The College of Public Health and Health Professions is pleased to honor alumni and business owners Melissa Cere and Megan Molyneux who have been named to the University of Florida’s Gator100 for 2021. The awards program recognizes the world’s fastest-growing Gator-owned businesses. We asked Cere and Molyneux to share their business insights. (Note: pictures were taken at prior Gator100 events.)
Dr. Melissa (MPT '02) and Dr. Tony (MS '11) Cere
Kinetix Physical Therapy, Gainesville
What was the best piece of advice you received as you were launching your business?
When we were in PT school, the instructors were always saying how important it is to be involved in the APTA/FPTA. During the first 7-8 years we were practicing as PTs, before we launched our business, we were very active with both professional associations. This enabled us to meet so many other PTs who were in private practice already and grow through several service leadership opportunities. I don’t think we fully appreciated the quantity and quality of relationships we developed during that time, until we began taking the steps to open our own practice. Our deep involvement with the APTA and FPTA created relationships with amazing mentors and connections to resources we needed when starting our practice. Of course now, we also highly recommend students get involved with the APTA and FPTA, either at the state or local level!
Why do you enjoy owning your own clinic?
We love helping people! One of the best compliments we could ever receive as practice owners is having current or former patients refer their friends and family to us for PT. As clinic owners, we can intentionally assemble an A+ team to achieve our mission of helping more people get out of pain naturally and back to doing the things they love.
While we love the autonomy and flexibility of our schedules in running our own business, with those benefits also comes the responsibility of responding to and quickly adapting to the needs of a growing business. That agility in business practice has been absolutely essential to our growth as a company in the ever-changing world around us.
How have you pivoted in response to COVID-19 so you can continue to serve your patients?
While so many businesses had to close down during the pandemic, we were fortunately able to keep our doors open to service patients who were in pain and needed PT. Even though we were seeing fewer patients for the first few months of the pandemic, our amazing clinical team continued to keep in touch with past patients and those who had to go on hold because of personal health concerns. Our team also realized a tremendous opportunity to provide education and help to the community with the short, self-help videos they recorded and put on our social media pages. They created videos covering topics from ergonomics at your home computer workstation to the importance of staying active outdoors. So while there were some minor changes in how we provided services during the pandemic, we continued to create opportunities to stay true to our mission and serve our community as PTs.
How does it feel to be a Gator100 nominee again?
We’re humbled to be a part of such an awesome group of entrepreneurs. I don’t know that any of us as entrepreneurs are driven by recognition, but we certainly appreciate the honor and are grateful for the continued association we have had with UF since our graduation. Honestly, we were surprised to be honored with the Gator 100 Award in 2019. To now receive it for a second time … we’re ecstatic!
Megan Molyneux, BHS '04, MOT '05
Florida Contract Automated Shading, Gainesville
What is the best piece of business advice you have received?
Someone told me that business opportunities are like trains, there’s always another one coming. So if one doesn’t feel right to you, don’t push it. If it doesn’t feel right, there’s a reason. I’d rather wait for the next opportunity that gets me excited and feels good for us. Following my gut has always been my thing whether in sports or business and it’s never led me wrong.
What do you enjoy about owning your own business?
I love the flexibility and autonomy of owning my own business. I am able to work at my own pace, which is typically odd hours and that allows me to be present at home with my children. I also love being able to set an example to my kids. I show them the projects from beginning to end and have them be part of the process.
How has your business responded to COVID-19?
For our residential clients, we have followed all safety protocols to ensure we can enter houses and still serve our clients. For the commercial industry we have seen a giant boom in business, there is a lot of movement on that end. We’ve made sure our team feels comfortable and follows all safety measures. It’s important more than ever to keep our team’s trust and our clients’.
Are there any lessons or skills you learned in your time in the OT program that apply to your current field?
Being the in OT program taught me so many things. Pertaining to business, I would say it helped me learn how to multi-task. If you’re helping numerous patients or working on numerous projects you always have balls up in the air. You need to be able to pivot and juggle many things at once. It definitely prepared me for the sales reps, scheduling, meetings and any issues that might arise. It also really taught me the power of taking care of the clients with the utmost care. I cared deeply for my patients and it’s carried over to my business. I like to make sure they feel taken care of from beginning to end. A happy client is the best advertising you could pay for.
What advice do you have for new UF grads who may be thinking of launching their own business?
I have two pieces of advice I always carry with me: know when to ask for help, and take care of your people. Entrepreneurship can be very overwhelming when you start out and there’s no shame in asking for help. It’s better to ask when you need it rather than feel defeated once it’s too late. And always take care of your team. All successful business owners know that if there isn’t a strong team around you, there’s no longevity. Finding the best possible people and treating them like family has always been really important to me. It stems from coming from a large family and always being part of a team as an athlete (Molyneux was a Gator soccer player from 2000-2004 under Coach Becky Burleigh).