The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to take a step back and assess your private therapy practice to see what’s working and what you could improve upon. While you’re in the business of helping clients overcome their challenges, you’re also in business — which means you have to be committed to continuous improvement if you want to keep your doors open and your clients happy.
As you begin thinking about how you can build a better business in 2022 and beyond, here’s a private practice checklist of tactics you should consider as you formulate your strategy and develop a plan.
Focus on a Niche
When you’re starting a private practice, you might be tempted to treat any client that comes your way, and that’s perfectly okay. If your goal is taking your practice to the next level this year, you may want to narrow down your focus and zero in on a specific niche.
By picking a niche for your practice, you can offer better care, improve your SEO rankings, and enjoy your job even more by choosing an area that particularly interests you — a field where you can be most helpful to clients.
For example, you might focus on providing services to members of the LGBTQ+ community, self-employed and freelance workers who worry about finances, members of the entertainment industry who face unique pressure, military and law enforcement personnel who’ve seen a lot of trauma firsthand, or divorced adults who are trying to start their lives all over again.
Improve the Client Experience
Impressions matter. If clients show up to your office and it’s cluttered and outfitted with older furniture, they might not get the best impression of your practice — and they might share their opinions with folks in their network, which will make things harder for you.
Take some time thinking about ways you can improve the client experience this year. In addition to remodeling your office and upgrading your furnishings, you might also want to incorporate other small gestures into your business — like sending clients digital thank-you cards periodically throughout the year and wishing them happy birthday.
What’s more, you can also increase your email marketing efforts to keep your clients engaged and share helpful content with them to add more value.
Upgrade Your Digital Tools
Are you the type of therapist who’s still managing your practice manually by relying on notebooks upon notebooks, sending invoices through the mail, and all that jazz? If so, it’s almost certainly time to upgrade your business infrastructure by investing in digital tools.
Simple investments in accounting tools, practice management platforms, and collaboration software can help you run a more efficient and profitable business and communicate more effectively with your clients and colleagues.
Invest in Digital Marketing
If you want to grow your business, you need to invest in digital marketing. It’s that simple.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people began searching for therapists online. In fact, one study found that searches for “counseling online” increased 124 percent between June 2019 and June 2020.
Assuming you want these people to find your business when they search for therapists online, you need to begin publishing blog posts on your website and getting more active on social media to attract new clients. By doing so, you will increase your discoverability online while adding more value to your existing clients.
Use an online directory service
If your goal is to grow your practice, you may want to consider signing up for an online directory service like GoodTherapy. By doing so, you can increase the chances a client who needs your services finds you after a quick Google search.
You can get up and running on GoodTherapy in three quick steps. All you need to do is sign up, create a profile, and wait for someone to search for your services in your area.
Build Up Your Professional Network
Another way to grow your private practice in the new year is by proactively building up your professional network. The bigger your network is, the easier it will be to refer clients to the most capable therapist when your plate is too full — and the more likely you’ll be to receive referrals from other peers who don’t have any room in their schedules.
You can build up your network by attending in-person events, bolstering your presence on social media, joining virtual events, going to conferences, and tapping into your personal network to see if anyone knows people in your field.
Prioritize Professional Development
No matter how effective you are as a therapist, you can always improve.
One area you should focus on in 2022 is professional development. By making it a habit to routinely expose yourself to new ideas, new resources, and new strategies, you can continue to sharpen your therapy skills and deliver more and more value to your clients — which, in turn, helps them lead more fulfilling lives.
If you’re interested in making professional development a priority this year, you should keep tabs on industry trends by subscribing to trade publications, searching for conferences and networking events in your area to attend, and reading articles like these to find tips and tricks that can help you increase your effectiveness.
At the same time, you should also consider enrolling in continuing education (which is likely a license requirement anyway, depending on where your practice is located). By doing so, you’ll keep pace with the latest industry developments, meet new people, and expand your reach by learning new therapy modalities.
GoodTherapy’s Continuing Education department provides accredited courses for therapists like you. Check out our upcoming live events and our archived courses to accelerate your professional development efforts while improving your skills and delivering more value to clients.
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