Conduct Market Research
Is there a high need for your services in your area or the types of services you provide? Perhaps there are many private schools in your area that don’t offer therapy services. Or maybe you know that the predominant health insurance company in your area doesn’t cover a certain disorder.
Analyze Your Competition
Pretend you’re a patient looking for services to help you figure out who your competition is.
Who are the other clinicians practicing in your area? What are their specialties? Try to find out how much they charge and what kind of reputation do they have. You can find this out through a Google search, perhaps making some calls and asking around.
Set Financial Goals
Set bench marks for yourself in terms of how much money you want/need to make and base your hourly rate off of that.
How many billable time slots do you have available and how many clients will you need to take on to reach your goals?
Remember that you’ll need to include expenses in your calculations (office space is expensive- if you’re planning to rent space- you’ll need to see a lot of patients!)
Create a Marketing Plan
Many therapists are afraid to market themselves.
Marketing is not bad or dirty! You need to focus on building relationships with other professionals who will refer to you as well as getting your name out to the public.
You might want to focus on developing your website, sending out postcards, doing some guest speaking engagements or free screenings to help build your client-base.
Here’s the deal with a business plan:
You need to write one.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re asking for money or not, showing it to anyone or just doing it for yourself: it’s a great exercise in building a firm foundation for your business and future success.
Just do it; it’s not that bad.
Better yet- I’m going to teach you how to write a speech pathology practice business plan next week.
Stay tuned :-)