Nichol Holwege is the CEO of Maple Lake Academy located in Spanish Fork, Utah. Maple Lake Academy is a private residential treatment center specializing in helping adolescents on the autistic spectrum. They have a high school on campus fully accredited by Cognia. Maple Lake Academy provides small classroom sizes providing each student with individual time and attention as needed to help them succeed. Maple Lake Academy provides each student with a one-on-one approach based on their needs and the need of their family. Each child is different. As our clients grow and learn within the Maple Lake Academy program, we want them to gain independence and learn the skills they need to succeed once they leave our program. Our students become experts on their diagnosis and learn where their areas of struggle are, what they need in order to find success, and learn to use their words in order to advocate for others. Our students learn that their ways to success may look different from what others are doing. Each student is usually with us anywhere between 12 to 18 months. Maple Lake Academy offers academics, therapeutic services, 24-hour residential support, group therapy, recreational therapy, equine therapy, and medical services.
How did you get started in this business?
Saw a need back in the early 2000’s for a safe place for adolescents on the autistic spectrum, then known as Aspergers.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Maple Lake Academy puts most of their profits back into the program. Maple Lake Academy was profitable its second year in operation.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Our first year was a struggle. A struggle to find the staffing. Many didn’t understand or know what Aspergers was. It took a lot of time to train and help our program staff understand and see the vision.
How did you get your first customer?
Our clients are private placements. Our first client was referred to us by an educational consultant who learned about the opening of our program.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Going to conferences and networking with others, letting others know about our program, what we are doing, and changes that are happening at that time.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Liability insurance has become very expensive. Whether to remain open and pay the high costs for insurance.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Our approach to our students is one of kindness and love. There are times when are students feel the pains of making change, but we are always there to support and love them through that. Our parents see the change in their child and that carries over to future clients who are looking for the same growth and change.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Seeing clients make change, see families come together and learn to communicate again.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Things are tough right now. Our economy and the hiring crisis have made things a challenge. Excited for things to level out and hopefully progress toward a more productive year for 2023.
What business books have inspired you?
Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Crucial Conversations
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t take things too personally.