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Physiopod UK Ltd: The Story Behind The Business with Mary Fickling
In the latest of our Story Behind the Business series, Co-owner and Director of Physiopod UK Ltd Mary Fickling talks about the sister union behind their successful business.
Mary, describe your business in one sentence
Exclusive Distributors for German manufacturers, PHYSIOMED ELEKTROMEDIZIN AG one of the leading manufacturers of high quality products for classic and innovative physical and biomechanical diagnostic and therapeutic forms in the fields of rehabilitation, sports and aesthetic medicine.
What inspired you to start your business?
My Sister, Julie Soroczyn, Fitness Class Instructor/Sports and Holistic Massage Therapist acquired a HIVAMAT® 200 unit in 2004, which delivers “vinyl gloved hand” and/or applicator electrostatic massage throughout the entire tissue layers to a depth of 8cm reducing pain and swelling and promoting wound healing. The unit was bought from a friend, a Sports Lecturer, who had got the unit from a medical warehouse. He was changing his career and no longer had a need for the unit. Extolling its virtues, he reported excellent results with treating members of the local cricket team. He thought it would be good for Julie to take it on at this stage of her career, as it would save her hands (no pressure required to permeate 8 cm depth) and she would get better results in a quicker time frame.
To begin with, Julie practiced on family members and then the general public and she built up a steady client base in Nottingham. Nottinghamshire Boxer Carl Froch endorsed the therapy in 2007. Professional footballers soon began visiting Julie's clinic to experience the “magic hands” and left with many problems resolved that had proved difficult for their own club Physiotherapists to sort out. Through word-of-mouth recommendations, her reputation grew as she non-invasively got to the core of acute and chronic injuries and conditions without pain, sorting out back problems, tennis & golfers elbows and Achilles problems to name but a few.
Julie suspected that she was the only therapist in the UK to be using this new unique therapy form when looking on the Internet and in her many calls to the manufacturer asking questions, this was indeed confirmed. Her passion for the therapy led the manufacturers to invite Julie to Germany to shadow PT Wolfgang Walder in his clinic. She witnessed many fields of application and her passion was ignited further with how many people this therapy could help back home. The manufacturers asked if she wanted to become their UK & Ireland Exclusive Distribution Partner and she happily accepted. Once home, she asked if I wanted to join her in the business. After 20 years of running offices with lots of experience in management accounts, I felt like a challenge and I knew we had been given an awesome opportunity. I said “yes let’s go for it!” Then began a year of getting everything sorted to launch.
Neither of us had sales experience, but we both had a huge belief in the therapy and to improving people’s lives, especially Lymphoedema and Lipoedema sufferers. Julie’s late mother in law passed away without ever having any treatment for breast cancer related lymphoedema.
My business skills, together with an avid interest in all things health, entwined with Julie’s skills in sports and holistic therapies and her amazing people skills (she is a great listener). This brought about a unique Sister union!
2012 - PhysioPod became an authorised NHS Supplier as it became included in Lymphoedema and Lipoedema protocols where appropriate. Many people living with one or both conditions now self manage with the personal unit at home and abroad. PhysioPod provide a letter for customs to take the unit as hand luggage.
2016 - PhysioPod was awarded the Global Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Healthcare Award for innovation for Deep Oscillation Therapy.
2017 - Physio Equipment was born to supply the entire range of PHYSIOMED products.
2018 - Dr Jens Reinhold from PHYSIOMED presented on “Deep Oscillation and Pain Relief” at MLDUK Conference and AGM to Doctors, Surgeons and Therapists to much applaud.
The fields of application have rapidly expanded and in the UK and Ireland now it is used in human, equine and canine treatments, due to its fast and effective use in pain relief, swelling and wound healing reducing the need for pain medication and anti-inflammatories and promoting mobility.
Describe your typical day
I get up around 5.30 am, have a good stretch and get a brew on! Showered and at my desk about 6.00 am. I check the overnight incoming emails and colour flag them into their respective boxes which means we can deal with all the red ones first. We use Google Sheets to share all enquiries for follow up.
I then spend an hour reading the latest in health research and share on social media anything which interests me and I feel will be of interest to my network. I tend to work in the mornings on basic business requirements and deadlines. After making and eating lunch with hubby Chris Fickling (who also works from home) I begin/continue working on writing projects to market Deep Oscillation and creating therapists web pages so that patients can find them.
My Sister deals with the majority of the sales enquiries/phone calls at her office and I deal with all NHS/Premiership leads. At some point during the day, I will walk Coco our Labradoodle and pay a visit to the gym, play a racquet sport or do some yoga/Pilates/meditation. I am a firm believer in following "now my time is owned truly by me!"
What has been the best moment of your business so far?
Helping those living with Lymphoedema and Lipoedema to improve their quality of life. Providing a tool for self-management and hearing about how it helps them on a daily basis is amazingly satisfying to us both.
What are you most excited about in your business plans for the next few months?
We have a new product called the MAGCELL® MICROCIRC which can help those who have battled cancer and been left with chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy (pain, tingling and numbness in hands and feet). We launched it at the MLDUK Conference 2018 with much interest from practitioners who have many patients suffering with this condition and the sales are starting to come through already.
Which 3 business (or other) books would you recommend to other business owners?
The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
by Michael E. Gerber
Creating by Robert Fritz
My Turn: by Norman Wisdom
If you could start your business all over again, what's the one thing you would do differently?
Pay less attention to those giving advice in order to advance your business, when they haven’t run a business themselves. Trust your gut instinct. It makes you happier in the long run, saves money and gives greater job satisfaction.
If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
Name a professional along the way whose services you have called upon which have significantly impacted on your success?
And if you asked me that, my answer would be....Chris Fickling, my husband and web designer, for his patience and creativity and his sound, level headed business advice!
Thank you Mary for sharing your business story.
Until next time,
Read other stories in this series