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Friday, 23 April 2021
ANGELA BOTHA is the founder of Physiolistic, the physiotherapy and whole body healing practice based at Dry Leas (home of Henley Rugby Club) in Marlow Road. She was born in South Africa, where her father was a doctor who treated workers in diamond, gold and coal mines. She came to England when she was 22. She met her husband Clint at a world cup rugby match in Scotland and discovered they were born in the same town. Clint, who was a pharmacist, is now business director of the practice. The couple live in Henley with their two children, Connor, 14, and Kirsten, 13, and dog Ruby. Angela is a keen walker and has raised a considerable amount of money for Arthritis UK by twice completing the Thames Path 100km Challenge.
Describe your business
We are a physio clinic helping patients prevent and treat musculoskeletal issues. We use a traditional hands-on approach as well as the latest technology.
How many people does it employ?
There are 14 of us, including Clint and myself.
What did you do before you started this business?
I worked in the private healthcare sector in South Africa before coming to the UK to work in the NHS. My grandparents were originally from the UK. After working at King’s Lynn Hospital, I got a job as a physio at Spire Dunedin in Reading and then became manager of the physio, pharmacy and X-ray departments.
When did you start your business?
I started in 2009 at home as I had two small children and opened the practice in Greys Road in 2010. In 2016 we moved to our current custom-built clinic.
What was your objective?
I had always wanted to help people through physiotherapy. Opening a business allowed me to do that.
Who or what influenced you?
My passion for caring drove me. My dad was a doctor so that probably influenced me.
Do you have a mentor or role model?
Kathy Browning, the matron at the Dunedin Hospital, was a big influence on me.
What would you do differently if you could start again?
Nothing but I ought to have given more time to me.
What impact is the coronavirus pandemic having on your business?
Like many businesses, we had to respond at short notice. Our priority was to ensure that patients didn’t lose all the improvements they had made while seeing us, so we offered virtual consultations where we could. Since then, we’ve implemented covid measures to keep our patients and staff safe.
How is your business doing compared with last year?
During the first lockdown, there was a big drop in face-to-face consultations. Since then it has been really busy. People no longer take their health for granted.
How do you market your business?
The vast majority of our patients come through personal recommendations as well as GPs and orthopaedic consultants.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
Flexibility and independence — we decide what technology we use and how the service should be run. But most of all it’s seeing people get better.
What’s the most challenging aspect?
Knowing I am responsible for caring and looking after my staff. Plus the role is 24/7.
Where is your business heading?
I am doing more training for fellow health professionals and institutions/suppliers, including some Premier League clubs, which I enjoy.
Do you have a five-year plan?
We have a 20-year plan. I want to find more balance by doing more teaching and developing a mentorship scheme for new physiotherapy graduates.
Do you set goals for your business?
Yes. We budget and prioritise for ongoing investment in our staff, equipment and facilities. We work on the basis that by putting patients first the success of the business will follow.
What three qualities are most important to success?
Leadership, enthusiasm and people skills.
What’s the secret of your success?
Loving what I do and giving patients the best treatment we can.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
You have to love what you do.
What would you advise someone starting a business?
Don’t do it (only joking). Hard work is the key. You will only get out what you put in.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Not finding the right work/life balance.
How organised are you?
Very — with a busy life you have to be but I am not always the tidiest.
How do you dress for work?
These days we wear scrubs and PPE. Being a physio can be physically demanding so it’s important to wear clothes that look professional but allow you to work easily. Polo shirts and long trousers are the norm. I like to look smart whenever I can.
What can’t you be without every day?
My children and my mobile
Lunch at your desk or going out?
I have breakfast and dinner but no lunch.
Do you continue to study?
Yes, constantly. As a professional, you have to keep up to date with latest developments to improve your knowledge and service.
What do you read?
I like reading books on leadership but when I’m on holiday I read novels.
How are you planning for retirement?
Playing golf and taking more trips to the coast. And we want to do a long road trip across America.
11 January 2021
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