Denise Flickner is founder and sole owner of HealthWorks. HealthWorks is a full-service, on-site wellness partner for organizations looking to lower healthcare costs, create a healthier workforce, and track the impact of their wellness program. Denise is a AFTA certified personal trainer and has a BS in Dietetics. Denise founded HealthWorks on the premise that people can only make positive lifestyle changes if they are passionate about change and live that passion every day. Denise recently completed our SPARK program, and we are thrilled we got a chance to know this strong woman and strong company.
Q & A with Denise
What are you passionate about, in regards to your business?
I used to be so focused on the client (service, retention, getting new business, etc.), that I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on our internal team. I have always had some of the best people in the industry on staff, but as we grow, I’ve spent more time really concentrating on my team’s strengths and hiring where we need to. It’s been exciting to see my existing team grow with the challenges of a growing business, and also seeing the incredible talent out in the market. Clients will always be a huge focus (obviously), but I am now increasingly passionate about building the best internal team possible. I have a definite vision for where I want to take the business, so having the right people in place is more important than ever.
What has been your biggest financial challenge, and how did you overcome it?
As with most small business owners, when I decided to start the business it was based on excitement about the field I was in and frustration with the companies at that time who were providing the services to employer groups but not actually Walking the Walk themselves. After working for 2 organizations I finally started on my own. Having no formal training on how to start or run a business – I had to learn along the way. The organizational model initially was one with little overhead and all contracted people based on the jobs we were doing. As the business grew, we needed to do a lot more “in house” and hire employees. The biggest challenge has been getting our cost structure to now support a model with overhead and budget from one that had very little. Mackey has been extremely instrumental in getting me on the right track and teaching me how to “think like a business owner,” look for growth opportunities, and how to stream-line my current practices. It has been invaluable to me.
If you could give the 20-year-old you any piece of advice, what would it be?
On a personal level: Don’t let fear of failure (or of anything) hold you back from following your passion. Trust yourself and continuously put yourself in situations that take you outside your comfort level. If you don’t start doing this when you are younger – you will never do it when you are older.
On a professional level: Plan your Work / Work your Plan. It will continue to evolve but you need to be ready and aware. In hindsight, I would tell anyone starting a business (who doesn’t have a business background) to make a small investment on the front end to simply educate yourself on basic financials to ensure you set up your corporate structure correctly right off the bat. This will help you meet the demands you will certainly face (overhead; unforeseen maintenance; staffing requirements), in addition to being able to set aside a budget for the personal and professional growth of your staff. Lastly, seek help when you know you need it. I knew I was reaching a point when I knew couldn’t figure things out on my own and have been so happy that Mackey was there to help me when I needed it.