Dr. Sean Rardin, 38, of Naperville, opened Riverwalk Family Medicine in 2002.
What sets you apart?
I spend more time with my patients — an hour with new patients and 20 to 30 minutes with return patients. I practice more integrative medicine, working with people on their health problems through nutrition, exercise and counseling. I also work closely with medical specialists and alternative care practitioners like chiropractors and acupuncturists.
What qualifications or characteristics do you have to operate this type of business?
Why did you decide to open your business in Naperville?
My wife and I grew up in Naperville, and it's a community where I wanted to raise my children. My dream was always to practice in the community where I live and take care of the people who live in my city.
Why did you pick this specific location/storefront?
The setting is beautiful and puts people at ease. The clinic is close to the hospital and convenient because it is located downtown by the Riverwalk. There is plenty of parking for patients by my building.
What obstacles did you find when you started?
Like most businesses, we grew slowly until word got out from our existing patients that we deliver great care. Recently growth has been faster.
If you could offer local officials one piece of advice to make Naperville more attractive to entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Local officials should revisit the often overbearing local zoning laws.
What mistakes did you make?
Early in my career, I took on too much overhead and tried to build too big an operation when I came out of residency. As I've gotten older and wiser, my overhead is more within my means.
What did you do right?
I took great care of people and always made the focus of my business to put my patients' health first. That is what allowed me to overcome my slow growth and early mistakes. Taking good care of people ensured continued growth and led to stability for the clinic.
What advice would you give to someone else looking to open a business in Naperville?
Keep your overhead low and don't quit your day job. I worked some nights and weekends at an urgent-care center and at hospitals when I first started my business until it was self-sustaining.
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—Compiled by Kristy Kennedy