An experienced animal and human physiotherapist chooses to comes back to Wales to offer first-class physio experience in Denbigh.

Steph Wilson and dog
Steph Wilson

Introduction to business

Steph Wilson is a Chartered Physiotherapist treating animals and humans in the North Wales area. With over 15 years’ experience gained at hospitals and private practices in South London and Kent, Steph chose to move back to North Wales and open her own practice, Steph Wilson Physio, bringing her knowledge and skills to the local area.

Business Wales support

Having moved back to North Wales, Steph set out to convert her property to house her new physiotherapy practice. Faced with a difficult process, she got in touch with Business Wales to get help with obtaining planning permission.

Our adviser Gwawr Cordiner helped her with developing her business idea further and assisted with the planning permission process.

Steph was also matched with a volunteer business mentor for guidance on business development, marketing and accessing local networks. 

We caught up with Steph to find out how the Business Wales mentoring service has helped her grow personally and professionally.

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

Having run a successful physiotherapy business in South London and Kent for over 10 years, my family and I decided it was time to move back to North Wales. I had gained knowledge and experience in central London hospitals and a private practice as a human physiotherapist and worked with small and large animal practices in the veterinary field.

Starting again has allowed me to change some aspects of the business to make the service even better.

As a Chartered Physiotherapist with a Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy, I am qualified to provide a high standard of rehabilitation care. As a movement specialist, who can identify pain and subtle neuromuscular changes, I hope to provide a gold standard service using evidence-based practice where I can, as well as a clinical decision-making process. 

What challenges did you face?

I’ve moved back to Wales and left a substantial business and network of vets and clients behind. I now face going back to square one and gaining the trust of people to come and use my service. I have also faced the challenge of developing a business during a pandemic. I’ve spent a lot of the year bringing up my 18-month old and teaching my 7-year old. Usually I would go and talk to vets and get involved with local groups and businesses, but I have been unable to showcase what I can provide so I have had to concentrate on using social media.

Why did you approach Business Wales?

I got in touch with Business Wales to see what support they could provide. I was referred to the service through the Development Bank of Wales. As I’d already run a business before, I needed to know if Wales could provide a start-up with something different and whether I could get help with improving my business ideas.

How have your Business Wales adviser and your mentor helped you navigate the business world?

Something I had not done and wanted to change was having facilities at home. I have a planning permission for stables and a physiotherapy clinic at the house, which my adviser Gwawr Cordiner has supported me with. There were lots of difficult questions and decisions required when it came to planning permission. She guided me with issues such as what I should expect from the agencies I employed to help. It was a very complicated process, which required a lot of interpretation for me to understand.

I was also referred to Michelle Smith who has been able to support me with the promotional side of the business and direct me towards online communities that can help. Although a lot of work has gone into the social media aspect, Michelle’s mentoring has provided structure and guidance that really motivates me when my lifestyle gets quite hectic. She has also provided me with oodles of confidence. I have struggled to put myself out there and promote my experience and myself, but thanks to our discussions, I have realised that I should.

Future plans and ambitions

My plan now is to run a physiotherapy business from my physio clinic in Denbighshire. I hope to treat small animals and humans in the clinic. I will provide horse treatment at their yards but if there is a horse that needs 24-hour rehabilitation, they can come for treatment here. I hope to build a practice where people can feel that they and their animals are getting a gold standard service in a relaxing environment.

If you want to read more success stories of how Business Wales has helped other people like you to start or grow their businesses, visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/case-studies or follow @_businesswales / @_busnescymru on Twitter.
 

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