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How to run a business in lockdown: Rush, Founder of R&D Physio

Rush and the R&D Physio team. Photo by Jai Shah jaishahphotography.com

How to run a business in lockdown is our series about how small business owners are leading their companies through the coronavirus crisis. To share your story, message us: hello@tide.coFacebook or Twitter.

Rush Savla, R&D Physio. Photo by Jai Shah jaishahphotography.com
Rush Savla, Founder of R&D Physio

Tide member Rushabh Savla is a physiotherapist and founder of R&D Physio. You might have spotted Rush on the Tide website before, where he’s has given us tips on working from home safely and why back pain isn’t caused by your posture.

We caught up with Rush to ask how R&D Physio has adapted to work during lockdown and about their plans for 2020. And at the end of this post, don’t miss Rush’s 12 questions that small business owners need to ask themselves right now.

How have you adapted to run your business during lockdown

The R&D Physio business model and team culture means they’ve been able to keep operating during the UK coronavirus lockdown. Their clients have been overwhelmingly supportive of the company’s initiatives to continue their service:

“We had an incredible outpouring of support from clients. As we moved over into online physiotherapy, we communicated with them throughout and saw how much we meant to their wellbeing! It’s been a humbling experience.”

No longer travelling between appointments, Rush has had some extra time to himself so he’s stepped up his self-development and expanded his company’s online service. This has been more effective than he imagined:

“I’ve become an expert at prioritising and that’s helped us pivot even faster. Doing more online physio consultations has had the unexpected benefit that we can help clients in different countries. I’ve just finished a video consultation someone in Seattle, Washington.”

Rush works with a team of six others and he hasn’t furloughed or let go any of them:

“I’m a firm believer in people over profits. As Simon Sinek said, ‘It’s the time to count hearts and not heads.’ I’ve been impressed at how the team has adapted, stayed resilient and overcome challenges. We all decided to take half our salaries for the lockdown months to make sure our company thrives.”

Will you get any Government support?

Although the R&D Physio team work from business premises, the properties belong to other people so Rush’s company isn’t paying business rates – and this means his company isn’t eligible for a Government Small Business grant.

“We would have loved to get a grant but sadly we’re not eligible. But at the moment, we’re okay. We’re considering getting a Bounce Back Loan. The Government is doing a fantastic job of supporting small businesses but I believe the real effort has been by the banking sector. It takes courage to help so many people and Tide have been exceptional.”

Thanks Rush, we’re blushing!
If you’re interested in getting a Bounce Back Loan from Tide, register your interest.

What plans have you had to delay or change?

R&D Physio was having a record month helping people and generating revenue in March.

“We had moved to our state-of-the-art facilities – they include football pitches, a golf club and a gym. We were ready for a great summer.”

The team delayed a charity fundraiser and some workshops which Rush hopes might happen later this year instead. They’ve also put on hold their plans to expand.

Rush is closely following announcements from the Government and physiotherapy professional bodies but found he had to make decisions rather than wait for official guidance:

“Physiotherapy clinics are technically allowed to open now if we want to. But we took the proactive decision to stop meeting clients face-to-face because we believe it’s the responsible thing to do.

“What would be great to see from the Government is a phased plan that everyone can agree with and adhere to. That way, there won’t be a second wave of coronavirus in the UK.”

What have you discovered about yourself from working in isolation?

Rush is one of those people who is ‘always on’. So although he’s able to work from home, is he burning himself out? It turns out he’s had chance to reflect:

“As a leader, I’ve found an extra gear, more resilience than I knew I had, and I’ve reinforced my can-do attitude.

“Working in isolation is challenging but I’ve found it helpful to keep to a routine, to give ourselves daily goals and to set a focus for the week that’s linked to our yearly goals.”

And of course, we didn’t expect totally serious answers from Rush. He adds:

“Oh and my cooking skills have definitely improved! And I’ve also learned to slow down a little. But only a little…”

Are you feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the rest of 2020, and why?

Rush is hard-wired for optimism and helping people function at their best:

“If we want our businesses to survive, we have to remember what Charles Darwin said: ‘It isn’t the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It’s the one that’s most adaptable to change.’

“We’re healthcare practitioners who coach people out of pain and help them return to what they love doing. Optimism and positivity are at the heart of what we do. 2020 is just another challenging year. We’re confident that our country will bounce back and so will we. We’ll do everything with a smile and we’ll be fine!”

What are your tips to help other small businesses thrive in 2020?

Rush set down these twelve questions for his team and wants to share them to help other small businesses. To help with your own planning, grab your notebook and go through this list, answering the questions:

1) What are your inbuilt abilities?

What is it that people are truly buying from you? What’s the experience or outcome of working with you that makes your services or products unique? How can you use that outside your usual business or products? If you can’t trade as usual, how could you monetise your knowledge and skills online?

2) What assets can you sweat?

There are two minicab firms near where I live. One has closed while the other has pivoted to run deliveries from local butchers, greengrocers. How about you?

3) Who could you partner with?

Now’s the time to collaborate not compete. Who has the same audience as you but a non-competing product?  Who could use your skills, know-how or assets? Could you multiply your reach by sharing each other’s marketing power? Or double your impact by teaming up for an offer?

4) If you had to strip back everything, what would be the last product or service you’d lose?

What’s the most important thing you do? Would your customers choose the same thing? Focus on just that most important thing. You could go all-in and communicate that’s all you’re doing. That clarity will remind people about choosing to work with you and the single specialised outcome you deliver.

5) How have your clients been affected?

Listen to what your customers are saying. What’s changed for them? What’s difficult right now? What’s frustrating? What do they need urgently? After lockdown, what are they asking for? Use the answer to help you focus and plan.

6) How can you help?

Make one list of how you can help, then divide the list into ways you can add value for free and things you could charge for. Write down everything you can think of. The simplest ideas might be the best ones.

7) What else have you got?

Look at ideas you’ve had that are gathering dust on the ‘I’ll do it later’ shelf or things you’ve offered in the past. What could you revive or fast-forward?

8) What could you do at a one-off reduced rate or as a ‘pop-up’?

I’m not advocating dropping your prices, but you could try a short-term offer to deliver a win-win solution.

9) What could you do for free now to create demand for a paid-for product?

Rather than push out a paid-for product, could you offer free support then ask what else people need? That way, your customers are ‘asking’ you for the product, rather than you having to ‘sell’ it.

10) What can you do now that will help you later?

If you can’t create sales, then how about creating demand and trust? What can you do now that will create a desire to work with you when we’re all allowed out again?

11) What’s worth promoting right now?

Not everyone is struggling. In fact, many of you will find that your customers and clients need you now more than ever before. I’m not suggesting you capitalise on that, but if you can and you have good intent, now’s a smart time to be marketing. Especially as there may be less noise to compete with and advertising is cheaper. Now’s a good time to be doing good.

12) Who can support you right now?

Now more than ever we need people to talk to, to share and bounce ideas with, to feel like someone understands. Sometimes family, friends or business partners are too close to us or too busy with their own stuff so make sure you have people or groups you can talk to, or places to get support. And then do seek support.

If you found Rush’s questions useful, please share them with your contacts and tell us more via LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

At Tide we’re proud to serve R&D Physio and we wish them every success. Meanwhile, if you’d like to get that pesky injury or niggle treated by Rush’s team of online physios, ping them an enquiry here on their website:

Have your say

How is the coronavirus affecting you and your small business? We’re keen to hear from you – get in touch with us on LinkedInFacebook or Twitter.

If you found Rush’s questions useful, please share them with your contacts and tell us more via LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

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Suzanne Worthington

Senior Writer

Tide Team

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