Client Story: Good Physio

Client Story: Good Physio

Good Physio was established in 2015, when husband and wife team Tristan and Natalie Chai took the leap and left their full-time jobs to start a new physiotherapy business from scratch. Based in Glenelg, the clinic offers physiotherapy, sports/remedial massage, acupuncture, rehabilitation and exercise therapy – and has seen revenue grow by approximately 30% per year since 2017.

In the beginning, the couple wanted to change the way physiotherapy was perceived.  They believed that pain and injury rehab should be approached with a positive mindset for best results, so they spent the time and money needed to create a calming space and recruit a team of caring, top-notch therapists whom clients would embrace, trust and look forward to visiting. Since then, many other clinics have adopted the same approach to their clinic designs and operations.

Recently, the physios started consulting at the multidisciplinary clinic SPARC (Sports and Arthritis Clinic) in Mile End for two days each week. This change has allowed them to expand the Good Physio brand outside of Glenelg and be more accessible to new clients who live closer to the city or on the other side of town, as well as existing clients who had previously been travelling to Glenelg for their consultation.

In 2017, Tristan was offered the role as Head Physiotherapist for the Adelaide 36ers, a job which he accepted and has continued in an expansion to the scope of his work at Good Physio.

“We’ve been able to share Tristan’s journey treating elite basketball players via social media with our clients, as well as build relationships with leading sports doctors and other health professionals nationally and internationally, which keeps us up-to-date with the latest clinical research and practice,” says Natalie.

In 2018, out of over 300 local traders, the business was awarded Overall Best Customer Experience as well as Best Health, Wellness and Fitness Business at the Jetty Road Awards, and they also won a second-place award for their social media presence.

Challenges during the business journey and through COVID

Tristan notes that rising business costs present an ongoing challenge, as they continue to balance affordability for clients with the expenses associated with hiring and retaining outstanding team members.

“Our business model has always been to deliver high quality care, taking time with each patient whilst remaining within a reasonable and accessible price range,” Tristan says. “This puts a limit on how many patients are seen per day, which has to be balanced with client stability and the job satisfaction and career opportunities for our team.”

During COVID, the physical therapy industry fell into ‘a grey area of essential services’, so the business was able to continue trading throughout the various stages of restrictions, within their own ethical standards as to what was safe and best for their staff and community.

“The workload dipped, but we didn’t lose enough business to qualify for JobKeeper payments, so there was some extra pressure to find new ‘non-contact’ ways to provide our services,” says Tristan. “We set up telehealth and partnered with our suppliers to provide online education and webinars. It was a challenge, but actually, having a new range of skills and an extended network has given us further stability.”

Keys to success

Tristan and Natalie say that one of the most important factors in their business success has been having a dynamic and complementary set of skills between the two of them: Tristan manages the team of physios (having had over 15 years of experience in different clinical settings and sitting on various physio boards and committees) while Natalie, a Commerce graduate with experience in banking and administrative roles, looks after the bookkeeping and manages the admin team. Tristan is a creative at heart, too, so he handles all the social media, branding and merchandise designs.

Another key to success has been establishing a close-knit, long term team of physios who love their work and love working together. The team is experienced, caring and like-minded – in fact, many clients have a preferred therapist, but most are happy to see anyone else on the team if needed.

Tristan and Natalie give partial credit to the Glenelg community for their success, too.

“The community in Glenelg is wonderful,” says Natalie. “They value their fitness and health, get behind local traders and spread the good news if they love what you do. We’ve been lucky to have the support of other local business owners and Jetty Road marketing and councils.”

When asked about advice for other entrepreneurs, Tristan says, “We generally refrain from giving advice to other business owners because every journey seems so individual and different, but I think one thing that’s non-negotiable is having a passion for what you do. For us, this has kept our moral compass on course throughout any challenges from industry competitors and shines through to our client base when they’re looking to get the level of care they deserve or recommend their friends and families.”

Oreon’s role in the journey

The couple was referred to Oreon Partners by a friend in 2017. At the time, they felt they needed more personalised business and financial support and a better tax plan. They also wanted to work with a team that understood and respected their vision for the business.

“The early accounting and business advice given to us [before partnering with Oreon] was that to operate at maximum efficiency and profitability, costs should be cut and sales maximised,” says Natalie. “This would’ve meant cutting down appointment times and hiring less experienced physios, which goes against our mission. Tom [Carr] and John [O’Brien] understood this completely. They’ve been on board with our way of operating from day one and fully respect and support our ethos.”

Oreon has assisted the company in numerous ways, but one of the most important has been fixing the syncing and mapping of their Cliniko software to Xero, which has made a huge difference in automating data entry. Prior to this, each lump sum EFTPOS, Medicare, cash payment and health provider was manually reconciled – upwards of 18,000 transactions per year.

With Oreon’s assistance, the team managed to automate over 95% of sales transactions in 2021 – in short, that meant roughly 17,000 transactions they didn’t need to manually reconcile.

“With the clear growth in the business – and their growing family – it was important that we make big changes to the system to allow them to focus on income-generating work, rather than wasting time reconciling items,” says Senior Manager John O’Brien.

Natalie adds, “Our dealings with Oreon have always been positive, and our wins are always celebrated with their team. In our experience, they’re a very progressive company in their industry.”

Future of the business

Tristan and Natalie expect that their business will continue to evolve with the needs of their industry and those of their clients.

“Our name, Good Physio, is intentionally flexible,” says Tristan. “The concept of what is ‘good’ is constantly evolving. Our business needs to stay agile in line with new research and new directions in physiotherapy and wellness.”

They emphasise, however, that they will continue to focus on the needs of their staff first.

“Our most important business goal is to keep our wonderful team together – safe, happy and thriving – as this is what is best for them and for our clients,” Natalie says. “We always aim to put all of our team members in a position of success, however that may look for them within their work and their life, to help nourish our high-performing culture and career fulfillment.”

With Oreon’s assistance, the company is now considering options for additional space, including exploring potential impacts on cashflow and what revenue is needed to maintain current profits.

“We’re currently operating at full capacity, but we would love to be able to offer our clients and community more exercise equipment and other specialist services to assist them with rehabilitation and recovery at our clinic, where we can help and guide them,” says Tristan.

Learn more about Good Physio.