Laura Patrick, the founder of Vancouver-based KidsPhysio.ca is as passionate about physical activity as she is about helping children. A physiotherapist turned entrepreneur, Patrick’s journey started as a student at the University of British Columbia’s Human Kinetics program, followed by a stint at McMaster University where she earned a Masters in Physiotherapy.
Upon graduation, Patrick decided to work as a physiotherapist with Vancouver Coastal Health. Three years later, she realized her desire to become an entrepreneur.
“I have a Masters in physiotherapy, but fell in love with business,” says Patrick.
The KidsPhysio.CA story
Patrick started working with children as a physiotherapist in public practice, and soon realized she had stumbled upon a niche market.
“I realized I was the only physiotherapist in Vancouver dedicating my case load solely to physiotherapy for kids. It was then that I saw a huge opportunity and decided to open my first location,” says Patrick.
Since launching her first location in 2010, Patrick has hired a team of physiotherapists and expanded her business to four West-coast locations.
The biggest challenge Patrick faces these days is financing expansion into rural areas outside of Vancouver.
“Recruiting great physios who are open to working in smaller communities can be a challenge, which makes it trickier to consider opening in a smaller community,” she says.
On choosing a .CA domain for their website
“Having a .CA makes our brand is easily identifiable,” says Patrick. “It makes us recognizably Canadian.”
KidsPhysio gets nearly 40-50% of their business from their .CA site, and the name of the business has a lot to do with that. It’s already a very popular keyword on Google searches, says Patrick, which automatically results in high search rankings and high website visibility.
“I work with parents who are concerned about their kids. They will go to the Internet to find support and are not necessarily relying on their doctors,” she says.
She has learned that the traffic to her website peaks around children’s bedtime, because that’s when most parents have time to chat about their kids and research things online.
“Having a .CA opened up the client base to average parents, not just somebody who was specifically referred to us by a physician. It opened us up to a much wider audience.”
Patrick strongly recommends going online and choosing .CA as a domain. When asked if she would recommend a .CA to other entrepreneurs considering it, she says, “Absolutely! If you are Canadian, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to!”
Patrick even helped her business partner obtain the domain, JumpGymnatics.ca.
“She chose .CA for the same reason,” says Patrick. “She wanted to identify her business as Canadian.”
Patrick credits mentorship for helping her grow into the successful business owner she is today and encourages others to join organizations that can connect entrepreneurs. For the last five years, Patrick has been mentored by fellow founder Madeline Shaw, after they were paired together through the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE).
“She helped connect me with the ‘mom community’ in Vancouver,” says Patrick. “Concerned moms talk to each other and share information. Madeline encouraged me to get involved with the mom community, which had a huge impact on my business.”
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