Northshore Clinic, LLC
How can we ever forget our first meeting with Tom Richter, Business Counselor from the UW Oshkosh Small Business Development Center? My business partner, Patti Brinkman, and I were in the process of investigating buying the small mental health clinic we worked for and needed some guidance in...everything! How do we decide how much to pay for the clinic? Where do we get the money? And finally, what the heck were we doing? Tom asked us the right questions and gave us the confidence to move forward with purchasing the assets of the clinic and starting our own entity moving forward. It was clear from the very beginning that he thought "we could do it" and at times he was the only one with that kind of confidence in us!
The first time we met with Tom was February 16, 2012. As I recall, we had a stack of papers and some ideas and that was about it. Tom gave us a packet of information with worksheets that we could fill out to help us get a business plan together, define our marketing needs and objectives, and become more aware of our competition and our position in our local marketplace. As therapists, these were not things we ever thought about and the counseling from the SBDC helped us go from employees to employers, thinking about the business aspect of our clinic, where we were and where we wanted to head. It was frightening and exciting at the same time. A big question for us was whether or not to purchase a building. As I said, Tom always asked the right questions and this time his question was, "Why would you NOT purchase a building to house your business?"
After investigation and much blood sweat and tears, Patti and I purchased a building on October 12, 2012 and began the process of renovating it to house our clinic. We closed on the assets of the business on December 28, 2012 and began business in our new building as a new entity on January 2, 2013. The learning curve has been steep. Many things we simply couldn't understand until we did them and the last few months, between the building and the business have been intense, to say the least. We have never been sorry that we took the time to do the prep work that Tom encouraged us to do and that we started early with a set plan and deadlines in mind.
Tom recently came back to town and toured our new building. We were so proud to show him all we've accomplished since our last meeting and thanked him for all his help. We discussed what issues had come up along the way that we were prepared for (hard work!) and some that we hadn't (personnel issues). We told him how we were doing certain things and he gave us ideas about changes we may need to make and pointed out things we should be aware of as we go along. We will never be sorry that we contacted the SBDC and Tom for help, things could have gone much less smoothly if we hadn't.
Northshore Clinic, LLC
805 N. 6th St., Sheboygan, WI 53081