“The only way you can stay on top is to remember to touch bottom and get back to basics.” – Shane Black
Many therapists decide on starting up their own private practice and of course, be successful. While there is no secret formula to having a successful business, it is helpful for every entrepreneur to understand the basics to build a business property from the ground up. If you’re hoping to start your own business soon, here’s what you need to know to be successful.
Common Business Mistakes to Avoid
Many factors affect the success of a private practice. Most of them are rooted in proprietors who own the practice and fail to build a solid foundation for their business. These are some of the reasons private practices fail to grow as a business:
- Owner Underestimated the Resources Needed
Businesses will need a lot of resources to operate, a private practice is no exception. Like most business operations, your practice may need a space where you can meet with clients and run day-to-day operations. You also need capital to pay for all the expenses you will incur.
On the other hand, if you are more focused on doing online therapy, coaching, or specializes in psychology, having a dedicated office space may not be needed.
Not many entrepreneurs plan in detail and later discover that they are spending more than they can afford. Falling short of getting the essential resources can lead to business failure.
There are plenty of other factors to consider before you start your business. Go through them to make sure you are ready for this endeavor.
- No Clear Business Plan
Just like any business, a private practice needs a solid business plan that takes many factors into account, all of which will affect the way you run it. Without this plan and defined goals, your business’ path to growth will be directionless, which may cause it to fail. It’s always good to plan the ways to achieve the goals you’ve set for your business from the get-go.
- Lacks Individuality to Stand Out
To get clients, you and your private practice should stand out. Having a specialization or niche can help set you apart from fellow practitioners and allows you to cater to a specific group of clients, too. Nonetheless, a specialization shouldn’t restrict you from catering to other groups of clients. Let your skills and expertise speak for itself.
- Unmet Expectations
One cause of having a low number of clients is failing to meet client expectations. They seek you out specifically to work with you, which means they come with certain standards. If you don’t meet those standards, they might seek out other practitioners who can. Apart from losing these clients, you may also lose possible referrals from them.
Every client is different. Some may have predisposed assumptions or notions of what a practitioner should be. Some are more flexible. Do note that if you don’t work well with a client, it is not your fault nor the clients. Sometimes, the connection isn’t just there. This is why it is also smart to have a list of clients that you like to work with.
- Lack of Adaptability
The world changes and so do businesses like your private practice. Many factors can change and have a serious effect on your private practice. One such example is the current COVID-19 pandemic. If your practice lacks the ability to adapt to changes, your business may face more challenges.
The Basics of Running a Private Practice
Learning about the basics of private practice is useful to both professionals who want to start their own private practice and those who already have an established one. These help ensure that your practice will run well as a business and that major hiccups can be avoided as it grows.
- Hold on to a Reason for Running a Private Practice
First, you should know why you want to start or why you are running a private practice as opposed to working in other clinics. Some professionals choose to start up such a business to gain more control over their careers. They call the shots when it comes to their job. It’s always nice to go back to your purpose and “why’s”, especially when things get challenging.
- A Definite Business Model
Given that a private clinic is a business, run it like one. Various practices may operate differently if they have different goals. With a definite goal in mind, you can lay down a business model that is aligned with what you are aiming for. It can help you make decisions on how to run your private practice. This defines a pathway that your business will follow to achieve success and growth.
To practice your profession, get an office space and other resources that you may need to run your practice efficiently and effectively. You need a space where you can do basic business tasks and where you can have sessions with your clients. Make sure you can design and layout the space to make clients feel comfortable during therapy sessions.
Additionally, you also need to figure out the tools you will need in your private practice, such as internet logistic tools or online telehealth tools if you are offering online services.
The resources you will need cost money, and depending on how well your practice earns, you should budget that money well. Your earnings per month will vary — there are months where you will have a lot of profit, and there are months where you will fall short.
Regardless of how good your earnings are in a given month, your practice will have to shell out a definite amount of money. Always prioritize covering your operating expenses first as you will need this to stay afloat and run your business effectively.
Your primary way of making money is for clients to get your service. And to attract clients, you need to have a good marketing plan. To get clients, some effective marketing plans include finding a specialization that will set you apart from others and to create and build an online presence through a website, and even offering online services.
When it comes to marketing, include social media strategies in your planning, too. These can help you broaden your reach.
- A Contingency Plan
As the proprietor of your private practice, you know your business inside and out. You are in charge, and you act as the center of your practice’s operations. Many unexpected circumstances may happen, and it will challenge your ability to lead and run the business.
When this happens, you should have a contingency plan in place to ensure that your private practice will not fall apart. One plan is to compile documents and informational resources that are essential in conducting your business and have someone you fully trust to have emergency access to this compilation.
It is also helpful to practice thinking out of the box or consider working with a mentor for some time. Not only can this help your business grow further, it can also help you become more prepared for unexpected scenarios that may come your way.
Conducting a successful private practice should have a solid, immovable, and effective foundation. To ensure that your business will be in it for the long haul, you should go back to the basics and build your business properly from the beginning. A strong foundation will support the growth of your practice and will help you, as an owner, to maintain its success, even if you encounter challenges along the way.