By Malia Durbano
Family Physician, Kirsten “Kicki” Searfus originally approached the SBDC to learn how to structure the partnership she was entering with Megan Lewis Grotefund. Instead, Megan moved away and on June 1, 2013, Kicki officially was in private practice.
Having always been an employee at clinics or hospitals, she was wondering where to start in figuring out how to be an entrepreneur. Advisor Joe Bishop “was super helpful” in assisting her regarding the structure to choose for the business and helped her with the business plan.
He then recommended her to attorney Lindsey Nicholsen who drafted the purchase agreement. When she needed help with Accounting and Taxes, Joe Keck referred her to Virginia Cavanaugh from AccounTax. “If Joe recommends her – she must be good. I don’t know where else I would have gotten all this information.”
When Kicki was ready to add partners, again Joe Bishop “was open to our ideas. It was great how he approached it and made it so much easier. He basically said, if this is what you want to do we’ll figure out a way to make it work.” Lynn Asano helped her compile the demographic data to put into the business plan and assisted with marketing advice to tap into their market.
The group, which now consists of four separate business entities decided to structure it that way and form a collaborative rather than a partnership.
One of the other members of the collaborative, Exercise Physiologist, Kevin Dehlinger, also got assistance from Joe Bishop. “The task seemed daunting.” Kevin faced the challenges of securing financing, structuring his business, and deciding to hire independent contractors or employees.
Joe Bishop helped him decide what a reasonable amount of debt to accrue would be weighed against projected income. They put it in the business plan and the loan was approved in a week! “It was really helpful to have all those things sorted out and decided upon before I asked for money.”
In addition to Dr. Kicki Searfus and Exercise Physiologist Kevin Dehlinger, the smoothly running collaborative now also includes Registered Dietician Nutritionist, Lisa Smith and Judith Vanderryn, Ph.D providing Psychotherapy and Behavioral Health.
Kicki summarizes, “Having these specialists in house is a tremendous resource. It enables us to really move clients forward and be incredibly transformative. It’s remarkable how much more effective our work is and there is a huge benefit to the client.”