An interview with Michael Richards, a certified personal trainer and Dr. Gail Bryant, owners of Wellness 365 in Arlington Heights.
Q: Describe your business. What do you do?
A: We provide integrated medical and wellness care through a variety of services, including traditional medicine, personal training, lifestyle coaching, nutrition counseling, and stress management education.
Q: What made you start your business?
A: We found that our respective industries provided good care within our disciplines, but was incomplete. Through our meeting and subsequent working together, we discovered that integrating medical and wellness care for both disease management and prevention provided patients with a higher quality of service and better results.
Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running or starting a small business?
A: In our case, we feel it has been the presence of the well-established protocols that govern our industries. Our approach is unique and not readily accepted by either the medical or fitness industry. Doctors don’t get paid when patients are “well” and trainers don’t get paid when clients are “sick.” Fitness is just as important for people when they are managing disease and health care needs to focus on not just disease management but prevention as well. The need for communication and marketing to educate people about this concept (in addition to providing a higher caliber of care) have been the biggest challenge for our small business.
Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?
A: Seeing our patients achieve results with their health, wellness and quality of life that we feel could not be achieved through the traditional segregation of medical and wellness care
Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A:Bryant: Definitely not! When I was very young, I wanted to be a marine biologist. By the time I was 11, I knew I needed to be a doctor. The current business evolved out of a decade spent in the medical arena and seeing what was both right and wrong with it.
A:Richards: Definitely not! I was obese my whole life and didn’t think that I would live past the age of 30. At the age of 24 I lost 160 pounds through proper diet and exercise. Not only did this save my life but gave me passion and motivation to help others achieve success with their health and wellness.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Bryant: My 5 year old.
A: Richards: I don’t sleep, when you start your own business there are two modes- work and collapse.
Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?
A: Believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one else will ... have a clear vision & mission for what you do and the purpose for why you do it.
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