With three out of four businesses failing in the first five years, to be still shining brightly after 25 years is a real achievement, inspiration and “Guidelight” to others.
Back in March 1994, when psychologist Peter Doyle first began seeing clients at an office in his home, they probably didn't realise that each night the consulting room was converted back into a bedroom for his then two-year-old daughter!
The Early Years of Guidelight
Fortunately this was only a short term arrangement; within 6 months Peter was able to lease office space nearby.
Before this, Peter worked as a psychologist in diverse areas – from prisons to universities, in the public health sector and private practice, but felt starting his own business was the best way to make a difference:
“I started Guidelight as a way of bridging the tremendous gap between the advanced theoretical models of psychology, and the real world challenges on the front lines.”
Ask any business owner about the early days, and you will hear stories of crazy hours, sacrifice and determination. Peter’s experience as the founder of Guidelight Psychology is no different – working 6 days a week, from 6am to 10pm for the first few years – although it’s probably not something he recommends, when you consider the three core values of the business:
By the time Guidelight reached its second birthday, the practice had expanded to half a dozen psychologists, and had secured more office space in the same location.
Guidelight soon became a respected name in Gold Coast health and business circles, and a major provider of coaching and counselling across the region – eg holding the contract to provide EAP services for Gold Coast City Council for seven years.
In 2008 the practice moved to its current premises overlooking the Broadwater, in Marine Parade, Southport.
As with any small business, the road to success is not always smooth – there have been lows as well as highs. Following the GFC, Guidelight’s revenue halved, forcing Peter to reluctantly let 2/3 of the staff go, in order to weather the storm.
Gradually conditions improved, and with the practice on firm footings once more, Peter was able to explore new opportunities in the corporate psychology and consulting spaces.
Collaborations and strategic alliances have been instrumental to the ongoing success of Guidelight, allowing it to adapt and grow. Psychologist Trish Purnell-Webb joined the practice as a partner for several years; more recently, Peter has worked with personal trainer Nikki Wakerley on the “Creating Healthier Workplaces” program, and with Brisbane psychologist Marco Korn, to deliver coaching and mentoring programs.
As we celebrate Guidelight’s 25th birthday, Peter offers this heartfelt message to colleagues, clients, friends and family:
“Thank you for sticking with us and believing in us. My gratitude and appreciation for all those who have journeyed with us, and in particular thanks to my family – Dianne, Alex and Ella – for the unconditional, extraordinary love and support they have always given.”