they can create a solution that truly works. They are fully transparent with their design process which I really appreciated and after some prototypes and testing we’ve landed on a design that I think you (and I) are going to love!
There’s a huge amount of tech and complicated operations involved with app development but working with the experts at Cariboo means our goals and priorities are always put first.
I couldn’t recommend Cariboo Digital enough! If you’d like to learn more about how Cariboo developed our app, read their blog post here and if you’re eager to try out our new booking process to arrange your free 20-minute consultation, we’re hoping to have it launched in October!