Laquita Conway and Aaron Baker, a mother and son team, are co-founders of The Center of Restorative Exercise (C.O.R.E.). This family business was birthed as a result of a catastrophic injury. Aaron was a professional motocross racer who broke his neck during a training accident. That injury rendered him a quadriplegic. Laquita could not find a facility that offered ongoing therapeutic exercise for conditions like Aaron's. She decided to open one that would focus on rehabilitation through restorative exercise for individuals suffering a catastrophic injury or illness.
Laquita shares these insights about building a family business:
Turn tragedy into triumph.
Many families experience tragedies, including the clients that Laquita and Aaron serve. The mother-son duo turned around a devastating experience into a family business that makes a positive impact on the lives of those they serve. It's what motivates them to get through the highs and lows of building a family business.
Perhaps Laquita could have moved to another area of the country to find a facility that would provide what Aaron needed. "I am very purpose driven, and I knew that there had to be some incredibly important reason why my family had been dealt such a tragic situation that upended every aspect of each one of us," Laquita shared.
Her family took time to reflect on life, and decided to turn tragedy into triumph using a family business as a vehicle. Their tragedy became their opportunity to overcome difficult circumstances, and start a venture that helps others.
Put your family first.
"I retired my career and focused entirely on assisting Aaron's recovery process," Laquita explained.
Aaron was told that he was rehabilitated after one year of physical therapy, but he was confined to an electric wheelchair and needed help with activities of daily living, such as grooming. Laquita was by her son's side and her dedication to Aaron paid off. He now lives fully independent with a single point cane. By putting her son first, she was able to build a family business that gives hope for recovery to other individuals and families facing similar circumstances.
She shared, "Our hope is to see Aaron's opportunity for recovery become the rule instead of the exception."
Know how to succeed.
Laquita attributes the success of her family business to a few factors. First, she recommends that you establish strong boundaries for the time you spend on your family business and the time your spend with your family. It's difficult for families to set those boundaries, especially in the early stages when landing sales or opening your doors can require almost all of your time.
Second, your team will contribute to or diminish your success. Laquita shared, "We have successfully built a dynamic, talented team who embrace and believe in our vision. It is our responsibility to provide an inspired and motivating work environment of which people can see a career path."
A final tip from Laquita is to share your story as a way to get personal. Their clients know the story behind the family business and are confident that Laquita and Aaron as co-founders can relate to what it is they are going through.
Pay attention to family dynamics.
A major contributor to the success of any family business is the relationship between the family members involved in the day-to-day operations. It doesn't matter how much potential exists for your business idea. If you can't get along with the people you're running a business with, it can lead to disaster.
I wanted to know if Laquita would encourage anyone else to start a family business. Her answer: "Some [families] work exceptionally well together, others do not at all. It depends on the ability to work well with one another."
Take time and get training to strengthen your communication skills, and build both emotional and social intelligence.
Laquita and Aaron want to improve the quality lives for their clients and others nationwide. They were not defeated by tragic circumstances. It was the foundation for a family business whose core service is to help others thrive.