Treasure Coast Top 100: Tenfold growth was possible because Behavior Basics put community first

June 27th, 2019
Treasure Coast Top 100: Tenfold growth was possible because Behavior Basics put community first

Recently, I sat down with Karin Torsiello, one of Capstone’s most impressive clients, to ask a few questions about how she grew Behavior Basics from a handful of behavioral analysts and child therapists to a diverse team of over 60 people.

Although many of my Treasure Coast Top 100 interviews end up putting the spotlight on marketing, customer service, or technology, Karin attributed her success to Behavior Basics’ workplace community. A common theme was her passion for her work, and it was intoxicating.

The first thing I wanted to know was how she managed to sustain such outstanding growth. Her answer was short and sweet:

“My magic recipe is building relationships with new staff.”

Behavior Basics started almost 15 years ago, and its altruistic mission attracted employees who were tireless in their dedication to providing high-quality therapeutic services to children and families. For more than a decade, employees bonded over their passion, and Karin realized it might be difficult for newcomers to join such a tight-knit team.

“As we were onboarding new staff and having new members join our team, we made sure to treat them with care and respect. So they were joining a team that was welcoming. We focused on building that relationship with them from day one. It’s something every agency or company should prioritize.”

That really hit home for me as the Co-CEO of a fast-growing company. IT technicians rarely fit into the lone-wolf stereotype and Capstone wouldn’t be where it is today without the motivational community our workplace culture fosters.

Leading from behind

Pivoting from care-oriented work to management is difficult for many small-business owners. They started a company to pursue their passion, but are often forced to shift their focus in the face of growth. The way Karin confronted that challenge was brilliant.

“My agency provides very important, intricate services to children. And as the founder, it’s my job to stay in line with our mission and values. Igniting that passion in everyone we come into contact with is my number one priority and I want every single person who works for our company to understand that passion should drive every decision they make and should drive them to deliver the best service possible. It all starts with new employees feeling connected to our company and staff.”

She may be doing less analysis and care, but her community-first philosophy is inspiring a team of 60+ to do more than she could ever do by herself.

Adapting to success

It’s almost impossible to grow a company solely on workplace culture. So I asked Karin what makes her company better than other child behavioral therapists? What sets Behavior Basics apart?

“Our hearts lie with those children in our community who need extra support, attention, and therapy. But we also offer a parent education program that is clinically intensive and founded in the science of applied behavioral analysis. We work with parents to restore their protective capacities and help them on their journey to getting their children back home.”

Beyond workplace community, Karin is also passionate about the surrounding community. For her team, it’s not just about the work or the sense of accomplishment, it’s about affecting real change. And that’s what led Behavior Basics to move beyond treating children to treating whole families. It’s an inspiring story, but not without a few small-business roadblocks.

Getting help with the little things

No business is perfect, and some of my favorite tidbits from Treasure Coast Top 100 interviews are the tiny issues that lead business owners to learn powerful lessons -- I loved this anecdote from Karin.

“Coming from a small company that started onboarding about 10 new staff members per week, we struggled with some of the human resources paperwork and keeping up with the demands of our customers to hire lots of staff all at once. We started tripping on certain things, certain forms were being overlooked.

So we had to press the pause button and take a step back, refine our process and put an organizational piece into our new hire process that was missing. I learned that every new phase of a project needs to be done slowly, carefully, and deliberately.”

At Capstone, the way we help clients with issues as simple as tracking and storing HR forms reinforces Karin’s overarching point. Her employees are passionate about child therapy, so an HR form or IT challenge shouldn't slow them down. For example, Capstone built the brand new Behavior Basics site because that’s something our team loves doing. It’s a win-win situation when everyone does what excites them.

Our West Palm Beach community

The Behavior Basics model for success is simple: Create a workplace community that is fueled by your company’s mission, and never let growth become more important than maintaining that community -- because you can’t have one without the other.

For anyone who says that business is about more than just passion and community, I challenge you to watch my interview with Karin and not feel inspired. She and countless other entrepreneurs in West Palm Beach are building a new breed of company that, in Karin’s words, “feed the soul.”