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Occupational Therapy Group LLP
• Apr 8, 2024

Any business owner knows that it’s challenging to run a business all day then try to make it to the bank after work — especially if that bank is always closed. That’s how Moryam Ladotun, MS, OTR/L, the owner of the Occupational Therapy group in New York, came to TD Bank. Over a decade ago she started her business and was working up to seven days a week. “It was convenient for me — they opened early and closed late, and were open on the weekends. Some days I wanted to do my banking very early in the morning, and if I didn’t have time during the week I‘d go on Sunday. It was so flexible, and fit my schedule perfectly.”

Before long, she developed a relationship with Stuart Harker, a Relationship Manager at TD Bank who got to know Moryam. He learned that she was on a mission to provide occupational therapy (OT) services to every single member of her community who needed it. And, he learned that she wasn’t someone to stop until that mission was accomplished.

Moryam says, “When you have a passion for something, there’s always a burning desire within you, that you could do more.” So, in 2021, during the pandemic, she approached TD Bank to help her navigate loan applications, as she wanted to branch out into her own facility. “It was absolutely stress free,” she says, giving Stuart the credit. “There was no time I couldn’t call him. Even if he was busy, he’d still pick up the phone and tell me he’s busy, and that he will call me right back. That means a lot to me,” she says, noting how interested he was in her business’s progress.

Working through obstacles

Her vision was to expand her OT services to include other medical must-haves her patients needed, so they didn’t have to go to multiple facilities. She envisioned an indoor pool. “I needed space — HUGE space — because I needed a pool.” But the rent to the facility was $18,000 to start, with a 2% increase each year after, and three months of a down payment. “I didn’t have that, so I approached Stuart and said I want to expand and that was the beginning.” With her loan secured, she was on her way to bringing not only OT, but physical therapy, speech therapy, and additional psychosocial and medical services in rehabilitation medicine so people didn’t have to travel to a different borough to access care, she says.

But the initial payment wasn’t the only obstacle Moryam would have to overcome to bring care to her community. When they started digging the pool, they hit a rock — quite literally a large stone blocking progress. The stone became symbolic for Moryam, of the obstacles she’d overcome already and those she still would, to make her dream a reality.

The 2-week digging project took 11 months just to dig the hole thanks to the stone. “Every time the guy comes to dig he gets paid. It stretched my budget way beyond the limit,” she says. But, the pool is 95% completed now, and she looks forward to it opening this April to help patients rehabilitate in the water. Her part-time facility will become a full-time facility, open seven days per week, bringing the same convenience to patients at the time they need it that she herself relied on in her early days of banking.

Stuart helped her apply for a line of credit along the way to ensure she’d have the financing to cover her vision, which has almost come to fruition. On the outside of her building there’s a large image of the aqua therapy opportunity to come. “People have been calling to ask. So when I finish the pool, I want to do a grand opening.” After that, she wants to open two to three other locations as well, “anywhere I’m needed I’m ready to go.”

She has a tip for business owners with a dream, in spite of the stones along the way — “Business is not an easy thing, but most of the obstacles the bank will be able to resolve,” she says. “But there are obstacles that the business owner has to figure out. I had to figure out my way around the stone — I wasn’t going to let the stone deter me from digging my hole.”

What should business owners do if they have a dream but aren't sure how to fund it?

Once you’ve realized your dream and you’re ready to move forward on making it a reality, Stuart recommends:

  • Review the needs of the business to determine if there are short-term or long-term needs
  • If the needs are long term, such as purchasing equipment, or renovations to an office facility, they should be funded with a long-term facility loan, such as a term loan
  • If the needs are short term, such as financing receivables or purchasing inventory, they should be financed using a short-term facility, a credit line
  • Sometimes a combination of the two is necessary
  • Any potential borrower should carefully review the dollar amount so they can fully capture the business’s needs and avoid over or underestimating for loans
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