Physical Therapy Business

Physical Therapist and Entrepreneur Matched for Success with FYZICAL Partnership Advantage Program


Entrepreneur Karla Mazza and Physical Therapist Chris Bailey team up for success with FYZICAL's Partnership Advantage Program. 

We sat down with Karla and Chris to talk about how partnership helped them achieve multi-unit success and a pathway to profitability.  

You and your dad owned a small private physical therapy clinic. Why did you decide to partner with FYZICAL?

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Chris (PT): I owned a small clinic with my Dad in Corry, Pennsylvania, with a population of 5,000. We had a good outpatient clinic,  but the town started shrinking. I knew that if we were going to grow, I had to find something unique that would set us apart.

FYZICAL's proprietary Balance and Vestibular Therapy and safety overhead support system were unlike anything I'd ever seen, and there was a huge need for it. I also knew that founder Jim Abrams had a vision for cash-based services, like retail and massage. My goal was to expand throughout the region, but as a solo clinician, it would be difficult. I knew Karla could execute expansion and marketing avenues with her extensive business experience. She came on board, and in a few months, we transitioned to FYZICAL, and we grew from one clinic to four and now have 20 clinicians working with us. 

Karla: I was with another national franchise working as an operations assistant and in charge of marketing. However, it was a family-owned business, so there would not be an opportunity for me to have ownership of the business. 

It has always been a dream of mine to be my own boss. Chris explained how FYZICAL could offer business opportunities to someone like me without a medical degree. I also liked the holistic approach FYZICAL was taking to healthcare, which was unlike anyone else. It was a great opportunity for me to grow, be my own boss, and set myself up for financial success in the future. 

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What was unique about FYZICAL?

Chris (PT): I liked their holistic approach to treating patients. Their Balance and Vestibular Program was so unique. I knew many people suffering from vestibular issues but needed a way to treat them. We're the only ones in all of northwestern Pennsylvania who have the Balance Program and the overhead rail system, so that's brought a whole new contingency of people to our clinic that has helped to make us the hallmark balance and vertigo treatment center. 

Being able to do things at a much more advanced level was attractive because I knew it would help my patients. Additionally, I liked having a retail wall so we could branch out, and their knowledge of insurance reimbursements and different avenues of income was so helpful. I knew we could improve the entire organization with FYZICAL.

"This partnership is a great opportunity for someone - even without healthcare experience - to grow, be their own boss, and set themselves up for financial success in the future."

     -Karla Mazza, Entrepreneur and FYZICAL Franchisee

Each of you has different roles in your partnership. What roles are they, and how did you decide on these roles? 

Chris (PT): I manage clinical operations, physician liaisons, billing, and training. Karla handles all business operations, HR, payroll, marketing financials, and IT. We work together on branding, marketing strategy, acquisition and growth, outside presentations, new ventures, partnerships, and new revenue streams. Karla had business experience, and I had clinical expertise as a physical therapist. We knew that together, we could make this work. We sat down, looked at the FYZICAL model, and saw how our business could grow. We both had the same vision, were aligned, and knew the goals could be achievable from day one. 

Karla: Together, we make up 100%. It could be 80/20 one day; it could be 40/60 the next. Rarely is it 50/50 because the business requires different demands on different days, as all companies do. We balance each other out. The key is making up 100% together, making it all worthwhile.

What makes this partnership so successful?

21Chris (PT): This partnership works because our strengths are almost each other's weaknesses. We knew Karla had marketing strengths while I had clinical expertise. She handles those areas, and I handle mine, but we collaborate across both roles. We've been in growth mode for a while, and our roles have evolved as we have continued to grow.

Karla: We complement very well, which applies to all business facets. We have our own strengths, yet we naturally balance each other out. We continue to progress and grow together as the business expands. From an HR perspective, there are some conversations that Chris will take because the dynamics and his strengths are best for the company. I may go into the clinical side if a clinician needs better notetaking and explain the financial impact. Learning about your partner is vital because where we started differs from where our partnership is now. We continue to evolve.

FYZICAL's model has enhanced our growth tremendously. I don't think we'd be here without FYZICAL. FYZICAL has always proven to be a great partner for us."

-Chris Bailey, PT, DPT, and FYZICAL Franchisee 

How has FYZICAL been vital to your success?

Chris (PT): We saw a niche we could offer our community and knew we could impact the community. We've grown in a relatively saturated area, and it was a unique enough service that we could impact the community and develop this model within this region with FYZICAL's vision.

Karla: I could see the playbook FYZICAL was offering, and I knew this would work if we followed that. It made complete sense how to measure your business, identify trends, and understand the business. I knew FYZICAL could teach us, and they had all the resources. So I knew if we dove in and followed their playbook, I had all the confidence in the world that this would work. And it has. 

Chris and I were excited about the FYZICAL model and the FYZICAL principle. We knew it would work if we adapted to the entire model and strongly contributed and committed to the brand. FYZICAL's model has enhanced our growth tremendously. I don't think we'd be here without FYZICAL. We put in the work using the FYZICAL model to be successful. We would not have had the economies of scale or the support and would not have grown as fast. FYZICAL has always proven to be a great partner for us.

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How has the partnership helped your business grow?

Chris (PT): Karla changed our Mom-and-Pop operation using the FYZICAL model. Some of what we had going worked for our one location, but it would not work if we wanted multiple clinics. She helped simplify our old-school tactics, worked on the FYZICAL marketing plan, and executed that plan. We both play a daily role in contributing to everything that makes it successful so that we can grow it to its maximum potential.

Karla: From my business experience, I knew we could grow and scale, and I knew the end game. We needed to take specific steps to grow from one location to a multi-unit operation. This partnership allowed us to do that.  

What do you look for in a partner? 

Chris (PT): Clinicians have to be able to scale a practice and understand the importance of building a team. They have to be humble, open-minded, willing to train others and want to grow a business and learn new things. You have to understand the importance of building a team. There's got to be an understanding that there's an investment of time in learning about the business and each other. Both partners need the same vision.14

Karla:  A physical therapist will have to be able to connect the dots between patient care and the success of the business. A clinical partner has to be able to see the FYZICAL business model. Many PTs can manage a caseload, but they must know the importance of, for example, why we operate on a 40-minute time block or have so many patient visits. Chris understands that and the financial component. Therefore, he supports me. You can be a great clinician, but you have to be a great clinician who understands why the business element is so important. We respect each other's roles and come together as one unit.  

Have your goals changed since you started? Have they broadened?

Chris (PT): We've reached our goals so far. We started with one clinic, and now we have four clinics. As we continue to grow, it takes an investment of our time to train the next level of leaders. A good partner is vital to this. We've grown from 20 to 40 employees over the last year. Establishing our core values is critical to our business. We're always looking for other opportunities but ensuring we have a solid team to grow from this foundation. 

Karla: We both were aligned with our goals from day one. We plan to work hard for 5-7 years and eventually find someone to take our place. We knew we wanted to get to where we were comfortable operationally first, and that's a conversation you must have with a potential partner. We've had the same goal from the beginning, so we're right on target.

"Together, we make up 100%. It could be 80/20 one day; it could be 40/60 the next. The key is making up 100% together, making it all worthwhile."

   -Karla Mazza, Entrepreneur and FYZICAL Franchisee

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Have you always wanted to own your own physical therapy practice without taking on all the risks? Do you have a vision for growth but lack the resources to do it alone? 

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