Solving the 'pain points' of today's physical therapists

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April 28, 2017
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At the rate he’s going, Quinn Worden may become the Bill Gates of his industry by the time he’s 30 years old.  Recently awarded the Small Business Administration’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year for New Hampshire and New England, that's not outside of the realm of possibility.

Quinn’s entrepreneurial spirit was sparked in college, and as a witness to the “pain points” his father, a Plaistow-based physical therapist in private practice, experienced at his work.  “I just wanted to help him improve his business performance,” Quinn says now about his father.

Quinn’s business, PT United, LLC, partners with private-practice physical therapy companies to help them control their costs with economies of scale, while also helping to improve the patients’ experiences.  Through technology-enabled products, physical therapists can come to Quinn's company for equipment purchasing, point-of-sale software, and even help with planning to sell their practices.

Sales are on pace to hit $2.4 million with about 200 partners who have bought into PT United’s systems.  Quinn explains that translates into 1,000 therapists who are benefitting, and there are still another 100,000 U.S. physical therapy companies to reach.

Back in 2013-2014, after Quinn had graduated from the University of Miami, he won a chance to take part in Go-Celerator in St. Louis, an accelerator program for start-ups.  It offered free housing and office space, so he packed up his business ideas and went.  Post Go-Celerator, he moved back to Florida, planning to run and grow his start-up in Miami, but found it difficult to raise money there.  He realized that New Hampshire was where he wanted to do business, that he really was homesick for his family, having grown up in Tyngsboro, MA, and so set his mind to relocating. 

That’s what led him to NH-SBDC’s business advisor Hollis McGuire, based in the Nashua regional office.  “I stumbled across Hollis at the SBDC in 2015,” Quinn explains.  “We had an introductory phone call while I was still in Florida and, even as we were on the phone, I started looking at New Hampshire’s business ecosystem online.  Hollis had bunches of people to suggest I talk to; she was just a wealth of connections. She was like this vital resource.”

Quinn says his return to New Hampshire was a good idea - that New Hampshire is "the best place in the world to do business". Even before making the move he made cold calls to dozens of people and pitched the owner of an office facility on Split Brook Road in Nashua.  “I told him if he invested in the company, I would sign a lease with him,” Quinn says. “We needed a great location and a great setting to do our business and we ultimately moved into this beautiful office space this guy owned.”

The move was a good one, Quinn says.  Revenues continue to double every year.  Early in the process, Quinn would work with Hollis, sending her quarterly emailed reports of his progress. “She knew everything we had going on; she knew our goals and initiatives, and she knew my pain points—accounting, human resources, and access to capital. She knew about all of it,” he said.

Now the two meet about three times a year.  Meanwhile, Quinn puts most of his waking hours towards growing the business. He employs about 8 people in part- and full-time status, and as contractors.

Back to Quinn’s dad and his physical therapy business.

Quinn explains that most of the 100,000 physical therapy offices in the country are owned by hospitals.  “However,” he says, “The ones owned by therapists have the best outcomes because that therapist is going to be sure he’s providing the best experience so that area doctors keep referring clients there.”

Word-of-mouth becomes all important in those cases, he said. But, in Tyngsboro, where his father’s business was, the competition was the hospital-owned therapy offices.  “He was competing against the odds for getting referrals.  He had to assure both doctors and patients that they’d get the best care at his practice, and that meant educating the consumer to understand what constituted best care.”

Meanwhile, insurance companies are paying for less and less every year, costs are rising, and consumers still need to be sent home with therapy products—shoulder pulleys, braces, etc.  Quinn explains that businesses the size of his father’s couldn’t afford to stock expensive inventory.

Quinn has developed purchasing systems that can help both the business and the consumer.  PT United’s “eDispensary” allows customers to access thousands of therapy products at a good price; therapists like his father now get products, equipment and office supplies at reduced rates, and practices have developed revenue streams that are diversified. Therapists now have point-of-sale systems to take orders, accept credit cards and manage inventory.

Quinn’s no software guru, he’s just a visionary who saw what needed to be done.  He found the perfect software developer and has put together a great team with an excellent advisory board.

Once his dad worried that Quinn was putting far too much personal time into the business.  Now, Quinn says, his father give's Quinn's "elevator speech" to strangers...on the elevator.  "Now he's a proud dad, and I'm just very excited and very grateful."

Quinn insists Hollis was so critical to helping him tap into the "eco-system" of business in New Hampshire that he's convinced she will be a close contact he'll hold for the rest of his life.  "Her advice has been so sound and valuable," he said. "I don't see us growing out of the resources she offers for every stage of our business."

NOTE:  PT United was named to the Inc. 5000 list for the fastest growing companies in the country (August 2018). Congratulations Quinn and PT United!