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How to Find the Right Health Care Plan
Your health is more important than anything else. A healthy person can keep earning money so always put your health ahead of your financial needs. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re too young to consider your health care needs. All adults need a good healthcare package so take time before committing to a healthcare insurance plan. There are four levels of insurance plan available to you – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, and there are lots of other things to consider before you decide on your insurance package. Don’t forget that you will be paying a monthly fee even if you don’t need medical help.
Typically, the insurance plan’s monthly amount will increase as you go from Bronze up to Platinum but the amount you have to pay for treatment decreases. For example, you might be asked to pay 40% of the costs with the insurance firm covering the other 60% if you opt for Bronze, while Silver customers will find perhaps as much as 70% covered by the insurance company. If you’d like to make sure you’re not surprised by a major bill, opt for the Platinum package as you’ll normally pay something like 10% of the medical bill.
What Is the Total Cost?
Don’t just look at the monthly premium when choosing an insurance package as there may be a deductible to pay. This amount is paid whenever you need the insurance. And consider what the insurance package is covering before committing to it. Does it pay for some of your regular check-ups? What about disease management programs? Are they covered by the insurance? You should also check if preventive services like shots and screening tests are available to you at no extra cost.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO)
Some plans offer low monthly costs but come with restrictions. For example, you might opt for an EPO plan. That’s an Exclusive Provider Organization plan in which you’re only able to use doctors and specialists from hospitals within the plan’s network. Of course, in an emergency, you can go wherever you need to but apart from that, you’re restricted which might not work for you if you travel a lot and need medical aid in various places.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)
HMOs normally offer lower costs than other similar services but they have a more restrictive provider network. You will also need to coordinate your health care through your primary care physician which could slow down the process of being seen because you’ll need a referral, except in the case of an emergency. For example, if you get a rash on your skin, you’ll have to see your primary care physician before being referred to a dermatologist.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
This subscription-based medical care arrangement offers more flexibility than HMOs as there are fewer restrictions on visits to specialists outside their network. You won’t need to see a PCP before seeing a specialist which will save you time, although premiums are normally higher, and there’s normally a deductible to pay. Before committing to either an HMO or PPO consider your medical needs above the costs. If buying insurance for yourself rather than taking it through your employer, remember that you might be eligible for tax subsidies.
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- Creating a Private Practice Business Plan
How to Create a Solid Business Plan for Your Private Therapy Practice
Making a plan for your private practice gives you the opportunity to identify important points to consider for any small business, including finances, goals, and potential barriers to success. Considering these factors now can help prevent difficulties, or even business failure, in the future.
Finding it difficult to start writing a business plan? We can help with that. Here, we go over several essential elements to include and offer some tips to consider as you begin creating your own business plan.
Key Elements of Your Counseling Private Practice Business Plan
While you’ll likely personalize the structure of your business plan to meet the unique needs of your private practice, all business plans should include certain essential information that outlines a path to success.
Mission and vision
Your mission and vision statement communicates the purpose of your private practice. Writing this statement may seem daunting, but all it needs are a few sentences answering at least some of the following questions:
- Why do you practice therapy?
- How will your private practice assist others?
- Who do you work to help?
- What concerns do you help them with?
- What personal values , if any, contribute to your mission to help others?
Like other components of a business plan, specific mission statements can vary based on your practice’s approach. Just take time to consider exactly how you want to help others and how your background, training, and specific approach can offer benefit—then set this out clearly in writing.
The description of your private practice can be a general overview of your business. Include all relevant information about your business, such as:
- Your niche as a therapist
- Therapy approaches you use in your practice
- Areas of specialty
- The age groups or populations you generally work with
- Special skills that enhance your practice (Are you bilingual? Trained to work with special needs children? Have a therapy dog on staff?)
- How many clients you’ll ideally see in a week
- How many current clients, if any
- How many current staff members, if any
If you intend to use your business plan for anything beyond your own reference (to seek a loan or create a proposal, for example), consider providing some background about yourself and your practice. Keep things professional, but take this opportunity to personalize your description and make yourself more relatable.
Taking time to research the therapy market in your area can help you make important decisions about your niche, office location, and methods of reaching potential clients.
Researching nearby therapists can provide a clearer picture of a specific location’s needs. If your target area already boasts a number of therapists who practice similar approaches or treat the same issues, consider targeting a slightly different demographic or training in a new specialty.
For example, instead of saying “I work with children of all ages,” consider “I see clients of all ages but specialize in working with teenagers who have ADHD , learning difficulties , problems in school , or behavioral issues.” Consider your skill set and think about the help you, specifically, can provide. You might worry narrowing your practice’s focus will decrease the number of potential clients, but the reverse is more likely to be true. People seeking a therapist for any of those specific concerns may find you before they find a therapist who doesn’t indicate a specialty.
When choosing your office location, you’ll also want to make sure potential clients of your demographic can find and reach you easily. Once you’ve found an ideal location, you’ll need to consider marketing strategies, another key component of market research. How will you get word out once you’re ready for clients?
The financial part of a business plan should involve several components.
First, you’ll want to calculate your operating costs, or expenses. These costs might include:
- Software or technology fees
- Staff salaries
- Office rent
- Office utilities
- Office products (tea, toilet paper, bottled water, and so on)
Once you’ve determined your monthly (or annual) operating costs, you’ll need to calculate the minimum amount of income you need to support yourself and keep your practice in business. Once you have this figure, you can use it to set your therapy fees and create a sliding scale, if you decide to use this fee structure. It may help to consider how many sliding-scale clients you can take on at a time
Deciding whether or not to accept insurance is also an important decision you’ll have to make before beginning to see clients. Some practitioners prefer to avoid working with insurance companies, so it’s important to research the necessary steps and decide whether accepting insurance will meet the needs of your practice.
If you have independent funding to start, make a note of this. If you’ll need some income to get it started, also note your strategy for obtaining these funds.
You’ll find it next to impossible to reach many new clients without investing time and effort into both developing your reputation as a mental health professional and putting yourself in front of potential clients. Including ideas for marketing strategies in your business plan can provide focus. Consider these possibilities:
- Commit to spending a certain number of hours each week on marketing strategies. Use those hours to network and meet with potential referral sources, plan new marketing strategies, or make yourself available in your community.
- Build a website (or hire a professional to create one for you). Developing social media pages for your private practice on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can also help you reach more people. Social media pages can also make it easier for potential clients to contact you, since they can send messages directly from your practice page.
- Create quality content by blogging about topics related to your practice, including your approach to therapy, self-care and self-help approaches, or strategies for improved wellness. This can help boost your website’s ranking in Google and other search engines. Higher-ranked websites appear sooner in search results, so this can put you in front of more people looking for help.
- Join a therapist directory. On GoodTherapy’s directory, your profile has space for you to describe your approach to treatment, the types of therapy you practice, and the kinds of clients you’d ideally work with. GoodTherapy members can also write and publish original content related to therapy and mental health issues. Links to your published articles will appear on your profile, as well, encouraging interested clients to learn more about your approach.
The final (and perhaps most significant) component of your business plan? Your goals for the future. These goals should include a time component, and they should be focused and specific.
Your primary goal, when starting your therapy practice, is probably to help people. But consider more detailed goals. Exactly how do you want to help? If you want to help young children overcome trauma , your goal may be pursuing continuing education in trauma-focused therapy approaches during the first 6 months of practice. If you want to counsel pregnant teenagers, it might help to have a goal of learning more about the various school, family, or health-related challenges teen parents face.
Other goals including planning for the growth of your practice. Again, it helps to note specific, achievable milestones along with responses to reaching these milestones. For example, you might mention, “In 2 years, I hope to be seeing 20 clients each week. When I have more than 20 clients for a period of 2 months, I’ll look to add another professional to my practice.”
Certain details may change over time as your business grows and you adapt your practice to meet new needs. You might add more staff, gain new specialties, or become certified in additional therapy approaches. As your circumstances change, so might the needs or goals of your practice. It’s a good idea to revisit your business plan once or twice a year, just to update any information and address any parts that have become less relevant.
- Bavonese, J. (n.d.). A business plan for growing your therapy practice. Psychotherapy Networker . Retrieved from https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/blog/details/509/a-business-plan-for-growing-your-therapy-practice
- How to create a business plan for your perfect private practice. (2016, October 24). Retrieved from https://www.aperfectpractice.com/blog/2017/1/18/how-to-create-a-business-plan-for-private-practice
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Counseling Private Practice Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
Counseling Practice Business Plan
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 500 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their counseling private practices. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a counseling private practice business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.
Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan provides a snapshot of your counseling private practice as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.
Why You Need a Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a counseling private practice, or grow your existing counseling private practice, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your counseling private practice in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Counseling Private Practices
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a counseling private practice are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business. Personal savings and bank loans are the most common funding paths for counseling private practices.
How To Write a Business Plan For a Counseling Private Practice
If you want to start a counseling private practice or expand your current one, you need a business plan. Below are links to each section of your counseling private practice business plan template:
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of counseling private practice you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a counseling private practice that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of counseling private practices?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the counseling private practice industry. Discuss the type of counseling private practice you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.
In your company analysis, you will detail the type of counseling private practice you are operating.
For example, your counseling private practice might specialize in one of the following divisions:
- Clinical psychology : this type of counseling private practice assesses, diagnoses, treats, and prevents mental disorders. Specialization within clinical psychology may focus on areas such as neuropsychology, geropsychology, child psychology, etc.
- Industrial-organizational psychology: this type of counseling private practice specializes in applying the principles of psychology to the workplace, to assist with a range of HR issues such as employee retention or productivity.
- Marriage and family therapy: this type of counseling private practice is licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems.
- Social work: this type of counseling private practice includes services such as individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and child and family counseling.
In addition to explaining the type of private practice you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to question such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of patients served, number of cases with positive outcomes, reaching X number of clients served, etc.
- Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the counseling private practice industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the counseling private practice industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating.
Secondly, market research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your private practice business plan:
- How big is the counseling private practice industry (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your counseling private practice ? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your counseling practice business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: individuals, schools, families, and corporations.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of private practice you operate. Clearly, individuals would respond to different marketing promotions than corporations, for example.
Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.
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Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other counseling private practices.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes psychiatrists, other healthcare providers, or members of the clergy. You need to mention such competition as well.
With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other counseling private practices with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be counseling private practices located very close to your location.
For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of customers do they serve?
- What type of counseling private practice are they?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.
The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide options for the uninsured?
- Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a private practice, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of counseling private practice company that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, will you provide psychodynamic therapy, behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, or integrative therapy?
Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the location of your counseling private practice company. Document your location and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your counseling private practice located in a busy retail district, a business district, a standalone office, etc. Discuss how your location might be the ideal location for your customers.
Promotions : The final part of your counseling private practice marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to websites
- Social media marketing
- Local radio advertising
While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.
Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your counseling private practice, including answering calls, planning and providing therapy sessions, billing insurance and/or patients, etc.
Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to book your Xth session, or when you hope to reach $X in revenue. It could also be when you expect to expand your counseling private practice to a new city.
To demonstrate your private practice’s ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing counseling private practices. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing a counseling private practice or successfully running a small medical practice.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.
Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you see 5 patients per day, and/or offer group therapy sessions? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your counseling private practice, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a private practice:
- Cost of computer software.
- Cost of furniture and supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your office location lease or a list of insurance plans you accept.
Putting together a business plan for your private practice is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the counseling private practice industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful private practice .
Counseling Private Practice Business Plan FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my counseling private practice business plan.
Growthink's Ultimate Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your business plan.
What is the Goal of a Business Plan's Executive Summary?
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of private practice you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a private practice that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of private practices?
OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You
Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.
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The Practice of Therapy
Resources, tips and advice for success private practice.
In that blog post I did last year on the business models in private practice , I talked about the difference between a business model vs. a business plan. I used a clinical analogy that most of us in the field can relate to:
Business Model = Treatment Approach
Business plan = treatment plan.
A business plan is simply roadmap that outlines how you will grow your practice. B usiness plans are a statement of business goals, reasons they are attainable, and plans for reaching them. They can be either detailed or more general. A good practice business plan will help keep you on track and help guide where to put your energy.
The thing to think about in creating a business plan for your practice, is that it really is essentially a map for how you will get to where you are going. So the first thing to figure out is where you are going, then work backwards from there to create your business plan. After-all, if you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there?!
Think about is where you would like to be with your practice a year from now. Where would you like to be 5 to 10 years from now? A place to start is to think about your personal goals and aspirations. For most, part of this is financial. Other parts of this are probably more about your personal values and what you see as your mission in life. In other words your “why”. The first step is to get some clarity about all of this for yourself.
Other than personal goal setting or reaching certain income level, business plans are also often used to get financing for your practice. And the reason anyone would need financing would be to have the capital and income they needed to help grow their business to a certain level or to be self-sustaining. Banks and other lenders are going to require a pretty in-depth and comprehensive business plan before they will loan you the money. Without going into a lot of detail about this, here is a great resource from the Small Business Administration on business plans: https://www.sba.gov/starting-business/write-your-business-plan
Whether you are going to try and get a small business loan or not, (and I would say avoid doing this if at all possible) it is still a good idea to have a business plan that you can work from and that will keep you on track. It is also a good idea to write all of this down. Here are some steps to take in creating a simple business plan for your private practice.
Create a mission statement and vision for your practice
What are your values and how do you want your potential clients to be treated with they come in the door? What do you strive for as a person and as a mental health practitioner? This can also be your “why”. These will be the guiding principles that will be what grounds you and from which you operate your practice. Write this out.
Know your KPI’s. One of the main components for any business plan is to know your financial goals and have some KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators. You would then track your KPI’s to see how you are doing in achieving your financial goals. Usually this is simply having a specific dollar amount you want to achieve. Other KPI’s might be around the number of sessions held or how you spend your time. Regardless of what you have as your KPI’s, have a way to track and look at this often. One of the best ways to figure out your KPI’s is to work backwards from the numbers you have set as your goal.
So for example, if you have set a goal for yourself to be making $100,000.00. We can break this down more. Working “backwards” from $100,000.00 we can figure out what you would need to do each day in terms of seeing clients and having sessions:
$100,000 ÷ 12 (months) = $8333.33 a month
$8333.33 ÷ 4 (weeks) = $2083.33 a week
$2083.33 ÷ 5 (days) = $416.66 a day
$416.66 ÷ $100.00 (per session rate) = 4.16 sessions per day
In this example we have used “gross numbers”. You will need to factor in your time off and other expenses. You will need to do more than just have 4 sessions per day at $100.00 per session to reach the goal of $100,000.00 in take home pay. So to cover your expenses and time off, you will either need to see more clients, raise your rates or both. In other words, you will need to bring in more than $100,000.00 if you have set that as your goal.
Track and know your expenses
In order to have a solid business plan, you need to know what your expenses will be. Office rent, phones, office equipment, and advertising are just a few of the expenses involved to run a practice. But there are several other expenses to take into consideration. These are what I call the “Hidden Expenses” (Again, here is the blog post I did on this subject) . The point being, know what your projected expenses will be in order to factor that in with your business plan and budget.
Plan your cash flow
Sometimes it is hard to predict when we will have a high volume of clients vs. a low volume. Generally most practices slow down around holidays. If you are not seeing clients, it also means you are not bringing in any money and your expenses are still there. So you need to plan for times when your case load and volume of sessions go down.
The best way to handle this is to have a buffer or savings that will cover those down times. Put into your financial plan regular savings. Treat it like you were paying a bill; something you owe to yourself.
The other thing to consider as you think about cash flow is to consider ways to diversify your income. In other words, do more than just see clients to bring in the amount of money you need to reach your financial goals. (More about diversifying income here) .
Create and keep a budget
With your projected income and expenses, create a budget that will help you track your KPI’s, expenses and cash flow. Look at this and update it often.
A marketing plan is the primary tool for bringing in new clients. If you were to tell someone what you do and what kinds of people you work with in your practice, how would you describe it? In other words, what is your “elevator pitch”? Your marketing plan is driven by a clear concise message that you get out to the public through your marketing efforts. Investing your time, effort and resources into your marketing plan is where you will get a ROI, (return on investment). The ultimate goal of any marketing plan is to bring in new clients. So learn all you can about marketing your practice and then put a plan into action. More on marketing here…
As you grow it might mean having to spend money on things that will facilitate that. For example, moving to a new office or adding support staff. Investing in your private practice can be done either financially or in terms of time. And the old adage of “you have to spend money to make money” is true. But you need to know how to invest wisely. Learn what is going to be the best ROI with both your time and money. Also what will truly help you grow.
This is where having a long term plan comes in. Where would you like to be 5 or 10 years from now with your practice? What are the small steps and investments you will need to make in order to reach those long term goals? Put plans and actions in place in your business plan now to help you reach those long term goals.
Business plans can seem intimidating to some. But the time spent in developing a good business plan for your private practice will be well worth it. Let it be a living document that changes and grows as your practice grows. Refer to it often so that it can be a roadmap for your growth. The good news is that you can tweak it anytime you want to….and you should!
Some other good resources
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How To Develop A Private Practice Business Plan
- May 30, 2022
- Becky DeGrossa
Last week, Howard Baumgarten of Smart Practice Central joined me to share his expertise with the CounselingWise community. In the webinar, he talked about the importance of having a private practice business plan for counseling, as well as what goes into creating one.
One of the things I took away from his presentation was to be successful, you need to be prepared, and you need to have a plan.
As the owner of a small business myself, I know that having a solid plan in place has been a vital aspect of CounselingWise’s growth and success. I’ve found that having a plan is what drives a business forward to achieve its goals . Without a plan, as Howard mentions, you are less successful.
During the webinar, Howard talked about the 11 different parts (or “modules”) of a business plan . Each part is equally important and pieces together an organized view of any business. Today, I am going to highlight five parts of Howard’s business plan. To learn about the other six (equally as important) parts, be sure to check out the webinar replay here .
Before we dive into the different parts of a successful business plan, I want to lead you with something to think about. During the webinar, Howard advised, “ Think about your business plan as a matter of survival in your professional life . It’s an opportunity for you to really organize yourself and appraise what is going on in your business.”
5 Key Parts of a Successful Business Plan
1. the four c’s of your vision.
If you are familiar with the SWOT technique (a planning method use to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), then the 4 C’s will be something you relate to .
Because he didn’t want to focus on a person’s weaknesses or threats, Howard viewed this planning method through a different colored lens.
The 4 C’s stand for:
- What Are Your Capabilities? (your strengths)
- What Are Your Challenges? (your weaknesses)
- What Are Your Chances? (opportunities)
- What Are Your Concerns? (threats)
This piece of the counseling business plan is key to evaluating your practice from a personal and professional level.
Take out a pen and paper and jot down all of the above as they apply to you. Get a piece of paper and breaking it into four columns. In each column, write down your professional and personal capabilities, challenges, chances and concerns. One thing to keep in mind—it’s okay to have the same thing in multiple categories.
By having your capabilities, challenges, chances, and concerns outlined on paper, you can better plan for the future of your practice and your personal life .
It forces you to take what’s kind of hazy and abstract in your head and makes it a tangible reality. That way then you know where you stand and how to move forward with your vision for your practice.
2. Your Mission Statement
The next part of the private practice counseling business plan I want to highlight is your mission statement. In Howard’s presentation, he said to ask yourself…
“What is my purpose? What was I born to do? What do I really want to do? How do I want to affect the populations I am working with? What am I empowered to do?”
By answering the above questions, and really digging down into the meat of the reason you get up every morning , you will develop a wholehearted mission statement for your practice.
But what does developing a mission statement look like in practice?
For his therapy practice, Howard’s mission statement is, “ Build something new in order to change something old in order to grow .”
One thing to keep in mind when writing your own mission statement…
Make sure you are writing the statement in lay terms , and not professional/clinical terms. Try to stay away from words like “depression,” “anxiety,” etc. You are writing this not only for yourself, but also for your clients.
3. Your Services
This is the who , what , when , where and why of your services as a private practitioner.
This part of the private practice business plan is key to giving you the clarity you need in terms of the services you provide , and the services you may want to offer in the future.
- Who? Who are you working with? Who are the populations you treat? Do you work with couples, adults, children (what age children?), teens? What kind of couples do you work with? For example: high conflict, couples about to get married, etc. Really dig deep into the “who” of your services to determine what clients you have and what clients you want.
- What? What are the issues you want to focus on? If the “who” is couples, what type of couples issues do you want to work with? Howard’s example was that he likes to work with couples that have a high degree of conflict and are tired of fighting with each other.
- When? When are you providing your services? When you are first starting out, as Howard mentioned, it could be Fridays and Saturday mornings. When you build your practice more, you can shift your hours more and more. Determine when you want to practice and include it in your plan.
- Where? Where do you want to practice? Maybe you want to do a day in a doctor’s office. Maybe you want to offer therapy out in the community, or in the wilderness. Think creatively about where you want to practice. It will maximize the benefits of your services.
- Why? For the why, you will want to see your mission statement. The why is all about your passion and purpose.
- How? How do you treat your patients? This is all about your treatment intervention style (EFT, mind-body-connection, EMDR, etc). What are your technique leanings?
This part of the plan is powerful. It helps move you in terms of defining yourself and who you are. You will also draw from this part as your quick “this is what I do.”
As you are completing this part of your business plan, keep in mind that you will probably have three or four different sub-sections under each of these .
Answer each question for each service you offer or want to offer. Eventually, this will all be useful information that you’ll want to include on your website.
If you’re thinking ahead and want to use this exercise to generate content for your website, check out how to write informative specialty pages .
4. Personal Growth
To grow professionally, it’s important to take care of yourself so you can grow personally.
In order to have a healthy work-life balance, you will want to focus on 4 main areas :
- Nutrition: Are you eating a healthy, well-balanced diet?
- Sleep: Are you getting enough sleep?
- Exercise: Are you moving your body?
- Spirituality: Are you expressing yourself spiritually? This could look like anything, such as a religious practices, time in nature, yoga, etc.
Think of things that are important to you on a personal level and write them down. Personal growth is a key piece of your business plan.
Because if you don’t grow yourself, how can you expect to grow your private practice? It all works in concert, together.
The Administration part of the private practice business plan can be hard, especially if you are used to being a one-person show.
And if you think you can run the show without any professional support throughout your entire career, you will be spread very thin .
As part of your counseling business plan, you need to create an administration plan to ensure you have the support you need to build a successful practice—and keep your sanity.
Think about the people who you currently have supporting your practice professionally. Then think about the people you may want to include in your group of practice professional support.
Naturally, some people may not be ready for this, so think about this part of your private practice counseling business plan when you are ready.
You know you’re ready when you say to yourself, “I am getting really sick and tired of doing this admin task, and I am now in a place where I can afford to hire someone to do it for me.”
By getting support, you free up emotional space so you can pursue things that drive your interests and passions . This is a vital piece to your professional growth.
Administrative support includes but is not limited to…
- a medical biller (if you accept insurance),
- a bookkeeper,
- an accountant for tax purposes,
- a financial manager/adviser,
- an investment banker,
- a corporate attorney,
- an insurance agent,
- a commercial real estate broker (rent or buy)
- and a virtual/actual assistant.
Each part of the counseling business plan that I discussed today is vital to a successful practice. Your business plan, however, really isn’t complete without the remaining six. To learn about all 11 parts, and to learn more from Howard about a successful business plan, watch the webinar replay here .
You can also download the Business Plan Template here .
One last tip : Don’t just write your plan and forget about it. Howard recommends going back every six or so months to revisit the plan and stick to your goals.
You can also watch my interview with Howard Baumgarten, founder of Smart Practice Central, below.
Enjoy the replay!
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Developing A Business Plan for Your Mental Health Private Practice
Business plans act as the foundation for any type of business and are important for setting benchmarks to measure success. But how do you write a business plan for a mental health private practice? Valant takes a look at the components of a business plan and translates it into an easy-to-use framework for both mental health professionals looking to start their own private practice and those looking to expand their current practice. Check out our guide to creating an effective private mental health practice business plan below.
Mission Statement / Vision Statement:
As behavioral health providers, you all are in the business of saving lives. But what makes your services unique? What value are you bringing? Make sure when you are drafting your mission statement you answer these four questions:
- What does my practice do?
- How do we do it?
- Whom do we do it for?
- What value does your practice bring?
Description of your Practice and Service:
What is your service delivery model? What kinds of patients do you want to see, including age range and presenting problems? How many hours per week do you wish to work and on what days? What types of services will you provide (e.g. therapy versus medication management)?
The three basic choices for your psychiatric business entity are: sole proprietorship, LLC, and S corporation . The choice is based mainly on relative costs, tax implications, and general business liability (rather than professional liability). If you do plan to expand to a group practice, you should probably consider an LLC or S corporation so you have the option of continuing under the same tax ID number, but we recommend consulting with a local accountant and lawyer with experience working for other health care providers before deciding.
Mental Health Practice – Operations Model:
Operating processes can be broken up into four categories: facilities, front office, back office, and insurance.
Facilities refers to your plan for location, furniture, phone, internet, hardware, and any other tangible item or service that enables you to provide your clinical services.
Front-office refers to your plan for handling non-clinical patient facing interactions such as your intake process, administrative phone calls, reception and scheduling, eligibility and verification checking, handling of patient payments, no show and cancellation policies, and prescription management policies and procedures.
Back-office functions are dominated by medical billing but could also include transcription services and handling of documents.
Insurance refers to the package of insurance that you’ll need, including general liability, professional liability, or any other insurance you might want for you or your staff (medical, dental, and long and short term disability).
An electronic health record has the potential to influence and streamline all operation models, so it is important to have the right EHR in place.
Watch our product videos to see how Valant’s EHR and practice management system streamlines operations for mental health private practice
Team refers to internal staff and outside consultants such as a lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper and medical biller. We recommend developing a strategic employee incentive system that addresses benefits, compensation, appreciation, and recognition. One of the most costly expenses your practice can endure is staff turnover. Want to learn more including recruiting tips? Watch our webinar “How to Recruit and Retain Top Talent in your Mental Healthcare Practice”
Marketing Strategy / Generating Patient Flow:
Especially for new practices, it’s important to dedicate a certain number of hours each week to marketing your private practice , generating patient flow, and supporting your practice’s capacity goals. Many practitioners find that word-of-mouth marketing and/or referrals are their most effective sources of new patients; in today’s saturated therapeutic market, however, establishing a digital presence may also be necessary.
Building A Website
With that in mind, building a website (or hiring a professional to build one for you) is the natural first step in promoting your practice online. Your website will act as the home base for all of your digital marketing efforts — meaning, every other digital marketing initiative you try should direct traffic back to your website. As the foundational piece of your marketing strategy, your website should be intuitive, attractive, and optimized for search engine visibility.
It will also be important to support your website with new, high-quality content once it is built out and launched. Starting an informative, active blog can be a fantastic way to highlight your expertise, reach engaged audiences, and support your positioning in search engine results.
Referrals & Directories
In most cases, the two most common means for finding new patients are to 1) utilize and nurture a referral network and 2) be on insurance contracts. This makes sense in practice; people trust other people to give honest referrals of a practitioner and their practice. They also want to ensure the provider is on their insurance network before moving forward.
With that in mind, you will need to develop referral sources to generate patient flow and to build the kind of practice that you want. Your referral sources will know your strengths and weaknesses and will refer accordingly.
In the online space, users often look to directories, insurance networks, and review sites to determine whether a provider is a right fit for them. Having active, complete profiles or listings on as many directories as applicable ensures you’re considered in the most relevant patient-provider searches possible. Additionally, directories and review sites act as an opportunity for current patients to leave reviews, providing invaluable feedback to support your practice’s long-term success.
A few examples of relevant, high-traffic directories you could sign up for include Google My Business , Psychology Today , GoodTherapy , or most social media platforms. Depending on the supply and demand characteristics in your area, however, being on insurance contracts and having profiles on insurance networks is sometimes all that is needed.
Generating Patient Flow:
The two most common means for finding new patients are to utilize and nurture a referral network and to be on insurance contracts. Depending on the supply and demand characteristics in your area, being on insurance contracts is sometimes all that is needed. But, in most cases, you will need to develop referral sources to generate patient flow and to build the kind of practice that you want. Your referral sources will know your strengths and weaknesses and will refer accordingly.
It is not necessary to have fancy financial projections to start and successfully operate a small psychiatric private practice, but it’s important to have an idea of what your net income will be and to understand the variables. Let’s break down the equation: net income = revenue – expenses.
Revenue Revenue = Average fee per face to face hour x hours worked It’s easy to overestimate this number by overestimating collections rates, fees paid by insurance for a unit of service, show rate, and patient flow. We recommend budgeting for 20% less than whatever you come up with in your plan, at least until you get validation from real revenue.
Expenses Expenses = Facilities + Front Office + Back Office + Insurance
A basic rule of thumb for expenses is that they represent anywhere from 15-30% of total revenue for a solo practice. If you employ staff or outside services for front office and back-office work, they tend to be divided pretty equally between the three. If you do not employ staff, then these expenses are more heavily loaded on facilities. Make no mistake, you are paying for those front office and back-office functions with your time. This is where the concept of opportunity cost applies. The cost of your time is dependent upon either the value you place on your time or the revenue you could generate by seeing patients during that time. However, opportunity cost does not explicitly appear in your financial statements.
If you would like to learn more about these financial metrics, we recommend reading our blog Financial Metrics 101
Private Therapy Practice Tips:
- Don’t sweat excessively about location. You will probably move within 2 years. At that point, you’ll better understand your needs. You’ll also better understand the nature of your local market and the level of competitor saturation ; especially in areas where therapy is popular, it’s important to identify your niche and find an area where you can assert yourself as the local expert, rather than offer the same expertise as competitors in your neighborhood. Modern telehealth technology also makes the location of your practice less important. By offering virtual sessions in addition to in-person visits, you can reach a larger network of patients, regardless of their proximity to your practice. Learn more about Valant’s telehealth software .
- Networking always pays off in terms of building the type of practice you want. Start early since that is when you will have the most time.
- Most small business owners overestimate revenue, especially during transitions. Make sure that you have other sources of cash during your ramp up including other part-time work, savings, or a line of credit.
- Understand the opportunity cost. There are many things in life that you love and do well. If you don’t love medical billing, don’t do it. That time could be better spent elsewhere.
- Start with a behavioral health care focused Electronic Health Record. By using an EHR focused on your specialty, you’re eliminating spend on features and functionality that is not going to be pertinent to your practice, plus gaining efficiencies in having technology workflows that are intuitive for your discipline. It’s easier to build it into the fabric of your practice from the beginning rather than switching later.
At Valant, we’re focused on providing great technology — as well as the business knowledge you need — to help your practice run smoothly and profitably. Want to learn more about Valant’s EHR and practice management suite for behavioral health?
Your Turn to Make a Move
Or watch a pre-recorded demo, subscribe to our blog, related posts.
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Starting a Private Practice
Therapy business plans
A successful business of any kind needs a business plan. A counseling or any type of therapy kind of private practice is no different. To build a strong and successful private practice, you need a therapy business plan.
What is a therapy business plan?
A therapy business plan is like a treatment plan for your practice. It outlines your business goals and how you plan to reach these goals. A therapy business plan typically looks at your goals for your practice and your game plan to reach them over a three to five-year period of time.
Why do I need a business plan for a therapy or counseling practice?
Graduate school most likely did not teach you about running a business. Taking the time to create a well-thought-out therapy business plan can help to ensure that you have a profitable practice and will address the many components of your practice. The therapy business plan will outline for others how you plan to grow and serve as a benchmark for you.
Creating a therapy business plan will help create focus, actionable steps, and organization to reach your goals. It will help plan out the growth of the practice which makes it more likely that you will achieve financial goals and business success.
Your therapy business plan should serve as a guide that continues to live. You should review it annually and make any necessary changes or revisions. Then, as your practice changes, your life changes, or your plans change, the therapy business plan can serve as the foundation for guiding you through whatever happens in the future.
A therapy business plan will also help you to qualify for any funding you may seek to run your practice. Most banks, investors, and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will require a business plan to prove that you have financial worthiness and a plan to return your funding.
What to include in a therapy business plan
Business plans are unique and individualized to each business. You will uniquely tailor your business plan for your practice to the goals, visions, and steps applicable to your practice and growth. Most therapy business plans include some specific components.
Your practice mission statement defines your purpose for the practice.
Some areas to address or consider when writing your mission statement include:
- Why do you want to do counseling?
- How can your practice help other people?
- Who do you want to help?
- How do you want to help?
Description of your business
This section should include information regarding the structure of your business as well as information about your practice:.
- Type of business entity/structure
- List of owners, partners, etc.
- Specific niche of the practice
- Specialized treatment approaches
- Potential caseload
- Individual or group practice
- Number of therapists
- Any staff members
- Any information related to the history of the business
- Your background
- Background of other relevant owners, partners, etc.
What services do you plan to offer in your practice? The information should include how much you plan to charge and how these services relate to your business growth and development. Do these services present you as an expert? Do they set you apart from your competition? How do they best help your clients in your niche?
Research and describe what you learned to demonstrate the need for your services. Research should demonstrate a need for your practice services in the geographic area you would like to have your practice.
Information to research, consider and describe in the plan includes:
- Statistical information regarding the target population in your geographic area
- Are there other practices that target your niche?
- Are there other practices that offer similar services or specialty treatment modes?
- Can you demonstrate a need for your practice in your geographic area?
What marketing strategies do you plan to employ? How will you market your practice? How much money will you spend on marketing?
You can incorporate various strategies for marketing in your business plan such as:
- Networking memberships and events
- Social media marketing
- Website development and maintenance
- Therapist’s directories
Plan of operations
The business plan should describe how you plan to run the business. It should include all the procedures and systems you have in place to keep the practice operating smoothly.
Some information to describe here includes:
- Hours of operation
- Location of the practice
- Face-to-face sessions, telehealth , or a hybrid model
- Important roles of team members within the office (administrative, receptionist, etc.)
- Important roles of team members outside of the office (accountant, attorney, website developer, etc.)
- Electronic health record
- Safety information
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You have many legal obligations in regard to running a practice.
The business plan should address how you plan to protect the business legally:
- Attorneys on retainer or accessible
- Insurance (liability, commercial, cyber)
- Maintaining licensure
- Lease agreements
The financial plan component of your business plan describes the financial picture of your practice. It should outline the expenses and earnings of the business. It should also project your financial outlook for the next five years based on your expected growth.
The details in this section will vary depending on how long your practice has been running.
If you have already been running your business, then you incorporate business reports such as:
- Profit and loss
- Balance sheets
If you have a new practice, project this information on a monthly or quarterly basis for the first year and then annual projections for the remaining years.
The financial plan should clearly outline the earnings potential of the practice which also includes if you plan to accept insurance or run a self-pay practice. You should list the expected rates of income for the different types of sessions based on insurance or your self-pay rates.
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Goals and growth.
The concluding section of your business plan should describe specific goals you have for the future growth of the practice. You should write specific and measurable goals.
Goals could address:
- Number of clients served
- Adding other therapists or providers
- Adding staff
- Expanding into new populations, modalities, or specialties
- New certifications or trainings
A business plan serves as an important foundation for growing a secure and stable practice. Take the time to research business plan examples online. You can visit the Small Business Administration for some examples. While it can seem like an overwhelming process, take some time to allow yourself to imagine how your practice will grow as it builds.
As you build your therapy business plan, including how you will address day-to-day tasks can also propel business success. An EHR and practice management solution, like TheraPlatform can help. They offer a 30-day free trial . No credit card required. Cancel anytime.
United States Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .” Accessed November 20, 2022.
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A One Page Business Plan for Your Therapy Practice
THIS POST INCLUDES:
1. Keep Your Business Plan Simple 2. Parts of a Business Plan 3. How to Complete a Business Plan 4. Sample Business Plan: Art Therapy Practice 5. Additional Business Planning Information 6. Free Download Business Plan Checklist
KEEP YOUR BUSINESS PLAN SIMPLE
Many people have a perception of what a business plan entails. They may think business plans are only useful for large companies or businesses you want to get a loan from a bank and need to explain their financial position.
A business plan involves much more than looking at the financial aspects of your business. It involves defining your clients, assessing your strengths and weaknesses in your business, and identifying the resources you need to execute your goals for your business.
Your business plan should be written using simple language. A business plan should be written so that it encourages you to take action on developing parts of your business that need your attention such as resourcing, marketing , and financial planning.
Many business plans are written for the benefit of a board of directors, however, if you are a private practice therapist, your board of directors is you. Therefore it is important to write your business plan using language that will motivate you and help you solve problems that may exist in your private practice.
If you are running a private practice and you are the sole employee, it is easy enough to create a business plan using a one-page process. While it is important to undertake these important administrative and planning aspects of your business, it’s also important that you keep momentum on running your business so that you don’t get too distracted by onerous administrative tasks.
It’s also important to remember that a business plan is often a changing process. As your private practice develops, you may want to change parts of your business that suit your goals at that time.
It’s a good idea to review your business plan at least once a year so that you can make any amendments and future goals for the year ahead. In the first year of your business, you will want to pay close attention to your business plan and possibly review it every month, however, once your practice is established you can undertake a review process less frequently.
A business plan is simply about being prepared.
PARTS OF A BUSINESS PLAN
The content of your business plan should always be based on providing information that helps you progress in your private practice. It is good to include information that is simple, concise and provides actionable steps.
GENERAL BUSINESS PLAN
Essentially, the most important parts of your business plan will include:
- Why do you want to start a private practice
- What are the mechanics of your private practice – income, expenses, staff, administration etc
- What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT analysis)
- What is your marketing plan
These 4 areas are fundamental parts of your business plan. Your business plan should be specific to your private practice, however, we’ve created a sample outline below of the most important details that you should consider based on the above 4 fundamental parts.
DETAILED BUSINESS PLAN
- Private practice name:
- Date of this plan:
- My mission for my private practice:
- My business goals (should be specific and measurable):
- Income avenues:
- Initial cost set up:
- My strengths:
- My weakness (and how to manage them):
- Opportunities for my private practice:
- Threats to my private practice succeeding:
- Marketing Plans:
HOW TO COMPLETE A BUSINESS PLAN
Completing a business plan takes some time and effort. Essentially you are working on a document that is based on goals, expectations, and unknowns. It can feel difficult to determine exact details to include in your business plan when there are so many unknown variables.
From this perspective, your business plan is simply a guideline to get you started. It should always be viewed as a process that requires adaptability and flexibility as you become more experienced in running your private practice.
The business planning process can be overwhelming especially if you are more interested in client work instead of administrative work. In many ways creating your business plan is an introduction to running your private practice.
At times when running your private practice, you will be required to do administrative work that feels more tedious compared to the client work that you want to do. It is good to note any resistance you feel when creating your business plan as it may be a good way to assess your desire to run your private practice with many of the non-client work tasks that you will be required to undertake.
Set a time limit on creating your business plan. We’ve introduced 13 sections above in the detailed business plan. You could dedicate an individual time slot for each detailed item so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with researching a lot of information at once.
The first 3 items are simple information recording items and should only take you seconds to record. If you haven’t already named your business or subsequent website name, then you may want to spend some time on working out what your private practice should be called.
Whenever you name anything whether it be your private practice, services types, products, or workshops, you should always name items from your client’s point of view. Any names should be easy to spell, pronounce, remember, and understand in terms of purpose. Consider the demographics of your ideal clients and be guided by what language and words might mean to them. For example, if you want to appeal to elderly clients, you may not want to name your business: Artz4U
As you work through each item on your detailed business plan, remember to record all information in one central area. A lot of software integrates, so you should be able to combine both word processing documents and spreadsheet documents in one primary document. A program such as Evernote is a good tool to use for creating your business plan because you can access it at any time across multiple devices. Evernote is fairly robust in creating written text, tables, checklists, audio, and more.
Evernote is a useful program to record all of your business information in as a central database. This means you can access information about your private practice at any time. Evernote is also a great way to store and record information from external sources (eg. Internet) that you can use to help develop your business.
You may want to read our previous post about using Evernote for blogging to see how you can also use Evernote for your business planning process. 10 Useful Tips to Use Evernote for Blogging
Evernote is free for a basic account, however, you can purchase a premium subscription for additional features. You will easily be able to use a free Evernote account to create your business plan.
SAMPLE BUSINESS PLAN: ART THERAPY PRACTICE
Included in this section is a sample of how to create your business plan using the parts of a business plan listed above. This sample is simplified to give you an idea of how each section should be used.
It’s important to note that your financial information such as income, expenses, and initial set up are usually specific to your first year. Each additional year after will be different as you may not have the same ongoing costs as you did in your first year. You will also most likely have your lowest income year in your first year until your practice becomes more established.
It is is a good idea to extrapolate your financial calculations out for at least the first 5 years so you can get some perspective over the short and long term success of your private practice. This will also help you plan for any initial savings that you need to inject into your business in the first year. Being financially prepared will help reduce the stress that you feel around meeting income goals.
The more elaborate your business goals are, the bigger your business plan will be. This business plan is a simplified version to get you moving and taking action on establishing your private practice.
All names, websites, and financial information is fictional for illustration.
PRIVATE PRACTICE NAME ABC Art Therapy
DATE OF THIS PLAN January 2019
MY PRIVATE PRACTICE MISSION To help clients experiencing anxiety and depression. A focus on adolescents and building self-esteem.
MY BUSINESS GOALS
- Become an expert in art therapy and anxiety/depression in my area.
- Create workshops for adolescents and building self-esteem
- Develop a workbook for adolescents that can be purchased online and at workshops
INCOME GOALS (per year)
- General client sessions – 4 clients per day x 4 days x 50 weeks x $80 per session = $64,000
- Workshops – 4 per year x 10 clients each x $80 = $3200
- Workbook – $20 x 200 sales per year = $4000
TOTAL INCOME YEAR 1: $71,200
NOTE: Your income will most likely be more varied as you may choose to take on reduced fee clients or charge more for additional services such as report writing etc. You may also set initial client session goals for the first year and increase them each year after.
EXPENSES (ongoing per year)
- Bank Fees $100
- Accounting/Legal $200
- Education/Courses $300
- Telephone/Internet $500
- Insurance $320
- Office Supplies $800
- Art supplies $2500
- Professional fees $150
- Repairs and maintenance $150
- Subscriptions $150
- Advertising $1500
- Wages (inc. Tax, superannuation/401k, retirement) TBA
TOTAL EXPENSES: $14,470
NET PROFIT: $71,200 – $14,470 = $56,730 (allocated to wages, taxes, retirement planning etc)
NOTE: In the expenses section, we’ve written TBA under Wages etc. You may want to calculate the wages you pay yourself as a set amount at the start and then your income and expenses will need to allow for that level of wages to be paid. Alternatively, you may want to calculate your income and expenses initially, and then allocate the remaining profit to pay your wages.
INITIAL COST SET UP
- Plastic desks x 5 $100
- Plastic folding chairs x 10 $100
- Lounge chairs x 3 $500
- Art room decor $200
- Desktop computer $1200
- Printer/scanner $300
- Art room supplies $1000
- Website and general admin $500
TOTAL SET UP COST: $5,100
- Writing content – good for creating workshops and workbooks
- Public speaking – good for public marketing and networking
- Specialty in working with adolescents (note various training obtained)
- Setting procedures
- Financial acumen – need to hire a bookkeeper/accountant. Set a schedule for reviewing data
- Marketing – undertake a free online course to determine the best methods of marketing online and offline
- Easily distracted – can become distracted by pursuing multiple goals. Set a plan and meet with an accountability partner to stay on track
- I am a sole practitioner – investigate income insurance
OPPORTUNITIES FOR MY PRIVATE PRACTICE
- There are 3 high schools in my immediate area where I could offer my workshops or work with the school counselor on developing programs.
- There are only 2 other therapists who deal specifically with adolescents in my area – neither of them provides art therapy services.
THREATS TO MY PRIVATE PRACTICE SUCCEEDING
- There are 8 other therapists who focus on anxiety/depression treatments. Approach each of them to network for referrals.
- Illness and professional burnout – implement regular self-care and supervision
- Cash flow problems – develop a nest egg to pay bills
- Networking with other therapists in my area
- Contact GP’s and other allied health professionals
- Network with high school counsellors for workshops
- Facebook advertising
- Art therapy association directory
- Counselors association directory
- Build website content and create email list with newsletter
- Social media posting – establish social media plan
ADDITIONAL BUSINESS PLANNING INFORMATION
Below is a list of previous blog posts that will supplement the information about business planning in this blog post. Read these blog posts to dig deeper into each aspect of running your art therapy practice.
- How to Backup Your Important Business Files
- Practice Management Software to Use as an Art Therapist
- 10 Steps to Set Up Your Art Therapy Practice
ART THERAPY HELP
- How to Set Up Your Art Therapy Room
- Link List: Useful Therapy Resource Websites for Forms, Templates and Tools
- Excel (spreadsheets) vs Accounting Software To Record Financial Information
- How to Record Income and Expenses for your Art Therapy Practice
- Strategies to Increase Profit For Your Therapy Practice
- 10 Ways to Increase Your Therapist Income
- How Do I Create an Ecourse for my Therapy Practice
- How To Organise an Art Therapy Group
- What to do when you have no clients booked
- Where to find Clients for your Art Therapy Practice
- 5 Essential Marketing Templates for your Therapy Practice
- Create A Sales Funnel for an Art Therapist
- Design a Simple Layout for Your Art Therapy Website Design
- How to Build an Email List for your Therapy Practice
- How to Create a Free Offer to Build Your Email List
- How to Create an Annual Social Media Plan in 60 mins
- How to Get Started With Google Analytics in 5 Easy Steps
- How to Plan Your Marketing Strategies
- Link List: Online Marketing Courses to Improve Your Marketing Skills
- Review of Free Social Media Schedulers
- The Best Marketing Methods for Art Therapists
- Tools for Organizing Your Social Media Content
- Understand the Marketing Cycle of Your Art Therapy Practice
- How to Establish Your Business Network
- Professional Networking for An Art Therapist
- 10 Useful Planning Tools for Your Business
- 10 Useful Tips to Use Evernote for Blogging
- How to Plan A Productive Year as a Therapist
- Planning Template for Your Art Therapy Practice
- Task Management Software For Art Therapy Planning
- Self-care for the Art Therapist
- Using Art Therapy For Your Own Self-Care
———————— Need help with setting up your Therapy Practice admin policies and procedures? If you need help to set up your Therapy Practice business, we have an Admin Package in the store which contains a collection of essential business documents.
The Admin Package is available in 3 formats, including:
- Microsoft Word
You can read more about the packages in our store HERE .
- Business Details
- Fee Schedule
- Cancellation Policy
- Refund Policy
- Business Trackers
- Social Media Tips
- Business Admin Maintenance
- Business Goals
- Project Template
- Client Intake Checklist
- Client Call Log
- Consent for Services
- Authorisation to release information
- Social Media Policy
EMAIL & LETTER TEMPLATES
- Inquiry Reply
- Referral Request
- Reminder Late Payment
- Response for psychological report
- Response to subpoena
FREE DOWNLOAD: Free Download Sample Business Plan
SIGN UP below to download the FREE Sample Business Plan to help you create your own business plan for your art therapy practice.
BUILD YOUR ART THERAPY REFERENCE MATERIALS: Pin this image to your Pinterest board.
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Create a Business Plan for Private Practice in Counseling
If I’m in private practice, do I need a business plan?
Just like any business, it’s important that you create a business plan for private practice before you spend a dime .
Sound daunting? Don’t worry, I’ve started private practice in three different cities and have fine-tuned my process over the years. And I’m going to share it with you!
Why you Need a Business Plan in Private Practice
Is a business plan really necessary? Can’t you just rent an office, stick a couch in it, and be on your way with your counseling practice?
Well, you can try that, but you will likely find yourself sitting in an empty office waiting for clients to show up while your money drains from your bank account.
Think of a business plan as a treatment plan for your business. If your clinical training experience was at all like mine, then treatment planning has been drilled into your head.
Why do we create treatment plans for our clients? They act as a guide to help us serve our clients based on their specific needs. They give us a compass to guide the therapy process, though we can always modify the treatment plan to adapt to a client’s changing needs.
A business plan serves the same purpose. We need to do a bit of an assessment of ourselves and where we are situated to create a set of steps and goals for where we are headed. It sets us up for success as we use our business plan as a guiding compass.
Five Steps to Create a Business Plan
Here are five tools to help you get started in creating a business plan for private practice in psychology.
1. Do Market Research
Before you start anything else in your business plan, it’s important to know what other local therapists are out there in private practice and what they’re up to. Explore the Psychology Today Find a Therapist Directory , do some Google searches, and see who’s around as well as what they specialize in.
Market research helps you know what kind of supply there is for the product you’re selling in your business. This information informs the rest of the steps for creating a business plan.
2. Determine Your Product
You might be thinking: um, Marie, my product is psychotherapy, duh!
It is true that your product is your counseling services, but there is so much nuance to what psychotherapy looks like in practice.
It’s important to look at your market research from step one and see how you fare amongst local therapists. Are you the only therapist in a 10-mile radius? Then maybe your product is more broad.
If you live in an area like me where you’re one of hundreds of therapists just within your zip code, you want to think about what your niche is and maybe even double- or triple- niching so that you are the only therapist delivering this specific product in your area.
Take some time to write down what your product is more specifically. Here are some sample questions to help you get the ball rolling:
- What are examples of success stories you’d like future clients to tell?
- How do you want clients to feel when they sit with you in your office?
- What kind of psychotherapy services will you offer? What’s your area of specialty? What theoretical orientations do you utilize?
- How would you like to be known in your local community? What kind of broader influence do you want to have?
- Who is likely to refer clients to you?
If you’d like to learn more about finding your niche, you might find it helpful to watch my video about Finding Your Niche in Private Practice .
3. Get Advice from Other Therapists in Your Niche
I know this sounds completely counterintuitive. Naturally, we don’t want to go to our “competition” for advice.
Let me get this idea in your head: other therapists in your niche are not your competition, they are your friends, colleagues, consultation resources, and referral sources.
The reality is other therapists in your area of specialty are likely to be one of your primary referral sources!
There are nuanced differences amongst those of us who have similar areas of specialty. Maybe you specialize in GAD in young adults. Then therapists who specialize in GAD in teens and older adults might be indispensable resources to you. You can make referrals to each other when a potential client doesn’t quite fit within your niche, and you can consult with each other when you feel stuck.
These are the people you will be leaning on once you begin private practice, so it’s worth seeking them out before you even start.
How to Find Local Therapists
Some easy ways to find these therapists is through market research from step one, as well as through social media and networking events in your area. Lately tons of therapists have been flocking to Instagram with professional accounts, making it easy to find local therapists in your area. Give it a try! If you need some help, you might like to watch my video about How to Network with People in Private Practice .
Therapists love giving advice and helping people! So when you chat or meet up with colleagues, be sure to ask them for their best tips and advice in private practice. What worked for them? What investments totally flopped? Ask around from a few people because private practice is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor, so you might want to pick and choose what fits best for you.
This is a double-whammy tip because not only does connecting with local therapists help you with future marketing but you also don’t have to reinvent the wheel as you develop your business plan.
4. Determine how much You’re Willing to Give to Private Practice
Time and money are such precious resources, and you need both to get things started with private practice. Ask yourself how much of each of these you’re able and willing to give.
Make a plan together with your loved ones so you have the same expectations for how this will unfold. Ask questions like:
- How much budget are you willing to give to this?
- How much time are you willing to give?
- Are you going to go part-time at your current job to do this or are you going to pick a day on the weekend or evenings to do it?
Determine the answers to these questions in advance and know what you’re willing to expend towards your goal. You may also want to invite trusted friends to share their concerns with you, as our friends have a way of knowing what we need to ask better than we do sometimes!
5: Create an Exit Plan
Before you start it’s important to keep the worst case scenario in mind: what if private practice doesn’t succeed?
Ack! We don’t want to think about that!
I remember when I first decided to go from part-time to full-time private practice, I didn’t have an exit plan. Full-time private practice was THE plan. My husband ended up being the voice of reason. He asked me, “When will you quit if this doesn’t start turning a profit?”
My response? “Uhhhh…I don’t know.”
So we sat down and made a plan for how long I would give this a go before bailing. We created a five month plan, complete with expense spreadsheets so we knew how much money we were willing to sink into private practice if I wasn’t profitable.
It’s not fun to think about failure, but planning for the worst is actually a reassuring measure. You can feel more confident getting started knowing you have a way out if it doesn’t work. Ask yourself questions like:
- How long am I willing to work at private practice before I start turning a profit?
- Is there a certain profit margin I’m expecting to achieve? When do I need to achieve that margin by before bailing?
- Do I have a back-up plan for what I will fall back on if I end the private practice venture?
Think about these things in advance and talk them over with your loved ones. It will save you time and heartache down the road if you need it.
Creating a business plan for private practice can seem overwhelming, but I hope you find these tips make the process a bit smoother for you!
Are you wondering if private practice is right for you? Check out my post: Starting a Private Practice in Counseling: Is it Right for You?
I know the process of starting a private practice can seem daunting and overwhelming, even amidst the excitement that might be there. If that is you, be sure to sign up for the email list to get free information about how to start and grow your private practice. I share tools that I’ve learned the hard way about starting private practice so that hopefully it doesn’t have to be so hard for you.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!
Next Step: What’s the Best Website Builder for Therapists?
Photo by Lonely Planet on Unsplash
February 26, 2022 at 2:39 pm
I resonate with the point regarding exit plan or “what to do if this endeavour isn’t turning out as expected.” I am currently working full time at an agency, and have just recently decided to start my private practise on the side, though low key, I also want my time and effort to bear some fruit. This article is a great reminder of my motive and what I need to keep in mind.
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