“I’ve gotten so much more than a loan. Northern Initiatives really works with businesses and they know what creates success!”
– Debbie Flannery, owner of LifeFit BrainFit
Debbie Flannery has devoted her 30 year professional life to improving her client’s mind and body health. After a master’s degree in health education and a career in corporate wellness, Flannery launched LifeFit Health Service in 1998 and offered in-home exercise. In 2015, she specialized in two more areas of particular interest and changed her business name accordingly to LifeFit BrainFit.
She is a certified Tai Chi instructor, provides in-home fitness programs for people ages 50-102, and is now focusing much of her time on an exciting brain training program called Interactive Metronome (IM). IM is a game-based, drug-free treatment option for adults with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, memory issues, and/or who are recovering from a stroke. It is also beneficial for children who have ADHD, ADD, are on the autism spectrum, and/or other neurological challenges. Flannery is the only certified IM Provider in the Upper Peninsula.
In 2015, Flannery read a small article about Northern Initiatives and reached out to see if they could help align her business strategy and provide working capital. Recognizing Flannery’s passion and deep experience in the industry, Northern Initiatives provided funding.
Northern Initiatives’ Business Services team helped Flannery with cash flow planning, financial forecasting, promotional/sales strategies and collateral, and a marketing framework to include a website and Facebook business page. Flannery states, “I’ve gotten so much more than a loan. NI really works with businesses and they know what creates success!”
Flannery faced many challenges as a first-time solopreneur. She spent her first 6 months as an IM Provider transporting her equipment to clients’ homes. However, this model did not allow her to scale the business. Flannery needed a centrally located practice. Her loan from Northern Initiatives helped secure space (recently expanded) in the Kingsford Health Department.
This office-based practice, buoyed by targeted marketing, has protected her from burning out. She states, “I found it difficult to juggle certifications, marketing, and multiple client interactions. I wasn’t sure if I could sustain the business. Then I began work with Northern Initiatives and they helped me re-strategize toward a practice I could manage and grow.”
The work paid dividends: Flannery’s client base has doubled this year and revenue for January 2017 was the largest in the history of the business. She will continue to build her practice through targeted marketing, outreach, and word-of-mouth testimonials by clients whose lives have been changed for the better.