Tom Atwood '00

Owner of Better Balance Physical Therapy LLC

Tom Atwood '00

Tell us about your business?

Better Balance Physical Therapy LLC was formed in August 2016 to provide superior one-on-one care to maximize a client’s wellness. Our core belief is that physical therapy is an evidence-based practice, with functional and quality indicators, and a clinician’s expert assessment, versus by a metric of an outside payor source.

Better Balance was created for better physical balance, but also to balance the growth of an individual in all aspects.

Why did you choose to open your business and why this specific type of industry?

Better Balance was created due to the decreased ability in the profession to allow for therapist/client interaction at the level that clients require—the excessive demand on documentation impeding this further— and no way to keep individuals from consistently getting to their desired level of potential vs. one dictated by a third-party pay source. The further growth of offering classes virtually, with one nationally available through the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, helps maintain and maximize functional independence. This opportunity has allowed for growth into new ventures, such as the release of the book my wife and I authored, Total Engagement: Activities for Growth and Expression in Older Adultspublished by Health Professions Press, Inc.

How did your time at UHart impact your knowledge and decision around opening your own business?

Physical therapy is my second career. I was immediately aware of the foresight of the University of Hartford program to allow for diversity in their program students. I can vividly remember multiple discussions with many professors about what physical therapy is and how can it be applied. I was made aware that there are set paths to follow, but many of those paths are subject to set demands. Once you see how a problem or issue can be addressed, you realize there is no reason to be shackled by a set routine. Ever since I went out on my own, I feel a weight lifted, and constraints released, so I can practice the way I was taught, in order to effectively treat and heal. I am able to see even further how I may be able to use my skills and start new ventures that bring satisfaction and contentment.   

Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs?

Take the time to make a sound business plan and seek advice from multiple people to allow for a clear objective. When you are a skill-based provider, marketing is an area that is usually hard to manage, but you need to keep an eye on your business’s exposure, while providing the best service you can. People will repeat business with one who they know, like, and trust. These three pillars may seem hard, but being liked has great connection to your enthusiasm to your job. If people know that you are fair, helpful, and enthusiastic, trust usually takes care of itself.

More from Tom Atwood '00

Ageless Grace for Golden Hawks

Part of Hawktober Weekend 2020

During Hawktober Weekend 2020, Tom created a 45-minute session geared for those 60+ years of age, focusing on cognitive and physical health—leading participants through a cutting-edge brain and body fitness session designed to help build comfort and confidence in basic human functions.