Perry Smith lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is the founder of Perry Smith Fitness Concepts. He is an expert in the biomechanics of movement. In more than 20 years of practice and research as a physical therapist, Perry Smith has worked with hundreds of people to address pain and help them return to the activities they loved doing. His passion has been studying movement patterns of the human body and their impact on injury, treatment, recovery, and prevention. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and two daughters.
When Perry Smith was in college, a sudden medical condition left him unable to be active. He was devastated. As he recovered, he remembered the first day he was able to go for a simple walk outside. It reminded him never to take being active and moving for granted again. This was also when the seed was planted for his future career as a successful physical therapist. When he was able to go back to school, he made the fateful decision to give up his engineering scholarship and shifted his major to biological sciences. He knew that he wanted his future career to involve helping other people take care of their health.
In more than 20 years of practice and research as a physical therapist, Perry Smith has worked with hundreds of people – from celebrities to friends and neighbors in Nashville metro area — to address pain and help them return to the activities they loved doing. My passion has been studying movement patterns of the human body and their impact on injury, treatment, recovery, and prevention.
Perry Smith is an expert in how the human body moves, determining why a specific injury occurred, and providing others with the opportunity to have that incredible feeling of recovering from that injury.
How did you get started in this business?
Over the past 15 years, I have channeled my passion for health and wellness into initiating and expanding two successful physical therapy businesses. Now I am excited for my newest venture, Perry Smith Fitness Concepts in Nashville.
How do you make money?
Growing something that offers exceptional value and service to my clients has been personally and professionally rewarding.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Both businesses were profitable in under six months. Both businesses yielded an average yearly net profit growth of 23% over a 16 year period and we exceeded our target referral goals every year.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
NO! I have always had confidence in several things. One was in myself as a valued commodity for the service I was providing. Second, I understood that a valued commodity or service will have a market. Finally, I knew no one was going to outwork or outthink me in finding ways to connect to that market.
How did you get your first customer?
While he might not technically technically have been my first client, one of my early clients was a neighbor of mine. Bob had recently been through some hard life events which caused him to lose appreciation for his health and the empowering stability that health and fitness can provide in stormy times. I explained to him the concept of what my work did and how it would benefit him. While I clearly wanted to use my business as a means of supporting my family, I told Bob that rather than paying me I wanted him to tell others about his experience. I told him that people would soon see the changes in his body, posture, and energy and be curious about what had changed for him. Bob’s word of mouth marketing became an outstanding referral source for me.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
Because we provide a service and our intellectual property is a primary separator of us from competitors, I love to get in front of audiences to share helpful information but also to let them get excited about the services I provide. Whether it’s live talks for a triathlon club, virtual presentations, or social media interactions, the more I can get the word out the more lives we can impact.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Adjusting to the global pandemic was the hardest. Temporarily suspending certain parts of my business and pivoting to facilitate ways to channel the lost service into a pandemic-acceptable alternative service required a lot of work. The comforting thing was knowing I wasn’t alone – that many businesses were making the same adjustments and we could learn from each other.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
I believe the keys to my success include: being innovative in how I and my team provided care to our patients; focusing on excellence in service and caring about our patients; expertise in movement patterns of the human body and their impact on injury, treatment, recovery, and prevention; confidently and consistently presenting our business to the market with fearless determination, thereby building trust, referrals, and a solid base of returning customers who also referred family and friends; being a good listener, problem solver, and optimist; and a deep drive to maximize the potential of any situation — overcoming obstacles and challenges; celebrating and leveraging successess.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Every client we work with is unique and valued. Having said that, it is satisfying to know that our clientele has included many “picture on the wall” level people. We have had royalty coming in under aliases, professional and Olympic athletes, politicians with secret service escort, musicians who pack concert venues, heads of Fortune 100 companies. It is nice to know that our services are so highly valued.
One of the most satisfying moments in my professional practice was when I met a patient named Jim who suffered from Achilles tendonitis and a small tear in his calf muscle while training for a marathon. It was five weeks before race day, and not only was he suffering from physical pain, but he was in emotional pain, as well. He was fifty years old, and had been working so hard for so long, and he faced the daunting prospect of failure. But failure was not an option. I gave him a detailed list of what he needed to do for healing, a series of exercises to address imbalances of posture and muscle mobility, and recommendations for maintaining endurance via stationary biking to keep his heart rate consistent with his running levels, and we also made some mild modifications in his running posture and form that would reduce the strain on his legs.
We continued to work together and plan and strategize for race day, which was to be his birthday. I wasn’t able to go to Jim’s race because of a prescheduled work commitment, but I did receive two = texts around noon. The first one was ‘I finished!’ and the second one said ‘No pain!’ For our final physical therapy session, he handed me a note in an envelope and a picture of him finishing the race. His face was a mix of exhaustion and a huge smile as he basked in the glow of accomplishment and achievement. In his note, Jim detailed what this training experience had been like and how I had impacted his life. He closed the letter with the following words, that I don’t think I will ever be able to forget… ‘Over the course of running 26 miles I thought about many things, but as I approached the finish line and was about to accomplish my goal I thought about my doctor telling me if I was going to run this race I had better find a good trainer, well, I found a great one.’
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
The integation of technology into health and fitness is exciting. Wearable sensors can deliver so much data regarding your level of health and how your body responds to exercise. The size and power of the sensors has improved to such a level that what used to be confined to a motion lab can now deliver the same level of data anywhere – on a run, at the gym, playing a sport. The devices are so uninvasive that you can perform without even being aware of the device. This opens a new door into improving performance and limiting injury.