Growing Your Business During the Pandemic

Hearing about COVID-19 has become a tiring thing for many of us – it’s talked about in your workplace, at home, on your social media news feeds, and everywhere else. 

While it’s getting pretty overwhelming, there are some things out there that carry a more positive or helpful note. 

Learning about growing your business during the pandemic is one of them.

Amongst the statistics, graphs, numbers, and devastating news, I want to bring a sense of support onto your radar. In the new Episode of the PPMP podcast, I speak with Narelle Hypatidis, who is the owner of Macarthur Paediatric Occupational Therapy in Sydney, Australia. 

Her business went from three staff members and no administration staff, to two sites, 10 therapists, and solid admin.

There is so much private practice goodness in our conversation. Her story is like a warm blanket, fresh cookies out of the oven, or sleeping in on a Sunday. 

It really is inspiring and motivating to hear her business journey. (And trust me, I know how unmotivated many of us probably feel right now, so this Episode is the perfect push you may have been looking for.)

While listening, you can pick up on so many ideas and tips about flourishing as a CEO, or running a business in general.


Before listening to this awesome Ep, let’s cover some key areas to growing your business during the pandemic based on Narelle’s encouraging journey.


Growing Your Business…AND Your Skills

Throughout the pandemic, Narelle hasn’t just learnt how to keep her business thriving. She’s also recognised how to develop her leadership skills. As a leader, she’s had to learn how to adapt to these crazy, unknown, and rapidly changing times.

Even though her leadership skills have been improving over the past couple of years, the pandemic has forced a rapid development that many allied health business owners weren’t expecting.

Narelle often refers to herself as the “accidental business owner.” she started as an occupational therapist, working in a small private practice. Her manager unfortunately got cancer, which led to Narelle’s choice to step forward and take over the business.

She describes it as an extreme learning curve. She had to learn how to make quick and smart decisions, like taking on an admin person straight away. 

Thanks to this decision, she was able to focus on her staff to ensure they had the skills they needed, but also weren’t overly stressed.

Narelle underlines being open and listening to the needs of her team. This way, they feel comfortable approaching her with any apparent issues. 

She has managed to adapt team activities within the COVID environment. Putting things online kept them connected, engaged, and pushed the notion of a work-life balance. Just because we’re working from home, doesn’t mean we don’t need to practice self-care. 


Importance of Developing a Team

I’m sure you’re no stranger to hearing how important it is that you need to develop a strong, able team. But it truly is so crucial. 

Narelle was able to gradually remove roles from clinicians that weren’t efficient uses of their time. Instead of chasing after client fees, clinicians are now able to hand things over to their solid client and finance team.

Bringing in a remarkable senior clinician is a decision Narelle has never looked back on. Her senior clinician shares the clinical load, clinical governance, and coaching. 

Aside from that, she has also established a senior team. As a business owner, it’s reassuring to know that you have people who are invested and interested in the business apart from yourself.

Narelle ensures to encourage her senior clinician to be part of supervision when she’s making decisions. She brings her into business strategy and tactic conversations, which all make them more aware of the business’ overall position.

Through handing off some responsibility to senior members, Narelle can make sure people are consistent. 

Education is another key factor. Her clinics undergo internal education and staff meetings, which also motivates people to educate themselves and feel confident with speaking up.

Fostering different perspectives through shared ideas is important for her team. By adapting to the needs of her staff, they can build their responsibility and career paths.


Is There Really a Positive Side to COVID?

I get it, things often seem bleak. While you may not feel like that all the time, those feelings of negativity and fear for the feature can pop up when you least expect it.

That’s why Narelle’s journey throughout the pandemic is so wonderful to listen to. She shares how her practice has navigated through COVID, and how they have been able to find some shining lights amongst the darkness.

The pandemic has actually created some improvements in business systems and general growth of her practice. 

Focusing on their team approach was a big part of their success. MTOP jumped on board with telehealth very quickly, which led to developing more efficient resources.

Narelle identified the importance of doing COVID debriefs with her team. She saw how resilient her business could be, which involved the resilience of her staff to adapt and change.

During the pandemic, MTOP started an electronic newsletter that could further reach clients. Narelle also discovered the value in rechecking their skills, strengths, and areas of improvement. Therefore, they could strengthen certain technologies, policies, and procedures.

COVID allowed Narelle to gain heightened awareness of her business. She was able to look forward at the next things, rather than falling into crisis management.


Recharging Your Batteries

Just like your phone, laptop, or tablet, you need to learn how to recognise when it’s time to recharge your batteries. What are your batteries? Your mind, soul, and body.

Narelle has learnt to acknowledge when she feels tired. That way, she understands when it’s time to take a break.

I’ve spoken about staycations before, and there’s a reason why. 

Growing your business during the pandemic must involve some sort of staycation, self-care routine, or time off. Staycations are the perfect alternative to vacations across the pond, which we can’t do right now.

Know when it’s time to prepare to log off, shut down, and relax. 



Growing your business during the pandemic is no simple feat. Since we haven’t been in this situation before, there’s no rule-book to follow. 

But, listening to stories like Narelle’s can help other business owners get tips, tricks, and suggestions that perhaps they didn’t think of before. We must support one another and learn to celebrate any small progress or wins. If you need help with certain aspects of your business, don’t be afraid to ask.

Onward and upward!

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