Five Essential Tips for Therapists
#1 Have a Clear Vision and Set Realistic Goals
The prime essential tip that is relevant to all startups, let alone the entrepreneurs willing to establish and grow a successful therapy practice, is to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. In fact, vision is the driving force of entrepreneurship and needs to be elucidated before any further action is taken.
Before you get down to the business, you need to ask yourself an array of meaningful questions related to your future practice:
what is your ultimate goal?
Why do you want to become a therapist entrepreneur?
Why would you not want to work for someone else?
What is the thing that makes you stand out?
Once you have replied to all of the aforementioned questions, you should immediately have a better understanding of what you are seeking when trying to establish your business. For a lot of people, the most pivotal factor pushing them towards starting private therapist practice would be making money. On the other hand, if money is not the primary cause of concern, you might be willing to act on a social cause and establish a social enterprise. One way or another, sorting out your priorities will help you identify you the final absolute goal you are trying to reach. From that point, however, as an entrepreneur, you need to develop this idea a bit further and break it down into steps that would constitute a business plan.
Of course, one of the vaguer dreams a lot of aspiring therapist entrepreneurs have is having a large number of clients. However, in the business realities it is not sufficient to just have a broad understanding of what you want to do to succeed. In order to manage your own therapy practice, not only you need to aspire to council a certain number of patients, but also to build a strategy regarding how to allocate time to each of them, find a suitable venue for your sessions and many other things. These are often considered to be secondary goals, but in reality they are no less important to the successful operation of a startup. In fact, they might even be somewhat more important as it is the small day to day goals that lead us to execution of certain operations on the way to achieving the greater goal.
These goals, however, need to be of a certain standard. One of the golden rules of the world of entrepreneurship is for the business owner — in this case the therapist — to be able to set SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. The combination of all of these is what allows any business to actually progress and grow. For instance, as a therapist entrepreneur, you would like your goals to sound not like ‘I want to earn a lot of money with my therapy practice’ but more like ‘By the end of this month I would like to have earned $10000 by delivering my services to 10 clients’.
Apart from that, you also need to realize that entrepreneurship is not the easiest of the activities and can sometimes be much more challenging and demanding than if you were just working for someone else. However, realizing that building a successful practice requires a lot of hard work is actually the first step on the way to success. This is explained by scientists as psychological research concludes that individuals that are aware of the situation being hard tend to perform better and achieve more impressive results than those who expect it to be easy.
#2 Brand Yourself to Make Yourself Known to the General Public
Just like with any other business startup, you need to create a strong brand and raise brand awareness to attract customers. The only difference that the therapy practice as the subject makes in this statement is that it is you personally who is the product of the brand.
You need to work on your self-representation, and identify the marketing strategy to promote yourself to potential clients. This could be executed in a number of forms. For example, you could attend fairs or appropriate events to improve networking. In the modern world having a reliable net of connections is incredibly important in establishing a business, and therapy is not an exception to the rule.
Apart from that — no matter how obvious this point may sound, it is often overlooked despite being essential — you need to ensure that the services you deliver to your clients are of the highest quality. As a therapist entrepreneur you do not have an opportunity to make a mistake and undermine the trust of your existing and prospective clients. Testimonials are an incredibly important marketing tool in the world of therapy as it is reviews online and offline that get people to pay attention to you and your brand. If you do not manage to maintain a positive brand image, you may suffer extremely negative consequences. Therefore, it is pivotal for you especially at the beginning of your private practice, to please your clients and show your professionalism to earn trust within the industry and community.
#3 Have a Unique Selling Point
In addition to the previous point, it is also very important to stand out among the other therapists offering similar services. Especially in such a competitive environment, it is particularly important to develop a unique selling point that would differentiate your brand and give you a competitive advantage. This could be a niche therapy you are adroit at: do you focus on teen psychology? Are you someone who can really help couples who have hit a rocky patch in their relationship and need someone to save their love? Or, perhaps you are best at dealing with eating disorders?
If you identify a gap in the market, you will be more likely to get a greater amount of clients and therefore grow your business immensely. Moreover, if you are focused on a particular type of therapy, you are indeed not stretched over too many spheres and can concentrate all your expertise on getting the problem out of the way.
#4 Review and Track Your Performance as a Therapist Entrepreneur
In order to maintain your therapy business and do it successfully, you need to be aware of all the processes taking place. This can be somewhat challenging, especially when you are a practicing therapist yourself. This is why it is important to dedicate a part of your time keeping track of all the numbers and statistics, as well as collecting reviews from your clients. This would allow you to assess your performance, evaluate the degree to which you achieve the goals you set as well as identify the areas that require improvement. The key to success is continuous change and amelioration.
#5 Increase Your Online Presence
One of the best ways to keep track of your achievements and overall performance is to use some digital analysis tools. These are available to the mass public and do not require any advanced IT skills.
Moreover, in a world where technology is taking over and pretty much everything is gradually transcending into the virtual realm, you should keep up with the trends. Your clients, neither existing not potential ones are not going to try and find your contacts in the address book. In fact, if they are looking to receive your services, they are most likely to search for information about you and your business online. Make it easier for them to contact you by setting up a website.
Of course, it is understandable that websites can be very costly sometimes, which is not preferable when you are a therapist entrepreneur. However, the industry does not really require a very advanced website, and a rather basic yet visually pleasant and decently functional page would be more than enough.
Apart from that, therapist entrepreneurs have a great opportunity to make themselves known and maintain a conversation with their clients through creating pages on major social media platforms. By doing so, they would enable their clients to reach them at all times and be in touch at all times. As well as that, social media presence can also be a rather effective marketing tool, especially as a part of a social media marketing strategy.
Source: Author’s Bio: Cheryl Hearts is a talented journalist from Boston, Massachusetts. From an early age, she was into writing so she decided to make it her career. Obtaining a Master’s Degree in Journalism has boosted her desire to grow as a journalist and currently she contributors to major media publications. Cheryl also runs her blog CherylHearts.com where she shares her opinion on topics trending in modern society.