An ongoing series that features a Meda client overcoming new obstacles in each article
At Meda, we have been interested to know what our clients are doing to manage our current dynamic business environment. We sat down (virtually) with clients to ask – What are the common struggles and obstacles for small businesses owners in the time of COVID19? What have been successful adaptations that your business has made to survive?
This week we are spotlighting…
Dr. Israel Sokeye – owner of Plymouth Psych Group
Plymouth Psych Group is a “full-service mental health clinic based in Plymouth, MN. Our mission is to provide excellent and compassionate mental healthcare for individuals and their families, with the goal of helping our clients reach their true potential and live a life worth celebrating.”
- Services are offered for individuals, couples, families, and especially adolescents who had autism. medication management, groups
- The practice provides medication management, group therapy, and a holistic and collaborative approach with therapists, psychiatrists, and nurse practitioners to assist each client’s needs.
Check out their therapy services at https://www.plymouthpsychgroup.com/ and read what he shared with us:
Q: What brought you to the idea of starting a small business? Where were the needs you wanted to address?
When I was training at Mt. Sinai, I became interested in learning more about running an independent organization. I wanted to have the freedom to make changes to the mental health care industry and to make it better. At that time, I noticed that many people did not do a lot of talking to each other in the care of a client, they would be transferred from organization to organization without a cohesive care plan followed by each practitioner, and the industry was siloed.
I formed a clinic that was more collaborative and comprehensive care, then I was able to add a specialty program that addresses that need for middle and high school patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and relate diagnosis.
The main need that I wanted to address was the gap of treatment specifically for teens who have ASD. I would see clients get admitted to hospital/ inpatient programs and when they were ready for discharge, there was not shortage of services for them and there was a gap of care that became apparent. A lot of services dropped off for these clients when they get older.
The specialty program is directed towards high functioning clients with Autism Spectrum disorders. There are three to four groups per week and a parent support group are offered. We follow a holistic approach with provider collaboration when working with the client and their family. Our clinic commonly sees the whole family, which is beneficial to them, so they do not have to jump around to be seen at multiple clinics. We also provide other broad-spectrum mental health care that serves everybody from ages 0-99 years old with mental health issues.
Q: When did your company begin and can you explain some of the initial difficulties you had?
As most things, they may be easier said than done. But, in 2011, I started Plymouth Psych Group with another colleague. Our initial challenge was finding right people to hire. As we started to grow, we had additional learning hurdles such as making a website and learning which payroll platform was the best to use.
Growth is the riskiest time for a business because business owners are waiting for their revenue to catch up after making an investment to expand the company. This is when a lot of businesses run out of money, and we almost did.
Q: Nick Wolff is your consultant at Meda, what are the most helpful notes he has given you throughout the COVID19 pandemic?
Meda got involved when our business was growing, and we needed our revenue to catch up.
The banks give you an initial loan, and when you expand – your numbers may not be so great – and the banks only look at numbers. I started working with Nick Wolff as my Meda consultant and we sat down together to look at a financial plan. Looking at the future forecast, it was good and possible to achieve.
One of the most valuable tools I have learned from Nick is to have access to information. I have always said, information allows you to gain knowledge and knowledge is potential power.
Access to information is critical before you can act. Meda was able to connect me with some marketing and banking relationships. For example, applying for governmental aids to continue to survive. My Meda consultant would ask, have you talked to this X bank or this X person? And have you followed up on those ideas? Action and executing ideas is crucial to keeping a business successful.
Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration
Q: What have you done at Plymouth Psych Group to adapt to the current economic climate?
Currently, Plymouth Psych Group is100% virtual as telemedicine. Thankfully, we were already looking into virtual options. Admin staff continue to go into the clinic to access phone calls, etc. As reopening is beginning to happen, the company is working on a plan to transition, and eventually have clients who have struggled with telemedicine can come into the office face-to-face. I have found that people have adapted.
Initial stages of the transition to telemedicine, was about deciding on the Zoom platform and figuring out how to use it. 80% of clientele have been able to adapt while 15-20% are usually older and may be technology challenged.
I am cautiously optimistic to be thriving through the pandemic. We have been able to mitigate our losses from our inability to run face to face groups and currently still hitting our projections for the year.
The fight is not over yet; it is a marathon not a sprint. Do not celebrate your wins before the race is over.
Q: What are some recommendations that you have for other small businesses that may be struggling right now?
My recommendation to other small business owners to work on finding information and doing their own research.
Now is a time to be flexible, be ready to quickly adapt to change. Change is the only constant in your life. Without adapting in tough situations, there is a high chance of the business dying, and the owner should be mindful of that.
Tap into available resources like Meda, local and federal aid programs.
There are always going to be problems, and occasional crises in life. It is like, “problem, problem, crisis, problem, problem, crisis.” COVID19 is a crisis. Just like 9/11, everything changed after that, and after the 2008 housing crisis, the way we do business changed.
There are people who will not make it out of the crisis, they will perish. The highest number of people will go down and then climb back up slowly. Then, a small group of people will find out a way to thrive in the crisis. My goal at the beginning of this pandemic was to thrive during this and I have been moving forward with that mentality. I recommend doing everything quickly and efficiently.
Waiting to get back to “normal” is a huge mistake.
Small business owners should not expect things to get “back to normal.” Accepting that there will be a new normal is the best advice I have. We are still adapting to what the situation is today, and some people are getting fatigued because they are waiting for things to go back to normal. You will be much less fatigued when you accept that our normal before COVID19 may not come back.
Just like in the stages of grief – denial, anger, depression, bargaining then acceptance. The quicker we reach acceptance, the quicker we move forward to the next stage of our life. My fellow business owners should find acceptance.
There is always somebody, somewhere who is going through what you are going through and someone else who has made it through that. What changes did they make to succeed in times of crisis?
5 of the Most Important Takeaways from Israel
1. Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration – so continue to adapt and fight for your work
2. One of the most valuable tools I have learned from Nick is to have access to information. I have always said, information allows you to gain knowledge and knowledge is potential power.
3. The fight is not over yet; it is a marathon not a sprint. Do not celebrate your wins before the race is over.
4. Waiting to get back to “normal” is a huge mistake.
5. There is always somebody, somewhere who is going through what you are going through and someone else who has made it through that. What changes did they make to succeed in times of crisis?
COVID19 Updates from Plymouth Psych Group – https://www.plymouthpsychgroup.com/covid-19-updates/