Dr. Jessica Tagliarini co-owns Tagliarini Chiropractic with her husband, Dr. John Tagliarini. MetroHarford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price recently spoke with Jessica about running a successful business and the importance of community.
NAN PRICE: You moved to Connecticut from outside the Hartford Region. How did you choose your location?
JESSICA TAGLIARINI: We moved to West Hartford from Charlotte, NC in February 2006. When we were choosing a location, we did a lot of demographic research and visited several places throughout the country. We wanted to live and work in the same town and we wanted to be closer to family. When we visited West Hartford, we fell in love with it.
NAN: How have you built a community around your practice?
JESSICA: We opened our practice in June 2006. In those four months after the move, we did everything possible to immerse ourselves in the community. Every day, my goal was to meet three new people, whether it was a business owner or a resident. For example, if we picked up lunch, we would introduce ourselves to the owner and ask for a menu to bring back to our staff. It would initiate a positive conversation and build rapport.
Every business we chose to utilize in our business was deliberately from our community—from our insurance provider to our printer, website creator, business attorney, and CPA. We didn’t want to use a big, national outfit because we wanted to develop those community relationships.
Right away, we joined the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce and a Business Network International networking group. And I was in the Junior League of Hartford for several years. At every networking opportunity, I made sure to attend and meet as many people as I could so, when we opened our doors in June, we could really hit the ground running. I continued to do that for several years.
Offering posture screenings at local businesses or organizations and providing back pain prevention workshops as a community service also helped us meet more people and get the word out about our business.
As we started to grow our patient base and our business, we’ve used our patients’ services for our business and personal needs. Our thinking has always been: You do business with me; I do business with you. We support each other.
NAN: You launched your first practice in 2001. Did you always intend to have your own business?
JESSICA: Yes. It was really important to me. I wanted to be my own boss and I wanted to make the decisions because I felt that was the best way to make a difference.
NAN: How do you handle the dynamic of running the business with your husband?
JESSICA: That’s a really good question. We have different strengths and weaknesses and, luckily, they complement each other nicely. My husband is a really good idea guy and I’m a really good idea executer. That definitely puts extra work on me! But you put your best players in their best corners.
Up until COVID-19, we’ve always worked opposite shifts, so we surprisingly saw each other very little during the day. With COVID-19, we’re both in the office all the time and we’ve our extended hours. But even with the shift overlap, we’re in our own offices seeing our own patients So, it seems good. I look at it as two people sharing overhead.
NAN: Since you brought up COVID-19, how else has the virus affected your business?
JESSICA: Over the years, we’ve consistently given back to the community by donating to nonprofits and charities. When we first quarantined, my initial response was: What can I do for my community? I created a series of webinars about ergonomics and posted videos with guides about how to stretch the neck, back, and wrists. My intent was to provide free content to build trust and stay connected to our community.
NAN: I’ve spoken with many entrepreneurs in health-related industries like yours, such as therapists, who admit it was challenging to learn to be a business owner.
JESSICA: That was something we didn’t get trained for at school. I had to learn as I went. And I thoroughly believe in not reinventing the wheel. So, I try and learn from people who have already figured things out. I always lean on mentors, other chiropractors who have been practicing longer, other business owners, and business coaches specific to our industry, who I’ve hired over the years.
Leadership is a natural skill to me, so I’ve handled that side of the business well. I really enjoy executing ideas and making things happen and connecting people. Training staff and dealing with insurance, those are things I’d never done before. I leaned on other colleagues, coaches, and mentors, and utilized those resources rather than trying to figure it out on my own.
Because, honestly, when we moved here, failure, wasn’t an option. We already had our first child and the statistic is 50% of chiropractic practices fail in the first two years. I thought: I’m not going to be that statistic.
NAN: You made it! You’ve been in practice 14 years. Any advice for other business owners?
JESSICA: Take initiative to learn how to do new things. Just because you’ve never done something and don’t know how to do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. For example, I’ve taken initiative to learn about social media.
I take a lot of personal pride in the content I share. I think you have to make it kind of personal sometimes, too. It helps to share success stories and testimonials because people go where people go.
So, if one business has five Google reviews and another has 200, you want to be the person with 200 reviews and be the obvious choice. Anytime somebody is happy with our services, we always ask for review. I post those reviews on our social media as well, because here’s the thing, a new Google or Yelp review is something a current client isn’t going to see. The people looking at those reviews are potential new clients. So, when you post your reviews on your social media, it’s nice because it shows current clients, who are the people looking at your social media, what additional services you provide.
Those social media posts and success stories are huge. I don’t post every day, but I try to post often and learning how to do that is important. About this time last year, I started learning how to do Instagram because I’ve read that the Instagram audience is the younger audience and the Facebook audience is the older audience. So, if you’re only focusing on one or the other, you’re really missing half your audience, your potential audience. So, I had a teenager teach me.
My other advice is to just get out there. Don’t just put up a shingle and expect people to come. You can make a lot of excuses as to why you didn’t get out there and meet new people. When I first started at my gym, my coach said, “You can have excuses or results, but not both.” That spoke to me and still speaks to me.
Lastly, above all, choosing a good community is really important. And I highly recommend taking every effort to get knit into the community along the way.