When Lori Swanton of Cody decided to launch her own physical therapy business, she knew a lot about physical therapy, but not much about business.
So, she turned to Bruce Morse, regional director for the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network in the Bighorn Basin, to obtain practical start-up advice.
“It really helped me set up things appropriately, to find the right processes,” she said. “When do I bring on an accountant? What about signage? Bruce helped me decide if and when I needed to make things happen.”
Lori initially contacted the Wyoming SBDC Network in the fall of 2018, and in December, she opened Ability Physical Therapy, which serves Cody and the surrounding area.
Along the way, the Wyoming SBDC Network staff has helped her in a variety of ways. Besides receiving assistance from Bruce, Lori worked with Susan Jerke, the Wyoming SBDC Network’s northeast regional director, to create a logo and with Audrey Jansen at the Wyoming SBDC Network’s Market Research Center on social media marketing strategies.
“Lori was great to work with and really put in the time to bring this new business to life,” Bruce said. “It has been a dream of hers for some time, and she made it happen.”
About Ability Physical Therapy
Ability Physical Therapy networks with a variety of health care practitioners to provide holistic, integrated health-care support to its patients. Lori holds a doctorate of physical therapy from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania and has practiced for 10 years. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy — a distinction that fewer than 5% of physical therapists hold.
“My goal is to be a partner and part of a person’s health care team,” Lori said, which might also include physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, and even a yoga studio. Through Ability Physical Therapy, Lori helps bring together all the services that might be required to improve a patient’s well-being.
Ability Physical Therapy is a cash-based practice, and does not bill insurance directly. Patients are instead provided the needed paperwork to submit for reimbursement. As a result, Lori noted, “I am definitely targeting individuals who probably have a little more ownership in their health care because they are paying out of pocket.”
Meghan Gaspers, the owner of Firefly Yoga and Wellness in Cody, is among the practitioners Lori partners with to assist patients. Meghan is a licensed massage therapist and coach, in addition to being a registered yoga teacher.
Lori has conducted several workshops at Firefly Yoga and Wellness and helps with the yoga teacher training program. For her part, Meghan frequently assists Lori’s patients during their recoveries. Yoga can be a great way to gain body awareness, strength, and mobility.
“I know Lori appreciates what we bring to the table,” Meghan said. “And for us, her expert knowledge is just invaluable.”
One of Lori’s primary objectives is to help people return to the activities they most enjoy, which she does in collaboration with providers like Firefly Yoga and Wellness.
“I think this area is super lucky to have someone with as much knowledge and passion as Lori,” Meghan said. “She’s a key asset to the overall community.”
Proven Results and Customer Satisfaction
Christian Baumeister engages in rigorous outdoor activities, such as ice climbing, rock climbing, and trailer running, that have significant inherent risks. So, when injuries occur, he counts on Lori to help him rehabilitate.
“She’s been awesome in helping me prevent and fix a lot of issues I’ve had,” he said. “She’s probably one of the kinder people I’ve worked with. She is super talented, very honest, straightforward.”
Growth and Success
Since opening its doors, Ability Physical Therapy has been able to more than meet cash flow expectations, which Lori credits in large part to the Wyoming SBDC Network’s help.
“Many aspects of business planning and launch are overwhelming and new concepts for me,” she said. “However, Bruce was able to provide guidance for appropriate timelines for implementing pieces of the puzzle. He was also able to provide a stable and calm demeanor when I felt like I was out of control with all the details.”
Lori added that she already had recommended the Wyoming SBDC Network to other people who might benefit from its expertise.