Interview: Dr. Shannon Davis, Physical Therapist + Inventor, Little Balance Box

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When Dr. Shannon Davis, Physical Therapist and Inventor of the Little Balance Box was home with a baby learning to walk, a toddler, a husband deployed oversees and 2 dogs; she knew that she physically didn’t have the capacity to constantly be bending over to helpĀ her baby to walk.

As a physical therapist who works with children, she tried out all the products on the market and felt they were unsafe and hindered her daughter’s growth and development so she started developing the Little Balance Box, a tool to help babies sit, stand, push and walk safely.

Product:

My product is the Little Balance Box, sit, stand, push, walk by my parent company Inspira Spark. The product is intuitively designed to provide self-sufficient stability while transitioning from sitting, to kneeling, standing or walking. This product is a tool to safely assist the child to independently develop their balance, coordination and walking skills.

What circumstances in your life led you to create your business?

I had been working in a day program clinical setting and realized I wanted more and better opportunities for my clients then being treated in a clinic. I started Inspiration Physical Therapy to have my own network of PT, OT, speech, music and massage therapists who had the same belief that all individuals could improve with their quality of life. We also do therapy in the home and community so it is more beneficial to the children and adults.

Skip ahead a few years, I have my second daughter. I didn’t like any of the products that helped her with walking. I felt they were unsafe and hindering her growth and development. Given my background I went out to my garage and started to make something that I felt she could use. This developed into the Little Balance Box!

What was your “aha” moment?

I never really had an aha moment with the Little Balance Box. I knew what was needed to assist the child and that it would work. I had already spent thousands of hours assessing and teaching mobility skills in hospitals, clinics, homes and schools. It was more of a hmm moment. I knew I had an exceptional idea, but was I ready to try and change the baby’s world image of what a walker looked like and how it worked?? And of course the answer was yes!!

Target Audience:

We have many target consumers: Parents (first and later born children) Grandparents (especially grandma) Early intervention programs Medical community (doctors and therapists) Caregivers of the children.

We are still working on this but this is based on sales, direct consumer feedback at expos/events and demographics from social media.

Greatest Success:

Getting this far and still moving forward!! I am happy that the product is helping children develop these motor skills in a natural and safe way. I am also very proud that the Little Balance Box has helped some kids who never have the opportunity to stand and walk, do these things!

Biggest Challenge:

Getting the product to pass all structural and chemical safety tests for US, Canada and Europe! Europe has very strict standards on heavy metals so this was a challenge.

Overcoming the Challenge:

I keep getting new custom screws made and tested until they passed everything! I figured we eat off of metal silverware so I just have to find the same composite for the screws so they will pass!

When you imagine success, what does it look like?

That the Little Balance Box is considered the gold standard product to help children develop their balance, coordination and walking skills!

What steps are you taking to achieve your goals?

Telling everyone I know about the Little Balance Box and it’s features. Social Media Networking groups Marketing Events/playgroups Charity Events

What PR+ Marketing activities have you done and what were the results?

I used a PR firm, good learning experience they got me into to some magazines, gift guides, bloggers etc. Used for ~6 months then decided I needed something more and different. Social Media-Facebook ads, instagram (#hastags), pinterest, google +, linked-in this has taken way more time then I thought to develop these networks.

How do you manage family and business?

Since I run both businesses from my home I have flexibility. So I can attend my two kids events at school in the middle of the day. Then I can work at night. I think it also has to do with what you want. I am very driven and don’t like excuses. I am a military wife. Last year my husband was living across the country.

I have a 2 and 6 year old girls and two very spoiled dogs, plus the two businesses to manage! I was up all hours of the night between kids getting up, doing work and dealing with individuals in China and Germany with conference calls!! But I made it work because I wanted it to work! No one else was going to do these responsibilities. I had to manage it so that is just want I do!

What advice do you have to fellow mom entrepreneurs?

Know what your threshold is and when to walk away.

What have you learned about yourself being an entrepreneur?

I don’t give up and I like the words “no” or it can’t be done! It just makes me work harder.

If you could wave a magic wand and be given anything to help your business right now, what would it be?

Mainstream product recognition and knowledge of product features and use.

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