Getting back to your best
With an estimated 400,000 people in Ireland suffering from chronic back pain - among other physical maladies - chiropractors (who specialise in the treatment of mechanical disorders in the musculoskeletal system) have never been in greater demand.
One person who for the last year and a half has been bringing this essential service to the people of Wicklow Town has been local man Vincent Pippet through his business The Chiropractor.
Vincent has a long a long history with the chiropractic profession, having once been on the receiving end of this treatment.
'I had my own back problems in the past,' he tells this newspaper. 'I'd been to see chiropractors and decided to go back and study to be one.'
He brought to his new profession a strong sporting and fitness background, having worked extensively in gyms and the healthcare industry and represented Ireland in squash, a sport he also coached.
He earned a degree in Sports Science before going on to further his study to become a chiropractor, from whence the business was born. As well as a range of chiropractic services, he also offers free drop-in clinics on Tuesday mornings when people can come to have their ailments assessed.
Every new business comes with its challenges, and Vincent admits that the rigmarole involved in getting The Chiropractor up and running has been his most severe test to date.
'Any start-up is challenging,' he says. 'It's time consuming - doing the paperwork, trying to get a website sorted, finding a premises - and none of it is free. That is definitely a challenge.'
Despite these initial difficulties, Vincent is adamant that the chance to help the people of his community makes for a very rewarding career change, and one that has been embraced by the people of the town.
'There's been a really positive response to the business,' he enthuses. 'It's been great to have people coming along supporting it.
'The job satisfaction is excellent, and being able to do it in my own town is really, really satisfying. You're helping people from all walks of life. Some people might have a disc problem, some people might have whiplash, and some might want to improve their sports performance. It's a broad spectrum of people, and a really rewarding job.'
He recommends that budding entrepreneurs not shy away from asking for help and remember to take care of their customers first and foremost, as they - ultimately - will decide the fate of the enterprise.
'Look and ask for help,' he says. 'The Wicklow County Enterprise Board have been great in giving me help. Look after the people who are good enough to support you; they're the most important thing. Word of mouth is the strongest referral you'll ever get.'