Are you considering hiring or renting additional office space for your group practice? Is it possible to expand your practice without even taking on additional space? How can you transplant the backbone of the culture of your practice into a new location?
In this podcast takeover episode, Alison Pidgeon does live consulting with Dawn Gabriel about how to expand her practice.
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Dawn Gabriel is the owner of Authentic Connections Counseling Center, private practice consultant, and host of Faith Fringes podcast.
She is passionate about helping people achieve freedom from what’s keeping them stuck and specializes in creating space to look deeper into our spirituality and faith free from judgment and shame.
Dawn is a wife and mom of 2 boys who all love living and adventuring in Colorado.
In This Podcast
- Do I open up additional locations?
- Building culture in a new office
- Transitioning into hiring an office manager and becoming the CEO
Do I open up additional locations?
You might not need as much space as you think you do because many therapists and clients may continue with telehealth indefinitely simply because they enjoy it while appreciating the added bonus of reducing the risk of contracting an illness.
I think it depends on what is happening in your area in terms of what are the expectations of clients in terms of being seen in person … [ask yourself if this expansion] was part of your original business plan or something that has come along and so now you are considering it? (Alison Pidgeon)
If in your state clients prefer to come to counseling face-to-face, then you can structure your business around that need.
In terms of expanding, depending on where the additional location may be, you will be drawing on a different population which means that you may need to tailor your marketing to an audience that is similar to the one you have been working with already while being sensitive to potential differences.
[for our new location] we’re actually creating a whole other website because it will still be the same name and obviously under the same entity but it’s going to be its own standalone ecosystem, so to speak, so it’s going to have it’s own administrative staff and it’s own set of therapists. (Alison Pidgeon)
If your new location is far away enough, you can consider creating a new website where the SEO will be more effective when it is linked to the town where the new practice will be closest to.
Building culture in a new office
When you start to own multiple offices, it can become difficult to get each office to follow a certain pattern. Instead, each office can become its own ecosystem where the new location follows the guiding principles of the overall practice, but it has its own flair of going about them.
Keep in mind that adding on the additional locations is not as difficult to do as it was to sort out the first office space. Stay in touch with your admin staff and your accountant to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Essentially you are replicating the system you have in your previous office space into another new location.
Maybe take some time to think through if this is really a part of my business plan … now that you have gotten into it, you’re seeing how it goes and what you enjoy and really what you want your role in the business to be, maybe this is an opportunity to really think strategically about “what will my business look like in three or five years, and is opening another location a part of that?” (Alison Pidgeon)
It is also possible to have expansion without purchasing or renting a new office location. You can keep expanding depending on if your clientele is wanting to keep doing telehealth.
You could hire more telehealth clinicians and work to fill up their schedules with virtual clients instead of looking for physical office spaces and having to deal with a whole bunch of other expenses that come with those.
Transitioning into hiring an office manager and becoming the CEO
It is a slow process that does not happen overnight. Hiring an office manager allows you much more free time to focus on being the CEO of the group practice while they handle the day-to-day situations at the physical office.
As we grew between 15 to 20 clinicians you have to really start looking at changing the structure because of the volume and the size, you just can’t keep that [old] structure anymore. (Alison Pidgeon)
The working relationship between the COO and the CEO:
- They meet on a regular basis and discuss expansion and upcoming possible projects,
- The CEO handles most of the financial piece while the COO handles finances pertaining to the office space or the clinicians,
- The CEO plays an active role in the hiring process alongside the COO.
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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 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting
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