In 2019, Dr. Rei Young and his wife, Heidi, opened their first business together, R+H Aesthetic Medicine, a luxury medical spa in Roseville, California. Six months after opening their first physical location, they had a staff of five, more than 350 patients, and were about to turn their first profit. That was February, 2020. By March, the COVID-19 pandemic upended life —and small business— as we’ve known it across America. In considering their options to survive, Rei Young saw a way to not only save their business, but to support their local community in a meaningful way. He turned their aesthetic medical practice into a primary and urgent care treatment clinic. All in one week.
With a carefully considered business plan in place, Rei and Heidi were excited to start their first business together as a married couple. Both medical professionals, they understood the patient care requirements ahead. But once they hired their first employee, they realized that they would need technology to help them confidently hire and pay their team, while balancing all of the demands of a new business.
At the recommendation of a friend, Rei took a look at Zenefits. He immediately saw not only a great tech solution for streamlining payroll, he recognized there was much more he needed to be doing to cover HR for his team. He selected Zenefits’ People Platform for its potential to help him grow his business and his people operations, simply.
“I am a tech geek,” said Rei. “I like the idea that the necessities of our growth can be met with Zenefits. This is my first time doing HR, IT and running a business. I need tech to help me have confidence to wear all of those hats.”
Starting a Business: Harder the First Time Than the Second
“We wanted to differentiate our business from the beginning,” said Rei about their luxury medical spa vision. Though they started their business from their home, they planned for a physical location in their suburb of Sacramento, that would feel like a posh retreat — private, spacious and special. They opened their office doors in August 2019.
Beneath the aesthetic office experience, the couple ensured the business infrastructure was rock solid, with the right technology, licensing, legal counsel, incorporation and a DBA permit. Managing that steep learning curve and attention to detail began to pay off six months later as they nearly turned their first profit and extended their staff to support more than 350 patients.
“Like many small businesses, we consider the people we work with our family,” said Rei. Their staff of five includes Dr. Young, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, his wife, a Physician’s Assistant, one Registered Nurse and two office assistants. The couple don’t yet collect a salary, but prioritize taking care of their staff.
“When the COVID-19 epidemic started impacting our business and California, we told our team: ‘We don’t know which way this is going to go, but to start, we promise to cover salaries for a two-week quarantine.’”
As the situation quickly worsened, Rei sought to create a plan to help out his community and to keep everyone working. He came up with his idea on a Monday morning and seven days later, the new business was opened. The good news about the heavy-lifting over the past year: Rei and Heidi were able to rely on most of their contacts, partners and infrastructure —including Zenefits— to lift and shift their business.
“Any small business owner will tell you, the first time you set up a business is hard and complicated. But the second time is so much easier!” added Rei.
Amidst the ravage of the pandemic, any advantage makes a difference.
Necessity, Invention and Agility: Surviving a Disaster
According to Rei, many urgent care patients in the spring of 2020 are there with a cough and cold and concerns about coronavirus. Trained in family and emergency medicine, Rei recognized a unique opportunity to help unclog the overwhelmed Sacramento-area emergency rooms and urgent cares and provide high-risk patients with medical concerns —but no respiratory issues— with a safe, private and available option for care.
“COVID-19 presents a dangerous situation for everyone. In addition to the terrible virus, people will of course continue to have other physical challenges. But when you get a urinary tract infection, or a cut or something else, you don’t want to add to the line in the emergency room or urgent care, nor do you want your loved one to be unduly exposed to other sick people.”
Thus, a luxury medical spa got a fresh start as R+H PrivateCare.
The clinic triages all potential patients over the phone to ensure no one has a respiratory problem. The rest of the process is the medical equivalent to a white glove service: Rei or Heidi meet each patient at their car and escort them through a private entrance. There is a lounge for guests with a tree-filled view. And a unique guarantee in this time of social distancing: you won’t come in contact with another patient.
Rei is using Zenefits to ensure his business process runs —likewise— beautifully.
“We want to give security to our staff. Turning this business into an essential medical clinic not only helps our community but helps us ensure our people’s jobs. With Zenefits, I ensure simple, reliable payroll too. Now, our staff can use their phones to clock in and out. Zenefits’ elegant system is easy for them and for me. In one step, I review their weekly hours, check meal breaks and it is done. Now, payroll is a satisfying thing. Our lawyer says we might have to change employee agreements as we change our business model — and that is easy in Zenefits too.”
Rei says that Zenefits is not only delivering solid technology, but great tech support and even helpful business insights.
I got an email from Zenefits last week about the process to get a small business loan. There is very little reliable information out there right now and so much of it is spam or a scam. As a business owner, it is so great to know that somebody has my back. I trust Zenefits.
The physician, entrepreneur, husband and father of two young boys says that even though his measurement for business success has radically changed this year to— at best— breaking even, his personal priorities have shifted too. Rei and Heidi are not only resuscitating a business, they are also home-schooling their 8 and 9 year-olds since schools have been closed across California.
“We decided this was a great opportunity for us all to learn together. We’ve let them see us change; and we think they are developing an entrepreneurial interest by watching us.”
In the process of this pivot, the next generation of innovators is getting a front row seat to what agility looks like.