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On the correct path – Icehouse insight to First Chiropractic

Brett and Emma Mead were forced to temporarily shut their doors for seven weeks when Covid-19 hit however, with the support of The Icehouse, the First Chiropractic Hastings owners are not only adjusting to a new economic environment, they are investing in new technology for their customers, taking on new staff and lifting the business to new levels.

Almost two year’s ago Brett Mead signed up to The Icehouse Owner Operator Programme, a collaborative, impact-based course. Brett and chiropractor Emma had bought the Hastings-based business in 2015, with limited business ownership experience and they were keen to upskill themselves in a way that would benefit their patients.

“We saw an opportunity to grow the business but we wanted to grow in a sustainable way – not growth for growth’s sake. We focus on seeing everything through our patients’ eyes, so we wanted to enhance the experience for our patients at the same time as developing a better business.”

Having the guidance from Icehouse business coach and Programme facilitator Michaela Vodanovich gave them the confidence to invest in new technology, including x-ray and a muscle scanner.

Brett says having an experienced person looking into the business from the outside meant they were confident in their decision-making, important for a couple working so closely together.

“Michaela gave us that reassurance we needed.”

While Brett was actively engaged with the Programme’s regular workshops and action groups, Emma was able to join the one on one coaching sessions with Michaela.

“Chiropractors are typically also having to be business owners and that maybe isn’t always our strength, so it’s been awesome having Brett focused on the business so I can focus on ensuring patient care is to a high standard.

“We wanted this place to be an enjoyable experience and more mainstream. People might have had the impression that seeing a chiropractor was a heavy, manual experience but we wanted to change that perception and offer a welcoming modern environment and gentle techniques suitable for all ages. The digital technology that we have now also gives us the ability to see more accurately what’s going on before we start any treatment.”

While the couple have grown the business year on year, they are reaching their goals to offer a better patient experience.

“The growth has accelerated since we started in The Icehouse from patient feedback, to numbers through the door and referrals. Even though the business is tracking well, Michaela has questioned things. Having someone suggest tweaks to our processes, systems and time management has allowed us to increase the standard for patients and then in turn, we see the referrals increase all the time, which can only be down to patient experience.”

When Covid hit, both Brett and Emma’s first thought was, what could they do for the patients.

“We jumped on the phone to Michaela and worked out a plan for the staff to work from home. They contacted patients and free consults were offered on the phone or Zoom with the chiropractors. We started making advice videos and kept staff busy.  There were hundreds of calls made. Michaela gave us the realisation that we needed a plan and the patients loved it. When we re-opened, seven weeks later, the tap was back on.”

While Brett has finished his time in the Owner Operator Programme, the pair are continuing with one on one coaching with Michaela and have been able to utilise the Covid coaching funding offered by the Regional Business Partner.

“We have come back stronger from Covid that’s for sure.”

k.delautour@theicehouse.co.nz

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