Is it possible to grow your practice too quickly? How do you handle office space when half of your clinicians are doing telehealth while the other half is in the office? Why is it a good idea to stagger the hiring process?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks about the most common questions group practice owners ask.
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Whitney Owens is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Private Practice Consultant. She lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she owns a group private practice, Water’s Edge Counseling.
In addition to running her practice, she offers individual and group consulting through Practice of the Practice. Whitney places a special emphasis on helping clinicians start and grow faith-based practices. She hosts a podcast to help faith-based practice owners called the Faith in Practice Podcast.
Whitney has spoken at the Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia’s annual convention as well as Maryland. She has spoken the past two years at Practice of the Practice’s Killin’ It Camp Conference. She has also been interviewed about mental health issues on several media outlets including WSAV in Savannah and in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Whitney is a wife and mother of two beautiful girls.
In This Podcast
- Should I be taking on additional office space?
- What does it mean to grow your practice ‘too quickly’?
Should I be taking on additional office space?
If your group practice uses or needs physical office space, due to the pandemic there is a lot of office space that has opened up because some practices have gone online and are doing telehealth. There is then space for negotiation on prices, and you could perhaps land a good deal either renting or buying.
Ask yourself some questions to help you ascertain whether to move online or keep a physical space:
- What do the clients in your area prefer, to go into an office or have the telehealth option? Determine what the comfort level is of your local area as well as taking into account your own preferences and those of your clinicians.
I think you need to ask yourself how big you want the practice to be and I know that might be a hard question to answer, so if you know ‘okay yes I want to hire a 6th therapist and that’s about as big as I want to get’, then great [because] you know then how much office space you’ll need. You would probably only need two to three offices for six people.
- If you don’t know how big you would like to grow, then be careful about jumping up too soon. It would depend on the number of clients in your area and how widely they are dispersed.
- Consider your budget. Run some theoretical numbers to see how much flexibility you have in terms of growing your practice into a new location. Keep your rent amount around 10% of your gross revenue.
- How much or little is your staff going to use the space? Perhaps half of your clinicians work from home and the other half work in the office.
What does it mean to grow your practice ‘too quickly’?
One of the biggest reasons businesses fails is because they grow too fast and that means that your initial systems or processes that you set up cannot handle the volume that your business has increased to.
When you set up your group practice, think about different ways in which you can track the relevant data points such as clients seen, money collected, insurance notes needed, and so forth so that you can easily see how the practice is growing and how fast that growth may be.
The one thing that a lot of practice owners don’t realize … is that there is going to be a tipping point where you grow to a size where you’re going to have to structure things differently.
Consider the price of bringing on a new therapist because hiring a batch of clinicians at once can cost you a significant amount of money. It can be a good idea to stagger your hiring process in between bringing new clinicians on board.
- Kym Tolson Teaches Therapists How to Successfully Bill Insurance | GP 59
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Meet Alison Pidgeon
Alison is a serial entrepreneur with four businesses, one of which is a 15 clinician group practice. She’s also a mom to three boys, wife, coffee drinker, and loves to travel. She started her practice in 2015 and, four years later, has two locations. With a specialization in women’s issues, the practices have made a positive impact on the community by offering different types of specialties not being offered anywhere else in the area.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
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