With a degree in kinesiology and four years at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, Dr. Judith McCann is proud of the education she’s earned. She just wishes she’d had more of a grounding in business while in school.
“I received some business training in my final year of chiropractic college, but not much,” says McCann. Unlike a lot of new chiropractors who choose to join a clinic, McCann opted to go out on her own. In January 2015, she opened Haptic Health & Chiropractic in Newmarket.
Hungry for business advice, she started scouting around to see what the community had to offer. Her search turned up the York Small Business Enterprise Centre (YSBEC), so she attended one of its seminars on taxation.
It was there where she first heard about Starter Company, a program that the York Small Business Enterprise Centre administers through funding from the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth. The Starter Company program provides funding, professional mentoring and other help to Ontario residents, aged 18 to 29, who are starting or expanding a business in the province.
McCann applied for the program, which included drawing up a business plan with assistance from the consultants at YSBEC. She’d already hammered out the bare bones of a plan in school. “I was able to take what I had done and build on it,” she says. “The consultants were phenomenal. I had to create a budget and they reviewed it to ensure I hadn’t missed anything.”
Once accepted into the program, McCann met with her mentor, a digital marketing entrepreneur, for the first of four sessions. “I needed the most help with marketing,” says McCann, adding that chiropractic clinics typically grow their practices by referrals. “Initially, it’s about developing a reputation in the community, building trust and your patient base. My mentor offered some great advice and was especially helpful with social media marketing.”
McCann subsequently started sending out marketing emails for Haptic Health & Chiropractic and plans to ramp up her efforts with a monthly e-newsletter. “It’ll be informative and educational and less about news and events,” she says. She also participated in two home and lifestyle shows in York Region, where she added more subscribers to her email list.
In total, McCann received $5,000 in funding from Starter Company—$3,500 at the beginning of the program and $1,500 upon completing the program. She spent a chunk of it on a pylon sign for outside the commercial building where she shares space with a naturopath, and put the rest of the grant towards insurance, a government licence as well as furnishings and equipment for the clinic.
While she’s appreciative of the extra funds, McCann is just as grateful for the fringe benefits of the Starter Company program. “I’m more confident now in owning and running my business,” she says. “If I hadn’t done the program, I think I’d be a lot more stressed out!”