2017 is here (almost) and it’s time to make some professional resolutions. As therapists, we are generally really good at telling other people how to set and achieve goals. But, we can neglect ourselves in the process or just get “too busy” to set specific goals for our business.
Resolutions For Those THINKING About a Private Practice:
- Make a business logo. This helps you envision your business as a real thing. It is the starting point for your business cards, letterhead, and other professional correspondence. Even if it’s just your name, create a logo that suits you and put it on your vision board for the year. In fact, I had a logo that I carried in my purse for three whole years before I opened my business. Don’t wait that long.
- Make a (loose) business plan. Are you going to continue to work? How much money will you need to survive? What supplies will you need? Create a budget and a timeline that you can stick to.
- Design a website. Use one of those simple free tools (to start) or hire a company like Brighter Vision to design a website for you. But, you will need this. It also helps you focus on WHAT needs your practice will serve. Focus on who your ideal client is and what will appeal to them. This is not a resume-talk to your ideal customer and is also not about yourself.
Resolutions For Those In Private Practice Less Than Two Years
- Get a consultation. You’ve probably been working on your business non-stop and are realizing how isolating it is. Hire a mentor, find a consultant, or join a Mastermind group. At this point, you will know more about what type of clients you are getting and what type you want. And, you will love hearing what everyone else is struggling with.
- Start a Blog. This was something that I just did this year. The first year I was overwhelmed with everything else. But, my clients seem to really love it and I enjoy the break from the daily routine.
- Get some training. This is the year to invest back in your own development. Use some of your profits to get even more skilled in your niche.
- Network and continue marketing. You may think that you have a steady stream of referrals, but don’t neglect these relationships this year. Make a commitment to reach out to someone new each month.
- Set better boundaries with your schedule. Beef up your no show policies; map out your time off in advance. Don’t work during times you don’t want to.
Resolutions for Those in Private Practice Over Three-Five Years
- Do any of the four things listed above that you have not already done.
- Diversify your income. Think about public speaking, writing an e-book, or doing some professional development trainings. Again, get a mentor that knows about this stuff and find a group that can help you.
- Increase your fees. It’s time. If you are on insurance panels, consider dropping the lowest paying ones.
- Update your paperwork. You probably do things differently now than when you first started.
- Do a HIPAA security audit. Make sure that you are up-to-date on the things that will keep your business safe.
Resolutions For Those In Practice Over Five Years
- Any of the above (again).
- Consider an expansion to a group practice. Talk to people about the pros and cons of this.
- Take a vacation. A real one. For a week or more. And not to a professional conference!
- Practice what you preach. Be an expert at self-care.
- Do the things you have always wanted to do when you opened your business.
The Bottom Line
Your business goes through cycles. Any of these ideas might fit at any stage of your business. But, it is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day of your practice. If you are successful and “busy” then you get comfortable. You don’t want to change things up because that creates anxiety. What if? What if I do this and I lose money or people are unhappy or I don’t like it? But the truth is, that the biggest benefit of owning a private practice is the opportunity to do things differently.
Make 2017 a year that you try something new in your practice. What’s your 2017 professional resolution? Share it here, because there is power in putting your vision in writing!
Jennifer Taylor, LCSW, RPT is an experienced child and family therapist and public speaker who specializes in trauma, ADHD, and conduct problems. Discover more about her diverse clinical background and family. Reach out to Jennifer with questions or comments by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.