In this episode, Barbara and Cory discuss:
- Taking part in the community, not just existing in the community.
- Growing practice in a small town.
- A mastermind for men – creating a community of inclusion and fighting isolation.
- Create an atmosphere that is so inviting that people actually want to be there and to be a part of it. Engage them at every touchpoint with a smile.
- Isolation is the enemy. If you want your business to grow, you need to grow.
- You have to look at what your entire life is about – don’t focus so hard on your career that everything else is ignored.
“There’s a lot of people out there that need to hear what our medical professionals have to say. You’ve got great information that other people may not hear unless you share.” — Cory Lee
Connect with Cory Lee:
Free Gifts!: coryleeleadership.com/marketingtips
Barbara: Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Today, we’re honored to have with us as a guest Cory Lee. Welcome, Cory.
Cory: Hey, Barbara. Well, thanks for having me on. I’m excited about our conversation today.
Barbara: Yes. So am I. Cory Lee is quite interesting because he started out in business as a physical therapist and then with his wife went on to have several practices and several gyms being quite the entrepreneur. But why don’t you tell us your story, Cory?
Cory: Yeah. I like how you said, “he’s interesting.” I actually get introduced like that from the people that know me, “he is kind of interesting.” I’m good with that. Barbara, I guess I am an entrepreneur. I was raised in a — I was raised by my mom and my grandmother early on in my life. Stepdad came on a little bit later. And, you know, they loved us. They did the best they could. But they had a few sayings and one of them was, you know, you don’t take risks.
It’s better to be safe than it is to be sorry, right? And you go to college, get a degree, get a good job, stay there 40 years and retire. And Barbara, that just did not, it didn’t really excite me, right? I felt like there was something more. And I did go to school. I’m actually a physical therapist assistant. I graduated. My wife and I got married. And she went to college to get her doctorate in Physical Therapy.
And while she was in school, I was working. And we would be driving around town and we’d say, “You know, wouldn’t it be cool if we had our own physical therapy clinic. I mean, wouldn’t that be cool? And you know, wouldn’t it be cool also if this therapy clinic also had a gym with it so we’re not only doing physical therapy but we’re really transforming the community, right, and really change the culture to help with health and fitness.” And it was kind of just a dream. And she got out of college. We moved back to Mississippi.
Shortly after she graduated and we moved back, we opened up that clinic and it was a little bitty old physical therapy clinic in a town of 1100 people, 1100 people. And in a five-year period of time, we actually had three kids. We had two physical therapy practices and four gyms. And in that five-year period of time, we built those up, sold those.
And I’ve transitioned out. I do one-on-one coaching now, do leadership training and speaking, and do some mastermind groups for entrepreneurs and absolutely love it. It has been a great journey and enjoys helping other people too. So that’s it. That’s a short bit about kind of how we’ve gotten here in our entrepreneur journey.
Barbara: Well, there are a few things about that story that probably have our listeners’ ears perked up because you either moved to like the sickest city on Earth to live in a town of 1000 and yet support and be able to sell a practice with only 1000 people in it. I mean, presumably, there were at least two people living in the town that didn’t need a physical therapist. So, you must have been able to draw your clientele from several towns surrounding you, didn’t you?
Cory: Yes. So, one thing, I’ll share on that. So, we worked in that clinic for five years. At the time of the sale, we were billing out over $2 million dollars a year in that town of 1100 people. And what we did was we were kind of outside of one of the largest kinds of towns, I guess, and people would have to drive to physical therapy or drive to their doctor. We provided them something of a convenience, right?
What we decided to do is not just be another business that was conveniently located in the community. We really want to take part in the community, right? So, I mean, we were actively involved in going and speaking to the high schools. We were at their games, right, and really participated in their parades and those kinds of things and really just tried to be a part of the community.
I wanted to go back to one other thing you said. So, we did move back to Mississippi. We were living in Phoenix, Arizona. We were there for six months. And you know, I’m a person of faith. And my wife, she was finishing up school. We were doing the whole, “God, where do you want us to go?
Where should we move back to? What do we do?” And really had this sense to move back to Tupelo, to Tupelo, Mississippi. And immediately, I was like, “No, no, anywhere, anywhere but Tupelo, Mississippi.” They don’t care anything about health and fitness. They don’t care anything about living a healthy lifestyle. And that’s what crossed my mind. And God spoke to me and said, “There will be no change unless somebody makes a change and why not you?” So that’s what brought us back and came back. And really, we had no idea what we were doing whenever it came to business and we just kind of got going from there, so.
Barbara: That’s great. Of course, some of you may have heard of Tupelo, Mississippi before from Steel Magnolias and from Elvis Presley.
Cory: That’s right.
Cory: That’s right. Good job, Barbara. Elvis Presley, his birthplace. That’s right. So we were actually in a small town outside of Tupelo but, yeah.
Barbara: Okay. So how did you get so many patients and be able to bill so much in a town of only 1000 people?
Cory: Yeah. You know, traditionally, so one thing about Mississippi as well is we have a very limited direct access, right? Patients have to go to the doctor, get a doctor’s order, and then come to physical therapy in Mississippi.
So, we decided we were going to be so heavily involved within the community that the patient would tell the doctor where they wanted to go. Two things, heavily involved within the community but we also wanted to create a space where patients wanted to come into our place, right? Nobody is driving by physical therapy and said, “Oh, I want to go to that place.” But we tried to create an atmosphere that was so inviting that people will actually want to be there and to be a part of it. And, you know, I really just, really tried to engage them at every touchpoint with a smile. And, you know, how are you doing?
We didn’t treat anybody any differently whether they had a lot or little. We try to love on each person. And just one quick story I’ll kind of say with that. I had a lady call in. And our front desk lady had stepped away and I answered the phone. And the patient, she had called and I answered. And she kind of stuttered a little bit and she said, “Uhm, uh, I’m just going to be a little bit late today. I’ll be there in just a minute.” I was like, “Okay, that’s no problem.” And she came in and she got to tell me. She said, “You know, I was calling to cancel today, but.”
Barbara: But she couldn’t tell you directly.
Cory: She couldn’t. She said, “But when you answered and I heard the enthusiasm in your voice,” she said, “You know, I need to be around that so I’m going to come.” And anyway, we just try to create a fun atmosphere and an inviting atmosphere. And patients would go to their doctors and say, “I want to go to this place.” So that’s one of the things we did.
Barbara: That’s great. So, you then moved on and you no longer work there. And from there, you decided to become a coach, correct?
Cory: That’s correct. Yes, ma’am.
Barbara: And you now have a mastermind where you can support other men because, let’s face it, women get together all the time but it’s not always available for men. Why don’t you tell us about that?
Cory: Yeah. So one, men, we tend to live in isolation. We have this tendency but isolation is the enemy. But also, I realized that when my wife and I opened up our practice we had a ton of enthusiasm, a ton of excitement but zero business knowledge. And we knew that if we wanted that business to grow that we needed to grow. We read books.
We went through the courses, the seminars, and all of the webinars and found people to help us from a distance but didn’t have that individual or that group that I could go to and share my business ideas with, who could hold me accountable to my commitments, who would ask me in-depth questions and also serve as guardrails as I wanted to grow my business but not at the expense of my faith, my family or my fitness. What we did is we created a one-of-a-kind mastermind group specifically for male entrepreneurs with all of those things in mind. It gives them an environment of growth. There’s a particular environment conducive to growth and that’s what we try to create with our mastermind group.
Barbara: Now, I understand that this group is virtual, that it’s done online. Is that because of the health crisis we have now or has it always been that way?
Cory: It has always been that way. We wanted to open it up to not just — We wanted to open it up to anybody in the world, right, and not just be limited by geography. We get together once a week via Zoom but then we get together twice a year on a three-day retreat, twice a year. And that’s part of the guy’s membership. So, it’s a great way for us to connect in person. But then also, you know, when people are close by, they will tend to get together on their own anyway.
Barbara: Yeah. For your retreats, are you going to someplace exotic or are they coming to Tupelo?
Cory: No. The goal is to go somewhere cool, right, and somewhere exciting and fun. We were thinking of Colorado when we originally had planned this. Maybe Florida. But with kind of the changing world that we’re in, in this, right now at the time of this recording, we’re kind of trying to rethink that. But it’s going to be somewhere fun and exciting and we don’t want to be limited by that. Tupelo will be fun too but we’re just kind of rethinking that right now.
Barbara: Yeah. So, it’s going to be twice a year you said, right?
Cory: That’s correct.
Barbara: So once a year, you think it’ll be skiing?
Cory: I think so, you know. Part of, one of the things that we try to do is keep fitness involved too. I think there will be some kind of outdoor activity involved with whether we’re in the mountains doing some hiking or some skiing or things like that. That would definitely be a part of it.
Barbara: And how has the success been of the people that are in your group that you’ve been mentoring?
Cory: Yeah. You know, I think it’s been great. One, the accountability aspect of it has been really good and we try to make accountability fun, right? You know, we don’t want to be like the kindergarten or teacher that has a ruler and spanks your hand whenever you don’t do what you say you’re going to do. What we do is if you made a commitment the prior week and you don’t do it, you drop down and you do 15 burpees right there on the video in front of everybody. You just know, when you know —
Barbara: Oh! Is that true or are you kidding?
Cory: It is 100%, yeah. We try to have fun with it, right? But you know, if other people are going to ask you about it, you have a tendency to uphold commitments. So, it’s easy to — One of the things we do is we judge other people based on their actions but we judge ourselves based on our intentions.
So, if I intended to lose five pounds this week and I was the only one that knew about it, right, I might let myself slide. But one of our guys last week said, “You know, my goal is to lose five pounds this week.” Well, he knew he had 10 other guys that were going to ask him about it. He lost 5.2 this week, right? So that’s one thing, getting clear on business ideas. Those are great.
Making sure you’re a good father, strong in faith and we grow intentionally but I think the accountability has been one of the biggest and best parts about it so far. And we also do a growth seat where one person gets in the growth seat and you have 10 other men thinking into an idea or issue or whatever with you. So that’s been good as well.
Barbara: How do you promote this group to get other men to know about it?
Cory: Yeah. I do some Facebook stuff. I do Facebook ads. But also, really, this group that we have going is our first one. I was trying to perfect it and really getting them to do word of mouth with me if they’ve had success, start telling their friends. And podcasts like this has been one of the ways that we’ve been doing it up until now.
Barbara: So how many people are in your group?
Cory: We cap them at 10. More than that, people may get lost in the shuffle. And what we’ve found is anything less than about eight — We like eight to ten but we cap them at ten where you can get the group thing going but nobody gets lost in the shuffle. We got one group going right now, launching two more. And I hope by the end of the year to have five going, so.
Barbara: Do you restrict that to the type of profession that they have?
Cory: That’s a great question. Not to the type of profession but we do have a, to keep the integrity of the group, there’s a process. There’s a small application that you fill out and then you hop on a call and we just talk about it. One, it allows you to ask questions and then I can kind of get to know you a little bit too. And if you’re a good fit for what we’re doing and if you think it’s a right fit for you as well, then we’ll move into membership and onboarding. But the actual business that they’re in, we don’t restrict it by that but more of kind of their personality and the integrity and those kinds of things. It’s kind of what we gauge it on.
Barbara: Yeah. So where in the world is Waldo or in the country? I mean, where do your guys come from?
Cory: Yeah. The groups that we have right now are in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. We have some in Indiana and Texas right now. So, kind of a central part of the United States at this point. But like I said by the end of the year we hope to have about five or six going and we’re open to any, anywhere in the country of men who really want to live a life of significance and make a significant impact. We feel like it will be all over the country by that point.
Barbara: Yeah. That’s great. And what is it that you call yourselves?
Cory: Legacy Builders. Legacy Builders.
Barbara: I like that. Nice and strong.
Cory: That’s right.
Barbara: Well at the moment, that sounds great but I would like to divert to something else that you are building that I find of great interest. And that is a new medical model, one where people don’t have to pay for insurance but rather it’s a membership subscription service. So, could you tell us a little bit more about that?
Cory: Yeah. So about three years ago, I was at a physical therapy conference. I was flying back. I had this idea come across my mind to, what would it be like if we had a place that was health and wellness all in one place where you had a doctor’s office, maybe you had a physical therapy clinic, a dietitian, a nutritionist, gym, all for one membership price, you know. Kind of keep putting the idea behind me, putting the idea behind me and then kind of toyed with it and said, “Can I do that? Can I do that?” And then Barbara, finally, I put a “how” in front of the “can I.: How can I? And when you put a “how can I” or “how” in front of that can, you trigger the creative use of our imagination.
I started down that path. I found some people who were doing things kind of similar. They were doing a direct primary care membership base. I haven’t figured out the full package of it yet. We are still in the process with the other components of that. And, you know, you and I were talking before we hopped on.
Everything’s kind of been put on pause with that but it hasn’t paused my creativity and my imagination with it. I still have been doing that. But the goal is to have a place where people have a one membership price and they get all of those services. And you know, we’re really at this point in the process and really trying to refine that because to me I think it would be just awesome to have that, you know, and I think it would help us with our insurance rates. I think it would help people live a healthier lifestyle where you’re going into a place and people are on the same team and they’re looking out for your overall health. And that’s the kind of premise and the basis of the thinking anyway.
Barbara: Yes. That is really great, but here’s the question.
Barbara: And that is while it may very well work out with people who are basically healthy, how is that going to work for someone who has serious medical issues?
Cory: Yeah. And that’s another part of the model, trying to figure out how do you do that. Because my mind was always on, how do you keep people healthy and keep them physically active and healthy? But that is the other side there too. How do you get people who aren’t may be in great shape or not in the best health, how do you get them there and keep them there, right? and I’d love to be able to figure that out. That’s something that we’re, I’m trying to figure out myself. And if you’ve got any suggestions, I am wide open, Barbara.
I’ve seen, I’ve talked to a couple of people that are trying some things where they’ve got the membership model where they have the insurance component as well, where they accept insurance but they also have the membership side. And just kind of waiting through that because it kind of can get a little bit confusing almost where you have a lot of balls in the air.
Cory: And I like to keep things simple a little bit.
Barbara: Well, you know, things can absolutely change. After all, Paula Deen doesn’t do southern fried chicken now. She does grill chicken every once in a while. So, there’s hope for everyone else.
Barbara: Can you get the people around you to stop having the southern fried chicken and grits and things that are made with heavy gravies and fats?
Cory: Yeah. That’s a — You know, I think changing the lifestyle is definitely the beginning of it. You know, here in Mississippi, one of the things is we’re always in that top three most obese states in the country and it is because the food is good. People like fried food. And I think, you know, nobody is going around saying I want to be overweight, I want to be obese. And I think part of it is education, you know. I talked to some people the other day and they had the pre-fried grilled chicken nuggets. And they were like, “Well, I baked it in the oven, right?”
Cory: I mean, that’ll work. But also, I think we live in this microwave society too where it’s, you know, instant popcorn, Instagram and I want instant weight loss right now. And we don’t want to do the work to lose weight or be in a healthy lifestyle. We try to shortchange it and try the fad diets, maybe crazy pills, and maybe even the surgeries, right? And I think two sides to that’s a great discussion is education and making it a lifestyle instead of just some kind of short diet. And so, it’s a mindset shift as well.
Barbara: Do you go out and do health fairs and market your practice to the community?
Cory: At this point, we’re really just trying to refine the process and what exactly that looks like. But 100% once we get going, we’ll definitely be doing all of those kinds of things, the marketing, being in the community. And really, I see it as kind of being like we did in our physical therapy practice, is really engaging the community and education. I think education is going to be vital. So probably part of our marketing would be a lot of educational videos, social media but being in a lot of the fairs and stuff too.
Barbara: Yes. In terms of marketing, would you say that most of the marketing that you do for your Legacy Builders is Facebook ads or are there other things that you haven’t mentioned?
Cory: Yeah. Most of it is Facebook ads and word of mouth through the guys that are in the group and then through podcasting. I use this kind of platform.
So you know, I know we’re on Marketing Tips for Doctors. This has been a great platform to get in front of your audience and kind of share your expertise as well. So this is another platform that, you know, medical professionals can use as well. And there’s a lot of people out there that need to hear what our medical professionals have to say too. You got great information that other people may not hear unless you share. So those are kind of my three main ones at this point, the podcast, Facebook ads, and doing some education on Facebook but through current guys in the group doing word of mouth, helping us get the word out.
Barbara: And actually, you know, the male physicians who want to just go around without telling anybody they’re doctors might very well want to have camaraderie with unknown men who will, you know, give them advice in terms of just, you know, support for, you know, building a new business.
Cory: 100%. And also, we try to look at the overall life too, right? I know as business owners, we’re very busy. I know physicians are very busy, right? And there’s got to be a balance there as well where you’re living a healthy lifestyle, where you’re actively being engaged with your family as well and not just business or your profession too, right? We try to help men in all areas. And when I do one-on-one coaching, I also do that. It’s not, I don’t just work with men but the mastermind groups are for men. But we take a look at the entire, what does our entire life look like, right?
Barbara: Yeah. It’s so important because most professionals really put that on hold while they’re busy and then they find out that life has passed them by.
Barbara: Or that their wife moved out three weeks ago and they didn’t notice.
Cory: That’s right. And you know, we enjoy what we do, right? We like the work that we do and I know I did. And you know, there was a time like I said we had the gyms and working and I was coaching our CrossFit classes and I can remember walking out of the door probably around 4 o’clock in the afternoon and telling our son bye and goodnight because I would be at the gym until about 8 or 8:30 coaching our classes. And he looked up at me and said, “Daddy, you’re going to your house?” And you know, I realized at that point I was spending way too much time away from the family and working. I did not even realize it. I had to have a 3-year-old call me out, right? And it was at that point that really made a shift in trying to find some good leaders to help me out.
Barbara: Well, Cory, I think that there are a lot of lessons that you have highlighted today for our listeners to, you know, give pause and think about. If someone from the listening audience would like to reach you, how would they go about that?
Cory: Yeah. Thank you, Barbara. Well, I’m, you know, I’m a cookies-on-the-bottom-shelf kind of guy. You got to keep it simple for me. I’ve tried to do that as well and I’ve created a page for your listeners. It’s coryleeleadership.com and the cory is C-O-R-Y but it’s coryleeleadership.com/marketingtips and that’s all one word. And on that page, you know, it’ll have some information about the Legacy Builders but it also got links on there to follow on social media. But I’ve got your listeners two free assessments, two free gifts if they want them. One is a personal assessment where you just download it and you answer the questions. It kind of gives you an overall assessment of how balanced your life is. And then the other one is a spousal survey. You print that off, hand it to your spouse and it helps you guys to have good meaningful communication which is key, right? It’s just key.
Barbara: Well, you’re assuming that they want to know what their spouse has to say.
Cory: Yeah. So, we did this in our men’s mastermind group and my wife was like, “When do I get to fill that thing out?” You know, I was like ohhh, you know. But it is very good.
Barbara: Well, this has been a lot of fun, Cory. Thank you very much. It was great having you here today.
Cory: Thank you, Barbara. I appreciate it. I hope it added value to your listeners.
Barbara: This is another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Until next time.
Show: Principles with Cory and Logan – coryleeleadership.com/podcast
Connect with Barbara Hales:
Show website: www.MarketingTipsForDoctors.com