November 10, 2020

The Secret Sauce For Sustained Growth And Success With Brandon Buehler, PT

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And Success

Brandon Buehler, PT is routinely asked, "What is the secret to your success, especially in a difficult PT market like California?” To that question, he responds that he keeps his focus on truly living their practice’s purpose and values, and infuses those into discussions and staff meetings. He joins Nathan Shields to explain how this enabled them to establish a team culture that has grown from within to establish seven clinics in southern California. Brandon admits it takes a lot of hard work, but the added effort to establish solid and living purpose and values is what makes it fun and fulfilling.


Listen to the podcast here:

The Secret Sauce For Sustained Growth And Success With Brandon Buehler, PT

I've got a guest on that I've wanted to have for a long time. He's part of the network that Will and I were a part of as we grew our clinics over time. He was in a group with other people on my show that I've had before like Vinod and Blaine. I still haven't had the girls on from Magnolia, Amy and Lisa but these were all people that we looked up to. Brandon Buehler, who is the President and Founder of Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy in California. He’s one of those people I'm excited to have on. Finally, after a couple of years of doing the show, I've got him on. Brandon, thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for inviting me.

I'm excited to bring you on because you guys have been successful especially in a difficult area of the country in California. I think when we knew you back in the day, you had maybe 2, 3 clinics and now you guys are up to seven. You've been successful in your model and I've always looked up to you guys because you've always been well-founded. That's a lot of what I want to talk about with you because I know that's the basis of your success. Before we get into a lot of that, do you mind sharing with us a little bit about how you guys got to where you are? A little bit of the story of Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy and what's made you guys successful?

I'll show you a little bit about how I got into physical therapy and then how that led into the birth of Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy. My route to becoming a physical therapist was a circuitous one. Initially, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I went to UCI and it was an engineering major. I was good at math and science so I figured engineering sounds right. I started in that and I did well. I enjoyed it but towards the end of my first year in college, I got in a bad car accident and suffered a bad back injury. I had pain for months and when I saw multiple doctors and MRI. I was referred to different specialists and medications thrown at me like crazy.

It wasn't getting better. I'm like, “This is crazy.” A friend of mine said, “Have you tried physical therapy?” I said, “What is physical therapy?” I had no idea what it was. I went to physical therapy and within one week, I was already starting to feel better. Within three weeks, I said, “This is what I want to do with my life. I can be an engineer of the body instead of an engineer for other things.” That's led me down the path. That's one of the reasons that I'm passionate about our profession. We can help people naturally that we don't have to be spun in this web for months or years of pain until they find me getting physical therapy as we hear it all the time.

A patient had five years of headaches within about a month of treatment with us, the headaches gone and tears rolling down her eyes. She asked me a common question we hear from a lot of people, “Why didn't I get it earlier?” That's a good question. It is something that us, as a physical therapy community need to solve. Why few people getting into us? Why are they seeing specialists, MRI, surgery and medication only to often fail that and then come to us?

We fall short in that regard. The marketing efforts of physical therapists over the years have been so focused on, “Talk to the doctor and get that referral from the physician,” that we've failed as a profession to market what we do to the communities at large. Even nowadays, I've been a therapist for many years, the question continues to come up like, “What makes you different than a chiropractor? Are you a massage therapist? What do you guys do?” Many people don't know and that's a failure on our part.

One of the sad aspects of our profession is we all feel like we're competitors. It's a crazy thing. In my world, we see such a small percentage of our community. We're always worried more about our competitor down the street doing the fact that 99% of the people in the community aren't getting into either one of us. We work to band together. We couldn't handle the business we have, instead our patients are going to a chiro or getting MRIs, medication, surgery and seeing specialists. It is something we can work on. What you're doing, Nathan, is you're working on that. You're trying to bring people together and through consulting, networking and these types of podcasts. Other people who've been here like me are sharing some similar ideas.

That's a lot of what the pandemic has led owners to do is to not focus on physicians because that physician pipeline essentially got cut off in a lot of places. How are we marketing now to get those referrals in the door, to get those patients in the door and see them because people are still getting injured, whether we have lockdown or shutdowns? It doesn't matter. They still need physical therapy. A lot of my shows have been about how to use social media, how to do the direct to consumer marketing route and spread our message so that we don't necessarily rely on physicians to also get it out to the people that physical therapy is available to them.

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And Success
If we combined our efforts and promoted our profession, that alone would have a dramatic influence on all of our business.

Imagine if our profession, all of us, whether they're next door or the next city over, if we combined our efforts and promoted our profession. That alone would have a dramatic influence on all of our business. The concept of rising tide would in full effect on that. That’s my story about becoming a physical therapist in terms of how Coury & Buehler Physical Therapy started. My founding partner Rich Coury, we met as I was doing internships at a place and we became instant friends. He was maybe a couple of years ahead of me. We weren't far apart in age. We clicked and connected as friends. I finished up there and started working somewhere else and he was working somewhere. We would hang out a lot.

We would grab drinks or lunch. He came over and hang out with my wife and me. We were friends, but we also were both passionate about the profession. We would spend many evenings talking and dreaming about, “What if physical therapy could do this? What would it be like if the place we worked at providing this type of care? Is this constant dreaming envisioning of the ultimate physical therapy company? What would the dream vision of a physical therapy company look like?” We talked and talked. I remember one night my wife saying, “Are you guys going to keep talking about this or are going to maybe follow up on these dreams? You seem like you have the passion about it.”

Rich and I met one day and said, “This is the time. We have this vision. The physical therapy model that we think is better and will provide better outcomes and results for patients. Let's do it. What do we have to lose, my house? That's about it. Let's move forward.” It's been a fun ride. Since then we've grown since day one and that was about many years ago. During the first couple of years, we found that to be a challenging time but we grew quickly early on I think just because of our good looks and our charisma with treating.

We hit this wall where we're kept. We felt like we're limited in what we could do. We didn't know what to do and how to get to the next step. That's where we started luckily to meant that we needed help. At that point, we got some consulting. We started networking with incredible physical therapists like yourself, Will, Vinod, Lisa and Beth and all these great therapists. Getting help from different people, talking and reading books, taking on the posture from that day forward of being a learner in terms of not as a physical therapist, but as a business owner and practice owner who wants to improve the profession.

That's something that I've always loved about you is that you've always come from a place of so much wisdom. I've read books that you've recommended to me during the course of conversation. I don't even know if you remember that you've recommended books to me, but you've been someone who's always been looking for more information. You are a learner trying to absorb as much as possible to improve yourself, not just professionally, but also personally. That's kudos to you and it goes to the typical pattern of a successful physical therapy owner that I've seen in 99.5% or 100% of the successful PT owners I interview. They recognize that they need help.

We didn't learn any business things in physical therapy school essentially, so we need to get some business acumen. Networking is huge in that regard and helping you know that, “I'm not in this boat alone. There are other people who have done some successful actions that they're willing to share.” The networking alone can be a huge aspect of it. There are always books that can give you inspiration, insight, and that stuff. I'm reading one called Grit by Angela Duckworth.

It's an awesome book. I haven't read about the topic that we're going to discuss but in the course of our discussions prior to this interview, you told me that other owners and younger owners might come to you and say on occasion, “What do you guys do? What makes you successful?” I thought it was great that you came back to we really live our purpose and our values. That's where I want to take this because we've discussed this on the show before not you and I, but other guests about how to establish a purpose. How to establish values and exercises you can take your teams through and how important it is? I know that you guys live that stuff. You guys reference back to it. You use your purpose and values as a filtration system for the choices and directions that you go to and your physical therapy ownership. Tell me a little bit about that. What was the Genesis of finding your purpose and values? Then we can get into, what are you doing to keep it alive and well?

I appreciate you bringing this up because this is something I'm passionate about. It is funny. We have people come up to us often either calling us in PT network meetings or wherever like, “What is your secret sauce or what tricks you got? What are you doing?” Everyone thinks we have some magic thing that we're hiding behind the scenes for our success. Everyone's looking for that one answer. What's that one book that turned it for us or that one marketing guru we're following? We all want that in life. We want the pill that'll make us lose weight. We want the one exercise that'll give us big biceps.

We all know that it's much more than that. It's more complicated than that, but the reality is my answer to everyone is that it's our commitment to our purpose and values. I know it can sound commonplace for people to say that or to throw that out there. For our company, it's been true. I told you about the story of how Rich and I started the company and his dream, but a lot of our dreaming and visioning is starting to talk about our purpose, vision and values. Back then, we had no business training. We were young therapists. We didn't know what it meant to create a purpose statement and core values, but we were smart enough to know that those things mattered.

In a small business that experiences ups and downs, having a stable and lived purpose and values is like a lighthouse in a storm. Click To Tweet

We started talking a bit about it. We didn't necessarily use the word purpose and values, but we would talk about what we wanted to be about. We talked about how we wanted the company to operate and the type of people we wanted. We started in those early days formulating our purpose and values and the same concepts from day one before we started the company. I was telling people, I started the company about 1.5 years before the company started. It started with Rich and me talking about it and dreaming, visioning and creating these fundamentals. Once the company started after one year or so, we decided to get real fancy and write the things down we talked about. Put it on the wall.

It's a piece of paper. It was a rudimentary version of what we came up with. Those things evolved a bit as we started to find out more. When you're at a company, it's like you go from being a teenager to an adult. Your company evolves and develops. Over time, our values did not change, they matured. What happened maybe about many years ago is our company growing. We also have grown a leadership team, which is phenomenal. We decided to sit down as a leadership team and to relook in a new union of time. We call it our vision statements, purpose, values and BHAG.

We spent a whole day, maybe two days offsite, just looking at that. What we did is we didn't add to it, we simplified it. We looked at every single one and said, “This is too complex. Let's be real with who we are, our purpose and values. Those two are great, but that's not us. Maybe we liked it, we agree with it, but let's focus on what we know we will die for.” We went from maybe 8 or 9 to 6 core values. We refined some of our other statements that we have what we call team creed. We have our BHAG. We have a care statement. We took what we've always had, and we refined it. That's become the foundation. If you want to know what our process for success, it would be those things.

What I want to highlight is you thought it's important that you guys took two full days, one would be enough for me, to focus on this.

Two full days after already having stuff in. We've already met years formulating and refining it. We decided to take two days to refine it on the stage for the next many years to reach our BHAG.

Purpose and values shouldn't necessarily be changed all that much. Maybe they get altered a little bit. As you said, you mature and you change a little bit because life and business environment change over time but you took things and simplified it that sparked a memory in our ownership. We recognize that we spent too many hours in meetings. We simplified and became more efficient in that regard. The same thing, we had these values, but we didn't have any definitions behind them. We took the time to come down to some concise phrases that weren't more than a sentence that describes those values to be more concise and clear about what they meant to the company.

Even though we all had our own individual definitions, we felt it necessary to define what those values meant in our company. What that look like? How does that show up? We also had some other things. We had cultural values as well, that was separate from our core values. The fact that you took much time and were that specific and intentional about it, could you say after doing something like that many years ago, it provided more clarity and maybe even a better foundation, a jumping-off point for continued expansion and growth?

We've always focused on them and made them part of our organization. At that point, it was another turning point in the company where we decided to more fully commit to our purpose and values than ever. At that point, we got more committed to making sure that every part of the organization was ran based on those values or reflect those values. We committed to instilling that more in the company and found other creative ways to make those alive in our organization.

Let's get a little bit deeper into this specific. What are some of the action items you take to have your purpose and value lived through each individual in the clink? How does it get from the owners and distilled down into the everyday actions that even someone at the front desk? If you use technicians to get down to the technician, what are some of those things that keep it alive and don't collect dust on the show?

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And Success
Sustained Growth And Success: Your company evolves and develops over time. Your values evolve a bit as you start to find out more.

One thing is interesting is you hear a lot of people talk about, “I've done that. I got that.” Most of my friends not in physical therapy, I try to connect with a lot of my friends who have businesses outside of our industry. I love learning from people outside of our industry, but I find the majority of people I know who have done this, it's something they put on the wall. It's like, “We got it in the break room or it's in a policy manual,” which means everyone read at once and then forgot about it. It's a mistake a lot of us make. Purpose, values and vision statements, those only have an effect on the company if they are ingrained in the fabric of the company.

We talk a lot about Pinocchio at some point became human because he got a soul. We talk about our company is not human until it has its purpose and values breathed into it. Another way to say it is that the personality of our company is based on our purpose and value statements. It's the person that's who we are as a company. We have to be lived and breathed. There are multiple ways we do that. Starting with, first of all, recruiting and hiring. The first entry point of the company starts with measuring every single purpose to our purpose and our values. We use some statements that even our recruitment ads about our company because we want to try to track people who are attracted to that. When we do our interviews, the first questions are all against our core values and our core competencies for that position. Right off the bat, we're asking questions based on each of our values because we try not to take generalizations or trying to get specifics on how they maybe align with the value of teamwork.

You can say you do, but tell me how and what that means to you and describe it. Based on the initial screening interview, you can get an idea if someone aligns with their values and if they don't, it doesn't mean they're bad or were bad. This is who we are. We sell maturity and growth to do, but we know who we are. We know the type of people we need to bring on. Our companies not for everybody without a doubt. We know who we're for. We are for a certain type of people who align with us and the people who do aligned with our values or our track, they do well in our company. The first thing we do is we hire based on that.

We did the same thing. We've listed our values. This is our purpose. This is how we do things in our company. It's interesting as you do more interviews, I don't know if you're still doing a lot of the interviews, but as we were doing the interviews, you watch body language. As you're starting to talk about values and the people who are bought in start leaning forward a little bit more and they light up a little bit. The people who aren't bought in, you could tell in their body language. They don't care as much. I agree. It starts there. You start discussing those at the forefront and so that they recognize that these are important to us and you can find those people that work well with you. It's easier to do as you do more and more of those interviews.

What's hard in our clinic or with my coaching clients is we'll talk about purpose and values at the beginning. I think a lot of companies go through this and that the owners get this bright idea that, “We're going to establish purpose and values.” Two to three months down the road, it was like, “Did we talk about that one time? I forgot.” It has some initial momentum and then falls off. I know you guys do more about that and you're going to share a little bit more with us. I just want to interject a little bit, but go ahead.

Once we hire someone based on our purpose and values and someone we think is aligned to that. The first thing they do is go through a training course on that. It takes them several hours. They could read the purpose and values, but we created a several multi-hour course that takes into the reach component and goes in-depth on what that looks like. We even have some fun video examples. We'll read. We're trying to impress that into them. It's one thing to say teamwork, but what does that mean? What does that look like? We try to press that into them and then have them answer questions. Not just like ABC, but some essays. They got to think about it and write it down because we want people to process these things.

That's the next thing. They go through that and during their onboarding, we're making sure that they understand and agree with it. There have been times where maybe we brought someone on and then during the training we realized, “I don't think they're a good fit. We're finding maybe they don't align with these values.” That's the initial thing we do. During their onboarding, the first few months, their managers are continually watching and making sure this person is the best fit. They continue to match this person to who we want to our purpose. This person agrees with our purpose, this person agrees on these values. Can they live at our team creed? If they don't, they're not bad. We're not bad. It's like, “You are probably not a good fit. This is who we know we need and I don't think you align best with this. You'd better in a different setting.”

Those are some of the easiest firings, aren't they? When you do a value-based firing like those actions that you're doing or performing aren't living up to this value. You're not exemplifying teamwork when you act in this manner. If professionalism was one of your values, it's not professional and we can't tolerate people who come in late consistently. That goes against professionalism. We're going to have to let you go. You're not a bad person. We don't tolerate people who don't align with the values.

Most of our hiring are more based on values these days. Those are the big things. Beyond that though, the question is how do you make it a day-to-day part of the organization? It’s because it has to be and if not, it'll become that type of thing where like, “What did we want to talk about? Isn't it on the wall in the break room?” There are multiple ways we do this and different things we experiment, try and have fun with. I'll go through some of the different ideas. One, we have a display. It's displayed everywhere. It's on our website. We don't hide it. It's in every one of our clinics. It’s somewhere were patients could see it. It's in different admin areas or breaks rooms. It's displayed to remind people. During our weekly meetings, we try to focus on a different value each week that we were cycling through them to continue to drill through. Maybe every couple of months, they're getting back through the cycle.

The secret sauce to our success? It's our commitment to our purpose and values. Click To Tweet

You're talking about and maybe, “Have a short couple minute discussion about a particular value.”

A real quick and maybe a minute or two. This is the night of the week. You talked about it. Maybe share a win based on it. Maybe we'll take a couple of minutes and camp on that and have a quick discussion about it or bring up a patient experience on that and things like that. We do a weekly email from one of the founders, Rich or I. Every email we always try to highlight or one of the values of the week and talk a little bit about that or maybe share a story about that trying to interject that into it. Our HR manager sends out a weekly value of the week award winner. Another great way to promote either a purpose, one of the values or one of our vision statements. Somebody who's living out one of those aspects. They're getting recognized and sharing a fun story about them. It's a sneaky way to remind people of that value because we'll get your coworker to live this out. Remember, it's one of our core values and that's part of our purpose.

We did the same thing. We didn't do it anything weekly like that, but at our annual parties, we would have a value award for a particular employee and highlight some of the things they did over the course of that year that exemplified that value. I'm sure your HR person is doing that same thing but on a weekly basis. This person exemplified blank because they did blank, that exemplifies this value. I think that's great. That recognition brings that to people's minds, especially the receiver of the award.

Our leadership team met and we are starting to finalize our awards for our annual Christmas party. One of the big aspects of our awards is our value awards and we give out awards based on each value. I worked on that and coming close. That's another way to do it. Those are some of the main ways we do that. Each manager during reviews or the reviews are off that's part of the route integrated into the review process as well. We're always finding fun ways to interject that in or sometimes we'll send out a random story or video to remind people of something.

We did the same thing with our reviews. It was not only value-based recruiting and hiring and value-based firing and value-based reviews. In our reviews, to get a little bit more specific, we would have the person that we're reviewing fill out essentially the same sheet that the supervisor would fill out. That was here are the values. What did you do in the past year, six months or whatever the timeframe was to exemplify those values and maybe even give yourself a score or maybe on some other things? The person who was being reviewed would say, “These are some of the things that I did.” The supervisor would say, “These are some of the things that I've seen you do and how can you improve on some of those values, live those even better and more fully in the company.” I love that you brought that up. It reminded me that you take values into recruiting, hiring, firing and exemplify on a regular basis, but also bring it into things that might have pertained to a salary increase or a promotion. You want to promote those people and you want to give salary increases to people who live out those values.

One of the best byproducts of this is culture it helps create. We're very protective of our culture. You probably have read Good to Great by Jim Collins. There's one part of his book that stuck out to me. It's one of the most memorable quotes from a business book I've read. He talks about your goal is to have your values infused into your company. He says, “Your culture is so strong. You have a cult-like culture.” Anyone who joins the organization either gets swept up into these values or they stand out like a sore thumb and get injected like a virus.

I'm like, “That's a powerful analogy or description of what it should look like.” You can create such a strong culture in your company based on your values and your purpose where people who joined the team get swept up in it or they stand out. There's no in-between. The people who stand out, it's like that group pressure where you better join and get out. We're not perfect at that, but we see that at times. When we're doing well, you see that and it’s a good place to be. Culture is everything. Your team depends on having been working in a great place, a place they love and believe in. No one wants the drama. No one wants the other stuff.

It takes some years and some intentional effort to get to that point but I know that over time we can develop that culture, such that people have finally gotten to the point where the purpose where they're waking up knowing how they're going to fulfill that purpose that day. Not that they're waking up and going to a job and punching the clock. It elevates things to another level for the people that buy-in once you establish a strong culture like that. These are people that will stay with you through thick and thin, work hard and maybe even for less than where they would get other places because they buy into exactly what you are fulfilling in them and as a company. It creates so much strength.

COVID is a tough time for people. You see everyone handling it differently. Now more than ever, our teams need a North Star, a guiding light. They need to have something to look to. There are a lot of confusion and chaos in our offices. There are frustrations. Everyone's a little bit have difficulties outside of here. There's this challenge and reminding, “I know things are harder. I know we have more in tribulation in our offices, but this is who we are. Focus on this.” We’re headed towards that goal. We just get to look up. I know this stuff stinks, but remember, this is what we're about. We're about changing people's lives. The other stuff settles down a little bit, it’s like, “Compared to that, this stuff's not as important.” People are sick or different things going on because of COVID, but if we can continue to focus on a purpose, it helps people be aligned.

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And Success
Sustained Growth And Success: Our purpose, values, and vision statements only have an effect on the company if they are ingrained in the fabric of the company.

Has that been a stable thing for you as you've gone through the COVID experience these several months? You have seven clinics and you're a successful guy, but you got bruised, battered and hit like every other PT on are out there. Did you find yourself reflecting back to the purpose and values and may be either shifting them a little bit or relying on them more in order to get through it?

As a company, we decided to close down for three weeks. We decided to mostly because we wanted to regroup. We wanted to decide as a leadership team on how do we run the company? What do we do? We want to provide care but in the safest manner. We took time, but Rich and I were back in day one. We came back to the office and felt like it had to be here. The very first thing we started talking about is, “Let's remember what we're about.” We can sit here, cry, complain and get frustrated. There are all these things we could talk about, but we know what our purpose is. We know what we need to do and let's focus on that.

Sometimes we talk about our purpose being like a lighthouse. You're in a storm and lost at sea, which direction do you go in? You see the lighthouse, you’re like, “I know where to go.” There are many times in our company history for ourselves and our team that that's been the case. It’s like, “We know where the lighthouse is. Let's go in that direction.” We were all bummed out. Seeing our company closed down brought tears to my eyes, but that didn't last very long. Within minutes I'm like, “I'm not going to cry about it. I'm going to focus on what we need to do because I know the purposes. That purpose includes what we need to do for patients and our team.” We started moving forward.

I can imagine that your weekly newsletters over this period of time in 2020 have had to focus more on the bigger picture perspective, why we're doing this? These are the decisions that we're making and this is why and how it relates to where we're going. Did you find that you had to reflect back on that a lot?


Especially with the decisions that you were making, were there some things that you changed in your workplace due to the pandemic? Maybe you let some people go or you changed some things around on how you treat but still, you bounce those things and filtered them through the purpose and values.

We did have to make some changes. The biggest change was changing our treatment model to have less people in the office at one time. Administratively spacing people out. We have a lot of moms, we had to support them. Some couldn't come back to work yet. Some needed to work from home. Shifting things around. We're often comparing things and decisions against the purpose, but this is a time where we at it continually do that and remind ourselves of this is what we're about. This is not best for the business, but this is who we are as a company. This is our hardest decision based on revenue, but this is who we are as a company. We need to make this decision.

When you first established your purpose and as you've refined it over time, I wonder how you defined it. As I'm working with my coaching clients and I asked them their purpose which has something to do with, we provide great physical therapy care to the residents of blank. I want to tell them, “That's what you do. That's your job as a person and as a company,” but it's more about the why. I'm wondering if that's how you've thought about your purpose over time and came upon it. It was like, “You do physical therapy, but for what purpose?” It goes back to a higher purpose which I talked about with a 30-minute key and that is helping people live pain-free. If that was your higher purpose or support the surrounding community so they're healthier. How you go about doing it is you provide physical therapy. How do you define purpose and how it helped you clarify what your purpose was?

We're on the same page. We have always seen purposes as the most important question. The purpose for us is the, “Why.” That is the first and foremost, question decision that any business makes to help make all the decisions under that. You see a lot of businesses in our industry and not in our industry, start a business and they haven't made this decision and they're making these decisions. The problem is these decisions can be right or wrong. If they're not, they don't know they don't figure out the why. When we came up with a purpose, that was the thing we were talking about, like, “Why do we exist? Why are we here? Why are we doing what we're doing?”

Those are the overarching type of theme. What we also decided is we felt like our purpose needed to transcend our industry. I feel like your purpose is in your industry. It’s not as bad. Our purpose is to help people out of pain and that’s awesome but we felt like, “Maybe our purpose should be bigger than that,” because it takes us out of the industry and is more important in our industry. Our purpose is to enhance the lives of people in our community. Our focus is helping our patients get out of pain, this includes our team and the people around that you work with even vendors. Vendors come in to enhance our lives. Whoever we're dealing with. The neighbors in our building, let's enhance their lives. It gives us a little bit of a different perspective on what we do overall.

The personality of our company is based on our purpose and value statements. Click To Tweet

As people start defining their purpose, it becomes less about the physical therapy they provide and what they can do for other people's lives and broadens the influence to not just the patients. As business owners, we want our team members to feel a certain way, to have a certain experience and experience a certain culture. We want to be the ones that establish that culture to better their lives as if we were working on a patient one-on-one. We want to enhance their lives and we want to enhance the patient's lives and thus affect the community in multiples. As you establish that purpose, it becomes less about the physical therapy itself and the care that you provide, not less about that, but to also include the workers, the people who are supporting you and the people that you interact with in helping the vendors, the workers at the physician's offices to include everybody that you come in contact with. It expands to more and more people.

Everyone in the team and what our position is can be part of that purpose. It's bigger than just helping patients in pain. Enhancing lives may look different for each person in our company but we can all be a part of that.

Were there some books that were influential to you in regard to purpose? You mentioned Good to Great but were there others that guided you along in that regard?

All of the Jim Collins books touch on that. Simon Sinek’s Start With Why and the Scaling Up book as well. There are others, but those helped formulate some of our thinking.

Is there anything else you want to share in regards to the purpose and how you guys live it and breathe it in Coury & Buehler?

It affects and influences most of our decisions. In terms of how we run the company on a day to day basis. Big decisions we're making in terms of a standard to measure our company with. Rich and I, when we meet, sometimes we check each other on this. We'll be talking about things and be like, “Remember this is our value. Does that align with that? We talked about this, we know what we're about.” We check each other all the time. If we didn't have that, we'd be making dumb decisions.

One of the things I'm most proud of is our company is, it's not Rich and I, we have a team of partners. That came out of Rich and I, when we were going through our purpose and values realizing that there are a couple of values that compelled us to expand the ownership team. We had some incredible physical therapists that we felt like based on what our purpose, our values and some of the things that we want our culture that we needed to provide that opportunity for them. That stemmed out of the purpose and values that we’re going through.

That's the easiest route to expansion is to find those people in your company that you've not only vetted but figured out they align with you. There's a great Jim Collins phrase, “You find those people who are truly aligned with you.” It's to expand when you have those people on your team and open up other clinics, grow or provide them leadership opportunities. It makes growth so much easier and fulfilling.

It's fun to see them grow and reach their dreams.

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And Success
Sustained Growth And Success: The people who align with your values will do well in your company.

You provide that foundation from which they can build off. It's not there unless you have those purpose and values and have them well-stated because they've been with your company for a period of time. They align with you through all the decisions that you've made with them over time. To help them expand and start up a satellite clinic and get the next clinic going. They're simply living those purposes and values. You don't have to train that up all over again. They continue the cycle all over again. That makes it so much easier.

We've never brought someone from outside for a higher position. Everyone starts in a position. Anyone in management or above has grown up in the company. They are moved up in our system.

Thanks for your time, Brandon. It was great to have you on, you've got a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. I finally got you on the show so you could share that.

Thanks for having me.

Do you have any contact information you can share or a website people can go to check out your clinics?

My email is My cell is (714) 345-0426.

You've grown a ton. It's impressive. You've always been someone that we looked up to. I'm glad that we could tap into some of your wisdom. Good luck with everything. 2020 has been a tough one but I know you guys are in a great position to withstand it and grow going forward.

I appreciate what you're doing for our profession. I love your podcast. I love that you're helping coach and consult for other physical therapists because our profession needs that. Kudos to you for what you're doing for our profession and for all the help you're providing for physical therapy private practices out there.

That's nice of you. I appreciate that. Coming from you, that's a huge compliment. Thanks.

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About Brandon Buehler

PTO 122 | Sustained Growth And SuccessBrandon decided to become a physical therapist after being involved in a car accident and had to go through months of treatment in order to return to playing soccer in college. After experiencing how physical therapy helped him return to his normal activities, Brandon decided that this was the career that he wanted to pursue. He has a passion for helping people return to their sport or daily activity without pain or limitations.
Brandon has extensive training in orthopedics and manual therapy through the Institute of Physical Art. He places high value in continuing education and training at CBPT. Brandon emphasizes the importance of quality and personalized care with one-on-one treatment for every patient.
Brandon is also the co-founder of POISE (Prevention of Injury and Sports Enhancement), Richard Coury, MPT, assisting athletes in preventing injuries, helping them in full recovery to their sport and improving performance on the field or short.
In his spare time Brandon enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, running, working out, hiking kayaking & paddleboarding.

He enjoys spending time with his close friends, especially enjoying a meal from his barbeque.

As a native Philadelphia, Brandon is always on the way to pizza.

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