Check out the Video Blog of this post HERE
Today is Small Business Saturday and I wanted to take the time to share with you our story-- the story of Issa Physical Therapy.
I graduated in 1998 and it took me 3 months to find a job as a physical therapist. Not because there weren't any jobs available. I had plenty of interviews. It was because I couldn't find a job that was going to be a good learning opportunity to get my career started on the right path. I finally found that job in a county hospital in Westminster, MD.
A year after gaining some experience in acute inpatient and outpatient care, I decided that I wanted to find a job in the specialty I wanted to pursue, outpatient physical therapy. So, I transferred to an outpatient clinic not far from the hospital. That's when I had my first wake up call to the sad reality of outpatient physical therapy and the state of healthcare in this country. I was seeing 3 patients an hour, 20-24 patients per day, and spending 2 hours per day doing notes and talking to insurance companies to justify my treatment. It was what I came to find out later, a typical outpatient PT clinic. Where a patient would get hooked up on E-stim and heat for 20 minutes, see their PT for 15 minutes and then do exercises in the gym for 30 minutes under the supervision of an aide. I felt like I was doing a fraction of what I was capable of and I quit that job after a month. I was immediately offered more money to stay. There wasn't a dollar amount that would have kept me in that situation.
I quickly looked for a new job and I was fortunate enough to find a great opportunity in a pain management clinic in Bethesda, MD. In that job I had mentorship, opportunities to teach continuing education courses for PTs, and the possibility for one-on-one PT sessions for 30 minutes. It was the learning opportunity I was looking for and I stayed for 5 years.
Then I got the bug to start my own practice. Now I have to admit, I did not start off with lofty business aspirations or knowing that I wanted to be a business owner. I just knew that I wanted to practice PT in a way that would result in the best outcome for my patients. It was as simple as that. I knew that if I lived up to that promise, that all would be alright. And so, it began in 2005 in a 700 sq. ft. office in Rockville, MD with no staff.
It was a scary and an exciting time. I was doing what I set out to do. To do right by my patients and to provide the best possible care. The practice grew steadily. I hired my first employee within a year. From there hiring other support staff and PTs to be able to help more people. In 2012, we moved to a 2300 sq. ft. office in North Bethesda, MD with 3 people on the team, including myself. We are still in that beautiful office that we built out from scratch. Thirteen years later, we now have a team of 7 people including myself and we continue to make good on our promise to provide the best care with the goal of getting the best outcomes for our patients.
We are passionate about using a holistic approach to help our clients to reach their highest aspirations for their own health. While diminishing dependence on medications and preventing the possibility of surgery. We care about every single one of our clients and we genuinely help them to be the best version of themselves.
My story as a business owner may be unique, but it is typical of many small business owners. Small business owners typically start out on their own doing something they are passionate about and they come through on the promise to their customers. The story evolves from being about me (the small business owner) to we (the team that the small business owner chooses and leads).
We have a team that is committed to our promise to our clients--
"To guide and empower you to feel, move, and be better so that you can get back to what you love and daring you to do what you dream of."
That is our purpose and promise to everyone we take care of.
So today, on Small Business Saturday, I encourage you to think of and support all the small businesses that have come through on a promise to you. Whether it's the bakery down the street or the physician who left a large healthcare system to practice on his own. There are many small businesses out there deserving of recognition and support. Starting next Saturday, we will highlight a small business worthy of recognition and support on our Facebook and Instagram pages every week. So, get out there and feel good about supporting a small business today and every day. They would be forever grateful for your support.
Tamer S. Issa, PT, DPT
Owner & Founder of Issa Physical Therapy