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Helpful Tips for Growing Your Business from an ESL Small Business Owner

In October 2018, the Democrat & Chronicle covered the story of Jenni Tuller, Owner, Physical Therapy Services of Rochester, PC, and of one of ESL’s business customers (see previous story). We followed up with Jenni, who’s sharing some of her insights on how she became a successful business owner.

Challenge Yourself

Jenni started as a physical therapist on staff at Physical Therapy Services of Rochester in 2006, and quickly assumed additional leadership responsibilities at the office. She became the in-house expert on the new system handling medical documentation and and electronic medical records for the business. In 2016, the former owner indicated her intent to retire, leaving the business open for new ownership. Being involved with different aspects of the business helped ease the transition to her ownership role, while also identifying opportunities for improvement in the business.

Acquiring Additional Business “Know How”

There were several challenges Jenni overcame in the early days of ownership. While many medical professionals receive business training as part of their medical school coursework, that’s not the case for Physical Therapy school. Acquiring on-the-job business management skills was very important in the early stages.

The relationship Jenni had with her accountant and attorney were a crucial partnership to help ensure a smooth transition to ownership. To get funding for the ownership transfer, her accountant helped speak with several different local lenders to obtain her financing to buy the business, eventually committing with ESL.

ESL put together a SBA loan package. Having been in regular contact with her ESL Relationship Manager, Jenni has been able to connect with the resources she needs to keep the business running. Her team of small business professionals helped look at many different aspects of the business, including account payables and receivables, managing cash flow, tax planning, and processing insurance payments.

Build Effective Procedures

As a new owner, Jenni felt it was important to create a documented set of procedures for all tasks within the business. Establishing procedures early on helped her business run more efficiently while also helping to train new hires. If someone is out of the office unexpectedly or new to a role, employees now can refer to a desk manual to help complete all necessary tasks and keep the business running. The small investment will pay dividends for your business down the road.

Assembling Your Team

Whether you are just starting out, or growing your business, hiring the right people can help make all the difference. One of the things Jenni looks for are people who have shown they are willing to go above and beyond to help the team. Examples of these behaviors may seem like only a small impact, but often come with employees who are engaged in helping the businesses be successful.

Be Willing to Share Your Story

As a small business owner, it’s important to share your passion with others and explain what the needs are for your business. Early on for Jenni, that meant going to different lenders to discuss business-financing needs where she admits feeling very vulnerable at first. Lenders may be looking at your business “on paper” but it’s also helpful to share the story of your business for further context. For anyone starting out, find your confidence and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.