Transitioning from a Solo Practice to a Team
A Q&A with Josh Funk, DPT
Interview by Craig Phifer, PT
Dr. Josh Funk established Rehab 2 Perform in Maryland in 2014. Within two years, the company already had 14 employees and has now grown to four locations. In 2020, Rehab 2 Perform landed on both the Inc. Magazine Best Places to Work List and the Inc. 5000 List for the fastest-growing companies in the nation!
Take us back to the planning phase for Rehab 2 Perform…Looking back, what are the things you did then that allowed the business to take off so quickly?
The number one thing for us was prioritizing community connectivity. We went out with a huge focus on delivering value and making meaningful connections in various areas of our local community, in an effort to not only develop top of mind awareness but to contribute to aspects of society beyond our four walls and beyond health care. Through several of my mentors, and other various readings, I learned that this was a staple in Conscious (or Citizen) Capitalism, in which I am a strong believer. This process places a premium on transformational actions and initiatives that cater to all stakeholders in the community, as opposed to a more transactional mindset that worked in previous decades of business, catering solely to shareholders within the company.
Our efforts centered around five areas of community, which included:
- Youth Sports
It was within each of these five areas that we carved out various initiatives to connect, problem-solve and implement ways in which we could be a living, breathing and active part of our local community. We have continually refined our efforts and initiatives, and this continues to be a staple of Rehab 2 Perform to this day.
In the last six years, you have seen your business go from solo practitioner, to one location with multiple therapists, and now to four locations with more on the way. What are the different challenges you have faced as a business at these different stages?
I think the single substantial challenge that I faced was recognizing that the business needed to go from a people-dependent operation to one that was grounded more in systems and processes. This is not to say that the people on our team are not tremendously important, but a realization that we are able to get more repeatable outcomes with guardrails that guide decision making in all facets of the company.
This became most evident to me when we opened our second location, and the wheels fell off the bus. We thought that a few “home-run hires” were going to allow us to have the same kind of success that we had at our first location, but quickly learned that this would not be the case. It took a business program that I was involved in, as well as some tremendous efforts from our team, to get us to the point where onboarding, cheat sheets, operations manuals, and other frameworks for success became the norm. This challenging time during our company history has made the opening of location three and four much easier and has set the foundation for future success. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting all the little things in your head, and in the heads of your peers, on paper, in video, and to other mediums in order to provide a platform for repeatable and measurable processes.
How has your role as an owner changed?
This has been one of the more challenging things for me to accept, but I’ve become an owner who seldom works with patients. It took me a while to recognize that I was becoming a logjam with regards to the growth of myself, our people, and the company. Though I absolutely love working with people who walk through the door for our services, I recognize that our company has made significantly greater strides with me behind the scenes, and spending time with our team, instead of with the patients.
This transition to operator has allowed us to grow in leaps and bounds, execute projects and initiatives with much greater speed, and move in directions in which I had not previously anticipated. As we grow, I imagine that my role will continue to change as I step more exclusively into areas in which I have expertise, and am passionate about, moving far away from the days as a Jack-of-all-trades owner.
What are your tips for hiring great staff members and getting them up to speed quickly?
The number one thing that I would recommend here is to create a pipeline or funnel, like you do with marketing to patients. If you don’t have a pipeline of professionals being led to your company, much like you would for patients, then you are missing out on an opportunity to cast the biggest net possible with regards to quality hires. We hear it all the time, that we should do our best to market to our ideal patients, but we need to market to our ideal staff with the same intent, strategy, and execution.
What PPS resources have you found most valuable in the growth process?
The practice management area of the PPS website has been particularly valuable for me, in addition to many of the webinars that are offered throughout the year by means of the PPS newsletter. Whether it is manuals, PDFs, videos, or the aforementioned webinars, PPS has provided a wealth of specific business knowledge for me as I have been through various stages of my role as CEO at Rehab 2 Perform. I am able to get a mile wide in certain subjects, and a mile deep in others, which is perfect for someone whose role feels as though it is continually changing with each day, month and year of the company.
I also cannot speak highly enough about some of the mentors I have connected with, especially during my early years, which were formative to laying the groundwork for future success at R2P.
What advice do you have for aspiring physical therapy entrepreneurs?
I cannot emphasize the following two things enough. The first is to develop the “3 Cs,” which is your Intellectual, Social, and Financial Capital. It is never too early to develop in each of these three buckets, as well as continually reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses in each of these areas. The second being the importance of finding a mentor, or multiple mentors. This starts with seeking out someone who has walked a path similar to the one you would like to walk and then expressing intent. I went out and saw someone who had opened a multi-location fitness business, and reached out to him, asking him for his guidance and assistance while also expressing my personal and professional goals. He is one of several people who continually carves out time for me to discuss and problem solve as we both continue to level up our respective entities.