AN UPDATE: What we’ve been up to

It’s been a good 4 months since we signed our lease and our project became real, and we felt it’s time for an update. Since then, it seems that we add 2 tasks to the list for each one that we check off. It’s been a steep learning curve, but we feel that we’re starting to hit our stride. Just in time to countdown the final month before we take the space. Below I’ll outline with some description of what we’ve tackled, and what we have planned for the next couple of months.

With signing the lease, we started a clock. A countdown to the day we get our keys. We brainstormed a list of all of the tasks we felt we needed to get after and estimated the approximate timeline to complete them and/or the importance. This allowed us to prioritize what should be addressed first and what we could look at later. A few things that ended up in the “long time to completion (TTC) list were: business license with the city, signage for the building, and website. The main tasks that landed on the “most important list” was opening a business bank account. Now let’s look at how we looked after each of these

#1: Business License with city of Guelph

We knew that the timeline from the application of the license would be between 6-8 weeks. It was important that we got this handled because if we were operating without credentials, it would expose us to fines and possibly worse outcomes (being shut down). Especially in this pandemic world, we did NOT want to mess with by-law at all.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the process. You apply to the city with the location and description of what you’re doing. Then the by-law office will send an agent out to your space and make sure everything is up to code and safe within the unit. They will then ensure that you have all measures in place to open your space to the public.

Interestingly, I sent an inquiry to the by-law office and was informed that since our team will all be members of regulated health professionals, we would not require a business license from the city in order to operate. While it’s great that we have correspondence from the city that we don’t need one, I find it hard to believe that’s the case. You would assume that the city would want to know who is operating and what types of businesses they have going, but we don’t make the rules.

*I’ve recently sent out another inquiry to confirm 100% that we don’t require a license from the city. I’ll make sure to share an update once the matter is resolved.

#2: Signage for the building

We had a couple of factors to consider when it came to our sign. First, our landlord has specifics they want to see in the sign in order to stay uniform with the rest of the units. Secondly, city by-laws. Fortunately, the landlord’s requirements fit well with the by-laws, so as long as he was satisfied, we knew we were good.

For our design, we knew we wanted it to be super simple. The goal was to clearly communicate the name and what we do. We landed on a design; function health + wellness, nothing more nothing less. You can see the proof that we have from the sign company which they are working on now. We can’t wait for it to be ready and hang that shingle!

#3: Website

Similar to the sign, we wanted our website to be simple, concise, and to the point. The goal was to communicate who we are, what we do, and what people can expect in as few words and pages as possible.

We luckily got linked up with a web developer in Guelph that Steph went to highschool with. Very nice guy and good at what he does. The process has been going very smoothly. Here’s an update on the website development:

  • Intro meeting to understand what we were looking for
  • Sent us a few themes he thought we would like
  • We decided on a theme and wrote out our copy (the content on the website) and chose the accompanying photos

Currently, he is working on putting it all together and we are so excited to have that launched and blasted to you all soon!

#4: Banking

Since we are currently operating as a General Partnership (more on this in a later post), we wanted to make sure that all of our expenses were coming from one account. This helps keep the accounting clean come tax time.

After the poor experience we had with the charter banks (see the post Small business financing: SHOW ME THE MONEY!! (or don’t…our experience) if you don’t remember what I’m talking about), we took the decision of which bank we worked with very seriously. After some research we eventually landed on Meridian Credit Union. We chose Meridian for 2 main reasons:

  1. It’s a smaller institution: meaning smaller teams, making it much easier to connect with your advisor and get more specific information catered to our needs.
  2. Their business account programs had more options for very small businesses like ours.

We’re happy with our decision to work with Meridian and have had nothing but great experiences so far.

An update on the shorter tasks

After making sure we had the ball rolling on the major, longer TTC tasks we could start tackling smaller things. Here is a quick update on some of those that you may or may not have considered.

  1. Insurance: Of course we have malpractice insurance, but you’ll also need insurance on the business itself. Fortunately, this was an easy search for us as there is a Desjardins Insurance next door to us. Their initial quote was competitive. The policy met all the criteria that were outlined in our lease, so all we had to do was sign.
  2. Business cards: These were fun to make. The premise behind the design stays the same as the website and sign. Communicate who we are and what we do with no fluff. I think we landed on a pretty kick-ass design, don’t you?!?! Timeline: 1 day to design, 2 days for delivery (shout-out Vistaprint) Hot Tip: our QR code links directly to our booking-site. Consider adding this to your business cards as it streamlines getting people where you want them to go.

3. Equipment/Furniture: This is an interesting one for us because we really want to wait until we’re in the space before we start filling it up. Of course, we need the essentials; treatment tables, stools, reception desk, chairs etc. Luckily we found a lot of great-conditioned equipment used from facebook marketplace and kijiji. While we settle into our space we will fill it as we see fit!

So much to do, so little time!

Well, there you have it; an update on what we’ve been doing with ourselves for the past 3 months or so. What’s really interesting is that it feels that time flies at a lightyear and we feel like we’re walking through quicksand. It can be discouraging when the “to-do list” actually gets LONGER as you tick things off. The way we best handle that is to take time to sit back and truly reflect on everything that we have completed. Each day we do accomplish a lot, and it brings us that much closer to our goal.

Instead of focusing on how much you have left to do and putting yourself down because you had a slow day, keep a log of the tasks that you’ve actually accomplished. Check back on that often and use it as the motivation you may need to keep going.

Now that you have an update on what we’ve been up to, check back in next week for an update of what we have to work on next as we get close to that 1 month countdown to move in date!

Happy New Year everyone, and here’s to kicking ass in 2021.

Dr. Andrew Thomson signature sign off