How I Proved That Age Is Nothing But a Number as a Franchisee
Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
When UT Patel graduated from school as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, he first tried to go the traditional route: becoming a director at a physical therapy clinic. However, Patel soon realized he wanted to do something unconventional with his career. So, he opened a ActiveRx location that gave him the chance to flex his entrepreneurial muscles. Here's what he has learned.
Name: UT Patel
Franchise owned: ActiveRx of Lady Lake, Fla.
How long have you owned a franchise?
I opened my location in March 2014. We have progressively gotten busier and in just one year, our location is one of the most successful in the ActiveRx system.
Investing in a franchise provided me the opportunity to take advantage of a proven business model to help make opening the location as seamless as possible. ActiveRx made it really easy to get up and running because they provided a solid framework.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before opening my ActiveRx, I was in school becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and after that, I worked as a director at a physical therapy clinic for two years. It was more of a typical route for a DPT to take but I wanted something different.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
I knew that I wanted to utilize my physical therapy background and I was drawn to the ActiveRx concept. What set it apart for me was that the franchise is research and evidence-based. The proprietary ActiveRx System is based on more than a decade of the company’s scientific research that proves the direct correlation between the need for older adults to regenerate and maintain their physical strength and the ability to live an active, independent lifestyle. It is rare to find a concept that was founded by academics who used research they found firsthand to start a company to solve a problem.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
After all was said and done, it was close to $200,000.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I am constantly furthering my education but I also learn a fair amount from my patients. Every day in this job, you learn something new about how the human body reacts to certain things. I also make a point to read review journals to get more insight into treatments that are proven most effective.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
Some thought that my age would be a challenge because I am only 30 years old. However, if you ask me, it’s not a disadvantage at all. I always knew what I wanted to do and had a very streamlined plan. In this line of work, it’s much more about personality than age. As long as you take the time to get to know your patients, you will see success.
The true challenge was learning how to most effectively network with doctors in the area who would then refer patients my way. Once I made initial connections, everything else fell into place.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
Do not let anything stop you. People thought my age would be a deterrent, but I have proven them wrong every step of the way. I would also advise potential franchisees to follow their passion. I knew that my passion was in helping people through physical therapy so I found a franchise that would allow me to do that.
What is next for you and your business?
I would love to open more ActiveRx locations in different cities because there are other areas in Florida that would absolutely benefit from having a ActiveRx in their communities. I’m very happy with where I am right now—and you never know what the future holds!