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.
FYZICAL physical therapy and balance centers was the obvious franchise choice for Gina Reullion of Treasure Coast, Florida, when she went looking for a new and different business model. This onetime Wall Streeter had already remade her career into one as a physical therapist to escape what she calls the "unhealthy lifestyle" of the financial world. But ten years into running her practice, Reullion realized that the business headaches she was suffering, from her corporate competitors, were her newest unhealthy challege. That's when she chose FYZICAL, for its "vision of what the profession of physical therapy can be." With three locations and plans for more, she hasn't looked back.
Name: Gina Reullion, MS, PT
Franchise owned: FYZICAL/ Treasure Coast, Fla -- three locations
How long have you owned a franchise?
I’ve been the owner of a FYZICAL franchise for two-and-a-half years.
I was drawn to franchising for several reasons: brand name recognition, frequent educational seminars and access to the latest technology to provide the best patient care.
But the biggest factor in why I chose franchising is the network of experts. I’m truly appreciative of the guidance and access to the team of physical therapists, private practice owners, medical professionals and business experts, all committed to the success that FYZICAL provides. Our management team models true leadership, which is what makes you successful in the long run.
What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
Before I joined FYZICAL, I was working on Wall Street, during the 1980s, and it was fun and exciting -- for a while. Eventually, the long hours and unhealthy lifestyle got to me. So I quit my job, and I decided to go back to school full time. I quickly realized that working in the medical field helping others was deeply rewarding, and it hit me that physical therapy was the perfect career. I ran a private physical therapy practice for about 10 years before I joined FYZICAL.
Why did you choose this particular franchise?
When I first started my practice, I loved helping patients, but quickly the business headaches started to build. There is a lot of pressure on private practice owners to compete with large corporate care providers, and it can get a bit overwhelming. What led me to FYZICAL was their vision of what the profession of physical therapy can be, coupled with a strategic business plan developed to empower independent physical therapists.
I was also really impressed with their innovative balance-training program, focusing on therapy as a preventive tool, which in turn allows me to better care for my patients. My role as a physical therapist is giving my patients the freedom to live life on their own terms -- and FYZICAL helps me to do just that.
How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Because I owned a practice beforehand, the cost to convert to the FYZICAL franchise system was lower than a start-up.
When I joined FYZICAL, I invested approximately $60,000 for the initial build-ut and new equipment.
Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
Prior to joining FYZICAL, I spent about $100,000 on consultants and training alone, and it wasn’t until I joined FYZICAL that I realized that about 90 percent of the consulting I was paying for was useless. Now, I have a wealth of tools and experts at my fingertips to ensure the best patient care, and the business aspects are on the right course.
What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
In the beginning, breaking free from the status quo of what I had been doing for years was difficult to adjust to even though I was confident the FYZICAL system would be successful. The FYZICAL system is centered on patient care. Knowing that I was implementing systems that were in the clients' best interest motivated me to continue to implement the system and leave behind my methods of doing business that I had grown accustomed to doing.
What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
The most important step is to look at the history and track record of the core leadership team. You should also spend time with them to make sure you have good personal chemistry. Make sure these are people you trust and would want to emulate. Also make sure they will be available to mentor you. If you want to become great, you need to link up with great people.
What’s next for you and your business?
Growth! Since being a part of FYZICAL, I’ve opened up a new clinic, and I want to continue to grow. My plan is to acquire more practices, one location a year over the next two years. I also intend to implement FYZICAL’s health and wellness program (FYZICAL Fitness) in at least one, if not two locations.