We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Harmon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I can’t honestly remember when it began, but I knew I always wanted to help people. Being young and active, I grew up playing every sport under the sun. By some stroke of luck, I never got seriously injured. But by participating in so many different sports, I was always intrigued by the human body and how it works. Over the years this curiosity led me to become a physical therapist. When I first became a PT, the field was going through a change. In a word, volume became paramount. As the patient load continued to increase, the quality of care naturally suffered. It became increasingly difficult to give patients the quality of care I felt they deserved and stay true to my core values. Over many months of soul searching, it became clear the only way to stay true to helping people in the way that aligns with how I feel patients should be treated was to open my own business. Three years ago I took the plunge, and it has made all the difference.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have been a physical therapist for 20 years. Midway through my career, I noticed how my patient load was steadily increasing to the point I was seeing up 20 to 25 patients per day. With those numbers, it was becoming more and more difficult to be able to spend enough time with each patient to fully address their needs. This is one of the things I wanted to change in my practice. So now, I see only one patient per hour and the patient sees only me utilizing mostly hands on treatment. I have no aids or techs to pass the patient onto and often treat multiple body parts per session. Getting to this point has been a challenge full of trial and error. I have had to learn how to market, become a business owner, plan, budget and treat patients all at the same time. All things that were not taught in PT school. However, by taking on this challenge, I have pushed myself to learn new skills, stay current, active and eager to grow. All this has taught me to keep pushing and stay true to your principles and you will reach your goals.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
While growing up in Delaware, in the 8th grade I decided I was going to move to Denver. Why Denver? Well, I’ve been skiing all my life. My dad first put me on skis at the tender age of 5 and over 40 years later, I still haven’t kicked the bug nor do I plan to. So if a friend was to visit, there is one place I will surely take them. To the mountains to ski. Of course Vail is a must, but I would not be opposed to any other resort. Once back in town after a day on the slopes, taking a stroll down Larimer Street and eating at The Capital Grille would seal the day. Also a hike around Red Rocks and a day trip to Colorado Springs to visit Pikes Peak, The Olympic Training Facility and Garden of the Gods would convince anyone to move to Denver as it did my youngest brother. Another day would include a short trip to Boulder to hike the Flat Irons and stroll up and down Pearl Street. Back in Denver. sightseeing on the 16th Street Mall is a must finishing off with a show at the DCPA (Denver Center of the Performing Arts). Year round there is always something fun to do and to top it off, chances are it will be warm and sunny.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My long journey to become an owner of my own practice was no easy process. There is no way, for many, many reasons, I wouldn’t be where I am without the help, guidance, push, love and support of my wife, Annie. Being a physical therapist was always my dream, but owning my own practice was a fantasy. Lucky for me, Annie is a graphic designer who has owned her own practice, Harmony Design, for over 12 yrs. Not only was she able to guide me through the perils of being a business owner, but she has been the design force behind my practice from logos, website, collaterals, branding and much more. I can honestly say I would not have my own practice nor would it have grown the way it has without her.
Photo by Noah Gallagher.