Problem solved: Private practice takes big steps

Where many might see problems, Debbie Allen, owner and clinical director of Premier Pediatric Therapy Source in Alexandria, sees only new ways to succeed.

Debbie founded her private practice in 2011 to offer the best therapeutic resources available for children. While living in California, she helped her employer create an occupational and physical therapy department from scratch. “That job inspired me to start my own practice and build it in a way that allowed me to stay true to what I value as an occupational therapist and how I wanted children and families to be served,” Debbie says.

And that’s just what she did when she moved to Virginia and started Premier Pediatric Therapy Source. The group includes speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, and a registered dietitian, who all work with special-needs children in Northern Virginia. Debbie, who holds a doctoral degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California, is passionate about making a positive impact on her clients. “I believe the families we serve sense our motivation not only in me, but in my team as well,” Debbie adds.

In 2016, Debbie joined the Business Incubation Center at the Community Business Partnership (CBP), that offers offices to startups and entrepreneurs, along with business assistance and resources. It was here that she connected with the SBDC at CBP. 

Premier Pediatric Therapy created 3 new jobs and exceeded their previous yearly sales by 21%.

“The SBDC has helped me in every area of my practice,” Debbie says. “I use their counseling services religiously, because my practice is constantly evolving. I’m entering into unchartered territory, and I know someone in the SBDC can always help me navigate or at least find me someone who can. They have helped me with HR issues, financial projections to plan for future growth, contracts and lease proposals, hiring interviews, marketing, and so much more,” Debbie adds.

All the help paid off magnificently. In 2017, Premier Pediatric Therapy Source launched an outpatient program and opened a clinic in Alexandria. “This program took off much faster than I anticipated,” Debbie says. “It’s been exciting to see so many children being served who are benefiting from our services. In early 2019 we are moving into a larger clinic, because we’ve outgrown the one we are currently in,” she adds.

“The SBDC counselors and volunteers have been instrumental in helping me increase my knowledge and confidence in business ownership,” Debbie says. “Because of their guidance, I’m confident my practice is heading in the right direction.”

Looking back over the last seven years, Debbie feels a deep sense of pride in the steady growth that Premier Pediatric Therapy Source has maintained. Even with 10 full- and part-time employees and sales figures already nearly a third higher than the previous year, Debbie remains unwavering in the vision that started it all. “I think when you’re motivated to make a difference in someone’s life, people are naturally drawn to you, and we have certainly seen that by the amount of referrals we receive on a weekly basis.”

Virginia SBDC