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Heather Beal Anderson has been a success story from the start: a young hardworking, ambitious Downeast high school graduate who earned a master’s degree in physical therapy in 2000 and then moved back to the area to work as a physical therapist for an established practice.
With 10 years experience and a large client list, Heather knew she was ready to take the leap and open her own practice. However, with her usual foresight, she first met with the Downeast Business Counselor Ruth Cash-Smith in November 2009 to begin business planning. Always a quick study, Heather excelled at writing a business plan, mastering the mighty cash flow projection every lender requires, and building relationships with referral sources.
With a small start-up loan, Heather opened Coastal Physical Therapy Services, LLC in Harrington, Maine, on September 8, 2010 in a leased space. As predicted, her legion of dedicated patients sought her out and new patients kept coming—in large part due to Heather’s philosophy of providing care that centers around the patient becoming an active participant in his/her own care and wellness.
During the early stages of her business, Heather sought intermittent business counseling, plus cultivated great relationships with her banker and her accountant.
In addition to a running a busy practice during her first year in operation, this mother and wife still carved out time to pursue her doctorate in physical therapy, and write a monthly health column for a regional newspaper. And when an opportunity presented itself, Heather jumped to take over ownership of a gym and fitness center located on the premises where she rents, thereby creating a second auxiliary business.
On the second anniversary of launching her own business, Dr. Heather Beal Anderson boasts a positive cash flow, 2 full-time and 5 part-time employees, and a growth plan to purchase her own building within the next few years.
“I have to say I’m glad I listened to my business counselor and got a business loan,” Heather says. “It’s nice to have a cushion when times get a bit unnerving. I’m proud that I’m right on track financially and, overall, I will say I’ve had a pretty cushy two years. I find that by staying focused on growing my business, I achieve my goals a lot faster.”