Alabama woman makes adjustment from franchise manager to chiropractic practice owner
Dr. Morgan Fountain first named her business “Intrinsic Balance” as part of a project during her final year of chiropractic school.
“Opening your own practice and being an entrepreneur is the end goal for most chiropractic students, but for me it was this amorphous dream somewhere out in the future,” says Dr. Fountain. “I didn’t know when I was going to get there, but having my own office has always been the goal.”
Taking a Crack at Ownership
After graduation, Fountain spent three years at a local chiropractic franchise. She was successful as an associate, and even helped grow the practice by more than 53%. But when she was offered the chance to buy the franchise location, she knew owning a franchise wasn’t the right path for her.
Dr. Fountain opened Intrinsic Balance Chiropractic & Health Services in January of 2017 in Hunstville, Alabama, just five miles from her previous office for the convenience of her patient base. And although Dr. Fountain enjoys the freedom of operating her own practice, having to start from ground zero had its challenges.
“There is so much that goes into opening your own business,” says Fountain. “Coming from a franchise, the framework was there and I didn’t have to make as many decisions. From setting up all your booking and accounting systems to even the simplest things like pens! But at the same time, it’s fun making all the decisions on how I want to run my practice, and getting to treat my patients like family.”
Straightening Out the Finances
Despite a large client base and experience running a practice, Dr. Fountain struggled to find the money she needed for renovations and equipment. She spent months preparing all the documentation for a small business loan, but was told that she needed to have a certain amount of money upfront to be eligible for a bank loan. She felt defeated.
That’s when her mentor, Joe Grimes of Jacksonville State University’s SBDC, told her about Pathway Lending.
“Unless you know all the rules going into it, finding funding can be a frustrating endeavor,” says Dr. Fountain. “With Pathway Lending, though, the hoops to get financing were a lot fewer, further between, and easier to navigate. And the Pathway team was with me every step of the way – it’s been wonderful.”
Dr. Fountain used her loan from Pathway Lending to purchase equipment and furniture for the office, refinance existing debt, and provide working capital. Business is booming with services including massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, disc decompressions, ultrasound therapy, and progressive rehabilitation. In the near future, Dr. Fountain plans to add acupuncture and nutritional services as well.
The Backbone of the Community
Not only does Dr. Fountain aspire to grow the practice to multiple locations, she also believes that as a small business owner, she has an obligation to her community. “The freedom that comes with owning your own business is amazing, but you pay for that with responsibility,” says Dr. Fountain. “I feel a responsibility not just for my patients and my employees, but for our community as a whole because there are so many ways I can affect change.”
This past Christmas, Intrinsic Balance hosted a toy drive for the local nonprofit, “Kids to Love,” who provides underprivileged children in North Alabama with birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and other necessary items. Her team also offers stress release massages for teachers around exam times, and she’s recently gotten involved with area schools to raise money for students who can’t afford lunch.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities,” says Dr. Fountain. “And as an entrepreneur, your office hours don’t end with the hours on the door.”
To learn more about Intrinsic Balance & Health Services in Huntsville, Alabama, visit their Facebook page.
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