Headshot of LaTonya Mister, Founder of SOW & REAP Physical Therapy.
LaTonya Mister, Founder of SOW & REAP Physical Therapy, opened her practice with the goal of filling an unmet and little discussed need in patient care. — SOW & REAP Physical Therapy

When most people hear the term “physical therapist,” they likely picture a medical professional helping a patient recover from, for instance, a shoulder injury or hip surgery. LaTonya Mister, DPT and Founder of SOW & REAP Physical Therapy, LLC in Bossier City, Louisiana, certainly treats patients with these conditions.

Mister also specializes in health challenges that are less often discussed, like pelvic floor health. “My passion is pelvic health,” she said. In focusing on a little-known area of physical therapy, Mister has been able to both help her patients and grow her practice.

Mister’s interest in pelvic floor physical therapy was sparked when she worked in a physical therapy clinic that specializes in treating pelvic floor disorders. Through her contact with patients, she became aware of the many who suffered, usually without telling others, from conditions that often are treatable.

Before Mister opened her practice, which is named after two acronyms—“SOW,” standing for "strength of a woman," and "REAP," for "realizing every achievement is possible"—she conducted market research. Because she and her family were in the process of moving from Mississippi to Louisiana, her initial research took place on her computer. Her goal was to learn the demographics of the area and gain insight into where to open her practice.

Once Mister arrived in Louisiana, she headed to different events and surveyed people to gain a sense of how much, if at all, most knew about pelvic health physical therapy.

“The people I surveyed did not know what pelvic health physical therapy was and what conditions we treat,” she said. She also learned that pelvic health physical therapy wasn’t readily available in the area.

You can’t sit in your house and expect business to come to you. You have to get out.

LaTonya Mister, DPT and Founder of SOW & REAP Physical Therapy

How starting small and networking were keys to success

As a private practice physical therapy owner, Mister wears multiple hats. “I have to understand patient care, accounts receivable, HIPAA, and the list goes on,” she said. “Even though I strive to provide quality care to all of our patients, I have to also understand how to run a business to keep my doors open,” she added.

One business principle Mister took to heart was keeping overhead low. She initially subleased space from a chiropractor before moving to her own space in the fall of 2021. “It was my biggest money saver,” she said. Mister also purchased equipment over time, rather than buying everything at once.

Networking has been critical to building her practice, Mister said. “You can’t sit in your house and expect business to come to you. You have to get out,” she said. In addition to educating potential patients about pelvic health physical therapy, she connected with other medical professionals, letting them know about her practice and the conditions she treats, so they’d know to refer patients to her.

Mister also talked about her practice to just about anyone with whom she crossed paths, including hairdressers, salespeople, and neighbors, to name a few. As she noted, people outside the healthcare industry could have friends or family members who could benefit from her services.

To bolster her knowledge of business, Mister read books on business and finance. Two of her top ones were "The Richest Man in Babylon," by George S. Clason, and "Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine," by Mike Michalowicz.

In the healthcare field, treating patients with respect and warmth is both the right thing to do and essential to building a sustainable practice. Once patients arrive at her offices, Mister focuses not just on treating them, but on helping them overcome the discomfort many have when it comes to treating pelvic health conditions.I make them laugh. We talk about life, mostly their lives and issues,” she said.

Her efforts are paying off. In the approximately three years since Mister opened Sow & Reap Physical Therapy, the business has grown from treating a few patients each month to now having a full schedule.

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